College – Resources- 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.



There are five different types of high school diplomas that you can earn in Indiana. Read below to discover which one is best for you.


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 prepares you for many college programs and careers.

There are 40 total state credits required. However, some schools may have additional local graduation requirements for all students.

Core 40 Graduation Requirements
  • English/language arts: 8 credits
                Includes 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

  • Electives: 6 credits*
    College and Career Pathway courses recommended


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 by intentionally selecting electives.

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

Core 40 With Technical Hours Graduation Requirements
  • 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

  • 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 the requirements below.

Core 40 With Academic Honors Graduation Requirements

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

  • Earn 2 additional Core 40 math credits

  • 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 a written section.

  • Earn 4 credits in IB courses and take corresponding IB exams


Some Indiana high schools offer the International Baccalaureate diploma. This diploma prepares 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. 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 adulted@dwd.in.gov 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.


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 the 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
  • 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
  • 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.

Wondering what next steps to take? Regardless of your grade, we have success checklists for students and families to help you prepare for college.


What is the best type of diploma to get in high school?

This depends on what a student plans to do after high school. The standard diploma in Indiana is the Core 40 diploma, which is recommended for students who plan to pursue education beyond high school. The honors diplomas offer more rigorous classes.

Do you need a high school diploma to get a job?

Many employers do require a high school diploma to get a job, but there are some jobs that will hire people without a diploma.

Is an HSE as good as a high school diploma?

The Indiana HSE (High School Equivalency) is an alternative for earning a high school diploma. The HSE Diploma can be earned after completing a test based on five subject areas (math, reading, writing, science and social studies). The skills you are taught and eventually tested on are at the same level as those of graduating high school seniors.

How long does it take to get an HSE in Indiana?

The HSE takes several hours to complete the test.

Can you go to college with a HSE?

Most colleges and universities require at least a Core 40 diploma. However, colleges that offer open enrollment will accept students with an HSE.