Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) Requirements

credits and requirements

OSSD Requirements

The  following requirements must be successfully completed in order to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD):

  • 30 credits including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits*
  • 40 hours of community involvement
  • Successful  completion  of  the  EQAO  Ontario  Secondary  School  Literacy  Test (OSSLT) or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC)

Compulsory Credits

Students must earn the following 18 compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)*
  • 3 credits in Mathematics (1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
  • 2 credits in Science
  • 1 credit in Canadian History
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography
  • 1 credit in the Arts
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • 1 credit in French as a Second Language
  • 0.5 credit in Career Studies
  • 0.5 credit in Civics

Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

  • Group 1: 1 additional credit in English, or French as a Second Language,** or a Native language, or a Classical or an International language, or Social Sciences and the Humanities, or Canadian and World Studies, or Guidance and Career Education, or Cooperative Education***
  • Group 2: 1 additional credit in Health and Physical Education, or the Arts, or Business Studies, or French as a Second Language,** or Cooperative Education***
  • Group 3: 1 additional credit in Science (Grade 11 or 12), or Technological Education, or French as a Second Language,** or Computer Studies, or Cooperative Education***

*A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English Literacy Development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course.

** In groups 1, 2 and 3, a maximum of 2 credits in French as a Second Language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.

*** A maximum of 2 credits in Cooperative Education can count as compulsory credits.

Optional Credits

The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.


The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

The Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated that the Ontario  Secondary  School Literacy Test (OSSLT) be given to grade 10 students province-wide to determine if they can successfully demonstrate the reading and writing skills that apply to all subject areas in the provincial curriculum up to the end of grade 9.

The OSSLT is administered annually in the spring and is 2.5 hours in length. The OSSLT is designed, and its implementation is supervised, by the Ontario Education and Accountability Office (EQAO). Receiving an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) depends on passing the OSSLT. Students who are not successful on the test are able to attempt it again, in a future administration, or enrol in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).*

Students with special needs may be permitted accommodations provided they have an Individual  Education  Plan  (IEP).  Students enrolled in  ESL/ELD  programs may be permitted special provisions or they may be deferred so that they write the OSSLT once they have a reasonable  chance of success.  Policies and guidelines regarding accommodations, deferrals, and exemptions are established and provided by EQAO.


Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC)

Students who have written the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test at least once and have not been successful may take the Ontario Secondary  School Literacy Course (OSSLC). Upon successful completion of the course, a student is deemed to have met the literacy requirements necessary to achieve an OSSD.

Community Involvement

As part of the diploma requirements, each student must make a positive contribution to the well-being of the community. The community involvement consists of student self-directed activities of at least 40 hours, which must be completed before graduation. The activities must occur outside normal instructional hours. The purpose of the community involvement is to promote community values by:

  • helping students understand how they can make a positive difference in their environment
  • having students demonstrate their integrity
  • having students contribute to their community
  • increasing student awareness of community needs
  • discovering the role students can play in making their communities better places in which to live and work
  • developing a positive self-image and a greater sense of identity in the community
  • providing a possibility for exploring career opportunities

Since September 1999, all students in Ontario have been required to complete a minimum of  40  hours of community involvement as part of the  secondary school diploma requirements. Students are eligible to start accumulating community involvement hours in the summer before they enter grade 9. 

To ensure that activities are eligible, the student should consult  the following websites to ensure that the  chosen activity conforms to the guidelines for suitable  and  acceptable  community  involvement: www.ocdsb.ca/stu/cs/Pages/default.aspx 

Before starting their volunteer activity, students should obtain the approval of the school Principal. Community Involvement Forms are also available at the school. Completed forms must be signed and submitted, to ensure the student’s community involvement hours are recorded. 

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