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What is a Specialist High Skills Major?

The SHSM program offers students in grade 11 and 12 the opportunity to explore a specific area or career of interest, and to acquire the skills and experience that will assist them in their postsecondary pathway: Apprenticeship Training, College, University and the Workplace.

   Each SHSM Program Includes: (Check out this SHSM Video​)

                            ​The five components of an SHSM Diploma

1.  A Bundle of Credits
​Eight to ten Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits consisting of:
  • four major credits; 
  • two to four other required credits; and 
  • a minimum of two required cooperative education credits.​


2. Certification and Training
All SHSM programs require 6-8 sector-recognized certifications or training courses. 
They include specified numbers of:
  • compulsory certifications or training courses(e.g. Standard First Aid, 
​       CPR level C);
  • elective certifications and/or training courses, which are selected from a list provided by the Ministry of Education for each sector.
3. Experiential Learning and Career Exploration Activities
  • Experiential learning and career exploration activities allow students to explore, observe, participate in, and reflect on a variety of sector-specific experiences and careers. 
  • These activities enable students enrolled in the SHSM program to learn about the opportunities available to them in careers that interest them.
  • i.e. Skills Canada competition, job shadowing, career fair/panel conference. 

4. Reach Ahead Experiences

  • These are learning experiences that are connected with the student’s postsecondary plans
  • ​ i.e. attending a conference/workshop, touring a postsecondary institution, completing a Dual Credit course, etc.

5. Sector-Partnered Experiences

SPE activities are experien​tial activities co-delivered with a sector partner. They provide students with the opportunity to gain insight into the relationship between their sector program and how the following are used within the sector:


  • ​Mathematical Literacy
  • Contextualized Coding
  • ICE (Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship)


Upon graduation, students who complete an SHSM program will receive:
       An OSSD with an embossed SHSM seal of distinction;
​​•       An SHSM Record Card documenting the student's achievement placed in             the student's OSR.

Students In SHSM Programs Have The Opportunity To:

  • Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents through a specialized package of credits;
  • Develop sector-recognized knowledge and skills while earning their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD);
  • Explore, identify, and refine career goals - cooperative education credits allow students to practice and refine skill development, network with professionals working in the sector and gain sector-specific employment experience;
  • Make informed decisions regarding postsecondary destinations;
  • Access resources, equipment, and expertise that may not be available in their home secondary school;
  • Receive a special SHSM red seal designation on their diploma; and
  • Network with potential employers


SHSM Postsecondary Opportunities:​  

SHSM students identify themselves through a checkbox on OCAS and OUAC when they are applying to College or University. 


There are scholarship and incentive opportunities for SHSM graduates at some of the following postsecondary institutions:


SHSM programs are considered on many supplementary applications.

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​​TCDSB Schools that offer Specialist High Skills Major Programs


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Students interested in their school's SHSM Program should contact their guidance counsellor, an SHSM subject teacher or send an email to for more information.​

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