Prior Learning Credit (A/S Level, AP, BMT, CLEP, Credit-by-Exam, IB)
The University of Maryland provides students with several opportunities to receive undergraduate credit for knowledge and achievements gained through prior learning/competency-based education. Students may earn up to one-half of the credits required for their baccalaureate degree through Prior Learning Credit (PLC). Usually, this is no more than 60 credits. No more than 30 of these credits can be from College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
The University of Maryland recognizes the following as PLC:
- Advanced Level/Advanced Subsidiary Level (A-Level/AS-Level)
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- Basic Military Training (BMT)
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
- Departmental Proficiency Exams (Credit-by-Exam)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
All PLC that is awarded credit by the University of Maryland, with the exception of Credit-by-Exam, is recorded as prior learning credit at the top of the student’s transcript and will be included in the total number of credits earned. Credits earned through Credit-by-Exam are considered resident credit and posted under the semester in which the exam was taken. Students will not receive credit for both passing an examination and completing an equivalent course.
Students should inform their advisor they have received or anticipate receiving credit for AP, IB, or A-Level/AS-Level exams. This information may impact placement into courses required for their degree.
Credit for AP, IB, A-Level/AS-Level and CLEP is awarded based on the approval of the department overseeing the course content and is subject to ongoing departmental reevaluation.
Even if a student has already been awarded credit for one of these exams at another institution, the credit will be reevaluated by the University of Maryland. The score received on the exam must be equal to the minimum score the University of Maryland accepted at the time the test was taken, otherwise, the exam will not be awarded PLC. The University of Maryland must receive an official score report directly from the organization/board that administered the exam for PLC to be awarded.
Duplicate credit will not be awarded for passing an exam and completing an equivalent course. Credit received in a course at the University of Maryland shall supersede any credit from AP, IB, A-Level/AS-Level, or CLEP. A student who has earned any grade, passing or otherwise, in a course at the University of Maryland shall not subsequently receive credit for that course by AP, IB, A-Level/AS-Level, or CLEP. If a student has been awarded exam credit for an equivalent University of Maryland course in which they have also earned credit, the course from the exam will be marked on their record as being a repeated course and the credits will be removed from the total number of credits earned. No credit will be awarded for AP, IB, or A-Level/AS-Level exams that are repeated or taken after a student has matriculated to the University of Maryland.
Information about the Prior Learning Credit, including the acceptance and awarding of credit, along with course equivalency charts, can be found online at http://www.transfercredit.umd.edu/plc.html. The University of Maryland's polices and procedures for credit for prior learning can be found in policy III-1.41(A) University of Maryland Policy and Procedures Concerning Credit for Prior Learning. The University System of Maryland Policy on Credit for Competency-Based Education and Prior Learning can be found at https://www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionIII/. Questions regarding PLC should be directed to Transfer Credit Services.
The University of Maryland awards credit for A-Level/AS-Level exams taken through Cambridge International Exams (CIE) or one of the other approved boards. All departments reserve the right to reevaluate the content of exams and to change the assignment of credit, minimum required score and course equivalencies. The year in which the student took the A-Level/AS-Level exam will determine how the University of Maryland awards credit. For example, if a student takes an A-Level/AS-Level exam 2023, the credit awarded is based on the evaluation of the exam during the 2023 year. Students are not permitted to earn credit for both A-Level and AS-Level exams within the same subject areas. Official scores must be sent by CIE or the approved exam board to the University of Maryland. For additional information about A-Level/AS-Level, visit http://www.transfercredit.umd.edu/plc.html.
The University of Maryland encourages applicants to seek AP credit so that academically successful students may move forward in their programs at an appropriate pace. However, credit is not awarded for all exams offered by College Board. Credits for AP exams are awarded based on departmental approval when the designated minimum score is earned. All departments reserve the right to reevaluate the content of exams and to change the assignment of credit, minimum required score and course equivalencies. The year in which the student took the AP exam will determine how the University of Maryland awards credit. For example, if a student takes an AP exam in 2023, the credit awarded is based on the evaluation of the exam during the 2023 year. Students need to have their scores sent directly to the University of Maryland from College Board; the University’s code is 5814.
Students who are currently on active duty or former service members in the United States Armed Forces are eligible to be awarded six credits of lower-level general elective credits. The credits are awarded for the completion of basic physical fitness and basic military science as part of basic military training for the United States Armed Forces.
To qualify, students must have been enrolled as an undergraduate student in the Fall 2013 semester or later, along with one of the following:
- Currently serving as an active duty member in the United States Armed Forces.
- Currently serving as a member of a reserve or National Guard branch of the United States Armed Forces.
- Has been Honorably Discharged from service in the United States Armed Forces.
- Has been Honorably Discharged from a reserve or National Guard branch of the United States Armed Forces.
CLEP recognizes college-level competence achieved outside the college classroom. Two types of CLEP tests are available:
- General Examinations - cover the content of a broad field of study
- Subject Examinations - cover the specific content of a college course
Credit is not awarded for all CLEP General and Subject Examinations. CLEP credits are awarded when satisfactory scores are attained. All departments reserve the right to reevaluate the content of exams, and to change the assignment of credit, minimum required score and course equivalencies. The year in which the student took the CLEP exam will determine how the University of Maryland awards credit. For example, if a student takes a CLEP exam in 2023, the credit awarded is based on the evaluation of the exam during the 2023 year. Current University of Maryland students must obtain permission from their advising college prior to taking a CLEP exam. This ensures the CLEP credits are acceptable and will apply toward the student's degree requirements. CLEP exams are administered at approved CLEP testing centers throughout the country. The University of Maryland is an approved CLEP Test Center (Test Center Code: 5814). Students who want to earn credit through CLEP must request their official score reports to be sent to the University of Maryland. The Score Recipient Code is 5814.
At the University of Maryland, Credit-by-Exam is comparable to a comprehensive final examination in a course. Although the mathematics department receives the most applications for Credit-by-Exam, other departments may provide opportunities to earn credit for certain courses. Initial inquiry as to whether an examination in a specific course is available should be directed to the academic department which offers the course in question.
Credit-by-Exam may not be taken for courses in which the student has remained registered at the University of Maryland, beyond the Schedule Adjustment Period even with a transcript notation of W.
In order to be considered for Credit-by-Exam, a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- A minimum of 12 (twelve) credit hours completed at the University of Maryland;
- A minimum grade point average of 2.0;
- Completion of all prerequisite courses or the approval of the department chairperson (or, in non-departmentalized units, the dean) and the Senior Vice President and Provost.
Note: Requirements 1. and 2. may be waived for students in their first semester at the University of Maryland by the department chairperson and the dean.
The following applies to the grading associated with Credit-by-Exam:
- A student may cancel the application for credit-by-exam at any time prior to the completion of the examination with no entry on the permanent record.
- The examination instructor shall make the grade available to the student prior to the formal submission of the grade.
- A grade of “C-” or better must be obtained to establish credit-by-exam.
- If a student elects not to have the grade posted, a grade of “W” shall be recorded. No course may be attempted more than once using credit-by-exam.
- Grades earned using credit-by-exam shall be posted on the transcript as resident credit in the semester the examination was taken and used in computing semester and cumulative grade point averages. Such grades shall be accompanied by the notation “By examination” as applicable.
Credit-by-exam will not be accepted for any part of the final 30 (thirty) semester hours without permission of the Senior Vice President and Provost. With such permission, 6 (six) of the final 30 (thirty) credit hours may be by credit-by-exam. Applications for examinations shall be approved on an individual course basis. The instructor must certify on the report of examination that copies of the examination questions and the student's answers shall be retained in accordance with the University of Maryland’s Records and Retention and Disposal Schedule.
If an examination for a course is available, the department will provide information regarding when and where the exam is administered, type of examination, and material which might be helpful in preparing for the examination. Students can apply for a Math CBE by contacting the department (firstname.lastname@example.org). Additional information may be found on their website: https://www-math.umd.edu/credit-by-exam.html.
The year in which the student took the IB exam will determine how the University of Maryland awards credit. For example, if a student takes an IB exam in 2023, the credit awarded is based on the evaluation of the exam during the 2023 year. Credit is not awarded for all exams offered by IB and is based on departmental approval. All departments reserve the right to reevaluate the content of exams, and to change the assignment of credit, minimum required score and course equivalencies. Students should have their scores sent directly to the University of Maryland from the International Baccalaureate Results Service. The university’s code is 001417.
There are some instances of prior learning/competency-based education for which the University of Maryland generally does not award credit. These include, but are not limited to: American Council on Education (ACE), Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI), StraighterLine, Sophia Learning, Coursera, Outlier, departmental credit-by-exam from institutions other than Maryland public institutions of higher education, and/or life experiences.
Students may contact the Office of the University Registrar to appeal the acceptance of prior learning experiences. For prior learning credit to be awarded during an appeal, the student must provide evidence that the prior learning experience falls within the level, scope, content and expected learning outcomes of courses offered at the University of Maryland. The determination of the Office of the University Registrar shall be final.