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The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is acknowledged as a prerequisite for admission to universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and various other countries globally. Consequently, possessing an OSSD opens doors to a diverse array of higher education options, including some of the world's most prestigious universities. This proves especially beneficial for international students aspiring to pursue higher education abroad, enhancing their prospects of gaining admission to leading universities.

An added benefit of earning an OSSD is the demonstration of proficiency in English. Given that English serves as the primary language of education programs in Canadian schools, students who complete their secondary education in Ontario acquire a strong foundation in the language. This proficiency proves particularly advantageous for international students aspiring to pursue higher education in English-speaking nations or engage in international professional settings.


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

1. Earn 18 compulsory credits

Students must earn the following 18 mandatory credits to obtain the 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

Of the 18 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

Group 2:

  • health and physical education
  • the arts
  • business studies
  • French as a second language
  • cooperative education
  • American Sign Language as a second language

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

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.

Resource: High school graduation requirements |

2. Earn 12 optional credits

  • Students must earn 12 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.

3. Pass the literacy requirement

  • Beginning September 2022, the literacy graduation requirement is restored and students graduating in the 2022-23 school year and beyond are required to meet this requirement.
  • All students must meet the secondary school literacy graduation requirement to earn their high school diploma.
  • For most students, this means passing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).
  • Students who do not successfully complete the OSSLT have other opportunities to meet the literacy graduation requirement. Students can contact the school Admission Team to find out about these options.

4. Earn at least two online learning credits

Beginning with students who entered Grade 9 in the 2020-21 school year, students must earn at least two online learning credits to get their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

The online learning graduation requirement also applies to adult learners who will be entering the Ontario secondary school system starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

Credits earned during COVID-19

Students can count one secondary school credit that was earned during the province-wide school closures (from April 2021 to June 2021) towards the two online learning credits that they need to graduate. This applies to all Grade 9 students who were learning remotely due to the province-wide school closures.

5. Complete a minimum 40 hours of community involvement activities

Students can start accumulating their community involvement hours in the summer before entering Grade 9.

Students who are looking for community involvement opportunities should:

List of Eligible/ Ineligible activities for Community Involvement Hours


Rotman Arts and Science School takes pride in offering a well-tailored curriculum and a student-centered environment, making it the perfect choice for international students aiming to achieve their OSSD.

✅ Widely Accepted: OSSD is recognized and accepted by universities and colleges globally, opening doors to a world-class education. 100% of our students graduated with OSSD have been accepted for higher education in Canada and all over the world.

✅ Easily Transferred: No matter what curriculum you are studying in your home country, your study records can be easily transferred to Ontario Secondary School Curriculum under our utmost discretion.

✅ Tailored Curriculum: Our school offers a curriculum designed to meet the diverse needs of students, ensuring a holistic and enriching learning experience.

✅ Student-Centered Environment: We believe in fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere, empowering students to thrive academically and emotionally.


Let Rotman Arts and Science School help you take a significant step towards your dream universities and colleges!

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