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Policy Handbook 
Policy Handbook
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AA/04/AS/05/UEPC - Credit by Examination

Effective May 19, 2005

California State University, Stanislaus provides several means by which students may accelerate their college studies. Students currently enrolled as well as prospective students are urged to acquaint themselves with the various alternatives for acceleration outlined below, and are strongly urged to take advantage of them.

Some basic rules apply to each of the alternative programs offered by the University. Essentially, they are as follows:

  • Both subject and unit credit for either admission or transfer will be awarded to the student except under Alternative IV where subject credit only is awarded. However, no duplicate credit (for courses previously taken by and credited to the student) will be awarded under any alternative.
  • Unit credit earned through any alternative for acceleration will not be counted as resident credit.
  • Subject and unit credit earned through any alternative for acceleration may count toward the completion of major or minor requirements only with the approval of the student’s Major and Minor Advisors and the appropriate Department Chairman.
  • All credit allowed will be ungraded and will be documented in the student’s academic record file.
  • Unit credit earned under any alternative for acceleration will count toward the University’s 120 semester unit graduation requirement.

The several programs available to CSUS students for acceleration of their studies are as follows:

Alternative I - Credit by the University Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Program

Some high schools give students the opportunity to take one or more courses which cover university-level material. In May of each year, the University Entrance Examination Board provides examinations for these courses.

Students who have successfully completed courses in the Advanced Placement Program and who achieve scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the University Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Examinations will be awarded credit as set out in the Statewide Policy on Credit by Examination promulgated by the Chancellor of the California State University. Subject and unit credit will be awarded in courses most nearly equivalent to the material covered in the Advanced Placement Examinations according to the following schedule:


  • English: (Single Examination)
  • Freshman English Composition - 3 semester units
  • Introduction to English Literature - 3 semester units
  • Introduction to French Literature - 6 semester units
  • Third Year French Language - 6 semester units
  • Introduction to German Literature - 6 semester units
  • Introduction to Spanish Literature - 6 semester units
  • Fifth Semester Latin (Vergil) - 3 semester units 
  • Fifth Semester Latin (Lyric) - 3 semester units
  • Fifth Semester Latin (Prose) - 3 semester units

Social Sciences:

  • American History - 6 semester units
  • World History - 6 semester units

Natural Sciences and Mathematics:

  • Principles of Biology (No Laboratory Credit) - 6 semester units
  • Principles of Chemistry (No Laboratory Credit) - 6 semester units
  • General Physics (No Laboratory Credit) - 6 semester units
  • General Physics with Calculus (No Laboratory Credit) - 6 semester units
  • ​First and Second Term Calculus - 6 semester units
  • Second and Third Term Calculus - 6 semester units

Appropriate General Education Credit will be awarded by the Records Office upon submission of passing scores by the student.

Alternative II - Credit Through College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Resolution No. 10, 1972/73 as follows:

Applicants for admission to the University as well as enrolled students may already possess knowledge comparable to that expected in aspects of the General Education Program or in specific courses. Such persons may avail themselves of the opportunities presented by the College-Level Examination Program of the College Entrance Examination Board.

There are five General Examinations of which the student may write in one or more of the following areas:

  • English Composition
  • Humanities (including Fine Arts and Literature)
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences (including biological and Physical Sciences)
  • Social Sciences (including General Social Sciences and History)

The General Examinations are intended to provide a comprehensive measure of undergraduate achievement in these five basic areas of the Liberal Arts. They are not intended to measure advanced training in any specific discipline, but rather to assess a student’s knowledge of fundamental facts and concepts, his ability to perceive relationships and his understanding of the basic principles of the subject.

There are also many Subject Examinations by which the promising student may avail himself of the opportunity to earn credit by examination. The Subject Examinations differ from the General Examinations in that the former are more closely tied to course content and are intended to cover material that is typical of college courses in these subjects.

The University will allow credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) under the following conditions:

  • CLEP General Examinations - 6 semester units of credit for each examination passed with a score of 500 or better. General Education credit is granted.
  • CLEP Subject Examinations - 3 semester units (term course) to 6 semester units (Year course) of subject credit for each Subject Examination passed with a score of at least 50. A higher passing score may be required by departmental policy for CSUS course equivalency credit. Departmental major and minor requirements to which CLEP Subject Examination credit may be applied are to be determined by departmental policy.

Credit for CLEP examinations successfully passed may be determined either at admission or subsequent thereto, and scores may be submitted to the Admissions Office at any time.

Full details concerning registration, costs, and arrangements for administration of the CLEP can be obtained from the Testing Office.

Alternative III - Credit for Proficiency by Challenge Examination

A student who already possesses, or through independent study is able to acquire, the ideas and concepts of a course can accelerate progress through the University. Credit by Challenge Examination is not treated as part of the student’s work load during a regular term, and therefore, does not require a petition for excess study load.

There are presently two types of courses at the University for which a student may receive credit through taking and passing a proficiency examination. Proficiency examinations for both types of courses are prepared, approved, and evaluated by the appropriate academic department and administered by the Testing Office.

  1. California State University, Stanislaus Courses Regularly Offered by Examination
    1. Certain basic courses at the University are offered by examination on a regularly- scheduled basis (e.g. Health Education, American Government). More will be added in future years. Credit by Examination may be earned in these courses under the following conditions:
      1. A special “Challenge Examination” section of the course is listed in the Class Schedule for the term in which credit is sought.
      2. The student enrolls in the course for Credit by Examination during a regular registration period.
      3. The student takes the examination at the time and place specified, and passes it at a level which the academic department deems to be satisfactory. Grades of Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) will be awarded.
  2. Challenge of a CSUS Course
    1. A currently-enrolled student who has special preparation because of unusual opportunities and who feels that he has covered the necessary course content, may challenge courses as determined by the department by:
      1. securing a Request for Credit by Challenge Examination from the Admissions and Records Office, obtaining the necessary departmental approvals, paying the appropriate examination fee, and filing all copies of the completed request with the Testing Office;
      2. taking the Challenge Examination at the time and place specified and passing it at the level deemed satisfactory by the department. Grades of Credit (CR) and No Credit (NC) will be awarded.

Complete instructions for processing the “Request” are contained in the form.

The instructor of any challenged course, after consultation with the student and his academic adviser, will recommend approval or disapproval of the student’s request to the Department Chairman. Results of the Challenge Examination will be reported to the Registrar on or before the last day of the Final Examination Schedule in the semester.

Alternative IV - Passing of Certain Subject Requirements by Examinations

In cases where a student wishes to satisfy specific requirements (i.e. U.S. Constitution, State and Local Government, etc.) and an appropriate course is not offered by the College, the requirement may be passed by examination under the following conditions:

  • Special arrangements for preparation of the necessary examination are made with the appropriate academic department.
  • A Request for Credit by Challenge Examination is completed and the necessary approvals are secured.
  • The appropriate challenge fee is paid to the Cashier’s Office.
  • The examination is taken and successfully passed at the time specified.

Subject credit only is granted for this type of Challenge Examination. An appropriate notation certifying completion of the specific requirement will be placed on the student’s academic record.

Review History: Approved by Academic Senate on March 22, 2005. Approved by President Marvalene Hughes on May 19, 2005.

Academic Affairs Division has the primary responsibility for this policy.

Attachment(s): AA/4/AS/05/UEPC - Credit by Examination  

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