A high school diploma is required for many jobs, as well as for admission to an institution of higher education. Residents of Ohio who want to obtain high school diplomas must meet state graduation requirements intended to ensure that all students who receive diplomas have a wide grasp of academic knowledge and are capable of functioning as informed adults within society.

English

All Ohio students must take four units of English to graduate. One unit is equivalent to one academic year, meaning that students must take English every year to qualify for graduation. Students can select any English courses to meet this requirement, as there is no specific content or topic requirement for the four units.

Mathematics

Three units of math are required for graduation from high school, but there is no set math level students must achieve. While students can take a year off from math and still graduate, it is recommended that college-bound students take a math course every year to ensure that they are prepared for the rigors of college math.

Health and Physical Education

Students must earn ½ unit of physical education credit and ½ unit of health credit to qualify for graduation. To earn these credits, students must take one semester-long or two quarter-long courses in each subject.

Science

Ohio high school students must earn at least three units of science credit before graduation. At least one of these units must be a biological science, such as life science or biology, and another must be a physical science, such as physics or science of movement. This requirement is intended to ensure that students do not focus all their scientific study in one area.

Social Studies

Three units of social studies are required to graduate. These must include at least ½ unit of American History and ½ unit of American government. These requirements are intended to ensure that students are versed in American politics and ready to act as responsible citizens upon graduation.

Electives

Students must take six units, or six year-long academic courses, of elective study during high school. Many schools offer electives ranging from foreign language to photography, and any can count toward this requirement, though one elective unit must be in a business, technology, fine arts or foreign language class.

Ohio Graduation Test

Ohio students also must pass the Ohio Graduation Test to receive a diploma. This test measures students' understanding of academic topics and is intended to ensure that they have attained a minimum competency level before graduation.