Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report

October 10, 2003 98-R-0768

FROM: Judith S. Lohman, Principal Analyst

RE: Required School Subjects You asked for a list of subjects schools are required to teach and the number of hours required for each subject.


Connecticut law requires certain subjects to be taught in all public schools without specifying any particular hours of schedule for teaching them. But, in order to graduate from high school, students must complete a minimum number of credits in a list of subjects. One credit equals a minimum of 135 hours or instruction per year.


Section 10-16b requires all public schools in the state to offer the following subjects taught by legally qualified teachers:

● The arts

● Career education

● Consumer education

● Health and safety, including human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention, community and consumer health, physical, mental and emotional health, youth suicide and substance abuse prevention, safety, and accident prevention

● Language arts, including reading, writing, grammar, speaking, and spelling

● Mathematics

● Physical education

● Science

● Social studies, including citizenship, economics, geography, government, and history

● Foreign language (secondary level only)

● Vocational education (secondary level only)

All public and private schools whose property is tax exempt must provide instruction in United State history including US government at all levels, and the duties, responsibilities, and rights of US citizenship ( 10-18).

In addition, public schools must offer instruction in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to understand and avoid the effects of alcohol, nicotine, and tobacco on health, character, citizenship, and personality development. Instruction must be planned, ongoing, and systematic, and must be taught in every academic year in all grades in public schools. The content and scheduling are at the discretion of local school boards. In addition, boards must offer planned, ongoing, and systematic instruction during the regular school day on acquired immune deficiency syndrome ( 10-19).

These provisions set no minimum amount of time for teaching any of the subjects.


By law, in order to graduate from high school, a student must complete at least 20 credits in between the 9th and 12th grades. A “credit” is one class period lasting at least 45 minutes every day for an entire school year. Thus, assuming the minimum 45-minute class period and a 180-day minimum school year, a student spends at least 135 hours per year to earn one credit. The minimum number of credits and hours in each subject are:

● English - 4 credits (540 hours)

● Mathematics - 3 credits (405 hours)

● Social Studies - 3 credits (405 hours)

● Science - 2 credits (270 hours)

● Arts or Vocation Education - 1 credit (135 hours)

● Physical Education - 1 credit (135 hours)