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OSSD Requirements

Earning Your Diploma Online

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What You Need to Graduate

To earn a high school diploma in Ontario, students must:

Compulsory Credits

Students must earn the following 18[1] compulsory credits to get their Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 3 credits in mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 3 credits for group 1, 2, and 3 courses (1 credit in each group)
  • 2 credits in science
  • 1 credit in Canadian history (Grade 10)
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography (Grade 9)
  • 1 credit in the arts
  • 1 credit in health and physical education
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 0.5 credit in career studies
  • 0.5 credit in civics and citizenship

Group 1, 2, and 3 Compulsory Credits

Of the 18[1] compulsory credits, students must complete one from each of the following groups:

Group 1:

  • English (including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course) or French as a second language
  • Native languages
  • First Nations, Métis, and Inuit studies
  • classical studies and international languages
  • social sciences and the humanities
  • Canadian and world studies
  • guidance and career education
  • cooperative education
  • American Sign Language as a second language
  • Langue des signes québécoise langue seconde

Group 2:

  • health and physical education
  • the arts
  • business studies
  • French as a second language
  • cooperative education
  • American Sign Language as a second language
  • Langue des signes québécoise langue seconde

Group 3:

  • science (Grade 11 or 12)
  • technological education
  • French as a second language
  • computer studies
  • cooperative education
  • American Sign Language as a second language
  • Langue des signes québécoise langue seconde

The following conditions apply to compulsory credit selections from the above three groups:

  • In groups 1, 2, and 3, a maximum of two credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.
    • Students who have taken Native languages in place of French as a second language in elementary school may use a Level 1 or 2 Native languages course to meet the compulsory credit requirement for French as a second language.
  • A maximum of two credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits, selected from any of the above three groups.
  • The Grade 11 English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis and Inuit Voices course may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement.
  • The Grade 9 Expressions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultures course may be used to meet the compulsory credit requirement in the arts.

English as a second language (ESL) and English literacy development (ELD)

Students who are English language learners may count up to three credits in ESL or ELD towards the four compulsory credits in English.

The fourth credit must be a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

Optional credits

Students must earn 12[1] optional credits by successfully completing courses offered in their school’s program and course calendar.

Optional credits may include up to four credits earned through approved dual credit programs.

Literacy Requirement

Students are required to meet the Ontario Ministry of Education’s provincial literacy standard in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The literacy requirement can be fulfilled in one of two ways: successfully passing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test or completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC4O). Since the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) has recently launched the test in a new format that is not yet available to remote learners, Virtual High School currently only offers the OLC4O course.

What does this mean for graduating students at VHS?

  • Students who plan to earn the OSSD at VHS are encouraged to enrol in the OLC4O course to fulfill their literacy requirement. (If a student has already passed the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test at a previous high school, this will satisfy the requirement and be reflected on their transcript. They will not need to take OLC4O.)
  • Students must have completed Grade 9 English prior to taking the OLC4O course.
  • The OLC4O course will also count as one credit toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Note: Students currently enrolled in another Ontario school should confirm their eligibility with their main school before registering for OLC4O at Virtual High School.

Online Learning Credits

Students must successfully complete the equivalent of at least two full online credits to graduate. Online learning credits may be earned at any time during the student’s secondary school program or, under exceptional circumstances, in Grade 8. All VHS credits count toward the online learning requirement for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Visit the VHS blog for more information regarding this Ontario Ministry of Education requirement.

Community Involvement Hours

The community involvement requirement is intended to encourage students to positively contribute to their community by engaging in a minimum of 40 hours of unpaid service. Through volunteering, students can gain an awareness of their civic responsibility, impact the lives of those around them, and explore future career opportunities.

Students graduating with VHS will be provided with a Community Involvement Guide and a tracking sheet to record their hours. Our Guidance Team is also happy to assist students with choosing suitable activities in their local communities!

For more detailed information about diploma requirements,
visit the Ontario Ministry of Education website.


[1] ^ Starting September 2024, students must earn a Technological Education Credit in Grade 9 or 10 as part of their high school diploma. Students will earn a total of 19 compulsory credits and 11 optional credits.

This requirement starts with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024 and will not affect any students already in high school (students starting Grade 10, 11, and 12 in September 2024).

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