TN Graduation Requirements


The Tennessee Department of Education has raised standards and aligned graduation requirements to best prepare students for college and the workforce. Following the implementation of the Tennessee Diploma Project in 2009, high school students must complete 22 credits to graduate, as well as test in core subject areas with End of Course exams, part of the TCAP.

Their performance on these exams will factor into their grade for the course.


To receive a regular high school diploma, all students enrolled in a Tennessee public school during their 11th grade year must take either the ACT or SAT. View the FAQ on the policy here. In addition, MASE students must pass the U.S. Civics test provided by the school and go through a school-sponsored CPR Training prior to graduation.

Total Required Credits: 22

  • Math: 4 credits, including Algebra I, II, Geometry and a fourth higher level math course
    (Students must be enrolled in a mathematics course each school year.)

  • English: 4 credits

  • Science: 3 credits, including Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and a third lab course

  • Social Studies: 3 credits, including U.S. History & Geography, World History & Geography, U.S. Govt. & Civics, and Economics

  • Physical Education and Wellness: 1.5 credits

  • Personal Finance: 0.5 credits
    (Three years of JROTC may be substituted for one-half unit of Personal Finance if the JROTC instructor attends the Personal Finance training.)

  • Foreign Language: 2 credits
    (May be waived by the local school district for students, under certain circumstances, to expand and enhance the elective focus)

  • Fine Arts: 1 credit
    (May be waived by the local school district for students, under certain circumstances, to expand and enhance the elective focus)

  • Elective Focus: 3 credits consisting of Math & Science, Career & Technical Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)



Graduation Ceremony Requirements

Be prepared for an once-in-a-lifetime event that's rich in style and traditions.


All students must complete the following requirements in order to participate in MASE Graduation Ceremony:

  • Complete all TN Graduation Requirements.

  • Complete 25 Hours of community service.

    1. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the service hours by the 2nd week in April.

    2. The student must document EVERYTHING using the Community Service Tracker form

    3. Hours must be contributed to a nonprofit or public service organization.

    4. Hours must be completed within the senior year and not prior years.
      (You may also volunteer in your field of interest to gain experience; however, only 5 hours will be given to STEM in Motion participants.)

    5. Make sure you are volunteering with an actual organization (not an individual).

    6. You cannot be paid for volunteer work.

    7. Make sure you are being supervised by someone who is not a family member.

    8. A total of 5 hours can be granted to service hours done within the school. No hours will be given to Teacher Assistants.


Post-Graduation Ceremony

Upon completion of the TN Graduation Requirements, all graduates will be given their diploma and cumulative records two weeks after the graduation ceremony. MASE will not retain records of graduates’ immunization records, American College Testing (ACT) scores, or state-testing records. All this information will be released to the graduate within their cumulative record packet. MASE will only retain the student’s transcript post-graduation and no other records.


Ceremony Basics

There's no greater recognition of a graduate's achievements than a high school graduation ceremony, or commencement. We know your friends and family want to be a part of this momentous occasion. Therefore, MASE provides up to 15 tickets to all seniors to give their guests. This is to ensure that we have space for everyone’s family and friends at the graduation’s location.

If you are facing a dilemma about to whom you give your tickets, try these tips:

  • Talk to your friends and family members and explain that while you want them at graduation, each graduate is allowed only a limited number of guests. Most people will understand and even possibly volunteer to give up their ticket so that someone else may attend.

  • Consider inviting only one grandparent or aunt or uncle from each wing of your family.

  • Come up with a creative solution that will feel fair to everyone, such as drawing names.

  • Let everyone who is not able to attend know they will be invited to the graduation party. Make sure to share your photos and videos to make them feel included.

Ceremony Etiquette

MASE embraces a lively graduation ceremony; however, the space we commission for our ceremonies is usually located within a church. Therefore, we ask that all guests act in a respectful manner. Please ask your guests to adhere to these guidelines:

  • Please refrain from yelling, using noisemakers, and bringing balloons to the graduation.

  • Please make sure that when you show pride for a graduate, you aren't drowning out the recognition of another.

  • Life's milestones deserve everyone's full attention. Turn off your cell phones and resist the urge to text until the entire ceremony is over. Remain in your seat until the last students receive their diplomas so that they feel properly acknowledged.


The Cap and Gown & Dress Code

Preparing to march to "Pomp and Circumstance" requires wearing the traditional graduation cap and gown, a tradition that dates back centuries to the early universities in Europe. MASE requires the following dress code for the graduates participating in graduation ceremony:



  • May wear any color dress.

  • Must have black closed-toe shoes.

  • If you choose to wear heels, please make sure you are comfortable walking in them prior to graduation.

  • No jeans or informal wear will be allowed.



  • Must wear a white dress shirt.

  • Must wear a dark colored tie.

  • You must wear black dress shoes and black dress socks.

  • Your pants must be black trousers. No jeans or informal wear will be allowed.


Here's how to wear your graduation cap and gown:

  • The cap is worn flat on the head, parallel to the floor. The front point of the cap should be centered on the forehead.

  • The gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle.

  • Tassels are usually worn on the right side and shifted to the left when graduates receive their diplomas.

  • Flowers and jewelry should not be worn on the academic gown.

  • In keeping with the traditions of the school, caps and gowns may be accessorized with regalia like stoles and honor cords.

  • No decoration on your graduation cap can hang over the sides of your cap. Be sure that all decorations are not offensive, lude, or unsightly. You will be asked to remove your cap in such instances.