Requirements for Graduation

  • Department Requirements

    The Newton School Committee sets requirements for graduation at Newton North and Newton South High Schools. Beginning in 2022-2023, students must earn a minimum of 243 credits in order to graduate and meet the requirements listed below. In addition to the subjects listed below, students, especially those planning to continue their formal education after high school, are strongly advised to study world languages.

    English 48 credits
    Science 24 credits
    History and Social Science 36 credits
    Mathematics 24 credits

    Fine, Performing & Technical Arts

    Art, Business, Family & Consumer Science, Media Arts, Music, Drama, Speech, Computer Programming, Journalism, and Technical Education

    12 credits
    Wellness 15 credits

    The remaining 84 credits required to get to 243 can be earned through electives or other course offerings.


    Credits are assigned to courses depending on the frequency of meetings and preparation required.

    3x per week courses 2021-2022 and prior 2022-2023 and beyond
    Full year courses 5.0 credits 12.0 credits
    Semester courses 2.5 credits 6.0 credits
    Non-Wellness quarter courses 1.25 credits 3.0 credits
    Wellness quarter courses 1.0 credits 3.0 credits
    Teach Assistants
    Peer Tutors
    Independent Studies
    (based on length of course)
    (based on length of course)

    All courses, minimum credit, and graduation requirements listed in the Program of Studies reflect the new credit system. Courses that meet fewer than 3 blocks per week will be awarded prorated credit. Students will be required to take a minimum of 72 credits, although juniors and seniors who are committed to extra-curricular activities are allowed to enroll in a minimum of 66 credits with Dean approval. These activities must be supervised by faculty/staff, be connected to the curriculum, and have a definite product or concluding performance. Examples of such activities include interscholastic school sports, school publications, theater (directing, acting or tech crew), science/math teams, Model UN, Mock Trial, speech team, school supervised community service, school supervised tutoring, and summer school. Students should see their guidance counselor for more information about taking 66 credits along with extra-curricular activities.

    MCAS Graduation Requirement

    In addition to the requirements set by the Newton School Committee, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that students seeking to earn a high school diploma must earn their competency determination in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering. This is earned through the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, or MCAS.

    The Science MCAS is taken in grade 9 and the ELA and Math MCAS are taken in grade 10. Students who do not pass the MCAS tests may retake these tests in future school years. Students may also be able to earn their competency determination through an alternate assessment.

    For more information about MCAS graduation requirements, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website here: