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Graduation Requirements

iStock  Graduation.jpg
All graduates must complete a minimum of 220 credits (5 credits = 1 semester) of course work: English (40), Mathematics (30), Social Science (35), Physical Education (20), Science (20), World Languages (10), Fine and Performing Arts (10), Health (5), CTE (10), Electives (40) and receive a passing grade.

Passing grades in 220 credits of course work are required for graduation. Of these 220 credits, 170 must be in the required subjects. The student handbook will show a typical class schedule for each grade level. Should you have any questions regarding the requirements, please contact your school's counseling office.



The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees has set these graduation requirements to ensure that every student satisfactorily completes a minimum course of study which is consistent with the educational philosophy and objectives of the District.



Forty credits are elective; that is, they may be chosen on the basis of personal interest, college or career requirements, or the need for remedial work.

The remaining credits must be taken in specific areas. However, there are usually a variety of classes which meet each requirement with classes designed for different levels of ability and/or career interests. If you are not sure which class is best for you, discuss it with a teacher or counselor.


CTE Approved Course List 2017-2018


On October 7, 2015, Governor Brown signed SB 172 suspending the administration of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). This bill also eliminates the CAHSEE as one of the requirements to receive a high school diploma for students graduating in 2016, in 2017, and in 2018.


Starting January 1, 2016, this law will also allow the District to grant a high school diploma to any student who completed the 12th grade in 2003-04 school years, or a subsequent school year, and has met all applicable graduation requirements other than passage of the high school exit examination.



To view the CAHSEE Suspension Letter from the California Department of Education, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/cahseesuspendltr.asp


40 credits

Career Technical Education
10 credits

Social Science
35 credits including: Modern World History 1and 2; Contemporary World Studies; United States History 1 and 2; American Government; Economics

Physical Education
20 credits. 10 credits completed in grade 9 and at least 10 credits completed in grades 10 or may be deferred to grade 11 based upon student need.

20 credits. 10 credits of Physical Science and 10 credits of Biological Science - at least one course must meet the “d” requirement on the U.C. “a-g” list.

30 credits, including 10 credits of Algebra 1-2. Any course below the level of Algebra 1-2 does not receive high school math credit.

World Languages
10 credits to be completed by the end of grade 10 

Fine & Performing Arts
10 credits 

5 credits

40 credits (minimum)

220 Credits Required  with a passing grade.



5   Credits = 1 semester

10 Credits = 2 semesters / 1 year

20 Credits = 2 years

30 Credits = 3 years

40 Credits - 4 years