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Honors Diplomas Criteria – FAQ

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 For a Fine Arts diploma, what is meant by “2 hours of studio work”?

Studio work is actual hands-on creation of an art piece, such as painting, sculpture, etc.

My student has met all of the requirements for a Fine Arts diploma EXCEPT the public exhibit.  Do you have any suggestions on how this can be accomplished?

The student must have accomplished the public performance.  This can be done by exhibiting at a family get-together or reunion, or by inviting others to your home to view their work.

Once that has been accomplished, the Fine Arts application may be submitted for review.  Once approved, the Fine Arts designation will be added to the diploma and Transcript.  Please be aware that, once the final Transcript and diploma have been issued, an honors distinction will not be added, so be sure to have all paperwork and documentation completed and available before submitting the Diploma Request.

For a diploma in Fine Arts, what constitutes a recital?

A recital is a performance of some kind.  During the high school years, the focus of one of the recitals should be on the person applying for the honors.

My student performs with our church’s worship group.  Do these performances fulfill the requirement for “participation in at least two recitals or performances”?

Yes, as long as the student has completed at least one solo performance.

The Fine Arts diploma in music seems very strenuous.  Is this type of diploma designed for a student pursuing music as a career?  Do colleges take this type of diploma into consideration?

The requirements for the MDHSA Fine Arts in Music honor were developed by a musician in the MDHSA Support Group.  MDHSA has had very positive feedback from the music departments in schools that graduates have attended, stating that these students are extremely well prepared for their first semester in college.  Any effort above and beyond what is generally required is well regarded by college admissions offices.

In order to fulfill the recital criteria, the student will need to be the “featured” performer in at least one presentation between 9th and 12th grade.


My student has excelled in History (Social Studies), successfully completing a number of CLEP and AP courses.  Do you offer an honors diploma for a specific subject?

The Academic Honors diploma is an academically rounded and challenging honors option for students who are completing primarily college prep courses.  All subject areas are addressed for this honorary diploma.

However, the student who excels in a specific subject or area may apply for the Diploma with Distinction.  Please follow the current guidelines and requirements for this type of diploma, noting on the application the SPECIFIC subject that is being applied for, so, if approved, it can be designated on the final Transcript.

Does the foreign language have to be the same for each year (credit)?

Yes.  The student must take at least two credits of the same language.

Does American Sign Language (ASL) count as a foreign language for the MDHSA Academic Honors diploma?

Yes.  ASL meets the criteria for foreign language.  However, if the student is college-bound, please check with the colleges in which your student is interested in attending, to determine if ASL meets their incoming freshman requirements.

The requirements for an Academic Honors diploma state that the grades given must be “letter or percentage” grades.  If my student has met all of the other requirements for an Academic Honors diploma, except for a grade of a “P” (Pass) for an elective, such as Physical Education, can that requirement be waived for that specific course?

MDHSA will usually waive the grade requirement for elective courses such as Physical Education.  Please email diploma@pa.net for consideration BEFORE submitting an Academic Honors application.

Can an adult-level course in Computer Science replace ONE of the required science courses for an Academic Honors diploma?

Replacing a course requires permission from the Diploma Program Director and/or Administrator.  Please email diploma@pa.net for consideration BEFORE submitting an Academic Honors application, outlining the details of the course and any supporting information.

MDHSA does not discriminate against families on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin.

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