College Prep Curriculum

There is a difference  between meeting standard graduation requirements and meeting admission requirements for a university.  The "College Prep Curriculum" (or CPC) is a list of courses outlined by the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning as the minimum recommended high school courses needed to be prepared for college-level courses.  

In addition to meeting Mississippi university admission requirements, the CPC is used to determine academic eligibility for the HELP Grant through the Mississippi Office of Financial Aid. 

The Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning has determined the minimum REQUIRED College Preparatory Curriculum for full admission into a Mississippi public university is as follows:

For students entering 9th grade in 2018 and later

English: 4 Carnegie units

  • Units must require substantial communication skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Compensatory Reading and Writing may not be included.

Mathematics: 4 Carnegie Units

  • Algebra I or its equivalent
  • Math higher than Algebra I (2 units)

Science: 3 Carnegie units

  • Biology I or its equivalent
  • Science higher than Biology I (2 units)

Social Studies: 3 ½ Carnegie Units

  • Units must include integrated courses of social sciences and humanities promoting civic competence.

Arts: 1 Carnegie unit

  • Includes any one Carnegie unit (or two ½ units) of visual and performing arts course(s) meeting the requirements for high school graduation.

Advanced Electives: 2 Carnegie units

  • Option 1: Foreign Language I and Foreign Language II
  • Option 2: Foreign Language I and one unit from Option 3
  • Option 3: (1) Any combination of an advanced level course above the required Carnegie units in: (a) English, math, science, computer science and/or (b) any Advanced Placement (AP), Academic or Career and Technical Dual Credit (DC), International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) course. (2) Completion of any two-year Career and Technical course may count as one unit. Example: completion of both Health Sciences I & II will count as one advanced elective.

Technology or Computer Science Course: 1 Carnegie Unit

  • A technology course is defined as one that emphasizes the use of technology as a productivity tool. Instruction should include utilizing various forms of technology to create, collaborate, organize, and publish information. The application of technology as a productivity tool, rather than specific hardware and/or software packages should be the focus of the course. A computer science course emphasizes computational thinking to solve problems. Courses will involve the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, and their impact on society and should include focus on one or more of the following core concepts: computing systems, networks and the internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and impacts of computing. Course equivalent or additional advanced elective may be acceptable for non-Mississippi residents.

Total Carnegie units: 18 ½ Carnegie Units


  • The required CPC for full admission aligns with the course recommendations for the Mississippi Department of Education Academic Endorsement.
  • Pre-High School units: Courses taken prior to high school will be accepted for admission provided the course earns Carnegie credit and the content is the same as the high school course.
  • Substitutions: Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB, Academic or Career and Technical Dual Credit (DC) and Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) courses may be substituted for each requirement in the College Preparatory Curriculum
  • Course Acceptance: A course may not be used to satisfy more than one requirement.
  • The Required and Recommended College Preparatory Curricula (CPC) are approved by the IHL Board of Trustees, The Mississippi Department of Education maintains the MDE Secondary Course Manual with CPC classifications for each course.