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Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirements

Learn about the requirements for earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) at your Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) secondary school.

Diploma Requirements

Students must earn the following 18 compulsory credits including one credit from each of the groups listed below to obtain their OSSD:

The Credit System and Online Learning Graduation Requirement

A credit is granted in recognition of the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours. For the purpose of granting a credit, "scheduled time" is defined as the time during which students participate in planned learning activities (other than homework) designed to lead to the achievement of the curriculum expectations of a course. A credit is granted to a student by the principal of a secondary school on behalf of the Minister of Education.

Religious Education Requirement

Catholic faith formation is an important focus in Catholic Secondary Schools. Each student is required to take a full credit course in Religious Education each year.

  • These courses are offered at the Open level in Grades 9 and 10, and at the University/College and Open levels in Grades 11 and 12.

  • The Ministry of Education recognizes all Religious Education courses as credits which can be used to fulfill diploma requirements.

  • All University/College courses in Religious Education are recognized by post-secondary institutions for admission purposes.

40 Hours of Community Involvement

Community service for our TCDSB students is more than a diploma requirement. Our TCDSB community members are called to apply Catholic social teachings in all that we do; invited by our board vision to be people who “transform the world through witness, faith, innovation and action”.

This community involvement requirement is in addition to the 30 credits required for a high school diploma. It is designed to encourage civic responsibility and promote community values.

The experience gained through community inoculation allows students to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of themselves and their God-given gifts, and to find meaning, dignity and vocation in work which respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good.

It is hoped that this experience early in their high school year will continue to motivate students to stay involved and to answer the call to support Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and sacredness of human life in the community involvement experiences. 

The program is flexible so that all students can find ways to participate. Students will be responsible for fulfilling the community involvement component on their own. Visit our Community Involvement page for more information.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Requirement

All students must meet the secondary school literacy graduation requirement to earn their secondary school diploma.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is administered in Grade 10. Successful completion of the test is a diploma requirement. The OSSLT measures whether or not students are meeting the minimum standard for literacy across all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. If a student is not successful on the literacy test in Grade 10, they will have additional opportunities to meet the literacy graduation requirement.

There are Ministry policies and guidelines which allow for accommodations and special provisions for special needs students writing the high school literacy test.

Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC)

The Ontario Secondary School Certificate may be granted on request to students who leave school before earning the OSSD, provided that they have earned a minimum of 14 credits, as follows. The Community Service requirements and the successful completion of the Literacy requirements are not required for this certificate.

Compulsory Credits (Total of 7)

  • 2 credits in English.

  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography or Canadian History.

  • 1 credit in Mathematics.

  • 1 credit in Science.

  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education.

  • 1 credit in Arts or Technological.

Education Optional Credits (Total of 7)

  • 7 credits selected by the student from available courses.

Certificate of Accomplishment (COA)

Students who leave school without fulfilling the requirements for the OSSD or the OSSC may be granted a Certificate of Accomplishment.

This Certificate is a useful means of recognizing a student’s participation in the secondary school program, especially for those students who plan to take certain types of vocational programs or further training for employment after leaving school.

A student may return to school or take additional credit courses after having received the Certificate. The student’s transcript (OST) will be updated, but a new Certificate will not be awarded when the student leaves again.

A student who receives the Certificate and chooses to return to study at the secondary level may earn the OSSC and/or the OSSD after fulfilling the appropriate credit requirements for each.

Tracking of Credit Accumulation

Refer to the following information related to the tracking of credit accumulation: