High School Diploma
With a Early College Courses

Program Outline

Your program includes the learning materials and instructional support you need to earn your High School Diploma with college-level electives. All learning materials are provided at no additional cost and are yours to use and keep.

Your complete program consists of a total of 21 credits. The courses take you step-by-step through the lessons you need to earn your diploma.

Here's how it works
You can start your program immediately after your enrollment has been accepted. Courses open as you complete your exams, so that you will always have learning materials to work with.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, access to a word processing program to complete written assignments, and an email account to complete this program with Penn Foster.

Transfer Credits
Penn Foster gives financial and academic credit for High School transfer credits.  To receive transfer credits, an official transcript from an accredited institution recognized by Penn Foster must be submitted for evaluation. Transfer credits will be awarded for comparable High School subjects where a full credit has been earned. Since High School programs vary, only an evaluation by Penn Foster will determine the actual number of transfer credits to be awarded. The maximum number of transfer credits allowed is 15.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: Students will be able to demonstrate they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the workforce or to continue their education at a college.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate 21st century skills such as the ability to use technology to complete learning tasks and to communicate effectively
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in English Language Art courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in English Language Art courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in science courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in science courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in math courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in math courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in social studies courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in social studies courses
  • Apply fundamental mathematical skills to solve real world problems
  • Utilize writing skills to complete graded writing assessments
  • Demonstrate an ability to complete introductory level college courses

Instruction Sets 1 & 2. Choose two 0.5 credit courses (from a total of four):

Introduction to Personality Types: Your Own Genius (0.5 credit)
In this course, you’ll explore the amazing potential of your personality. The course begins by defining personality and showing its effects on your life. You’ll learn some famous theories about personality and the possible ways that personality is formed. After taking a personality test, you’ll reflect on your results to understand more about yourself and your traits. Finally, you’ll decide how your personality can help you to build better relationships, excel as a leader, benefit your community, and succeed in your High School program and beyond.

Diversity Through Visual Art (0.5 credit)
This course offers an overview of important works that increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of individual and group identities. Students will explore diverse artists and works of visual art that affect our societal and human interactions, such as gender identity, race, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, culture, and national and ethnic origins. Through these different lenses, students will be able to gain a greater understanding of inclusivity by evaluating the experience of these groups as perceived through various art medias.

Personal Wellness and Self-Care (0.5 credit)
This course serves as an overview of physical, emotional, mental, and social health, and how to balance all these areas. The first lesson of your course discusses the differences between health and wellness and the eight dimensions of wellness. You’ll learn about the unique factors that can affect your wellness, such as heredity, environment, and culture. You’ll also learn about how your own decisions can affect your health and start creating a personal wellness plan to access your wellness in multiple areas.

The rest of your course breaks down the discussion about wellness into physical, emotional and mental, and social topics. Some readings and other content in this course will include topics that some students may find offensive or traumatizing, but they’re important topics to discuss and understand for your personal development and wellness. You’ll also be provided with a number of national services and help resources.

In Physical Wellness, you’ll cover topics such as drug and alcohol awareness (including discussion about substance and alcohol abuse) and chronic diseases and illnesses, as well as preventive measures you can take to protect your health. In Emotional and Mental Wellness, you’ll explore the characteristics of good mental health, learn about mental health disorders, and discuss topics surrounding self-harm and suicide. You’ll also discuss activities or solutions to maintain and enhance your mental well-being. In Social Wellness, you’ll gain understanding about safe and healthy relationships with those around you, which starts with having a good relationship with yourself. You’ll review content about different forms of abuse and bullying. This lesson touches on topics of sex and gender as well as gender identity and sexual orientation. You’ll also learn about the importance of adapting to social situations, setting personal boundaries, and how to manage conflict. The last portion of your course will give you an overview of important skills to balance your relationships and responsibilities, like effective time management, organizational skills, and focus techniques.

Sports By the Numbers (0.5 credit)
Statistics play a key role in sports, including ranking schemes, player assessment, and comparisons. This course is a study of how statistics are utilized in sports and presents exciting investigations for the sports enthusiast. You’ll learn about statistics used in various sports and how they relate to performance.

Instruction Set 3

Digital Literacy (1 credit)
In this course, you'll learn how to build your digital literacy skills and become a strong digital citizen. You'll learn to use technology to find information in ways that are ethical and effective. You'll be able to recognize how to protect your digital privacy during online activities and describe why it's important for everyone to have access to technology. You'll also learn to think critically about sources of information and determine the best methods to research and communicate ideas. By the end of the course, you'll be able to identify appropriate methods for using technology in education, the workplace, and daily life.

Instruction Set 4

English 1: Introduction to Language Arts (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll learn different reading strategies that can be used to help with comprehension of information, including workplace writing. Organizational structures and reading strategies work together to reveal key details, and to effectively deliver informational texts. You’ll learn different organizational structures, and how these structures are used for writing. You’ll learn how point of view and purpose shape the content and structure of multiple text passages. You’ll analyze information to learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion. You’ll examine the basic conventions of English grammar, usage, and mechanics. This course also discusses how to identify the main themes, key details, and literacy devices in poetry and short stories. You’ll be introduced to drama and learn about different theaters throughout the history of drama, the different genres of plays, and reading strategies that will help you when reading a play.

Instruction Set 5

Civics (1 credit)
Covers the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of American citizens. Reviews the roots of American government and studies the modern U.S. government—its branches; the Constitution and Bill of Rights; the roles of federal, state, and local governments; political parties and elections.

Instruction Set 6

General Math I (1 credit)
A study of the fundamental operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, preceding the more advanced topics of weights, measures, ratios, proportions, and percents.

Instruction Set 7

Fitness and Nutrition (1 credit)
This course covers a wide variety of topics to help students explore the role that physical fitness and nutrition play in developing a healthy lifestyle. Topics included are nutrition basics, developing healthy eating habits, the functioning of muscles, posture, fitness programs, preventing injury, stress management, and goal setting.

Instruction Set 8

American History (1 credit)
Discussion of people, events, and sociopolitical forces that have shaped America, from its discovery by Europeans to the present. Shows how American history affects today’s events and global conditions.

Instruction Set 9

English 2: Foundations of Reading and Writing (1 credit)
It can be said that the pursuit of knowledge drives humanity to become better. Every day, people subconsciously consume an abundance of information from the environment around them. However, not all of that information is meaningful. Most knowledge consumed daily may not mean anything in the long run. Today’s weather has a very small impact on making plans for tomorrow. How do you sort through all that information you take in around you into what’s meaningful or not? How can you gain new information, even though it may not have been in your environment or part of your experience? In this course, you’ll gain and apply close reading skills to help you sort through all of the information around you.

Instruction Set 10

Consumer Math (1 credit)
Study simple ways to apply mathematics to the everyday areas of life, most of them involving money; employment, purchases, home, car, insurance, savings, and investments.

Instruction Set 11

Earth Science (1 credit)
A study of the scientific method, the formation of the solar system, the moon’s phases, the movement of the birth, plate tectonics, the formation of the oceans, and erosion. This course also looks at chemical principles, rock and mineral analysis, soil formation, and weather patterns.

Instruction Set 12

English 3: Analyzing Texts and Building Compositions (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll analyze and cite evidence to support analysis of history, social studies, science, and technology-related texts as well as their graphics. Next, you’ll review the use and impact of word choice, tone, and figurative language in a play. You’ll then explore the theme in literary narratives. Finally, you’ll summarize key details, events, and characteristics in a novel and write a structured argument with relevant evidence to support a claim.

Textbook: Word Power Made Easy

Instruction Set 13

Biology (1 credit)
This biology course begins with a presentation on the topic of ecology. The cell and its processes are examined in detail. A discussion of genetics and evolution follows. The course provides a detailed description of the biology involved in the structure and function of both plants and animals. The course ends with a lesson on human body systems and disease.

Instruction Set 14

General Math II (1 credit)
A review of basic mathematical skills provides the foundation for more advanced topics such as order of operations, factors, multiples, powers, roots, equations, and inequalities. Introduces geometry by covering the study of points, lines, surfaces, and solids.

Instruction Set 15

World History (1 credit)
This course will provide a broad survey of the history of the world, from the earliest humans who emerged from Africa to the modern peoples and nations that exist today. You’ll learn how people adapted to live in different environments, developed tools and technology, created political institutions to govern, and spread ideas as they interacted with one another. By following the stories of different peoples and cultures through time, you’ll observe how key developments and events that took place over thousands of years have shaped the world today.

Textbook: World History

Instruction Set 16

Physical Science (1 credit)
A study of matter and energy: their nature and the relationships between them. Explains the role of atomic structure in chemical and nuclear reactions. Emphasizes problem solving skills and discusses the relationship between science, technology, and the environment. Covers topics such as water, the chemistry of building materials, fuels, natural and synthetic rubbers and plastics, energy in relation to motion and force, machines, sound, light, electricity, and magnetism.

Instruction Set 17

English 4: Detailed Reading and Research Writing (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll review foundational history texts and conceptual science and technology texts using US primary source documents and multimedia or quantitative formats. Next, you’ll draw simple, logical conclusions about more challenging world literature passages. From those literature passages, you’ll analyze how an author’s word choice and structure shape meaning, style, and tone. You’ll then explore a cultural experience in world literature, citing text to highlight key details and themes. After that, you’ll study one act of Shakespeare, using close-reading strategies to explain character relationships and thematic structure. Finally, you’ll write an informative assignment to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

College-Level Electives you can choose from:

Algebra (1 credit)
Algebra 2 (1 credit)
American Literature (1 credit)
Art Appreciation (1 credit)
Chemistry (1 credit)
Geometry (1 credit)
Music Appreciation (1 credit)
Psychology (1 credit)
Spanish (1 credit)

You are required to take five credits in electives.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster High School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

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Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.