Academic Requirements

Academic Year 2020-21

  • Six graded courses during the school year, two per term.
  • Participation in a cocurricular program each term.
  • Health Seminar; taken in 9th and 10th grade as an additional pass/fail course.
  • A student in good standing shall be eligible for a Deerfield diploma upon successful completion of course load and applicable subject requirements. Successful completion includes proper attendance and a passing course-end grade.

Graduation Requirements

All students* are required to take:

  • An English course is required of 9th, 10th, 11th, and one-year 12th graders and PGs. Doubling up in any year does not satisfy another year’s requirement.
  • Completion through the third level of mathematics (Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II).
  • Completion through the third level of one foreign language. (Students for whom English is a second language may request to satisfy this requirement with their native language.)
  • Two courses of history: one course of non-U.S. taken in either 9th or 10th grade; and one course of U.S. History, usually taken in the 11th grade.
  • Two courses of laboratory science.
  • Equivalent to two courses of visual or performing arts (three and four-year students only). For AY21, a full term course is equivalent as are two half-term courses.
  • One course of philosophy or religious studies (three and four-year students only). For AY21, a half-term course fulfills the requirement.

*Entering 9th and 10th graders must fulfill all requirements. Students who enter Deerfield as 11th or 12th graders are expected to fulfill graduation requirements as best they can. The Academic Dean’s Office will approve all exceptions.




NCAA Requirements

NCAA has specific requirements for eligibility. If you have aspirations to play NCAA athletics at a Division I or Division II college, you must meet their core course requirements by the end of your fourth year of high school, which can be difficult if you have repeated a grade or gone to an international high school.

Core Courses Required

There are 16 core course requirements for Division I and 14 for Division II colleges.

Course Division I Division II
English 4 years 3 years
Math (Algebra I or higher) 3 years 2 years
Natural/Physical Science
(1 year of lab if offered by high school)
2 years 2 years
Additional English, Math, or
Natural/Physical Science
1 year 2 years
Social Science 2 years 2 years
Additional Courses (from any area above,
foreign language, or non-doctrinal religion/philosophy)
4 years 3 years

College-bound student-athletes first entering an NCAA Division I college or university on or after August 2016 will need to meet new academic rules in order to receive athletic aid (scholarship), practice or compete during their first year.

Full Qualifier Academic Redshirt Nonqualifier
Complete 16 Core Courses:

*Ten of the 16 core courses must be complete before the seventh semester (senior year) of high school.

*Seven of the 10 core courses must be in English, Math or Science.

Complete 16 core courses. Does not meet requirements for Full Qualifier or Academic Redshirt
Minimum Core-Course GPA of 2.300. Minimum Core-Course GPA of 2.000.
Meeting the sliding scale requirement of GPA and ACT/SAT score. Meeting the sliding scale requirement of GPA and ACT/SAT score.
Graduate from high school. Graduate from high school.

Repeating a Grade

From the time you first begin ninth grade, you have four years to complete your core course requirements.THIS IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: if you repeated a grade, your window for completing all requisite courses closes at the end of your junior year.

Further, when repeating a grade upon entering Deerfield, you may lose NCAA credit for one or more classes—often in English, occasionally in math—taken at your previous school. If NCAA deems that two courses duplicate each other, they will deny credit for one.

One way to have your eligibility status checked is to request an early determination by the NCAA. The NCAA will consider this only in your junior (or third) year (see “Juniors” below). Overt interest from a college can be a powerful catalyst. If a college is interested in you, please let the NCAA know as soon as possible. The college can then act on your behalf, in facilitating an early determination of eligibility. Final approval is based on a completed transcript.

What You Need to Do

9th and 10th Graders

  • Start planning now!
  • Work hard to get the best grades possible.
  • Choose NCAA-approved classes.

Juniors (or students in their third year of eligibility)

  • At the beginning of your third year, log on to the NCAA Eligibility Center website at and register.
  • Register to take the ACT, SAT or both and use the NCAA Eligibility Center code “9999” as a score recipient. (Test score requirements are listed on the website.)
  • Double-check to make sure that you are taking NCAA-approved courses.
  • Check that your high school official transcript has been sent to NCAA Eligibility Center after completing your third year of high school. (If transcript has not been sent,  go to Transcript Request Form.)
  • Prior to registration for your fourth year of high school, check with the Academic Dean’s office and the NCAA Eligibility Center to determine the number of core courses that need to be completed that year (i.e., before your window of eligibility closes).

More detailed information can be found on the NCAA website.

Failure to meet requirements could result in you not being able to play Division I or Division II sports in college. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure you have met the NCAA eligibility requirements.