Academics / Graduation Requirements & Intensive Paths

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

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requires 98 units of academic credit in grades 9-12. Here is a list of graduation fulfillment 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)

HIP enables students who are passionate about history, writing, or literature to take courses that especially interest them, to identify a focus that will eventually lead to a culminating project, and to work with a mentor who will guide them in their studies.

With the guidance of the Academic Dean and a mentor, HIP students map out an interdisciplinary course of studies that will ultimately lead to a senior project. Requirements of HIP: five years of History: 9, 10, 11, 12, Art History AP (20 units), five years of English (20 units), Senior Project (2 units), and electives (12 units).

Science and Technology Intensive Path (STIP)

The Science and Technology Intensive Path (STIP) provides a program of study for students wishing to pursue greater depth and contextual awareness in the fields of science, math, and technology. Students are expected to reach a high level of mastery in these areas and to ultimately pursue rigorous, college-level work. STIP students will also complete either an independent research project or an academic internship before they graduate.

The STIP program also includes a speaker series that allows students to learn and gain insight from professionals in a wide variety of math and science-related fields. Some recent topics have been the computer gaming industry, water resources, migratory birds and climate change, dark matter and energy, and the mathematics of origami.

STIP graduation requirements are slightly different than those for students not pursuing this specialized path. Graduation Requirements for STIP Students are:

  • Two years of one foreign language are required instead of three.
  • At least one AP science course.
  • Four years of high school math including Pre-Calculus.
  • One year of Programming.
  • At least 15 units of math, science, or technology electives. 4 units = 1 year.
  • Research project or academic internship.
  • Project/internship presentation to STIP students.
  • Regular attendance for all STIP speakers, presentations, and meetings.

STIP students must request permission from the Academic Dean to receive credit for off-campus course work such as courses taken at Cabrillo College and UCSC. Independent research projects and academic internships must be approved by the Head of the Math and Science Division.

Languages Intensive Path (LIP)

The Languages Intensive Path (LIP) at Kirby confers recognition upon students for additional study in this area. Unlike AIP and STIP, students are required to complete all of the graduation requirements listed under “Unit Requirements for Graduation.” Thus, no course relief is provided to students in this path. The benefits of completing the LIP program include recognition on the students’ college transcript and a range of special activities designed by members of the foreign languages faculty.

LIP students must complete 24 units in foreign language study at Level 1 or higher, including at least one language through Level 4. Students must also complete 6 elective units in courses approved as satisfying a world cultures theme or through study abroad. Up to four of these six units can be satisfied through additional foreign language study (above the 24 credits required).

Arts Intensive Path (AIP)

The Arts Intensive Program is a specialized program for students who wish to pursue university and professional careers in fine or performing arts, while maintaining a commitment to academic excellence. AIP students acquire the background, skills, and knowledge necessary for entering a college fine or performing arts program. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students choose a general arts program or concentrated study in a specific discipline.

This curricular path fulfills the University of California admissions requirements. Students are expected, like other Kirby students, to satisfy the college preparatory graduation requirements but do additional work and a senior project. Specific information about required units and courses can be found in the “Graduation Requirements.”

While most AIP students will select arts electives from courses or performance opportunities in the visual arts, theater and music offered at Kirby, they might also request permission to receive credit for selective arts activities pursued off campus. To receive credit, this outside work must be a structured, independent specify additional assignments as a required component of the course.