Diploma Requirements

There are 4 diploma choices for students in Indiana: the General Diploma, the Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors or Core 40 with Technical Honors.  See also Graduation.


There are 4 choices for students in Indiana: the General Diploma, the Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors or Core 40 with Technical Honors.  See also Graduation.


  • Each diploma type has specific coursework that must be completed.
  • The requirements often change and the Indiana Department of Education is the best source for up-to-date information (see below).


  • (Added 6/4/24, CIESC & Flora Jones): Rethinking High School in Indiana
  • (Added 5/28/24, INACAC):  INACAC thanks you for taking the time to complete the survey they sent  last month regarding the new proposal for high school diplomas in Indiana by the Department of Education (IDOE). The IDOE’s presentation from the end of March can be found here. Based on your feedback, many of us are expressing similar frustrations and concerns about the proposed new diploma changes. We appreciate the positive comments and—as with every plan—there are always pros and cons. With 84 responses and multiple points, I have linked a comprehensive list of the comments from each of the three questions HERE for you to review.

    For each question, there were specific themes that were mentioned multiple times. Common expressions for each question are listed below:

    Question 1: What do you like about the proposed diploma changes?

    • More options for students who need more hands-on experience v. heavy academic coursework to meet graduation requirements.
    • Increased flexibility in courses, experiences, diploma options, and work-based learning.
    • Earn credentials in the workforce in a more timely manner.
    • Many mentioned the positives requiring a financial literacy course.
    • Greater pathways for students interested in employment.

    Question 2: What are your concerns about the proposed changes?

      • Tracking these requirements is the number one concern.
      • Concern about the percentages of students going to college declining
      • How can middle school students decide their pathway so young? Many college freshman don’t have a clear path, so asking 13-year-olds is unrealistic.
      • The diploma plans are too vague.
      • Lack of input from educators (college admissions officers, school counselors and principals).
      • Too much flexibility.
      • Changes are coming too fast. We need more time to implement this.
      • Funding from the state to help manage these new changes?
      • Will there be enough businesses to take on interns for students to complete the requirements for work based learning?
      • Points vs. Credits? Why?
      • What about small rural schools who have less access to community partners?
      • No set checklist for students to know where they stand in earning a diploma.
      • How Indiana colleges will adjust their admission requirements based on these diploma changes.
      • What about the NCAA and the diploma impacts on athletes?
      • Transportation concerns for students who have to complete internships?

    Question 3: What questions do you have about the proposed changes?

    • What if students change their minds in the senior year and want to be college bound? Will they be able to even apply to college?
    • Why are we making it more difficult for students to graduate?
    • Have you spoken to Higher Ed and looked at the data on who is retaining and graduating? You spend so much time with employers but disregard educators.
    • Will there be a state tracking program?
    • Why are we rushing these new diploma types when there are many questions left unanswered?
    • Who’s providing and paying for transportation for all this EXTRA?
    • Don’t you think this will increase the likelihood of school counselors fleeing education?
    • How are high school counselors supposed to motivate students to take higher level classes when there isn’t an incentive to do so?
    • How is higher education viewing these diploma changes?
    • Will there be a Q&A or a concise document provided to counselors (and families) that outlines all the diploma requirements?
    • If World History and Language are removed as required courses, are we really preparing students to be effective as part of a global workforce?
    • Is course sequencing a local decision?
    • Can a single course or competency count twice?
    If you haven’t posted your comments on the IDOE public comment form, please do so HERE as soon as possible.
  • (Added 4/9/24): Proposed New Indiana Diploma Requirements:
    • Proposal presented to the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE)
    • Jotform to provide immediate feedback to IDOE
    • Form to provide feedback to ISCA’s Advocacy Committee. Please complete by Friday, April 26.
    • Form to provide feedback to INACAC’s Executive Board. Please complete by Friday, May 3.
  • (Added 4/2/24, IDOE Update): Please be aware of upcoming discussions around Indiana Diploma Requirements.  Things may look different beginning with this year’s 7th graders.  Following is the most recent update from Dr. Jenner. Please consider watching the video and providing your feedback soon:
    • As a country, the high school experience has not changed for most students in over 100 years, and in Indiana specifically, we have not significantly redesigned our high school diplomas since the late 1980s. Our opportunity is NOW, and if you have not been a part of the feedback process yet, I invite you to join (details and the link is below). I’ve also linked the full presentation, as well as a recording of the meeting below, which will provide additional context and allow you to hear the full discussion. In the proposal presented to the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE), a number of stakeholders have come together to offer a forward-thinking solution for how we can streamline the number of diplomas, while maintaining rigor. This includes maximizing opportunities for students to increase their educational attainment and personalize their own unique learning pathways and experiences. These solutions are the result of months of stakeholder input and collaboration, including input from educators, parents, colleges and universities, business leaders, as well as our students.  For the first time ever, Indiana’s diplomas will be aligned to the state’s current graduation pathways, as well as the five characteristics of an Indiana Graduate Prepared to Succeed (Indiana GPS), which include: academic mastery; career and postsecondary readiness (credentials and experiences); communication and collaboration; work ethic; and civic, financial, and digital literacy. These represent the five characteristics that Hoosier stakeholders consistently agree are essential for all graduates, regardless of where they live or what their path is for the future.

      In the proposal presented to SBOE, Indiana’s future diplomas would include:

      • Indiana GPS Diploma – a more flexible, personalized version of the current Core 40 diploma
      • Indiana GPS Diploma Plus – requires high-quality work-based learning and a credential of value (educational attainment)

      For all students, regardless of the diploma type they earn, targeted learning in ninth and 10th grades would be strategically focused on essential knowledge and skills. This will be achieved through a set of foundational courses, aligned to the Indiana GPS characteristics, as well as opportunities for students to demonstrate competencies, acknowledging the learning that is happening both within the school and beyond. This structure allows for additional flexibility and personalization in 11th and 12th grades.   In addition to the foundational courses and competencies for all students, students pursuing the proposed Indiana GPS Diploma must also complete a minimum of 20 additional points, earned through a combination of courses and experiences. Students will use their individual graduation plan, first completed in middle school, to determine initial course sequences.  After completing their foundational coursework and competencies, students pursuing the proposed Indiana GPS Diploma Plus must complete additional coursework necessary to earn their chosen credential of value, as well as complete a high-quality work-based learning experience.  Wednesday’s SBOE meeting kicked off the diploma rulemaking process, opening up several months of feedback, and your voice is key! Please use this Jotform to provide immediate feedback, including additional solution-ideas, as well tools and resources that would be most helpful in supporting implementation.

      In K-12 education, we have an incredible opportunity to help every student find their purpose, know their value, and understand the possibilities for their life’s path. This means increasing access to allow more students the flexibility to experience work-based learning, increase their educational attainment by earning a credential, and personalize their journey to achieve their unique goals. We all play a key role in helping students ignite their passion and maximize their potential for success ahead. Let’s continue to work together to make the high school experience the best it can be for Indiana students. Thank you, as always, for all that you do for our students. (Written/shared by Dr. Jenner)

  • (Added 2/1/24, IDOE Student Pathways Department): 2023-24 Diploma Seal Ordering: The IDOE Student Pathways & Opportunities Department has opened the JotForm to order diploma seals for all diploma types (Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors, Core 40 with Technical Honors, General or Alternate diploma types). Please follow the instructions in the attached memo to order diploma seals and download the congratulatory honors diploma letter from Dr. Katie Jenner, Secretary of Education. All orders are due via the JotForm by Friday, March 15, 2024. Note: Seals are available for Indiana accredited schools. If you have any questions, please contact DOEGradpathways@doe.in.gov.
  • (Added 11/12/23, CounselorTalk): Rethinking K-12: Now and in the Future (slide deck from IDOE, May 2023)
  • (Added 10/31/23): Indiana Alternate Diploma Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Course requirements (Indiana) – Quantitative Reasoning Courses Update 2021 IDOE memo
  • The guidance below explains waivers for Graduation Pathways. This can be found in the Graduation Pathways Guidance Policy.Graduation Pathways are mandatory for students graduating in 2023, though students graduating prior to then can opt in to satisfy his or her graduation requirements. It is important to note that if a student opts into Graduation Pathways prior to 2023, this student is not earning a waiver for the graduation qualifying exam, but rather satisfying different graduation requirements necessary to earn a diploma. With regards to the waiver for graduation requirements, the current Evidence-based and Work-readiness waivers are effective until June 30, 2022. Effective July 1, 2018, a student may receive a waiver for the Postsecondary-Readiness Competency requirements, but not the diploma criteria or employability skills requirements. Those two components are still required for the student to graduate. To qualify for a waiver from the postsecondary-readiness competencies, a student will have been unsuccessful in completing a postsecondary-readiness competency requirements by the conclusion of his/her senior year. This includes:
    1. A student who was in the process of completing a competency at one school that was not offered by the school to which the student transferred; and
    2. A student who has attempted to achieve at least three separate postsecondary-readiness competencies.

    Each attempt must be done in good faith and as a true potential demonstration of achievement.

    If a student transfers from a non-accredited public school, a school out of state, or a school out of the country during his/her senior year, that student must demonstrate at least one unsuccessful attempt of a Postsecondary-Readiness Competency to qualify for a waiver.  For a student to receive a waiver, the student must:

    (1) Maintain at least a “C” average, or its equivalent, throughout the student’s high school career in courses comprising credits required for the student to graduate;

    (2) Maintain a school attendance rate of at least 95% with excused absences not counting against the student’s attendance;

    (3) Satisfy all other state and local graduation requirements beyond the postsecondary-readiness competency requirements, including all diploma and employability skills requirements; and

    (4) Demonstrate postsecondary planning, including:

    (A) College acceptance;

    (B) Acceptance in an occupational training program;

    (C) Workforce entry; or

    (D) Military enlistment.

    Satisfying the waiver conditions will be approved by the principal of the student’s school.

  • Indiana high schools must administer naturalization exam as provided by US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a US government credit awarded course (includes AP Government and any Dual Credit Government).  Passing the naturalization exam is not required to pass the US Government course (or for graduation).
  • Q: Do we have to put a student’s legal name on their high school diploma? I
    • A: It seems like the majority of people said it’s a legal document, therefore the name on the diploma has to match their legal name. No one knows of any document or anything that states this though.  One said they’ve run into the problem where they allowed a student to use a different name, and that student had difficulty enrolling in college and a new diploma had to be made. Others have run into that problem with students going into the military, too.
  • Original Question (Part 1): If ST does not meet C40 requirements but has enough credits for gen diploma. Is there a point where we, as a school, can graduate the student because they met General diploma reqs. Or do we have to allow them the opportunity to finish the C40?Answer: On Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM Culhan, Amanda <aculhan@doe.in.gov> wrote:  If the student can earn the General now (at the end of her senior year), it’s up to your school if you want to allow her to stay into a 5th year. You aren’t required to allow her to do so since she has met requirements for a diploma. Typically schools will present the student with the summer option (meeting requirements by the last day of September), as you have done. Follow up Question (Part 2): Thank you – they do not have to agree to an opt out then right? Answer: On Mon, Aug 20, 2018 at 11:35 AM Culhan, Amanda <aculhan@doe.in.gov> wrote:  No, if it’s beyond the 4 years and they’ve met requirements for the General Diploma, they wouldn’t have to agree to the opt-out. I think a good alternative would be to allow them the option to continue to work towards meeting requirements before the end of September.
  • From Counselortalk August 2018- Question: I am working with a student who was supposed to graduate in 2007 and now wants to earn his diploma.  Do I follow current diploma requirements or previous?  If I can use his previous requirements, can anyone tell me what those were? Answer: You can find requirements from the past in the attached document (Graduation Requirements Through the years II.) The student would need to meet any requirements from that time, plus local requirements, and would need to have passed a graduation exam then or now – or qualify for a waiver. (Amanda Culhan, School Counseling Specialist, Indiana Department of Education)
  • From Counselortalk January 2020-Can a former student who is trans-gender have their name changed on their diploma? January 2020 transgender diploma responses
  • From Counselortalk January 2020-What to do when a student fails Algebra 1: January 2020 Algebra 1 credit recovery


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email counselor1stop@inspiresuccess.org and let us know.