The Tennessee Department of Education has raised standards and aligned graduation requirements to best prepare students for college and the workforce.
Following the implementation of the Tennessee Diploma Project in 2009, high school students must complete 22 credits to graduate. They also will be tested in core subject areas with End of Course exams, part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. Their performance on these exams will factor into their semester grade for the course.
To receive a regular high school diploma, all students enrolled in a Tennessee public school during their eleventh (11th) grade year must take either the ACT or SAT. View the FAQ on the policy here.
Total Required Credits: 22
- Math: 4 credits, including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course (Students must be enrolled in a mathematics course each school year.)
- English: 4 credits
- Science: 3 credits, including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course
- Social Studies: 3 credits, including U.S. History and Geography, World History and Geography, U.S. Government and Civics, and Economics
- Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits
- Personal Finance: 0.5 credits (Three years of JROTC may be substituted for one-half unit of Personal Finance if the JROTC instructor attends the Personal Finance training.)
- Foreign Language: 2 credits (May be waived by the local school district for students, under certain circumstances, to expand and enhance the elective focus)
- Fine Arts: 1 credit (may be waived by the local school district for students, under certain circumstances, to expand and enhance the elective focus)
- Elective Focus: 3 credits consisting of Math and Science, Career and Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)
Tennessee State Board of Education (SBE) High School Policy 2.103(1)(e) states, “A public high school student may complete an early high school graduation program and be eligible for unconditional entry into a public two-year institution of higher education or conditional entry into a public four-year institution of higher education, if the student meets the requirements of T.C.A. § 49-6-8303,” also known as the Move on When Ready Act. Students who are interested in graduating before their senior year through the Move on When Ready program must complete this intent form available from the department of education. Completed intent forms should be sent to MoveOn.WhenReady@tn.gov.