First photo is of a student fiddling with his robotics creation. Second photo is of two SHSM students in Hospitality and Tourism posing in front of a program banner. Third photo is of two students in science class doing a lab experiment.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) logo

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program offers Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) students in Grades 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 post-secondary pathway:

  • Apprenticeship training

  • College

  • University

  • Workplace

The Five Components of an SHSM Diploma

At the TCDSB, there are over 2,000 students enrolled in 81 SHSM programs across 30 high schools. Students may register for a program offered by their home school.

​Each SHSM program includes the following​ components:

Diagram showing the five components of an SHSM diploma: Bundle of Credits, Certification and Training, Experiential Learning and Career Exploration Activities, Reach Ahead Experiences and Sector-Partnered Experiences (SPE)


Upon graduation, students who complete an SHSM program will receive:

  • An Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with an embossed SHSM seal of distinction.

  • A SHSM Record Card documenting the student's achievement.

Advantages of SHSM

Students in SHSM programs have the opportunity to do the following:

  • 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 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 post-secondary destinations.

  • Access resources, equipment, and expertise that may not be available in their home secondary school.

  • Receive a special SHSM seal of distinction on their diploma.

  • Network with potential employers.

SHSM Post-Secondary 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 post-secondary institutions: 

SHSM Programs Offered by the TCDSB

The following SHSM programs are being offered by the TCDSB:

Contact Us

If you are interested in your school's SHSM program, contact your school's guidance counsellor.