The Ontario Secondary School Diploma

THE ONTARIO SECONDARY SCHOOL DIPLOMA                                                                                       

Credit Requirements

In order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma a student must:

  • earn 30 credits (18 compulsory and 12 optional credits)
  • complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • successfully complete the provincial secondary school literacy diploma requirement through successful completion of either the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course.

Compulsory Credits:

Students must earn the following 18 compulsory credits in order to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
  • 1 credit in French as a second language
  • 3 credits in Mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in Science
  • 1 credit in Canadian History
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography
  • 1 credit in the Arts
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • .5 credits in Civics
  • .5 credits in Career Studies
  • Group 1: 1 additional credit in English, or French as a second language, or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or co-op
  • Group 2: 1 additional credit in Health and Physical Education, or the Arts, or Business Studies, French as a second language or co-op
  • Group 3: 1 additional credit in Science (Grade 11 or 12) or Technological Education (Grades 9-12), French as a second language, computer studies or co-op



Students registering at GCI must choose a program with a course load according to school policy as outlined below:



Grade Level

Minimum Day

School Course Load








In grades 9 and 10, all students will select a full course load of 8 credit courses unless there are exceptional circumstances approved by the Principal.










Students are encouraged to select 8 courses.

Students with less than 20 credits are expected to carry 4 credits for the entire semester.




6 or 7


It is recommended that students take the number of credits needed to fulfill

OSSD requirements, 30 credits.  e.g. 23 credits earned  + 7 needed = 30 credits



34 CREDIT CAP / THRESHOLD: In September of 2013, the Ministry of Education introduced a threshold of 34 secondary school credits per student. The requirement to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is 30 credits.  Students wanting to exceed the 34 credit threshold will be directed to continuing education options such as summer school and night school.  Students will not be required to pay for credits over the 34-credit threshold.  All successfully completed credits will count toward the 34 credit threshold.  For example, if a student successfully completes a credit course more than once (e.g., to upgrade mark), each successful completion will count toward the 34 credit total.  The Ministry has identified some exemptions for the 34 credit threshold, which include students with IEPs, and credit courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Literacy Development (ELD).

PART TIME STUDENTS:  Students will be permitted to be part time (1 or 2 credits) with Principal approval ONLY if they have earned their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (30 credits).

NOTE:  It is imperative that students choose their courses wisely as teaching staff, support staff and classrooms are based on these choices.  Course changes may not be possible in September.  Students are expected to choose a full time program based on minimum course load and commit to this program for the entire year. Any exceptions are subject to administrative approval.

CHARGING OF COURSE FEES: All basic materials essential for the completion of a program are made available to students, at no cost.  It is the policy of the Waterloo Region District School Board to acknowledge that:  students are entitled to an education that ensures they achieve their full potential through the equitable and appropriate allocation of funds provided by the Ministry of Education; enhanced educational opportunities for all students are made available through shared responsibilities with parents and guardians and other community resources.  Students/families requiring financial assistance  should  contact  a  staff  member.    The  staff  member  will  ensure  that  the  student’s  issue  is  dealt  with  in  an  appropriate  manner.