High School Diploma Options

High School Diploma Options


Indiana offers several types of diplomas, each with a particular set of course requirements. You can download PDFs of each diploma’s requirements here. Note: for information surrounding flexibility for graduation requirements in response to COVID-19, click here.

The Core 40 diploma has been required for high school graduation in Indiana since 2007. To graduate with less than Core 40, a student must complete a formal opt-out process involving parental consent. The Core 40 diploma is designed to prepare you for many college programs and careers. There are 40 total state credits required, however some schools may have additional local graduation requirements that apply to all students.

  • English/LanguageArts: 8 credits
    • Including a balance of literature, composition and speech.
  • Mathematics: 6 credits (in grades 9-12)
    • 2 credits: Algebra I
    • 2 credits: Geometry
    • 2 credits: Algebra II
    • Or complete Integrated Math I, II and III for 6 credits.
    • Students must take a math or quantitative reasoning course each year in high school
  • Science: 6 credits
    • 2 credits: Biology I
    • 2 credits: Chemistry I or Physics I or Integrated Chemistry-Physics
    • 2 credits: any Core 40 science course
  • Social Studies: 6 credits
    • 2 credits: U.S. History
    • 1 credit: U.S. Government
    • 1 credit: Economics
    • 2 credits: World History/Civilization or Geography/History of the World
  • Directed Electives: 5 credits
    • World Languages
    • Fine Arts
    • Career and Technical Education
  • Physical Education: 2 credits
  • Health and Wellness: 1 credit
  • Electives: 6 credits*
    • College and Career Pathway courses recommended
    • Specifies the number of electives required by the state. High school schedules provide time for many more electives during the high school years. All students are strongly encouraged to complete a College and Career Pathway (selecting electives in a deliberate manner) to take full advantage of career and college exploration and preparation opportunities.

Some technical programs and apprenticeships might require the Core 40 with Technical Honors. For the Core 40 with Technical Honors diploma, students must:

  • Complete all requirements for Core 40.
  • Earn 6 credits in the college and career preparation courses in a state-approved College & Career Pathway and one of the following:
    • State approved, industry recognized certification or credential, or
    • Pathway dual credits from the approved dual credit list resulting in 6 college credits
  • Earn a grade of “C” or better in courses that will count toward the diploma.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of a “B” or better.
  • Complete one of the following:
    • Any one of the options (A – F) of the Core 40 with Academic Honors
    • Earn the following scores or higher on WorkKeys: Reading for Information – Level 6, Applied Mathematics – Level 6, and Locating Information-Level 5.
    • Earn the following minimum score(s) on Accuplacer: Writing 80, Reading 90, Math 75.
    • Earn the following minimum score(s) on Compass: Algebra 66 , Writing 70, Reading 80

Some four-year Indiana colleges now require the Core 40 with Academic Honors. For the Core 40 with Academic Honors diploma, students must:

  • Complete all requirements for Core 40.
  • Earn 2 additional Core 40 math credits.
  • Earn 6-8 Core 40 world language credits (6 credits in one language or 4 credits each in two languages).
  • Earn 2 Core 40 fine arts credits.
  • Earn a grade of a “C” or better in courses that will count toward the diploma.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of a “B” or better.
  • Complete one of the following:
    • Earn 4 credits in 2 or more AP courses and take corresponding AP exams
    • Earn 6 college credits in dual credit courses from the approved dual credit list.
    • Earn two of the following:
      • A minimum of 3 college credits from the approved dual credit list,
      • 2 credits in AP courses and corresponding AP exams,
      • 2 credits in IB standard level courses and corresponding IB exams.
    • Earn a combined score of 1750 or higher on the SAT critical reading, mathematics and writing sections and a minimum score of 530 on each.
    • Earn an ACT composite score of 26 or higher and complete written section.
    • Earn 4 credits in IB courses and take corresponding IB exams.

Some Indiana high schools offer the International Baccalaureate diploma. This diploma is designed to prepare you intellectually, personally, emotionally and socially to live in a rapidly globalizing world. You can choose courses in languages, business, and more.

Some students may graduate with a General Diploma, rather than the state’s Core 40 Diploma. To graduate with a General Diploma, the following formal opt-out process must be completed:

  • The student, the student’s parent/guardian, and the student’s counselor (or another staff member who assists students in course selection) must meet to discuss the student’s progress.
  • The student’s Graduation Plan (including four year course plan) is reviewed.
  • The student’s parent/guardian determines whether the student will achieve greater educational benefits by completing the general curriculum or the Core 40 curriculum.
  • If the decision is made to opt-out of Core 40, the student is required to complete the course and credit requirements for a general diploma and the career/academic sequence the student will pursue is determined. Learn More about the General Diploma here.

Indiana has a new high school equivalency exam that replaces the traditional GED® tests. There are special programs for adults, set up to teach math, reading and writing skills for free. These are designed to help you earn a high school equivalency degree, or enter an entry-level occupational certification program. The test still assesses math, reading, writing, science and social studies, and test-takers will still need to demonstrate proficiency in these subjects–but the test will be a better indicator of a student’s readiness for college or a career. Sign up for a high school equivalency exam here. If you have any questions, contact the Department of Workforce Development at [email protected] or call 317-233-6480.

Once you’ve got your high school diploma or equivalency, you can look into taking classes that fit your lifestyle. Learn more at our adult learners page.


Starting with the Class of 2023, students will need to show they are ready for college or a career to get their high school diploma. Indiana’s Graduation Pathways are designed to help students meet state graduation requirements while giving them flexibility to pursue their education interests. Here’s what you will need to do to meet the new requirements:

1. Earn a high school diploma.

2. Show you’re ready for the world of work by:

  • Completing a project-based learning experience, such as conducting a long-term research assignment;
  • Completing a service-based learning experience, such as volunteering or being involved in school activities; or
  • Completing a work-based learning experience, such as doing an internship or working outside of the school day.

3. Show you’re ready for education beyond high school by:

  • Getting a Core 40 Academic or Technical Honors diploma;
  • Earning a “C” or higher in college-level classes like AP, IB or dual credit;
  • Getting a recognized credential, certification or apprenticeship;
  • Earning placement info one of the branches of the military by taking the ASVAB;
  • Earning college-ready scores on the ACT or SAT; or
  • Earning a “C” or higher in at least six career and technical education (CTE) requirements.

For more information and detailed requirements, visit the Indiana Department of Education’s website.

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