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Recommended High School Classes & Graduation Requirements


Before you begin thinking about college, you need to get through high school. All Minnesota students are required to take the following to graduate from a Minnesota public high school. These courses are the same required for college admission. Stretch yourself and take the highest level offered at your school.

In order to graduate, high school coursework must include the minimum state course credit requirements. Students must complete a minimum of 21.5 course credits as follows:

Required Courses
Credits Subject
4 credits Language Arts
3 credits Mathematics (including algebra, geometry and statistics/probability)
3 credits Science (1 credit of biology, 1 credit in either chemistry or physics, and 1 elective credit)
3.5 credits Social Studies (including U.S. history, geography, world history, government/citizenship and economics)
1 credit The Arts
7 credits Electives

NOTE: Your school district may have additional requirements for graduation.

Visit the Minnesota Department of Education Graduation Requirements webpage for full details: Learn More.

Recommended Optional Classes

High school gives you the opportunity to explore your interests through optional elective classes. You may be able to take classes in agriculture, business, computers, physical education, construction and much more. These classes would be the most helpful:

  • World Languages (Recommended: 2 years). Take at least two years of the same language. Many four-year colleges require a foreign language to receive a bachelor's degree. Your high school courses could be used to fulfill your college credit requirement.
  • Computer classes. It may not be required for graduation, but all students need to know how to use computer software programs.

Earn College Credit in High School

Minnesota students may be eligible to take classes at a college or university as a high school junior or senior through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program. If you want to do this, careful planning in ninth and tenth grade is important. Your high school may participate in Advanced Placement, College in the Schools or International Baccalaureate which allows you to earn both high school and possibly college credit.

Learn More.

Career Preparation

Youth apprenticeships in addition to career technical preparation opportunities can give you on-the-job training while you earn technical college credits... all while you're still in high school.

Learn More.