Students may take anywhere from two to four math classes in high school. The math classes a student will need depends on their math skills, the type of diploma they are working toward, and the colleges they hope to attend. State standards may also affect the required math classes needed to graduate high school.

Minimum Requirements

The states determine the minimum allowed math classes for high school graduation. The minimum required math classes in California and 19 other states is two years of math, which includes a year of algebra 1. They may take a basic math or pre-algebra class in addition to algebra 1. In New York and 17 additional states, a student needs three years of high school math, which must include algebra 2 or an equivalent. Students typically choose from pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and algebra 2/trigonometry. Taking these minimum required classes will meet requirements for a high school diploma and entry into community college. Many colleges will accept students who have taken three years of math.

Standard Math Requirements

The average student follows standard math requirements, opting to earn more than the minimum requirements, but less than the advanced course suggestions. The required classes for a standard diploma also varies by state. In the states of Georgia and Nevada, if a student wants a technology/career prep diploma they must take three years of high school math. For a student college prep diploma, they will need to take four years of math. Students may choose from among algebra 1, algebra 2, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus and statistics, among others.

Adanced Math Requirements

For students interested in an advanced diploma, an honors diploma, or a dual enrollment diploma (a combination of high school and college credits), they will need to take four years of math. Preferably, these students will have tackled algebra 1 in middle school. This would leave algebra 2 and more difficult math classes such as geometry, calculus, statistics, and college math courses to choose from during their high school years. Students who have taken these difficult math classes in high school have a better chance to get into Ivy League schools and other selective colleges and universities.