Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

Credit by Examination

Credit by Examination

Another alternative to taking a course is Credit by Examination.  This involves the student completing an examination as a substitute for completing the traditional course requirements. This option can be a faster and less expensive way to demonstrate proficiency in a subject area than completing a traditional semester-long course.

Is Credit by Examination right for me?  There are several scenarios in which a student may elect to pursue the Credit by Examination option. 

  • the student has already earned at least 3 credits from Penn State
  • if a student's previous work experience has educated them sufficiently in the subject matter of a course
  • if a student has taken previous coursework at another institution but it has not transferred to Penn State

Some considerations for Credit by Examination

  • A grade of 'C' or higher must be earned in the examination for credit to be awarded.
  • Credit by Examination does not result in a letter grade and is not included in the calculation of a student's grade point average. 
  • Credit by Examination cannot be done for any course previously completed for which a letter grade has been assigned or for credit earned through the College Entrance Examination Advanced Placement Program.
  • The Credit by Examination option may not be available for some courses.  Once you have been admitted to the ESP program, you can work with your academic adviser to determine viable Credit by Examination opportunities.
  • Students utilizing the Credit by Examination option for a course will be required to pay a $30/credit fee, regardless of pass/fail.  This non-refundable fee helps defray the costs of preparing, administering, and grading the examination.

What do I do next if I want to pursue Credit by Examination? 

  • Students interested in pursuing the Credit by Examination option should review the University's policy on Credit by Examination in the Undergraduate Advising Handbook.
  • Students should then contact their academic adviser to discuss their plans for Credit by Examination.  The adviser will evaluate whether or not the student can attempt Credit by Examination to fulfill that degree requirement.  If the degree requirement can be satisfied through Credit by Examination, the adviser will contact the academic unit to inquire if they will offer Credit by Examination for that course.