New York Requirements for Passing High School Chemistry | General Chemistry 1

Is Chemistry Required in High School in New York?

High school students in New York can choose between various learning pathways that take them down one of three roads to a diploma. New York state sets forth high school graduation requirements and is subject to change with the current choices as follows:

  • A Regents Diploma
  • An Advanced Regents Diploma
  • A Local Diploma (eligible students only)


Science Requirements for a Regents Diploma

  • 6 credits in science, including:
    • 2 credits in any life science (reflected in STARS with codes beginning with ‘SL’, ‘SB’, or ‘SW’) 
    • 2 credits in any physical science (‘SE’, ‘SC’, ‘SP’, ‘SD’, or ‘SR’) 
    • 2 credits in any life science or physical science
  • A score of 65 or higher on any science exam (Living Environment, Chemistry, Earth Science, or Physics)

Science Requirements for Advanced Regents Diploma

  • 6 credits in science, including:
    • 2 credits in any life science
    • 2 credits in any physical science
    • 2 credits in any life science or physical science
  • A score of 65 or higher on two science exams (Living Environment and one of these: Chemistry, Earth Science, or Physics)

Science Requirements for a Local Diploma

  • 6 credits in science, including:
    • 2 credits in any life science
    • 2 credits in any physical science
    • 2 credits in any life science or physical science
  • A score of 55 or higher on one science exam (Living Environment, Chemistry, Earth Science, or Physics)


According to the NY State High School Science Standards, students will study core chemistry topics such as:


Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms. [Clarification Statement: Examples of properties that could be predicted from patterns could include reactivity of metals, types of bonds formed, numbers of bonds formed, and reactions with oxygen.]


Plan and conduct an investigation to gather evidence to compare the structure of substances at the bulk scale to infer the strength of electrical forces between particles. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on understanding the strengths of forces between particles in solids, liquids, and gases, not on naming specific intermolecular forces (such as dipole-dipole). Examples of particles could include ions, atoms, molecules, and network solids. Examples of bulk scale properties of substances could include the melting point and boiling point, vapor pressure, and surface tension.]


Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.  [Clarification Statement:  Emphasis is on simple qualitative models, such as pictures or diagrams, and on the scale of energy released in nuclear processes relative to other kinds of transformations.]


Communicate scientific and technical information about why the particulate-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the attractive and repulsive forces that determine the functioning of the material. Examples could include why electrically conductive materials are often made of metal, flexible but durable materials are made up of long-chained molecules, and pharmaceuticals are designed to interact with specific receptors.]


Analyze data to support the claim that the combined gas law describes the relationships among volume, pressure, and temperature for a sample of an ideal gas. [Clarification Statement: Real gases may be included at conditions near STP. The relationships of the variables in the combined gas law may be described both qualitatively and quantitatively.]


Use evidence to support claims regarding the formation, properties, and behaviors of solutions at bulk scales. [Clarification Statement: Examples of physical properties could include colligative properties, degree of saturation, physical behavior of solutions, solvation process, and conductivity.  Examples of solution types could include solid-liquid, liquid-liquid, and gas-liquid solutions. Concentrations can be quantitatively expressed in ppm, molarity, and percent by mass]


Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties. [Clarification Statement: Examples of chemical reactions could include the reaction of sodium and chlorine, of carbon and oxygen, or of carbon and hydrogen.]


Develop a model to illustrate that the release or absorption of energy from a chemical reaction system depends upon the changes in total bond energy. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that a chemical reaction is a system that affects the energy change. Examples of models could include molecular-level drawings and diagrams of reactions, graphs showing the relative energies of reactants and products, and representations showing energy is conserved.]


Apply scientific principles and evidence to explain how the rate of a physical or chemical change is affected when conditions are varied. [Clarification Statement: Explanations should be based on three variables in collision theory: number of collisions per unit time, particle orientation on collision, and energy required to produce the change. Conditions that affect these three variables include temperature, pressure, nature of reactants, concentrations of reactants, mixing, particle size, surface area, and addition of a catalyst.]


Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium. [Clarification Statement:  Emphasis is on the application of Le Chatelier’s Principle and on refining designs of chemical reaction systems, including descriptions of the connection between changes made at the macroscopic level and what happens at the molecular level. Examples of designs could include different ways to increase product formation including adding reactants or removing products.]


Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using mathematical ideas to communicate the proportional relationships between masses of atoms in the reactants and the products, and the translation of these relationships to the macroscopic scale using the mole as the conversion from the atomic to the macroscopic scale. Emphasis is on assessing students’ use of mathematical thinking and not on memorization and rote application of problem-solving techniques.]


Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the properties and behaviors of acids and bases.  [Clarification Statement: Examples of properties could include pH values (concentration), neutralization capability, and conductivity. Observations of behaviors could include the effects on indicators, reactions with other substances, and efficacy in performing titrations.]


Use evidence to illustrate that some chemical reactions involve the transfer of electrons as an energy conversion occurs within a system. [Clarification Statement: Evidence could include half-reactions, net ionic equations, and electrochemical cells to illustrate the mechanism of electron transfer.]


Does New York Award Credit for Passing the AP Chemistry Exam?

Many high schools in New York offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Biology, Physics, and other areas to help students prepare for college.  Students may also use specific AP exams to substitute for Regents exams with NYSED-approved alternatives. It is important to note that AP Chemistry does not qualify for high school credit, but the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry with a minimum score of 540 does qualify. 

To determine whether AP Chemistry scores will get you college credit, you should contact the school directly.