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NCAA Approved Courses: What Are the NCAA Core Courses?

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Impact of COVID-19 on NCAA eligibility: The NCAA Eligibility Center extended its COVID-19 initial eligibility policies for student-athletes who initially enroll full-time during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. Students who intend to play D1 or D2 sports won’t be required to take the ACT or SAT by the NCAA. Students are also allowed to use pass/fail grades for core courses through the 2021–22 academic year. To keep track of updates that will impact eligibility for current and future recruiting classes, check out the NCAA COVID-19 Response FAQs. NCSA will continue to share information on our coronavirus resources page. 

The NCAA core courses requirements are part of the D1 and D2 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 D1 and D2, in 98 percent of the cases, if you are eligible at the D1 level, you will also be eligible at the D2 level. It is best to schedule your courses to meet the D1 requirements so you can be assured of being eligible at both division levels.

Division I requirements

Division II requirements:

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.

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.

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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