High School Graduation Requirements in...

High School Graduation Requirements in BC

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Getting into high school can be an exciting time, with more independence than in earlier years and the idea of planning for future work or studies. Even with extra freedom to choose their path, however, students in British Columbia should remember to keep the province’s graduation requirements in mind.

Schools in British Columbia, like in other provinces, can vary widely. Some offer mainly academic subjects like history and mathematics while others offer courses in subjects like electronics or construction. However, all high school students must complete eighty credits to graduate, including fifty-two credits for required courses and at least twenty-eight credits for elective (optional) courses.

In high school, a credit is the value of a course in counting towards graduation. For example, a language arts or mathematics course counts as four credits towards the eighty that students must reach, and many other courses count for the same amount. Students can choose to work very hard in the first part of high school so that their final year can be easier. However, at least sixteen credits must be at the Grade 12 level. One course must be in language arts, and another must be a career-life connections course.

High school students are supposed to learn about a variety of subjects so that they can have a balanced education. The required courses include language arts, mathematics, social studies (which might be divided into geography and history), science (including biology, chemistry, or physics), physical and health education, arts or applied design, career life education, and at least four credits in an Indigenous-related course.

Elective courses vary, depending on the school’s ability to offer courses beyond the basics. Many schools have courses in music, whether in singing or in learning to play an instrument. Some places might offer theatre courses or classes in public speaking or debating. Others might have computer programming classes or automotive topics. Most schools offer courses in at least one language such as French or German, and some might offer classes in languages such as Tagalog or Swahili, depending on what the people in the neighbourhood want.

Besides the coursework, students are required to pass at least three standardized tests that the province has developed, the Grade 10 Literacy Assessment, the Grade 10 Numeracy Assessment, and the Grade 12 Literacy Assessment. These tests are designed to show that students can read well and that they are able to do basic mathematical calculations such as adding and subtracting. These are important skills for almost any job. Career courses also help to prepare students for finding work when they graduate.

The requirements for graduation are designed to ensure that every student finishes high school with basically the same level of education, but this does not always work. Some schools have trouble offering more than the basics, while others might have so many electives that students can become overwhelmed.

When choosing high school courses in BC, as anywhere else, it is important to keep long-term goals in mind. If possible, students should also consider the job market and try to take courses that fit with what employers are likely to need. Meeting the high school graduation requirements can help students meet their own needs and prepare for the future.



BC for High School. “Graduation Program.” https://bcforhighschool.gov.bc.ca/offshore/bc-curriculum-assessment-overview/graduation-program/.

North Delta Secondary. “Graduation Requirements.” https://nd.deltasd.bc.ca/course-selection/bc-graduation-requirements/.

Province of British Columbia. “Graduation Requirements.” https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/legislation-policy/public-schools/graduation-requirements.

Vancouver School Board. “BC Secondary School 80 Credit Graduation Program Requirements.” https://media.vsb.bc.ca/media/Default/medialib/bc-grad-requirements.b897c761003.pdf.

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