Diploma Requirements

A student earns a term credit for any course passed. Partial term credits are awarded in Music and Health and Human Development.

A student earns a diploma credit if the student has successfully completed a course that fulfills a diploma requirement.

In addition to Physical Education and Health and Human Development requirements, all students must take at least 15 courses per year. With the exception of Physical Education, the total number of credits being earned by a student in a given term must not exceed five and two-thirds, except as noted under designing Your Course of Study. Any other exception to these regulations must be approved by the faculty.

Each term course passed earns one credit, except for Health and Human Development which carries one-third credit for each term and those courses in applied music which carry one-third or two-thirds credit for each term. Students must take the same partial-credit applied music courses for three or two consecutive terms respectively to count the credits earned toward their diploma requirement in the Arts.

Diploma candidates must accumulate term credits according to the following table. Credits are awarded only for courses passed at Exeter.

Entering Grade


PE Credits


 9  54  10  64
 10  41  7  48
 11  27  4  31
 12  13  2  15

Students may repeat a failed course only once. A student receiving a failing grade (an E) has the option of repeating the course if it is available in any subsequent term. Upon successful completion, the repeated course earns term credit and diploma credit where applicable. Both grades are recorded on the academic transcript and are included in the student's GPA.

Students who fail a term of study in a sequential discipline will not receive term credit, nor diploma credit, for that course, except under the following conditions:

  • If a student fails a course in a sequential discipline and that same course is not offered in the following term, then the department, after consulting with the Dean of Academic Affairs, may allow the student to take the next course in the sequence.  The individual department, after consulting with the Dean of Academic Affairs, may grant diploma credit for the failed course upon the student's successful completion of the next course in that sequence; however, this credit would not count toward the minimum number of required credits listed in the table above.

A student receiving any D grade has the option of repeating the course once, if it is available in any subsequent term. The repeated course counts toward the five course term requirement but does not earn an additional term credit. Both grades are recorded on the academic transcript and are included in the student's GPA.

To receive a diploma, students must pass all courses (including Senior Projects) taken in the final term of their senior year.

Attendance on the campus at Exeter for at least three terms during the upper and senior years is required.

A student must also be free from any disciplinary action, official or pending.

The classical diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete Greek 131 and either Latin 511 or Latin 430.

Students whose native language is not English may meet their language requirement with their native language with permission of the Modern Languages Department.

Students whose native language is not English will be placed at the proper level in English by the English Department. In order to meet diploma requirements, students must continue taking English courses in sequence until graduation.

Students who enter the Academy without credit for one year of U.S. history taken in grades 10, 11 or 12 are required by law to take it at Exeter.

Excepting the fall of ninth grade, academic work is graded on an 11-point scale in which A=11, A-=10, etc., to E=0. The minimum passing grade is D-. A squared grade (e.g., C2) indicates unsatisfactory effort. For the fall term of ninth grade, all courses will be recorded as either pass (P) or no pass (NP).
a note about course descriptions Unless otherwise indicated in the description, a course:

  • Has no prerequisite 
  • Is open to members of all classes
  • Is offered each term
  • Does not meet during the reserve format

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Public University Requirements
Any student interested in participating in NCAA Division I and II athletics in college should have four years of high school English, and must be familiar with other special NCAA requirements and the specific Exeter courses that may not meet these requirements. It is important that students are aware of these requirements early in their high school careers so that the appropriate course of study can be planned. In addition, for the University of California system and other state colleges and universities, students must understand the specific state's definition of minimum curricular requirements and how they are related to Exeter's course offerings.

A list of NCAA courses certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center is available at http://www.eligibilitycenter.org/. To check whether specific courses offered at Phillips Exeter Academy are certified to meet NCAA requirements, you must use the school CEEB code 300185. Courses offered through off-campus programs must be certified through the particular program.
To check certification of individual programs, students may find the following information helpful:

Yearlong or Semester Programs

The Mountain School:        
CEEB 460464 Vershire Center, Vermont  

School Year Abroad:        
CEEB 694201  Beijing, China        
CEEB 731845  Rennes, France        
CEEB 748646  Viterbo, Italy      
CEEB 792150  Zaragoza, Spain

Fall Term Programs

Cape eleuthera, Bahamas:
CEEB 310681  The Island School through The Lawrenceville School

Grenoble, France:
CEEB 731206  American School of Grenoble

St. PetersbUrg, Russia: School #636 is not registered with the NCAA

Stratford, England: Not registered with the NCAA

TEMA, Ghana: SOS–Hermann Gmeiner International College is not registered with the NCAA

Yokohama, Japan: Kumon Kokusai High School is not registered with the NCAA

Winter Term Programs

Ballytobin/Callan, Ireland: No courses are taken 

Cuenca, Ecuador: Colegio Aleman Stiehle is not registered with the NCAA

GÖttingen, Germany: Theodor Heuss Gymnasium is not registered with the NCAA

Rome, Italy: 
CEEB 748600  St. Stephen's School, Rome, Italy 

Taichung, Taiwan: Tung Hai University is not registered with the NCAA

Spring Term Program

Washington D.C. Intern Program: The English seminar is not certified by the NCAA

Students who are planning to play Division I or II college athletics and participate in Exeter's off–campus programs may need to take two English electives in the spring term of their senior year to meet the four-year English requirement. Please see individual program descriptions for further details.

Please direct any questions about whether or not specific courses are certified to the director of studies.