The US High School Diploma

Unlock your true potential with student-centered classes and an inquiry-based curriculum





Next intake

September 2024

English level for

international students

IELTS 4.5 or 41/100
on the EF English Test


1-4 years

Preparation course


The curriculum

The US High School Diploma fosters student-centered classes by teaching an inquiry-based curriculum where students explore concepts to demonstrate levels of thinking and understanding that reach beyond learning only content. Through their course of study, students learn not only to question what they are learning, but they learn to examine the value of learning, as well as to analyze and reflect on how they can make a positive and profound impact on their community.

At EF Academy, university advising and preparation for the SAT and ACT are built into the US High School Diploma program. On successful completion of this program, graduates are awarded a US High School Diploma accredited by the State Department of Education.


subjects per year


courses to choose from

The US High School Diploma is for you if:

Build your high school schedule

Below is a sample of the courses available to US High School Diploma students at EF Academy. Download our curriculum to see the full list of courses on offer this year.

Language and literature

Explore a range of literary texts and language techniques for different purposes and audiences.

  • Students develop their comprehension of writing and rhetorical arguments by reading, analyzing and writing texts, while also learning more about reasoning, organization and style.

  • Through reading and analyzing a variety of literary and non-literary works, students learn about literary forms and techniques, while also improving their writing skills through completing assignments and essays.

Language acquisition

Learn an additional language or two to broaden your cultural horizons.

  • With a focus on all areas of English language development, these courses improve students’ fluency and writing skills. EAL courses are offered at different grades and levels.

  • Beginners will get acquainted with the language by focusing on the four key areas of language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. More advanced students will expand their knowledge and use of vocabulary and sentence structure in both speaking and writing.

  • Depending on their level, students will develop fundamental skills in both spoken and written Mandarin or improve their knowledge of the language by reading and writing a variety of texts while using correct grammar and expanding their range of vocabulary.

  • Study Spanish through listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the language, while also learning of the cultural influence and history of the Spanish and Latino heritage. More advanced students will expand their knowledge and use of vocabulary and sentence structure in both speaking and writing.


Study relevant social, historical, geographical and cultural topics to expand your understanding of the world, past and present.

  • Gain an understanding of the structure of business, the importance of innovation and change, as well as the socio-economic context in which different organizations operate. Students also learn how the major types of business organizations are established, financed and run, and how their activities are regulated.

  • Study the significant movements and events that shaped the course of history across the US by exploring the origins, structure, concepts and policies of the US government and political systems.

  • Examine history from a global perspective by studying developments around the world through a variety of chronological and theoretical points of view.


Learn about our universe through the sciences and solidify your knowledge with hands-on experiments.

  • Study the core scientific principles, theories, and processes that govern living organisms and biological systems. Studying biology gives you a broad range of opportunities for the future, with possibilities of later working within the fields of agriculture, wildlife or laboratory services.

  • Learn about the fundamental concepts of chemistry including structure and states of matter, intermolecular forces, and reactions. Studying chemistry is an excellent way to prepare for applying to medicine, biochemistry or environmental science at university.

  • Become familiar with the concepts and tools of computer science by exploring programming language and doing hands-on work to design, write and test computer programs that solve problems or accomplish tasks. Studying computer science gives you a broad knowledge base for your future academic and professional path. Programming, for example, is used in fields as diverse as economics, linguistics, physics and archaeology.

  • Explore and investigate the interrelationships of the natural world and analyze environmental problems, both natural and human-made. This course prepares you to later explore fields like agriculture, forestry, sustainability, and public health, both academically and professionally.

  • Explore concepts of systems, energy fields, force interactions and laws of motion, and the way they relate to each other. Physics is often a prerequisite subject for studying engineering, computing and geology at university.


Develop reasoning and analytical thinking skills to become a better problem solver.

  • Develop mastery of algebraic techniques and a thorough knowledge of elementary functions and the graphs of these functions. Studying algebra is excellent preparation for students interested in pursuing university studies within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

  • Explore the concepts, methods, and applications of differential and integral calculus. Work to understand the theoretical basis and solve problems by applying your knowledge and skills. Calculus is often a prerequisite for admission to the most selective colleges and universities.

  • Learn about the nature of geometric shapes and angles and their applications to the real world. Studying geometry is an excellent way of preparing for university studies in theoretical physics or engineering, where design is a key aspect.

The arts

Exercise your creative thinking and expression through a range of artistic media.

  • Learn about the development of visual communication and the means of expressing thoughts and ideas through a broad range of artistic forms. Students will be able to convey their creative ideas through visual art while also practicing and improving their technical skills.

  • Students study important works through a hands-on approach by participating in bringing drama productions to life as creators, performers and stage and costume designers.

  • Explore the world of filmmaking by learning about characterization, rhetorical strategies, genres and film techniques from different countries and cultures over time.

  • Whether students are interested in developing their songwriting skills or learning more about the history of Rock-N-Roll, composing and performing music or singing in a choir, EF Academy offers a range of courses within the field of music.

Course offerings are subject to change. For our current list of courses, download this year's US High School Diploma curriculum.

Customize your high school program

EF Academy Pasadena:

US High School Diploma + AP Courses

Complement your US High School Diploma by taking your favorite subjects at a higher level. EF Academy Pasadena offers a selection of Advanced Placement (AP) Courses that can earn students college credits and stand out in university applications.

EF Academy New York:

US High School Diploma + IB Courses

Students who wish to demonstrate a keen interest in certain subjects can add IB Courses to the US High School Diploma at EF Academy New York. With this combination, students receive IB certificates for each course completed and do not need to complete the IB Core.

Enrichment curriculum

The US High School Diploma curriculum encompasses co-curricular learning as well as academic courses in order to educate the whole student.


Regular, small group guidance meetings for academic support and personal guidance.

  • Organizational skills

  • Social and emotional development

  • Community-building

Co-curricular learning

Involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies.

  • Creative expression

  • Physical activity

  • Service learning

Health and wellness

Developing a healthy lifestyle and mindset to live a balanced, fulfilling life.

  • Physical education

  • Mental wellbeing

  • Self-care

Graduate ready for university

Develop into multitalented, resourceful graduates with our all-encompassing curriculum. Feel prepared for your post-graduate journey with your University and Academic Advisor, who provides personalized application advice, interview preparation and help highlight your strengths to universities.

FAQ - US High School Diploma

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions we receive about the US High School Diploma.