GSSM is committed to the school’s mission of cultivating the joy of learning and building ethical leaders. Students at the Governor’s School have the privilege of being taught by faculty who are passionate and ignite that passion in the classroom. Students interact with their teachers outside of classes during office hours and by individual appointments. The comprehensive curriculum and teachers’ commitment to working with students to ensure success in their classes are important features of a GSSM education.

Collaboration with others in the school and local community is also important in the GSSM Journey. To support the school’s mission, academic departments work with others across the campus to encourage a holistic educational experience fostering intellectual and principled excellence.

Academic Requirements

GSSM awards both State of South Carolina and GSSM diplomas. To remain enrolled at GSSM and receive a GSSM diploma, students must fulfill the following requirements:

  • be enrolled in a minimum of five (5) courses during the fall and spring semesters.
  • earn a semester grade of C or better (70 or above) in each of the courses taken while at GSSM.
  • earn a minimum of five (5) GSSM credits during their junior year and another five (5) GSSM.
  • credits during their senior year (Note: GSSM courses offered for credit during the summer or Interim will count toward graduation requirements but will not count toward the minimum of the five (5) GSSM credits that must be earned each year).

The table below outlines the minimum number of credits that must be completed for a GSSM diploma and the State of South Carolina diploma. Except for the Research and Inquiry Experience and January Interim requirements, course credits may be earned before enrolling or while attending GSSM.

Credits are defined as follows: 0.5 credits for a semester course and 1.0 credit for a year-long or two- semester course. If one high school unit is awarded for a semester dual enrolled course, GSSM reserves the right to review the curriculum to determine if the material covered meets the GSSM 1.0 credit (i.e. year-long or two-semester course) requirement listed in the table below.

Graduation Requirement Credit
Science with a Lab (must include 1.0 credit biology, chemistry, physics) 3
Mathematics (must include 1.0 credit of calculus) 4-5
Computer Science  1
English/Language Arts (must include the two- course sequence in composition taken during the junior year) 4
Foreign Language (must be in the same language) 2
US History 1
US Government .5
Economics .5
Other Social Studies 1
Physcial Education/ROTC 1
Research and Inquiry Experience .5
Fine Arts 1
GSSM January Interim Courses 1
Electives 2.5-3.5
TOTAL 24 credits

Additional graduation requirements are outlined in the table that follows.

Additional Requirement Expectations

Research and Inquiry Program – Completion of a GSSM mentored research and inquiry experience is required for all students. This program typically involves six weeks of summer research and a fall semester course that culminates with presentations at Colloquium and SCJAS.

Required for all students; students must earn a grade of C (70 or above) in Research and Inquiry

Junior Seminar Series (one hour per week per seminar)
Fall: Life & Leisure and Academic Transition Spring: College Planning Seminar 1 and three other shorter seminars

Required for all Juniors to attend and pass. 
Senior Seminar Series (one hour per week per seminar) Fall: College Planning Seminar II 
Required for all Seniors to attend and pass. 
Community Engagement

Required for all students based on outlined expectations

Academic Eligibility

At the end of any semester, including Interim and summer, a student who earns a D or lower (69 or below) in any course will be required to return to his or her home high school to complete the remainder of his or her high school course of study. If a grade of D or lower is earned at the end of the senior spring semester, the student will not be eligible to receive a GSSM diploma.

If there are extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the Academic Review Committee. If a student chooses to appeal, the appeal must be sent via email to the Senior Vice President for Residential within five (5) days after the semester grades are communicated to the student and his or her family by email, phone call, or regular mail. Parents or guardians are welcome to appeal along with their student. The Academic Review Committee will respond to the appeal and render a decision within five (5) days of receiving the appeal.


The last day for adding a course is seven school days after classes have begun. The last day to drop a course without it appearing on the transcript is four weeks. Courses may be dropped until midterm with a notation of withdrew passing (WP) or withdrew failing (WF) on the transcript.

Course Placement

Every effort is made to place juniors in courses that are at the correct level based on their previous academic experience. Occasionally, a student may be misplaced. In such cases, the Senior Vice President for Residential, in consultation with the subject teacher and faculty advisor, may shift a student to a different level course. The deadlines and recording rules noted above are waived in these unusual circumstances.


Auditing a course is taking a course for academic enrichment without receiving grade or credit. Specific requirements about completion of homework, projects, tests, etc., are at the discretion of the instructor. A student will be allowed to audit a class if: a)  the instructor approves, b) the Senior Vice President for Residential approves, and c) there is space available in the course.