Academic Requirements and Programs

  • Graduation Requirements

    The Board of Trustees of the San Mateo Union High School District believes that the diploma conferred on district graduates should represent to the graduate, the graduate’s family, and the community-at-large that the student has satisfactorily completed a minimum course of study which is consistent with the educational philosophy and objectives of the district. To these ends, the Board has adopted three categories of requirements: a minimum number of credits, specific classes or courses. All graduates must complete a minimum of 220 credits (5 credits = 1 semester) of course work: English (40), Mathematics (30), Social Science (35), Physical Education (20), Science (20), World Languages (10), Fine and Performing Arts (10), Health (5), Electives (50) and receive a passing grade.

    Passing grades in 220 credits of coursework are required for graduation. Of these 220 credits, 170 must be in the required subjects. The student handbook will show a typical class schedule for each grade level. Should you have any questions regarding the requirements, please contact your school's counseling office.

    Purpose of these Requirements

    The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees has set these graduation requirements to ensure that every student satisfactorily completes a minimum course of study which is consistent with the educational philosophy and objectives of the District.

    How to Satisfy the Subject Requirements

    Fifty credits are elective; that is, they may be chosen on the basis of personal interest, college or career requirements, or the need for remedial work.

    The remaining credits must be taken in specific areas. However, there are usually a variety of classes which meet each requirement with classes designed for different levels of ability and/or career interests. If you are not sure which class is best for you, discuss it with a teacher or counselor.

    English: 40 credits

    Career Technical Education: 10 credits

    Social Science: 35 credits including: Ethnic Studies; Modern World History 1 and 2; United States History 1 and 2; American Government; Economics

    Physical Education: 20 credits. 10 credits completed in grade 9 and at least 10 credits completed in grades 10 or may be deferred to grade 11 based upon student need.

    Science: 20 credits. 10 credits of Physical Science and 10 credits of Biological Science - at least one course must meet the “d” requirement on the U.C. “a-g” list.

    Mathematics: 30 credits, including 10 credits of Algebra 1-2. Any course below the level of Algebra 1-2 does not receive high school math credit.

    World Languages: 10 credits to be completed by the end of grade 10 

    Fine & Performing Arts: 10 credits 

    Health: 5 credits

    Electives: 40 credits (minimum)

    Graduation Ceremony Participation

    A student who intends to participate in the annual graduation ceremony shall so indicate to the school’s administration. A student who has successfully completed all units required for graduation and has no outstanding bills pursuant to CEC 48904 may participate in the graduation ceremony.

    College Entrance Requirements

    It is Mills High School’s goal that every student is prepared to go to college upon graduation and making plans as early as their freshman year is critical to be eligible for many colleges that are selective and competitive. The following guidelines pertain to students seeking college admission in the Fall 2014. 

    The UC/CSU Subject Requirements (i.e. UCLA, CAL Berkeley, SJSU, SFSU) 

    Students interested in attending a UC school should be in the top 12.5% of high school seniors. Those students interested in attending a CSU school should be in the top 33% of high school seniors. 

    Both UC and CSU requirements are the following: 

    • 4 years of English 
    • 3 years of college preparatory mathematics, 4 years recommended for UC (Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus) etc. 
    • 2 years of history/social studies (American Government, US History, and World History). 
    • 2 years of laboratory science, 3 years recommended for UC (such as Biology and Chemistry or Physics). 
    • 2 years of foreign language, 3 years recommended for UC. 
    • 1 year of the same visual or performing arts (in sequence Art, Drama, Music, etc.) 
    • 1 year of an elective (from the subject areas above)  

    Private Colleges or Universities (i.e. Stanford, USC, St. Mary’s College, Columbia) 

    These schools vary widely in their admission policies, with some being extremely competitive and others being less so. Students should go online, see their counselor or visit the Career Center for specific information. Many times the financial packages at private colleges or universities are more generous. 

    The Community College System (i.e. Skyline, College of San Mateo) 

    These colleges are a good choice if you wish to attend for one or two years to prepare for a vocation, if you are not sure of your academic field of study, if for financial reasons you want to stay near home, or if you wish to prepare for a 4-year college by transfer. 

    The requirements include: 

    • A high school diploma, a certificate of proficiency, or the age of 18. 
    • No admission tests are required, but placement tests are required upon enrollment.