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Graduation Excellence

At DC Public Schools (DCPS), we know that walking across the stage at graduation in front of your family, teachers, and peers is an important milestone on a student’s path to success in college and career. DCPS has taken steps to ensure that all students meet our standard of excellence and have the support they need to thrive. School Year 2018-2019 was the first full year of implementation of our Pre-K to Graduation policies, which our schools are implementing and monitoring with fidelity. Building strong systems and structures is a multi-year process, and we will continue this work to support future DCPS graduates as they transition into college and their future careers.

Learn more about our 2022-2023 Graduation Rate and how we are supporting all students on the path to graduation[PDF]

Compiled from District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR) 5-A DCMR § 2203 (as of April 8, 2016)

Academic Graduation Requirements for DCPS 24.0 Diploma

To receive a diploma in DC, students who enroll in 9th grade for the first time in School Year 2007-2008 and thereafter must earn 24.0 credits (or Carnegie Units) as follows: 


Credits (Carnegie Units)

English 4.0 credits
Mathematics (including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II) 4.0 credits
Science (must include three lab sciences) 4.0 credits
Social Studies (must include World History 1 and 2, United States History; United States Government, and District of Columbia History) 4.0 credits
World Language 2.0  credits
Art 0.5 credits
Music 0.5 credits
Health and Physical Education 1.5 credits
Electives 3.5 credits


24.0 credits

  • For all students entering the ninth (9th) grade beginning school year 2009-2010, one (1) of the three (3) lab science units shall be a course in Biology.
  • At least two (2) of the twenty four (24) Carnegie Units for graduation must include a College Level or Career Preparatory  (CLCP) course approved by the student’s local education agency (LEA) and successfully completed by the student. The course may fulfill subject matter or elective unit requirements as deemed appropriate by the LEA. CLCP courses approved by the LEA may include courses at other institutions.
  • All students must enroll in Algebra I no later than tenth (10th) grade commencing with the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Students qualifying for the evening program high school diploma are not required to take the 1.5 credits in Health and Physical Education.
  • All students must complete 100 hours of community service to receive a high school diploma.


Community Service Requirements

The Community Service Page has more information on community service requirements for graduation.

Please email questions to DCPS Counseling at [email protected].

Emergency and Proposed Regulations for SY22-23

Please be aware of OSSE’s soon-to-be released Emergency and Proposed Regulations in regard to community service hours for students graduating in 2023. Per the Emergency and Proposed Regulations we will be gradually reintroducing community service hours over the next 4 years. The following expectations will go into effect for the class of 2023:

  • All students who graduate in 2023 must complete a minimum of 12 community service hours.
  • Students who transfer into DCPS during SY22-23 and graduate in 2023 will have the community service hour requirement waived.

Please note, these Emergency and Proposed Regulations will apply to all students who graduate in 2023, including midyear graduates, early graduates and all June and August graduates. Once OSSE’s final regulations are released, we will provide additional layers of information or guidance.

DCPS Graduation, Promotion, Secondary Grading and Attendance Policies

For more information, please review DCPS’ Pre-K to Graduation Policies.