High Schools


All students in New York State must earn 44 credits and pass five Regents exams with a score of at least 65 to graduate. Each semester-long course is worth one credit. Some specialized and alternative schools have additional requirements. Students who attend a New York Performance Standards Consortium school are exempt from taking all but the English Regents exam.

Regents diploma

Must score 65+ on five exams:
• English Language Arts (ELA) Regents
• Any one math Regents: algebra I, geometry or algebra II/trigonometry
• Any one social studies Regents: global or U.S. history
• Any one science Regents: Earth science, living environment, chemistry or physics
• Any one additional Regents exam or other assessment approved to fulfill the graduation requirement

Advanced Regents diploma

Must score 65+ on nine exams:
• English Language Arts (ELA) Regents
• All three math Regents: algebra I, geometry and algebra II/trigonometry
• Two science Regents: living environment and one other: chemistry, physics or Earth science
• Any one additional Regents exam or other assessment approved to fulfill the graduation requirement
• Any one Language Other Than English (LOTE) exam

(Students completing an Arts or CTE endorsed Advanced Regents diploma and students with IEPs that indicate their disability affects the ability to learn a language are not required to take the LOTE.)

Appeal to graduate with a failing Regents score

Students who score between 60-64 on up to two of the required Regents exams may appeal to graduate. Students must meet the following criteria:
• Take the Regents exam in question twice
• Score between 60-64 on the exam in question
• Have a course average in the subject that meets or exceeds the school's passing grade
• Present evidence that they have taken advantage of academic help
• Be recommended for the appeal by a teacher or department chairperson

There are additional pathways to appeal to graduate for students who are English language learners or for those who receive special education services. See the Department of Education’s High School Academic Policy Guide.

English language learners

All students designated as English language learners by the Department of Education must pass the English Language Arts Regents Exam to earn a Regents or Advanced Regents diploma. Students who enter the U.S. in 9th grade or later may take other required Regents examinations in their native language if the translated exam is available and if the test is taken within three years of when they entered the U.S. Oral translation is provided for students if a version of the test is not available in their language.

More information on graduation requirements can be found on the New York City Department of Education's website.

Students in special education

Most students who receive special education services should be prepared to earn regular high school diplomas. A small minority of students may graduate with one of two credentials: the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential; or the Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC). These credentials replace the "IEP Diploma," which is no longer offered. The credentials are not as useful as a regular diploma; for example, you cannot enlist in military services or attend even a two-year college with them.

Students with disabilities can also be prepared for the high school equivalency assessment, called the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or TASC. (This assessment replaced the GED in 2014). For more information, see the Advocates for Children graduation guidelines for students with disabilities and the Department of Education’s website.