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NCAA Approved Courses: What Are the NCAA Core Courses?

 

The NCAA core courses requirements are part of the DI and DII eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible to compete and receive an athletic scholarship, you will need to take and pass a minimum of 16 core courses, covering the subjects of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy.

Insider Tip: While there are slightly different eligibility requirements for NCAA DI and DII, in 98 percent of the cases, if you are eligible at the DI level, you will also be eligible at the DII level. It is best to schedule your courses to meet the DI requirements so you can be assured of being eligible at both division levels.

 

Division I requirements

  • Graduate high school
  • Earn a core course GPA pf 2.3 or higher
  • Complete 16 core courses
    • 4 years of English
    • 3 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
    • 2 years of natural/physical science
      • 1 year must be lab science if your school offers it
    • 1 additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
    • 2 years of social science
    • 4 additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
  • You must complete 10 of the core courses by the end of your junior year (before the start of your seventh semester). Seven of the 10 core courses need to be in English, math or natural/physical science. The grades in these seven courses will be “locked in,” meaning you will not be allowed to retake them to improve your grades.
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale.
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Division II requirements:

If you enrolling BEFORE August 1, 2018 (Class of 2017)

  • Graduate high school
  • Earn a core course GPA of 2.0 of higher
  • Complete 16 core courses
    • 3 years of English
    • 2 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
    • 2 years of natural/physical science
      • 1 year must be lab science if your school offers it
    • 3 additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
    • 2 years of social science
    • 4 additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
  • Earn a SAT combined score of 820 or an ACT sum score of 68

If you are enrolling AFTER August 1, 2018 (Class of 2018 and later)

  • Graduate high school
  • Earn a core course GPA of 2.2 of higher
  • Complete 16 core courses
    • 3 years of English
    • 2 years of math (Algebra 1 or higher)
    • 2 years of natural/physical science
      • 1 year must be lab science if your school offers it
    • 3 additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
    • 2 years of social science
    • 4 additional years of English, math, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, comparative religion or philosophy
  • Earn an SAT combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division II sliding scale.
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Sample high school class schedule for NCAA eligibility

Below is a sample high school course schedule that would ensure a student-athlete was on track to meet all of the DI and DII core course requirements. These are generic course names, and they may or may not match up with the list of courses for your high school. It is important you sit down with your high school counselor and put together a similar plan with the courses that are approved for your high school.

  • Freshman Year
    • English I
    • Algebra I
    • Spanish I
    • American Government
  • Sophomore Year
    • English II
    • Geometry
    • Biology
    • Spanish II
    • Social Science
  • Junior Year
    • English III
    • Algebra II
    • Chemistry I
    • Economics
  • Senior Year
    • English IV
    • Pre-Calculus
    • Physics
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What are the core courses in high school?

Most high schools in the U.S. have a list of approved core courses with the NCAA. This list allows the NCAA to quickly evaluate an athlete’s eligibility by simply checking that the class is on the approved list and seeing what the student-athlete’s grade was in the course. Review the page on the NCAA website where you can look up your high school’s NCAA-approved courses. Meet with your counselor and make sure the course plan you have matches up with the approved courses.

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NCAA core courses worksheet – how do you figure out your core GPA?

If you need to check your core course GPA and make sure you are on track to meet the eligibility requirements, you will need the core course worksheet. With this worksheet, you will fill in the classes you have completed (make sure they are on the approved list for your high school) and the grade you received in the class. You can then total up the credits and grade to estimate your core course GPA and know if you are on track.

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