Course Selection and Scheduling Process

  • Teachers, being the experts in the content area and having knowledge of the work of each student, provide recommendations for the next courses for all students in their classes. School counselors have a broad view of the entire curriculum and the specific needs/interests of each student. Counselors help students make course selections based on the student’s academic and career goals, the teachers’ recommendations, and the counselor’s professional guidance, in order to ensure high academic rigor and success. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact teachers and/or the school counselor if they have questions about course options.

    • Because of the complexity of the master schedule, students need to make thoughtful and appropriate course selections. Please note, NO schedule changes will be permitted once school starts in August. It is understood that if a student wants to consider a schedule change, it is their responsibility to meet with their school counselor before the end of the school year. Once schedules are finalized at the end of the school year, students must call or meet with a summer counselor to change a schedule in the main counseling office.
    • Registration for ALL classes, including second-semester classes, will be completed in the spring of the school year. As with all other courses, second-semester classes cannot be changed once school starts.

Academic Requirements

  • Graduation Requirements

    Classe of 2026 and beyond

    Starting with the class of 2026 all students will be required to earn 25 credits to graduate:

    • 4 credits – English
    • 3 credits – History and Social Sciences, including U.S. History I and II and World History
    • 4 credits – Mathematics, including math in the senior year
    • 3 credits – Science
    • 2 credits – World Language (same language)
    • 1 credit – the Arts

    (17 credits plus an additional 8 credits to graduate)

    To be promoted to the next grade, students need to earn:

    • 5 credits to grade 10
    • 10 credits to grade 11
    • 18 credits  to grade 12 

    In Grade 8, all students are required to take the course “Grade 8 Experience”.  In grades 9-12 all students are strongly encouraged to select a Wellness elective each year. The school will fulfill the physical education requirement in the event students do not choose a Wellness Elective for each year grades 9-12.  

    Classes of 2023-2025

    For the classes of 2023-2025, a total of 22 credits are required with the specific requirements:

    • 4 credits of English
    • 3 credits of History and Social Sciences, including U.S. History I and II and World History
    • 4 credits of Mathematics, including math in the senior year
    • 3 credits of Science
    • 2 credits of World Language (same language)
    • 1 credit of the Arts

    (17 credits plus an additional 5 credits to graduate)

    All students are required to have physical education every year.

    • Any 8th grader taking a course that is open to 9-12 graders will be awarded credit for that course. In addition, 8th graders taking algebra who then go on to take geometry in 9th grade will be awarded credit for that algebra class. If a student chooses to repeat algebra in 9th grade, credit for the 8th-grade class will not be awarded. Courses that are specific to 8th grade will not incur credit.
    • All courses awarded credit in grades 8-12 will appear on the student's official Barnstable High School transcript and will count towards graduation credits.
    • Grade point average is calculated ONLY on courses students take in grades 9-12.  Therefore, no courses taken in 8th grade, whether or not they have been awarded credit, will be calculated into student GPA.

    NOTE: Per Barnstable High School policy, the principal has the right to waive the graduation requirements listed above.


    A passing score on the MCAS exams in English Language Arts, science, and mathematics is required to earn a diploma. A student scoring at the Needs Improvement level on either the MCAS ELA or math tests will need to demonstrate progress towards proficiency in those subjects during their junior and senior years.  A plan will be developed with the student’s counselor on how the student will demonstrate proficiency as needed.

Academic Department Highlights

BHS Programming of Studies

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