International Student Graduation Credit

Date came into force or revised

In effect July 1, 2004; revised December 13, 2016



Policy Statement

The policy applies to international students studying in British Columbia who wish to earn a British Columbia Certificate of Graduation (Dogwood Diploma) and who have not had their educational program instructed in one of Canada’s two official languages for at least two years. The International Student Graduation Credit Policy is not applicable to those students whose educational program was instructed in English or French for the past two years.

The policy provides Boards of Education and independent school authorities with the flexibility to offer programs that meet the needs of international students while also ensuring that international students who intend to graduate satisfactorily complete specified courses in British Columbia's 2004 graduation program and do not earn all or certain course credits through an Equivalency review or Challenge process.

Rationale or purpose of policy

Each year, many students come to British Columbia because they and their parents value the high quality of education provided by the British Columbia school system.

Some international students enroll in British Columbia schools to upgrade their skills in one of Canada's two official languages, or to benefit from a cross-cultural experience. These language/cultural programs do not involve the Ministry's accreditation or issuance of the Dogwood Diploma.

Other international students enroll in British Columbia schools with the goal of meeting graduation requirements and earning a Dogwood Diploma. In order to ensure adequate preparation for post-secondary education and competencies in English or French, this policy requires that international students earn credit for many core courses in the Graduation Program through enrolment in B.C. schools. Only a limited number of courses in the Graduation Program level may be credited through challenge or equivalency assessments to ensure the international credibility of the Dogwood Diploma.


legislation, regulations, orders

See Ministerial Order 302/04, the Graduation Program Order (PDF)

Policy in full

This policy recognizes that international students working towards a Dogwood Diploma may begin their studies in a British Columbia school at a point other than the beginning of their Grade 10 year (i.e., the start of the 2004 graduation program). Regardless of when students begin their graduation programs, international students must meet all graduation requirements as well as the requirements set out in this policy in ways that ensure competence in one of Canada's two official languages in order to obtain a Dogwood Diploma.

International students who enter a British Columbia school after Grade 10 may be able to meet many of their personal goals. However, international students who enter a British Columbia school at the beginning of Grade 12 may find it difficult to meet all of the requirements for earning a Dogwood Diploma, unless they have had considerable instruction in one of Canada's two official languages prior to coming to British Columbia.

To ensure language competencies, international students, when working toward a Dogwood Diploma, are restricted in which courses may be used to receive credit through equivalency, external credentials, or challenge for skills and knowledge obtained in a language other than English or French.

Boards of Education and independent school authorities may award an Evergreen Certificate (also known as a British Columbia School Completion Certificate) to students with special needs, in accordance with the requirements set out in the Student Credentials Order (PDF). To receive an Evergreen Certificate, the principal, in consultation with teachers, should ensure that the student has met the goals of his or her education program, or other criteria established by the Board of Education or independent school authority.

When a program leading to an Evergreen Certificate (School Completion Certificate) is advertised, or offered, communication should clearly distinguish the differences between an Evergreen Certificate and a Dogwood Diploma, indicating that an Evergreen Certificate will not satisfy university entrance requirements.

Procedures related to policy

To earn a Dogwood Diploma, international students must meet all graduation requirements.

In addition, there are a number of specific conditions that pertain to international students (whose educational program was not instructed in either English or French for the previous two years). Such international students may earn credit for Graduation Program courses, with the exception of those listed below, through an equivalency review or challenge process.

  1. International students must earn credit for courses in the following categories through instruction from a British Columbia-certified teacher. No Equivalency review or Challenge process is permitted:
        -   Language Arts 11
        -   Language Arts 12
        -   One of Science 11 or 12
        -   One of Mathematics 11 or 12
        -   Social Studies 11 (or Civic Studies 11 or BC First Nations Studies 12)
        -   Planning 10
  2. For Language Arts 12, students must write the required provincial exam(s).
  3. International students must also earn credit for Graduation Transitions through a school-supported course or process. International students must be assessed to determine if all the Graduation Transitions Prescribed Learning Outcomes have been met, regardless of the grade level at which they enter a British Columbia school. When the requirements have been met, international students will be assigned four (4) credits and “requirements met (RM)” will be noted on their transcript.

Schools should assist students in finding appropriate work experience or community involvement that does not conflict with the terms of their legal status in Canada (in most cases, international students may not engage in paid employment).