What you need to know about studying OSSD

Obtaining the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) is an important milestone for high school students in Ontario, Canada. This comprehensive qualification signifies the successful completion of secondary education and opens doors to various academic and career opportunities. If you or someone you know is considering pursuing an OSSD, here’s what you need to know:

1. OSSD Requirements

To earn an OSSD, students must meet specific requirements set by the Ontario Ministry of Education. These requirements include:

  • Successful completion of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 elective credits.
  • Completion of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) as a graduation requirement.
  • Completion of 40 hours of community involvement activities.
  • Fulfillment of any additional provincial or school-specific requirements.

2. Compulsory and Elective Credits

Compulsory credits form the foundation of the OSSD and cover various subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science, Canadian History, and more. These courses ensure a well-rounded education for students.

Elective credits, on the other hand, provide students with the flexibility to explore their interests and personalize their education. These credits can be chosen from a wide range of courses, including arts, business, technology, and physical education, among others.

3. Dual Credits and Specialized Programs

OSSD students have the opportunity to participate in dual credit programs, which allow them to earn both secondary school and college credits simultaneously. These programs offer a smooth transition to post-secondary education and provide valuable hands-on experience in specific fields.

Additionally, specialized programs such as the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program are available to enhance students’ learning experiences. SHSM focuses on industry-specific skills and certifications, while the IB program offers an internationally recognized curriculum.

4. Post-Secondary Pathways

One of the advantages of earning an OSSD is the various post-secondary pathways it opens up. Students can pursue higher education at colleges, universities, or other specialized institutions. OSSD graduates may also choose to enter apprenticeship programs or directly enter the workforce.

It’s essential for students to research their desired post-secondary programs and ensure they meet the specific admission requirements. Some programs may require specific prerequisites or additional courses beyond the OSSD.

5. Skills and Competencies

Studying for an OSSD equips students with a range of skills and competencies that are valuable for future success. These skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and digital literacy, among others.

Throughout their academic journey, students engage in various projects, assignments, and group activities that foster these skills. The OSSD curriculum emphasizes the development of well-rounded individuals who are prepared for the challenges of higher education and the workforce.

6. Support Systems

The Ontario education system provides support systems to help students succeed in their OSSD journey. Guidance counselors, teachers, and school staff play a crucial role in assisting students with course selection, career planning, and navigating the graduation requirements.

Furthermore, students can access resources such as online databases, libraries, and tutoring programs to enhance their learning experience. Seeking support when needed is encouraged to ensure a smooth and successful path toward earning the OSSD.


Obtaining an OSSD is a significant achievement that opens doors to various academic and career pathways. By understanding the requirements, exploring elective options, and leveraging support systems, students can make the most of their OSSD journey. The skills and competencies gained through this comprehensive qualification will serve them well in higher education, the workforce, and beyond. So, if you’re a high school student in Ontario, embrace the opportunities that come with studying for an OSSD and pave the way for a successful future.