Graduation Requirements

  • The Regulations for Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia specifies the standards that all students must meet in order to earn a diploma.  These standards can be changed from one year to another, and each student must meet the requirements in place the year he or she first entered ninth grade.  

    Students entering the ninth grade for the first time in the fall of 2011 and beyond will be required to satisfy graduation requirements for one of four diplomas: (1) a 22-credit Standard Diploma; (2) a 26-credit Advanced Studies Diploma; (3) a 20-credit Modified Standard Diploma; and (4) a Special Diploma. 

    What are a “standard unit of credit” and a “verified unit of credit”?

    A standard unit of credit is awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the objectives of the course.  A verified unit of credit is awarded for a course in which the student earns a standard unit of credit and achieves a passing score on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test or a substitute assessment approved by the Board of Education.


    Students earning the Standard or Modified Standard Diploma must successfully complete two sequential electives to satisfy graduation requirements.  Courses used to satisfy this requirement may be in any discipline as long as the courses are not specifically required for graduation.  Courses used to satisfy the one-credit requirement in the fine arts or career and technical education may also be used to partially satisfy this requirement.  For example, if a student selects Art Foundation to satisfy the fine arts or career and technical education requirement, then Art Foundation and a second course in the art sequence may also be used to satisfy the sequential electives requirement.  The second course could then also count toward the six other required elective credits. Courses to satisfy this requirement shall include at least two sequential electives. More information is provided in the Guidance Document Governing Certain Provisions of the SOA (8VAC-20-131).