Earn a high school diploma and more

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High School

Your child can earn their high school diploma at your Ottawa Catholic high school and so much more, including certifications in French of a specialized career sector. Learn more about the requirements for each of these distinctions below.

Earning a diploma or certificate

To earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, your child needs to:

  1. Complete 30 or more high school course credits;
  2. Pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT); and
  3. Complete 40 hours of volunteer community involvement.

If your child does not meet the three required elements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, they may still receive an Ontario Secondary School Certificate (14+ credits) or the Certificate of Accomplishment (fewer than 14 credits). Learn more in our High School Academic Handbook.

If you’re 18 or over and would like to earn additional high school credits or earn your diploma, visit St. Nicholas Adult High School.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

The literacy test usually takes place in March of your child’s Grade 10 year. The test is meant to determine whether they have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed in school, at work, and daily. If students are not successful in their first attempt, they can retake the test in subsequent years. Schools can also offer students the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course in place of the test after the first attempt.

Community involvement volunteer hours

To graduate high school, your child must complete 40 hours of volunteer community involvement. They can start as early as July before they begin Grade 9. These activities must be:

It will be up to your child to choose appropriate community involvement activities and document their involvement. If your child is under 18, you will need to sign the Community Involvement Record.

Catholic Graduate Expectations

We know that parents choose a Catholic education for their child because they value our approach to educating their whole child– mind, body and spirit. We use the Institute of Catholic Education’s graduate expectations to articulate the hope we have in your child. We believe your child should thrive in the classroom, out in the world, and their character.

A Catholic graduate is expected to be:

  • A discerning believer formed in the Catholic Faith community who celebrates the signs and sacred mystery of God’s presence through word, sacrament, prayer, forgiveness, reflection and moral living.
  • An effective communicator, who speaks, writes and listens honestly and sensitively, responding critically in light of gospel values.
  • A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who solves problems and makes responsible decisions with an informed moral conscience for the common good.
  • A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who develops and demonstrates their God-given potential.
  • A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity and vocation in work, which respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good.
  • A caring family member who attends to family, school, parish and the wider community.
  • A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.

Earning additional certifications

To give your child a competitive advantage after high school, they can earn several certifications with their high school diploma. It’s a good idea to keep these certification requirements in mind when choosing electives!

French Certificates

Your child can earn a French as a Second Language certificate in either of our Core French or Immersion French programs as long as they complete the requirements. These certificates can be earned at every OCSB high school.

Core French Certificate requirements: 4 French language courses, including the Grade 11 and 12 Core French courses.

Immersion French Certificate requirements: 10 French courses (4 language courses and 6 additional courses taught in French). A Co-operative education placement, linked to a French credit, may be included toward the 6 additional credits.

Business Studies Certificate

To earn a Business Studies Certificate, your child needs at least 5 credits through Business Studies courses (“B” codes), Economics courses (CIC3E, CIE3M, CIA4U), or Co-operative education credits tied to Business courses. This certificate can be earned at every OCSB high school. Talk to your guidance counsellor for more information.

Technological Education Certificate

Your child can earn a Technological Education certificate by completing a minimum of 5 credits through Technological Education courses (“T” codes) or Co-operative education credits tied to Technological Education courses. This certificate can be earned at every OCSB high school. Talk to your guidance counsellor for more information.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Diploma

Your child can earn a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) accreditation in a specialized career field while earning their high school diploma. This formal recognition lets employers and post-secondary institutions know that the student has the knowledge, skills, and industry-recognized qualifications related to a particular career sector.

Arts and Culture SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Arts and Culture major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Business Studies or Canadian and World Studies credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • All Saints High School
  • St. Peter High School
  • St. Pius X High School
Business SHSM

Requirements: 9 credits in grade 11 and 12:

  • 4 Business major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 2 Math credits (or 1 Math credit and an additional English credit for workplace pathway)
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Sacred Heart High School
  • St. Matthew High School
Hospitality & Tourism SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12:

  • 4 Hospitality & Tourism major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 Business Studies/Science credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • St. Patrick’s High School
Construction SHSM

Requirements: 10 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Construction major credits
  • 2 Math credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Business Studies or Science credits
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • St. Francis Xavier High School
  • St. Mark High School
  • St. Peter High School
Environment SHSM

Requirements: 9 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 environment major credits
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 English credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Immaculata High School
  • Notre Dame High School
Health and Wellness SHSM

Requirements: 9 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Health & Wellness major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 Science or Social Sciences credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • All Saints High School
  • Holy Trinity High School
  • St. Matthew High School
  • St. Mother Teresa High School
  • St. Patrick’s High School
  • St. Pius X High School
Information & Communications Technology SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Information & Communications Technology major credits
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Science or Business Studies or Art credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • All Saints High School
  • Immaculata High School
  • St. Joseph High School
  • St. Mother Teresa High School
  • St. Patrick’s High School
  • St. Paul High School
Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Math credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Lester B. Pearson High School
  • St. Francis Xavier High School
  • St. Pius X High School
Manufacturing SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Manufacturing major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 Science credit (or an additional English credit for workplace pathway)
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • All Saints High School
  • Notre Dame High School
Non-Profit SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Non-Profit major credits
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Math credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Holy Trinity High School
  • St. Mark High School
Sports SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Sports major credits
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Science or Business Studies or Social Sciences and Humanities credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Lester B. Pearson High School
  • St. Mark High School
Transportation SHSM

Requirements: 8 credits in grade 11 and 12

  • 4 Transportation major credits
  • 1 Math credit
  • 1 English credit
  • 1 Science or Business Studies Credit
  • 2 co-operative education credits to gain workplace experience

Available at:

  • Holy Trinity High School
  • Lester B. Pearson High School
  • St. Francis Xavier High School
  • St. Matthew High School
  • St. Paul High School