Graduation Requirements

Credits and Grades

It is the responsibility of each student to take all required courses and to be accountable for meeting graduation requirements.

  • English - Four credits
  • Language - Two credits from two consecutive levels of a single language
  • Mathematics - Three credits
  • Physical Education - Two credits
  • Science - Two credits of laboratory courses
  • Social Studies - Three and one-half credits
  • Visual and Performing Arts - Two credits
  • Other Courses* - Three and one-half credits
*Any course exceeding departmental requirements for graduation or those courses identified as not meeting departmental requirements for graduation.

A full-time student in the Punahou Academy (grades 9 through 12) must be enrolled in at least five half-credit courses per semester (excluding PE and JROTC), four of which must be taken for a letter grade.

All semester grades, with the exception of Credit/No Credit courses, are weighted equally to compute Grade Point Average (GPA). With the exception of School Year Abroad (SYA) and Global Online Academy (GOA) courses, only graded courses taken at Punahou are reflected in Punahou’s GPA. Each course earns one-half credit per semester except JROTC, which earns one-half credit per year; ASPE, which earns one-quarter credit per quarter; Marching Band, which earns one-quarter credit per year; Sophomore Literary Seminar, which earns one-quarter credit; and College Guidance, SURF I and II, which are required and no credits are earned.

Credit/No Credit Option Courses (CR/NC)

Students are permitted to enroll in specified courses on a Credit/No Credit option basis. The objective of this privilege is to encourage students to extend their academic horizons in courses of interest, which will benefit their general education, without the pressure of letter grades.

Students may elect Credit/No Credit status in any course if graduation requirements have been met in the subject area for which they wish to declare CR/NC. In order to earn a credit (CR), students must meet the teacher’s expectations, which shall be no less than a C (2.00) grade, unless otherwise announced. Advanced Placement courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Some independent study and teaching assistant courses must be taken CR/NC, and count toward the credit requirement for graduation. In addition, all PE courses may be taken CR/NC.

In any semester, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of five or a maximum of six half-credit courses, excluding PE, Learning Strategies, Study Hall, Guidance, ROTC, SURF I and II and College Guidance. Four courses must be taken on a graded basis. Declaration of CR/NC status by students must be made by the deadline stated in the Academy Daily Bulletin each semester.


At grade level assemblies, the deans brief students about graduation requirements and course offerings.

In February, deans meet with students individually to enroll them in courses. At the end of the third quarter, a list of the selected courses is made available. From that point, changes will depend on course availability as some courses will be closed and changes will not be possible.

Although students may choose from many courses, they must choose carefully. With as few exceptions as possible, Punahou programs, schedules and staffs courses according to demand. This accommodation rarely happens in other schools, and it requires course request counts be accurate.

Course offerings depend upon sufficient enrollment and available staff. Some combinations of courses may result in scheduling conflicts and in some cases students may have to alter their course selections.