The SHSM Program

The Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM), launched in September 2006, are part of the Student Success Strategy initiative, which focuses on expanding quality learning opportunities and supporting success for all students.

The SHSM is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements for their secondary school diploma (OSSD). This career-focused program is also designed to help prepare students to make the transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university, or the workplace.

A SHSM enables students to gain sector-specific skills and knowledge in the context of engaging, career-related learning environments and helps them focus on graduation and on pursuing their post-secondary goals.


Program Requirements

Components for the SHSM

  •  A bundle of Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits that include:
    • 4 major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills;
    • 3 or 4 other required credits from the Ontario curriculum, in English and Mathematics, in which some expectations are met through learning activities contextualized to the sector;
    • 2 cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practice sector-specific knowledge and skills
    • Sector-recognized certifications and training courses (some are compulsory, and a choice of additional training from a list of Ministry approved certifications and training courses. The requirement is different for each sector)
  •  Experiential learning activities within the sector
  •  “Reach Ahead” experiences in the area of the student’s post-secondary destination of choice
  •  Development of Essential Skills and work habits required in the sector, and use of the Ontario Skills Passport (OSP) for purposes of documentation

What are “Reach Ahead” opportunities?

“Reach Ahead” opportunities are experiences that enable students to refine skills and work habits, gain confidence, and make informed choices about future careers.

When do students start SHSM?

The SHSM is open to all students. Entry should occur in grade 10 in order for the students to be appropriately scheduled into the required courses.