Academics / Graduation Requirements & Intensive Paths

High school students customize their education by choosing their own academic path.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requires 94 units of academic credit in grades 9-12. Here is a list of graduation requirements by course. High school students have the option of pursuing the general college preparatory graduation path, or one of four Intensive Paths:

All graduation paths exceed the University of California “a-g” admissions requirements. Refer to the unit requirements for graduation paths for more information.

Humanities Intensive Path (HIP)

The Humanities Intensive Path (HIP) enables students who are passionate about history, writing, and literature to explore those areas in more depth. With the guidance of a humanities mentor, HIP students plan an interdisciplinary course of study and identify a focus that leads to a senior project. Requirements of HIP include four years of history (16 units); four years of English (16 units); 6 elective units in either English or history; and a Senior Project (2 units).

Science and Technology Intensive Path (STIP)

The Science and Technology Intensive Path (STIP) provides a program of study for students wishing to pursue more in-depth study of science, math, and computer sciences and reach a high level of mastery in these areas that will position them for advanced college level work. Each STIP student works closely with a faculty mentor or the Academic Counselor to develop and implement a rigorous and comprehensive course of study.

STIP students satisfy the 98-unit minimum graduation requirement and complete the course work in all disciplines necessary for admission to the University of California. STIP graduation requirements differ from the general requirements in five areas in that it requires:

  • Four years of laboratory science, including: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and one advanced level elective (16 units)
  • Four years of high school mathematics, including at least Pre-Calculus (16 units)
  • A total of 8 additional elective units in science, math, or computer programming
  • An independent research project and/or internship for 2 or 4 units (60-120 hours of academic work)
  • Attendance at STIP seminars and events

While most STIP students will take science and computer electives offered by the school, they also have the opportunity to set up individualized Independent Studies programs supervised by Kirby faculty. The school expects STIP students to take all core science courses at Kirby during the regular school year rather than comparable courses elsewhere.

STIP students must request permission from the Academic Counselor to receive credit for science and technology related course work and activities pursued off-campus including those taken at Cabrillo College, UCSC, or extended hands-on internships or mentor/apprentice arrangements with individuals or companies.

Languages Intensive Path (LIP)

The Languages Intensive Path (LIP) offers high school students intensive study of foreign languages and cultures. LIP students are required to complete all general graduation requirements listed under “Graduation Requirements” on page 10 and use their elective options for focused language study. LIP students complete 24 units in languages, including at least one language through Level 4.

Students completing this intensive path graduate well prepared for life in a multicultural and multinational world having developed both advanced linguistic abilities and a greater understanding of other cultures. As with all Intensive Paths, completion of the program is noted on the student’s transcript.

Arts Intensive Path (AIP)

The optional high school Arts Intensive Path (AIP) emphasizes the study of fine and/or performing arts. AlP students acquire the background, skills, and knowledge necessary for entering a college fine or performing arts program. Under the mentorship of a faculty advisor, students choose a general arts program or concentrated study in a specific discipline. This curricular path fulfills the University of California admission requirements. Students participating in AlP are expected to satisfy a 98-unit minimum graduation requirement. AIP requirements differ from the general program in two ways:

  • A total of 18 additional elective units in the arts, supervised by a faculty advisor
  • A creative, culminating project completed and presented in the senior year (2 units)