Graduating from high school is a major milestone in a student’s life, but the requirements for graduation can vary from state to state.
If you’re a student in Texas or a parent of a high school student, you may be wondering what credits are required to earn a diploma.
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the credits needed to graduate high school in Texas, including both the minimum requirements and recommended courses for college-bound students.
Minimum High School Graduation Requirements in Texas
Overview of Texas High School Graduation Requirements
To graduate from high school in Texas, students must meet the minimum graduation requirements set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). These requirements are designed to ensure that students have a well-rounded education and are prepared for college or career. The minimum requirements include four years of English language arts (ELA), three years of mathematics, three years of science, three years of social studies, two years of physical education, one year of fine arts, and five-and-a-half credits of electives.
English Language Arts
The ELA requirement includes four credits, which must include one credit of English I, one credit of English II, one credit of English III, and one credit of advanced English. Students must also pass the English I and English II end-of-course exams to graduate.
The math requirement includes three credits, which must include Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Students must also pass the Algebra I and the English II end-of-course exams to graduate.
The science requirement includes three credits, which must include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics or Integrated Physics and Chemistry. Students must also pass the Biology end-of-course exam to graduate.
The social studies requirement includes three credits, which must include U.S. History, U.S. Government (.5 credit), Economics (.5 credit), and World History. Students must also pass the U.S. History end-of-course exam to graduate.
The physical education requirement includes two credits, which must include one credit of PE and one credit of health.
The fine arts requirement includes one credit, which may be fulfilled by courses in art, music, theatre, or dance.
The elective requirement includes five-and-a-half credits, which may be fulfilled by courses in any subject area.
Special Education Graduation Options
Students receiving special education services may be eligible for modified graduation requirements. These requirements are designed to meet the individual needs of the student while still ensuring that they are prepared for college or career.
English Language Learner Graduation Options
English Language Learners (ELLs) may be eligible for modified graduation requirements, which may include additional language support and accommodations. The TEA provides resources for schools and districts to support ELLs in meeting the graduation requirements.
Recommended High School Courses for College-Bound Students
College Admissions Requirements
When it comes to college admissions, high school students need to take rigorous courses that challenge them academically. This can include advanced courses in math, science, English, and social studies. In addition, colleges typically look for students who have taken honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
While the specific courses required for college admissions can vary depending on the college or university, there are some general recommendations for high school students who plan to attend college. These include:
- Four years of English
- Four years of math, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and higher-level math courses
- Three to four years of science, including biology, chemistry, and physics
- Three to four years of social studies, including world history, U.S. history, and government
- Two to three years of a foreign language
By taking these courses in high school, students will be better prepared for the academic rigor of college coursework.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses that high school students can take to earn college credit. These courses are offered in a variety of subjects, including math, science, English, and social studies. Taking AP courses can demonstrate to college admissions officers that a student is capable of handling college-level coursework.
Dual Credit Courses
Dual credit courses allow high school students to earn both high school and college credit at the same time. These courses are typically offered through community colleges or universities and can be taken on campus or online. Dual credit courses can be a great way for students to get a head start on college coursework and save money on tuition.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Program
The International Baccalaureate program is a rigorous academic program that emphasizes critical thinking and international understanding. The program is offered in high schools around the world and includes courses in six subject areas, as well as a core component that includes a theory of knowledge course, an extended essay, and creativity, action, and service activities. Students who complete the IB program can earn college credit and may have an advantage in college admissions.
Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (T-STEM) Program
The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (T-STEM) program is a statewide initiative to improve education in STEM subjects. The program includes partnerships between high schools and colleges, as well as work-based learning opportunities and professional development for teachers. By participating in the T-STEM program, high school students can gain valuable skills and knowledge in STEM subjects that can prepare them for college and careers in STEM fields.
Earning a high school diploma is an important accomplishment, and understanding the credit requirements is the first step to achieving this goal.
Whether you’re a student or a parent, we hope this guide has provided helpful information about the credits needed to graduate high school in Texas.
By meeting the minimum requirements and taking advantage of recommended courses, students can prepare for success in college and beyond.