The graduation requirements of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy are established by the IMSA Board of Trustees. Each semester students must take a minimum of five academic courses (2.5 credits) for a letter grade (not Pass/Fail) not including Fine Arts, Wellness, and Independent Study courses. Students may enroll in a maximum of nine courses each semester including academic courses, Fine Arts, Wellness, SIR, and Independent Study. Only courses taken for a letter grade will count towards graduation credit.
Credit in courses taken at the Academy must total a minimum of 17 units in three years. The credit distribution is:
- Eight (8.0) credits in Science and Mathematics, which include:
- Minimum four credits (4.0) in Science, which include completion of the core science program. The core science program consists of four one semester courses: SCI105, Scientific Inquiries – Chemistry; SCI115, Scientific Inquiries – Physics; SCI125, Scientific Inquiries – Biology (or one full year of SCI600 Advanced Biological Systems); and SCI135, Methods in Scientific Inquiry. All students are required to complete SCI135, Methods in Scientific Inquiry. Students new to IMSA who demonstrate an exemplary past academic record in physics or chemistry may choose to take a placement exam in that particular subject. A satisfactory placement exam score will demonstrate competency in the subject matter of that particular course and the student will then be enrolled in an appropriate elective course.
- Minimum three (3.0) credits in Mathematics, which include core courses that move toward completion of AB or BC Calculus (including Geometry). Students must be enrolled in at least one Mathematics course each semester. Computer science courses will fulfill earned credits requirement in mathematics for graduation. In addition, enrollment in a computer science course will fulfill the requirement that a student enroll in at least one mathematics course each semester at IMSA. All students are required to successfully complete the equivalent of a high school geometry course prior to graduation. This requirement can be met in one of the following ways:
- The student successfully completes at least two semesters of an integrated mathematics program or at least one semester of a geometry course prior to being admitted to IMSA
- The student enrolls in and successfully completes an IMSA-approved geometry course with a B or higher after being accepted to IMSA
- The student successfully completes Geometry at IMSA.
- One additional (1.0) credit (two courses) in either Mathematics or Science.
- All students are required to demonstrate competency in Computer Science concepts and skills. Sophomores are required to complete Computer Science Inquiry (0.5 credit) unless they have already scored a 4 or higher on the AP Computer Science A Exam or the AP Computer Science Principles Exam prior to the beginning of sophomore year.
- Three (3.0) credits in English, which include Literary Explorations I, II, and III and three English electives. Students must be enrolled in an English course each semester.
- Two and one-half (2.5) credits in History and Social Sciences, which include American Studies (0.5), a fall junior elective (0.5) and the spring course The World in the Twentieth Century (0.5), as well as two History and Social Sciences electives during senior year (1.0).
- Two (2.0) credits (four semesters) in World Languages taken two out of the three years at the Academy including completion of an Academy Level II course or higher. All World Languages courses are year-long courses and cannot be dropped at the end of the fall semester unless the student receives approval from the instructor and the Principal (designee). All sophomores and juniors are required to be enrolled in a World Language course each semester.
- One-half (0.50) credit in Fine Arts taken in the performing arts or the visual arts. All performance-based music courses are year-long courses and cannot be dropped at the end of the fall semester unless the student receives approval from the instructor and the Principal (designee).
- One (1.0) credit in Wellness including a one-semester course of Moving and Learning and one elective.
All students are also required to:
- Successfully complete two hundred (200) hours of Academy approved service by graduation.
- Participate in Development programs (i.e. LEAD, Consideration in Ethics, Navigation).
- Participate in Intersession.
Modification of these requirements can be made only with prior approval of the Principal. Previous high school, virtual high school, or college credits earned at another institution will not earn graduation credit at IMSA.