Credit by Examination

Students may receive credit for an ASU course by taking an examination in place of the actual course. Some exams can be taken prior to admission to ASU. Information is provided below for each type of exam, the courses that are equivalent and other conditions that may apply to credit being awarded .

  • A student may earn no more than 60 hours of credit by examination for any or all programs, including ASU comprehensive and proficiency exams.
  • Credit will not be awarded for any course in which the student has been given credit from any educational institution.
  • Credit will not be granted for a course taken at an educational institution after credit by examination has been awarded.
    Exception: Students who take the advanced placement exams may choose either to have the credit earned by advanced placement kept in their cumulative university hours, or to complete the ASU course and have the credit and grade instead, regardless of in which order the test or course are taken. (See the advanced placement section, below, for additional details on the exam and its equivalent scores.)
  • Credit may not be received for a lower-level or prerequisite course when credit has already been received in a higher-level course within the same field.
  • Only credit earned by comprehensive examination will count toward the resident credit requirement for graduation.
  • Credit by exam is awarded based on the date the exam was taken. Students who take the exam during the current catalog year (August 2018–July 2019) will earn credit based on the credit equivalency found in the current catalog. If the test was taken in a prior academic year, the student should refer to the catalog for that year or search the Transfer Credit Guide for more information.

*Credit awarded as department elective will display as DEC. A DEC course is not directly equivalent to a current ASU course but could be used for graduation requirements. Students should see their advisor to determine how these courses may apply to their major.

College-level Examination Program (CLEP) can be taken before or during enrollment at ASU.
Advanced Placement (AP) is taken during secondary school or before enrollment at ASU.
DANTES or DSST(Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support Subject Standardized Test) is taken by military or approved government personnel before or during enrollment at ASU.
International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma/certificate is earned by students of an International Baccalaureate®-approved school before enrollment at ASU.
Cambridge International Exam is taken by students who have completed a Cambridge course in their secondary school.
Comprehensive examinations can be taken by current ASU students.
Proficiency examinations can be taken by current ASU students.

For information about placement testing for mathematics and English classes prior to orientation, please refer to the placement and testing requirements in the ASU Catalog.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Students who have taken a College-Level Examination of the College Entrance Examination Board may receive university credit. The table of CLEP credit applies to all students enrolled in the university for the first time in August 1975 and any student enrolling thereafter. CLEP examination credit is not given where it duplicates credit previously earned by the student at the university or accepted by the university for work done elsewhere. All examinations are given monthly by University Testing and Scanning Services.

The General Studies requirement in natural science (SQ and SG) and literacy and critical inquiry (L) are not satisfied by CLEP. There is no limit to the number of CLEP credits that can be used to fulfill the other parts of the General Studies requirement. A student who has received ASU credit for a course due to Special Programs credit may not duplicate the credit by enrolling in the same class for credit at ASU or transferring it to another institution.

Subject Examinations

To obtain credit or placement for all subject exams except English, History, French, German, and Spanish, a student must receive a score of 50 (computer-based testing [CBT] scale) or higher. To obtain credit for College Composition, a student must receive a standard score of 610 (1978 scale), 500 (1986 scale), or 50 (CBT scale). For test scores for French, German, History and Spanish, see the CLEP credit table, below.

All equivalency is subject to future review and possible catalog change. For more information, contact University Testing and Scanning Services at 480-965-7146, or visit 1130 E. University Dr., Suite 204, Tempe, AZ.

Advanced Placement

Students who have taken an advanced placement course of the College Entrance Examination Board in their secondary school and who have taken an AP examination of the CEEB may receive university credit. No credit is given for any examination with a score of two or one. There is no limit to the number of AP credits that can be used to meet the General Studies requirement, including the requirements in natural sciences (SQ and SG) and literacy and critical inquiry (L).

When the scores are received by the university directly from the CEEB, credit is awarded as shown in the Advanced Placement Credit table below.


Students who have taken a DSST (DANTES [Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support] Subject Standardized Test) may receive university credit. Credit is awarded for score results at or above the American Council on Education's recommended score if the subject examination is applicable to a program of study at ASU or may be assigned elective credit. To receive credit, a transcript showing the DSST results must be received by ASU directly from the Educational Testing Service.

International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma/certificate

Students who present an International Baccalaureate diploma/certificate may qualify for university credit, depending on the level of the examination and the grade received. Arizona State University grants credit for higher-level courses and some standard-level courses. A high-level grade of five qualifies the student to receive credit for up to two introductory courses while a grade of four qualifies a student to receive credit for one introductory course. No credit is awarded for English as a second language (English B). Credit is awarded according to the International Baccalaureate diploma/certificate credit table below.

Cambridge International Exam

Students who have completed a Cambridge course in their secondary school and who have taken a Cambridge International AS or A level examination may receive university credit. When the scores are received by the university, credit is awarded as shown in the Cambridge International Exam table below.

Comprehensive Examinations

A comprehensive examination is intended to permit a student to establish academic credit in a field in which the student has gained experience or competence equivalent to an established university course. Applications are given only for courses listed in the current catalog and only for courses in which a comprehensive examination can serve as a satisfactory measure of accomplishment.

A number of restrictions apply. To be eligible to apply to take a comprehensive examination to establish undergraduate course equivalence, a student must:

  1. have earned not more than 60 credit hours through comprehensive, CLEP, international baccalaureate and advanced placement examinations
  2. have earned no credit for a duplicate course
  3. have earned no credit for a course for which this course is a prerequisite

The decision on the suitability of course material for a comprehensive examination, the development of a comprehensive examination and the administration of an examination are strictly departmental functions. An application is for one course only. The student should complete an application form with the number, title and number of credit hours for the course. When completed, the application must be approved by the student's advisor and the chair of the department responsible for offering the course.

The student must then pay the stated fee for such examinations at cashiering services. The receipt must be taken to the departmental office.

The examination is prepared by the instructor who normally conducts the course, and it is comprehensive in nature and scope. The instructor and other experts designated by the chair grade the examination, using letter grades "A+", "A", "A-", "B+", "B", "B-", "C+", "C", "D" or "E". If the grade is "C" or higher, a mark of "Y" is entered on the student's permanent record; otherwise, no entry is made. Credit by examination is indicated as such on the record. The student is notified by mail of the result of the examination. In cases of failure ("D" or "E"), the student is not given an opportunity to repeat the examination.

A student pursuing a second baccalaureate degree may not receive credit by comprehensive examination, but with prior approval of the college, the student may use the examination to waive a course requirement if a grade of "C" or higher is earned.

Proficiency Examinations

Proficiency examinations and auditions are given:

  1. to waive a course requirement
  2. to validate certain transfer credits in professional programs
  3. to determine a student's ability in a field where competence is an important consideration

Detailed information may be obtained from the dean's office of the college in which the student is registered.