North Carolina high school students are expected to meet specific course and credit requirements in order to receive a high school diploma. These requirements differ depending on when students entered ninth grade for the first time. Students should also be aware that local districts may impose additional graduation requirements. School counselors are available to answer any questions students may have about what they need to graduate.


North Carolina students in kindergarten through 12th grade study English/language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, guidance, healthful living, library/media/computer skills, second languages, and workforce development subjects. The State Standard Course of Study outlines for teachers the competencies and objectives students should master.

To measure how well students are learning the curriculum, local school districts test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and mathematics, and at grades 5 and 8 in science. All high school students take end-of-course tests in Algebra I, English I, and Biology. Workforce development courses also have statewide assessments through VoCATS.


There are 2,412 traditional public schools and 100 charter schools in North Carolina.

North Carolina was the first state to require students to study Algebra I.

Public schools in North Carolina are governed by local board of education. Currently, there are 115 school systems in the state. These boards set policies ranging from local graduation standards to discipline to the school calendar.

The State Board of Education is appointed by the Governor and is charged with supervising and administering "the free public school system and education funds provided for its support." There are 13 board members who meet on a monthly basis.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected by popular vote of North Carolina citizens. He or she serves as chief administrative officer of the State Board of Education.

North Carolina public schools receive on average 61 percent of its funding from state revenues, 23 percent from local funds and 16 percent from federal funds.