Penn Foster High School

Program Outline

Your program includes the learning materials and instructional support you need to earn your High School Diploma. All learning materials are provided at no additional cost and are yours to use and keep.

Your complete program consists of a total of 21 credits. The courses take you step-by-step through the lessons you need to earn your diploma.

Here's how it works
You can start your program immediately after your enrollment has been accepted. Courses open as you complete your exams, so that you will always have learning materials to work with.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, access to a word processing program to complete written assignments, and an email account to complete this program with Penn Foster.

Transfer Credits
Penn Foster gives financial and academic credit for High School transfer credits.  To receive transfer credits, an official transcript from an accredited institution recognized by Penn Foster must be submitted for evaluation. Transfer credits will be awarded for comparable High School subjects where a full credit has been earned. Since High School programs vary, only an evaluation by Penn Foster will determine the actual number of transfer credits to be awarded. The maximum number of transfer credits allowed is 15.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: Students will be able to demonstrate they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the workforce or to continue their education at a college.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate 21st century skills such as the ability to use technology to complete learning tasks and to communicate effectively
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in English Language Art courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in English Language Art courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in science courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in science courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in math courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in math courses
  • Use critical thinking and reasoning skills to complete learning tasks in social studies courses
  • Use declarative knowledge and demonstrate understanding to complete learning tasks in social studies courses
  • Apply fundamental mathematical skills to solve real world problems
  • Utilize writing skills to complete writing assessments
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete entry level lessons from Penn Foster career modules, academic level electives, or general level electives

Choose two 0.5 credit courses (from a total of four).

Personal Wellness and Self-Care (0.5 credit)
This course provides a comprehensive overview of physical, emotional, mental, and social health, emphasizing the importance of balancing these areas. You’ll explore the distinctions between health and wellness, the eight dimensions of wellness, and the various factors that influence personal well-being, including heredity, environment, and culture. The course discusses specific aspects of wellness, covering topics such as drug and alcohol awareness, chronic diseases, mental health disorders, self-harm, suicide, healthy relationships, abuse, bullying, sexual orientation, gender identity, social adaptation, personal boundaries, and conflict management. You’ll learn about essential skills for maintaining balanced relationships and responsibilities, including effective time management, organizational skills, and focus techniques. Some readings and other content in this course will include topics that some students may find offensive or traumatizing, but they’re important topics to discuss and understand for your personal development and wellness. You’ll also be provided with a number of national services and help resources.

Introduction to Personality Types: Your Own Genius (0.5 credit)
In this course, you’ll explore the amazing potential of your personality. The course begins by defining personality and showing its effects on your life. You’ll learn some famous theories about personality and the possible ways that personality is formed. After taking a personality test, you’ll reflect on your results to understand more about yourself and your traits. Finally, you’ll decide how your personality can help you to build better relationships, excel as a leader, benefit your community, and succeed in your High School program and beyond.

Digital Literacy (1 credit)
In this course, you'll learn how to build your digital literacy skills and become a strong digital citizen. You'll learn to use technology to find information in ways that are ethical and effective. You'll be able to recognize how to protect your digital privacy during online activities and describe why it's important for everyone to have access to technology. You'll also learn to think critically about sources of information and determine the best methods to research and communicate ideas. By the end of the course, you'll be able to identify appropriate methods for using technology in education, the workplace, and daily life.

English 1: Introduction to Language Arts (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll learn different reading strategies that can be used to help with comprehension of information, including workplace writing. Organizational structures and reading strategies work together to reveal key details, and to effectively deliver informational texts. You’ll learn different organizational structures, and how these structures are used for writing. You’ll learn how point of view and purpose shape the content and structure of multiple text passages. You’ll analyze information to learn how to distinguish between fact and opinion. You’ll examine the basic conventions of English grammar, usage, and mechanics. This course also discusses how to identify the main themes, key details, and literacy devices in poetry and short stories. You’ll be introduced to drama and learn about different theaters throughout the history of drama, the different genres of plays, and reading strategies that will help you when reading a play.

Civics (1 credit)
Covers the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of American citizens. Reviews the roots of American government and studies the modern U.S. government—its branches; the Constitution and Bill of Rights; the roles of federal, state, and local governments; political parties and elections.

General Math I (1 credit)
A study of the fundamental operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, preceding the more advanced topics of weights, measures, ratios, proportions, and percents.

Fitness and Nutrition (1 credit)
This course covers a wide variety of topics to help students explore the role that physical fitness and nutrition play in developing a healthy lifestyle. Topics included are nutrition basics, developing healthy eating habits, the functioning of muscles, posture, fitness programs, preventing injury, stress management, and goal setting.

American History (1 credit)
Discussion of people, events, and sociopolitical forces that have shaped America, from its discovery by Europeans to the present. Shows how American history affects today’s events and global conditions.

English 2: Foundations of Reading and Writing (1 credit)
It can be said that the pursuit of knowledge drives humanity to become better. Every day, people subconsciously consume an abundance of information from the environment around them. However, not all of that information is meaningful. Most knowledge consumed daily may not mean anything in the long run. Today’s weather has a very small impact on making plans for tomorrow. How do you sort through all that information you take in around you into what’s meaningful or not? How can you gain new information, even though it may not have been in your environment or part of your experience? In this course, you’ll gain and apply close reading skills to help you sort through all of the information around you.

Consumer Math (1 credit)
Study simple ways to apply mathematics to the everyday areas of life, most of them involving money; employment, purchases, home, car, insurance, savings, and investments.

Earth Science (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll discover the processes that change the earth on the inside, the surface, and the atmosphere, as well as those affecting other planets and galaxies. These are many sciences that make up the study of Earth, including geology, oceanography, meteorology, environmental science, and astronomy. After learning about the basic chemistry that rules all interactions on Earth, you’ll learn about the way elements come together to make Earth’s rock foundation. You’ll learn about the changes that happen on the surface of the earth and the systems that run the atmosphere and oceans. You’ll learn about the incredible transformations Earth has gone through over its long history and changes it is in the middle of. Finally, you’ll explore Earth’s neighbors in the solar system and discover the forces that build and tear apart stars and galaxies.

English 3: Analyzing Texts and Building Compositions (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll analyze and cite evidence to support analysis of history, social studies, science, and technology-related texts as well as their graphics. Next, you’ll review the use and impact of word choice, tone, and figurative language in a play. You’ll then explore the theme in literary narratives. Finally, you’ll summarize key details, events, and characteristics in a novel and write a structured argument with relevant evidence to support a claim.

Biology (1 credit)
This course begins with the overall process of scientific study and an introduction to the big ideas uniting the study of biology. You’ll study the chemistry of molecules important to life and use that foundation to study cells, organisms, and the interdependence of living things and their environments. You’ll relate cell structures and parts to life-sustaining functions, such as respiration and photosynthesis. You’ll learn how DN carries information and directs the activities of life. The understanding you gain about genetics and inheritance will set you up to study the theory of evolution and the evidence behind it. You’ll learn how natural selection shaped the diversity of life all around you. You’ll study life form simple bacteria to complex plants and animals, and finally the systems of the human body. You’ll notice that adaptations accompany each group of living things to increase their abilities to thrive within their environments.

General Math II (1 credit)
A review of basic mathematical skills provides the foundation for more advanced topics such as order of operations, factors, multiples, powers, roots, equations, and inequalities. Introduces geometry by covering the study of points, lines, surfaces, and solids.

World History (1 credit)
Humans have lived in almost every corner of the globe for tens of thousands of years. While they are no longer around to tell us their stories, the objects and writings they left behind give us a glimpse into the past. This course will provide a broad survey of the history of the world, from the earliest humans who emerged from Africa to the modern peoples and nations that exist today. You’ll learn how people adapted to live in different environments, developed tools and technology, practiced diverse religions, created political institutions to govern, and spread ideas as they interacted with one another. By following the stories of different peoples and cultures through time, you’ll observe how key developments and events that took place over thousands of years have shaped the world today. While many stories and people have been forgotten with the passing of time, what remains is a rich record of the human experience that can help us better understand the present.

Physical Science (1 credit)
Physical science seeks to explain how everything works. All of the topics in this course have played an important role in the development of our civilization. Major topics include forces and motion, actions being driven by changes in energy, sources and applications of energy, changes related to temperature, properties of solids, liquids, and gases, the creation, transmission, and interactions of light and sound waves, the way matter is put together, the laws that govern how matter interacts, and properties of electricity, magnetism, currents. Throughout the course, you’ll describe properties and relationship through both text and calculations. Studying these concepts has allowed for the development of all kinds of technology. Devices we may take for granted, such as motor vehicles, computers, telephones, plastics, TV, and electrical appliances, were invented and improved by applying physical science concepts.

English 4: Detailed Reading and Research Writing (1 credit)
In this course, you’ll review foundational history texts and conceptual science and technology texts using US primary source documents and multimedia or quantitative formats. Next, you’ll draw simple, logical conclusions about more challenging world literature passages. From those literature passages, you’ll analyze how an author’s word choice and structure shape meaning, style, and tone. You’ll then explore a cultural experience in world literature, citing text to highlight key details and themes. After that, you’ll study one act of Shakespeare, using close-reading strategies to explain character relationships and thematic structure. Finally, you’ll write an informative assignment to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Here are just a few of the electives you can choose from:

Music Appreciation (1 credit)
Psychology (1 credit)
Art Appreciation (1 credit)
Economics (1 credit)
General Science (1 credit)
Auto Repair Technician (1 credit)
Child Care Professional (1 credit)
Medical Administrative Assistant (1 credit)
Chemistry (1 credit)
Spanish (1 credit)
Geometry (1 credit)
American Literature (1 credit)
Algebra I (1 credit)
Algebra II (1 credit)
English Communication (1 credit)
Small Business Management (1 credit)

Once you have two core courses remaining in your program, you will be able to select your electives from the student portal.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.