In the mid-2000s the State of Michigan recognized that high school students in that state were not receiving enough math, science and communications education to be successful in college or the workplace. Because of this, the Michigan Department of Education developed new statewide graduation requirements to put students on par with the rest of the country. The Michigan Merit Curriculum guidelines went into effect beginning with the class of 2011, and additional classes in language are required for the class of 2016 and beyond.


Michigan students must complete two algebra courses, a geometry course and one additional math course for a total of four credits. Students are required to enroll in a math class during their final year of high school.


An English language arts course is required for grades nine through 12, for a total of four credits.


Students must take a biology course and may choose between physics or chemistry. An additional science elective is required for a total of three credits.

Social Studies

Students must take one course each in U.S. and world history and geography. Half-year classes in both civics and economics bring the total social studies requirements to three credits.

Health and Art

Michigan requires one credit in visual, performing or applied arts, as well as a single credit in physical education and health.


Beginning with the class of 2016, two credits of classwork studying a language other than English are required for graduation. Students who take language classes in elementary or middle school may be able to waive this language requirement.

Online Learning

Students must take one online or computer-based class. This may be a separate course, or the online experience can be incorporated into another class.

Related Articles