Understanding types of courses and credits
Courses use a six-character course code for identification. The first five characters of the course code are set out by the Ministry of Education. The sixth character is used by school boards to identify a specific characteristic of the course.
These three letters identify the subject, such as English, Arts, Business etc.
This indicator is used to distinguish the grade level (or the level of English language proficiency for ESL and EDL students):
1 = Grade 9
2 = Grade 10
3 = Grade 11
4 = Grade 12
A,B,C,D,E = level of English proficiency
This letter identifies the course type:
D = Academic
P = Applied
L = Locally developed
O = Open
U = University
C = College
M = University/College
E = Workplace
This sixth character is sometimes added to identify a specific characteristic of the course:
F = Female
M = Male
I = Immersion
R = Regular
Prerequisite refers to a course that must be successfully completed in order to be eligible to enrol in another course at the next grade level.
Defining credit types
A credit is granted in recognition of successful completion of a course for which a minimum of 110 hours of learning time has been scheduled.
There is a set of 18 compulsory (mandatory) credits that students must successfully complete in order to meet the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
Students must successfully complete 12 optional (additional) credits from areas of interest and/or pathways. These credits will contribute to the 30-credit requirement for an OSSD.
Defining course types
There are several different course types in Grades 9-12. In grades 11 and 12, students will focus more on individual interests and identify and prepare for initial post-secondary goals.
Academic courses (D)
Academic courses in Grades 9 and 10 focus on the essential concepts of the discipline and additional materials.They develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing theoretical and abstract thinking while incorporating practical applications as a basis for future learning and problem solving.
Applied courses (P)
Applied courses in Grades 9 and 10 focus on the essential concepts of the discipline. They develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing practical, concrete applications of the essential concepts while incorporating theoretical elements as appropriate. Familiar, real-life situations are used to illustrate ideas, along with more opportunities to experience practical applications of the concepts they study.
Open courses (O) Grades 9-10
Open courses in Grades 9 and 10 are offered in all subjects other than those offered as academic, applied and locally developed. For example, open courses are offered in visual arts, music and health and physical education, but not in English, mathematics, science, French as a second language, history or geography. An open course comprises a set of expectations that is suitable for all students and is not linked to any specific post-secondary destination. These courses are designed to provide students with a broad educational base that will prepare them for their studies in Grades 11 and 12 and for productive participation in society.
Locally developed course (L)
Locally developed compulsory credit courses are intended for students who require a measure of flexibility and support in order to meet the compulsory credit requirements in English, mathematics, and science for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) of Ontario Secondary School Certificate. These types of courses help prepare students for further study in courses from the curriculum policy documents for these disciplines.
Interdisciplinary courses in Grade 11 or 12 provide an integrated approach to learning. These courses are developed by connecting different subjects through themes, issues or problems that require knowledge from the selected areas. For example, an interdisciplinary studies course in small business would integrate studies in technological design and business entrepreneurship. For specific interdisciplinary courses, see Student Services at your school.
K courses (K)
K courses consist of alternative expectations that are developed to help students with special education needs acquire knowledge and skills that are not represented in the Ontario curriculum. Because they are not part of a subject or course outlined in the provincial curriculum documents, alternative expectations are considered to constitute alternative programs or alternative courses. Some students may remain in secondary school for up to 7 years, with a planned Community Living pathway. Students may experience a specific K course subject area twice in one year and several times over many years. Each experience will be unique, with its own K course code and learning goals consistent with those recorded on the student’s IEP. At the secondary level, the student will not be granted a credit for the successful completion of a K Course that consists of alternative expectations.
To transfer from Grade 9 Applied Math to Grade 10 Academic Math, a student must take the transfer course MPM1H. Please consult your guidance counsellor for information regarding this course description.
Open courses (O) Grades 11-12
Open courses in Grades 11 and 12 are appropriate for all students. These courses allow students to broaden their knowledge and skills in a particular subject that may or may not be directly related to their post-secondary goals, but that reflect their interests.
University (U) Grades 11-12
University preparation courses provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet university entrance requirements. Courses emphasize theoretical aspects of the subject and also consider related applications.
College (C) Grades 11-12
College preparation courses provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the entrance requirements for most college programs and possible apprenticeships. Courses focus on practical applications and also examine underlying theories.
University/College (M) Grades 11-12
University/College preparation courses are offered to prepare students to meet the entrance requirements of certain university and college programs. They focus on both theory and practical applications.
Workplace (E) Grades 11-12
Workplace preparation courses prepare students to move directly into the workplace after high school or to be admitted into select apprenticeship programs or other training programs in the community. Courses focus on employment skills and on practical workplace applications of the subject content. Many workplace preparation courses involve cooperative education and work experience placements, which allow students to get practical experience in a workplace.
Advanced Placement (AP)
The Advancement Placement Courses (AP) are international courses written by university professors, which allow students to write an exam in a specific area that will earn them credits or advanced standing at most universities in Canada and abroad. For further information, please see Student Services at your school.