Requirements for Graduating Nova Scotia High School

The requirements to graduate high school in Nova Scotia, with a Nova Scotia Department of Education High School Diploma/Leaving Certificate, can be found at the Credit Requirements for Graduation page of the Nova Scotia Department of Education website. All of the information on this page is copied from the Nova Scotia Dept of Ed website and does not override anything that may be contained on that site.

The current document (as of May 2019) that explains graduation requirement is called Credits for a Graduation Diploma 2017 2018, and is the most up-to-date version.

Please note that all graduates at the end of the school year "will be required to successfully complete three high school mathematics courses, one at each grade level (10, 11 & 12)" (from the Credits for a Graduation Diploma document above)

Students require a minimum of 18 credits to graduate. No more than seven of the 18 credits may be for grade 10 courses, and at least five must be for grade 12 courses. The following are compulsory credits for graduation:

Language, Communication, and Expression

❖ 3 language arts, one at each grade level

❖ 1 arts: dance, drama, music, or visual arts

Science, Mathematics, and Technology

❖ 3 mathematics (only one credit may be from the grade 10 level)

❖ 1 science: one from Science 10, biology, chemistry, or physics, and one other approved science course

❖ 2 others from mathematics, science, and/or technology: eligible courses can be found in the Public School Programs (PSP) within the categories of Mathematics; Sciences; Skilled Trades; Technology Education; and Technology Integration and ICT Courses.

Personal Development and Society

❖ 1 physical education: eligible credits include Physical Education 10, Physical Education 11, Dance 11, Fitness Leadership 11, Physically Active Living 11, Yoga 11, Physical Education 12, and Physical Education Leadership 12

❖ 1 Canadian history: African Canadian Studies 11; Canadian History 11; Gaelic Studies 11; Études acadiennes 11 and Mi’kmaq Studies 10

❖ 1 global studies: Global Geography 12, Advanced Global Geography 12, Global History 12, Advanced Global History12, Global Politics12, and Advanced Global Politics 12

❖ 5 electives

Within the 18 course requirements for a graduation diploma, in most cases, no student may receive credit for two courses in the same specific subject area at the same grade level. There are a few exceptions: these include Co-op courses and Language Arts with a Canadian Literature course.

These requirements apply to any student earning the Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diploma.

Correspondence Courses: Do they Count towards Graduation Requirements?

The short answer is "yes." On the NS Dept of Ed website page for Correspondence Courses they state, "Public school courses taken by correspondence are recognized for credit towards a Nova Scotia high school diploma. Students transferring to Nova Scotia from another jurisdiction (province or state) must meet the Nova Scotia high school graduation requirements. "

It also states, on the same page, that "Correspondence Studies is self-directed study." and "Courses are not taught"

To find out more about Nova Scotia Department of Education Correspondence Courses, check out their website.

Other Courses

In addition to the Public School Program, Learning Outcomes Framework courses, and the Correspondence courses offered by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, there are a couple other sets of courses that students can take (depending on school and location):

  1. International Baccalaureate courses. These can only be taken through attendance at a Nova Scotia school that is accredited by the IB headquarters as an IB World School.

  2. Personal Development Credits. In some cases, your participation in other organizations will earn you credit that can be applied to your graduation checklist (for example, Girl Guides or Boy Scouts, Cadets, Swimming, Dance...). Check out this document for a full list of Personal Development Credits.