Specialist High Skills Major

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What is a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)?
Students explore a career path that matches their skills, interests and talents while earning a Specialist Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). 

Who is it for?
Grade 11 and 12 students can upgrade their OSSD while they try out a sector that interests them and see if it is the direction they want to take.

What are the key benefits of SHSM? 

  • Build Relevant Industry skills;
  • Industry Recognized Certifications at no cost;
  • Authentic Experiential Learning with Industry partners;
  • Reach Ahead Opportunities (Dual Credit, OYAP);
  • Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship Opportunities; and
  • Receive recognition for your accomplishments

What are the SHSM program requirements? 
Students receive the Specialist seal on their diploma when they:

  • complete a specific bundle of 7-9 credits (including 2 in Coop); 
  • earn valuable industry sector recognized certifications (compulsory & electives); 
  • gain important skills on the job through cooperative education placements.

What SHSM sectors are offered in the OCDSB?
From Business to Construction to Health & Wellness - we have the programs you want! For detailed information visit the SHSM Programs and Locations webpage.  

New OCDSB SHSM Programs
To see the new entries, please visit the OCDSB New SHSM Programs webpage.

What is the registration process?
Students who wish to enroll in a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program can do so through this SHSM Supplementary Option Sheet. Please contact your Guidance Counsellor to know about SHSM opportunities and for help with registration.

SHSM programs have limited enrolment. Students will be admitted on a priority basis in the following order: 

  1. Homeschool; 
  2. Neighbouring schools; and
  3. Remaining schools in the OCDSB. 

It is possible for students to attend a SHSM host school for one semester, and then return to their home school to complete diploma requirements. Transportation will be provided.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact your Guidance Counsellor or Curtis Van de Ligt, SHSM Board Lead
613-596-8211 ext. 8575

[email protected]


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