What is an Ontario Secondary School Diploma?

An Ontario Secondary School Diploma, otherwise known as an “OSSD” is the certificate that is issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education to graduating student from schools in the Canadian province of Ontario. The OSSD is well recognized and accepted for entrance into universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and others worldwide, so it offers students the flexibility to further their studies globally.

The primary benefit of having an OSSD is that it provides students with a competitive advantage when applying to global universities. All Toronto West Academy students, regardless of their location or home countries, that complete the requirements outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education, will receive an OSSD at the completion of their studies upon graduation.

Admission to Canadian universities is based upon a student’s average marks for six (6) of their Grade 12 university level credits, which are designated as either “U” (e.g. ENG4U) or “M” (e.g. AWQ4M). These six courses will be comprised of those required courses for university applications, plus those with the highest mark.

How can an Ontario Secondary School Diploma be obtained?

Students can obtain an OSSD by completing the course requirements as outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education. These requirements include:

  • A total of 30 credits, comprising of 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits
  • A minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • The Ontario provincial literacy requirement

Compulsory Credits

‣ 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
‣ 3 credits in mathematics (1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
‣ 2 credits in science
‣ 1 credit in Canadian history
‣ 1 credit in Canadian geography
‣ 1 credit in the arts
‣ 1 credit in health and physical education
‣ 1 credit in French as a second language
‣ 0.5 credit in career studies
‣ 0.5 credit in civics
‣ English or French as a second language
‣ A Native language
‣ A classical or an international language
‣ Social sciences and the humanities
‣ Canadian and world studies
‣ Guidance and career education
‣ Health and physical education
‣ The arts
‣ Business studies
‣ French as a second language
‣ Cooperative education
‣ Science (Grade 11 or 12)
‣ Technological education
‣ French as a second language
‣ Computer studies
‣ Cooperative education

Optional Credits

Students will need to select an additional 12 credit on top of the compulsory 18 credits required to meet the requirements for an OSSD. These credits can be from any courses available from our list of courses.

Community Involvement Requirement

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities, which is intended to provide students with the opportunity to develop awareness and understanding about civic responsibility. They can actively participate in supporting and strengthening their communities. It also provides the opportunity for students to learn more about themselves and possible career opportunities.

Students can start accumulating hours in the summer before entering Grade 9.

What about credits from other schools?

Students that have prior learning credits from other schools, whether in Canada or around the world, may be able to use these for credit toward an OSSD. The faculty of Toronto West Academy will assess these prior learning credits to see if they can be used as credits toward and OSSD. Those that can be applied for credit toward an OSSD will be credited and the student will only need to take the remaining courses required to fulfill the requirements for the issuance of an OSSD.

For students wishing to apply to universities or colleges in Ontario, they must complete at least six (6) courses with the designation 4U (e.g. ENG4U) or 4C (e.g. ENG4C) in order to be considered for acceptance, plus meet the overall grade requirement for that institution.