Beginning with the class of 2010, 220 credit hours must be earned in the areas listed below. Ten credits are equivalent to one full year of credit in a specific subject.

Language Arts (40 credits in grades 9-12)​10 in 9th Grade English Language Arts

  • 10 in 10th Grade English Language Arts
  • 10 in 11th Grade English Language Arts
  • 5 in language arts elective courses, 9-12​
  • 5 in communication courses, grades 9-12​

Social Studies (30 credits in grades 9-12)

  • 5 in US Government in grade 9
  • 5 in World Geography in grades 9-10
  • 10 in World History in grade 10
  • 10 in US History in grade 11

Math (20 credits in grades 9-12)

  • ​10 credits of which must include Algebra 1 or higher level mathematics

Science (20 credits in grades 9-12)

  • 10 credits in courses designated as Life Sciences
  • 10 credits in courses designated as Physical Sciences

Physical Education (15 credits in grades 9-12)

  • 5 in Wellness and Action  grade 9
  • 10 in elective P.E. courses, grades 9-12, balanced between individual fitness and team sports

​​Second Language Acquisition (10 credits in World Language)

  • Credits must be in Level 2 or higher; or, for ELL students, ESL Level 2 or higher

Practical Experiences (5 credits in grades 9-12)

  • 5 credits in Computer Science or Applied Technology (maybe fulfilled in middle level); if Computer Science or Applied Technology requirement is fulfilled at middle level, then 5 credits in Business, Consumer & Family Studies, or other Career & Technology education course is required
  • AND, To meet this requirement all students must also demonstrate evidence of completion of a 12 hour course in Money Management & Personal Finance in grades 7-12 or through a qualified district course

Health (5 credits in grades 9-10)

Fine Arts (5 credits in grades 9-12: includes music or art)

Colorado Higher Education Entrance​ Requirements

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education established these course guidelines, known as the Higher Education Admission Requirements or HEAR. They specify the courses your student will need to successfully complete in high school, primarily in the areas of English, mathematics, natural and physical sciences, and social sciences, to qualify for admission to a public four-year college or university in Colorado. If your student plans to attend a four-year college or university in Colorado, then he or she will need to complete the following classes to fulfill the Higher Education Adm​issions Requirements: 

High School Academic Area

2010 Graduates & beyond


4 years


4 years (must include Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry or equivalents)

Natural/Physical Sciences (two units must be lab-based)

3 years

Social Sciences (at least one unit of U.S. or world history)

3 years

Foreign Language

1 year

Academic Elective

2 years

The Higher Education Admissions Requirements do not apply to Community Colleges, which have open enrollment policies, meaning that students applying to these schools do not need to meet the admissions requirements outlined above. 

For more information on helping your student plan for college, please visit the State’s free college-prep website, for valuable information, including financial and scholarship information. 

In the course description booklet, courses that meet the Higher Education Admission Requirements for the core academic areas are designated as HEAR, courses that meet the academic elective requirements are identifies as HEAR Academic Elective. Should you have further questions, please contact your school counselor, school principal, or any classroom teacher.