Advanced Placement (AP)

A person who does advanced work in a secondary school may earn credit through the Advanced Placement (AP) Program, which is based on college-level study, depending on the grade earned on the exam. General information on credits awarded for advanced placement is found in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin

Authorized advisers can use ISIS screen AUII (enter 88001 in the CWIPSE field) to access a listing of all AP tests, possible test scores, and Penn State credit granted for each score. The first column lists the numerical code for the AP test subject; the second column lists test scores. Use ISIS screen AUB to view the tests a student took and the credits he/she earned. Enter the student's PSU ID, UG in the level field, and 88001 as the INST CODE. If the student had his/her scores sent to Penn State, the subject area will appear along with the credit(s) earned. If no credit was earned, UNSAT SCR will be listed.

Student Action

Arrange for official score reports to be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office (Code #2660) by writing to AP Exams, P. O. Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541, or calling 888-225-5427 (toll free) and speaking with an AP adviser.

Impact on a Student's Penn State Record

A student must be in degree status or have completed at least one course of 3 credits or more at Penn State before AP credit will be recorded on his/her transcript.

When AP credit is recorded on the student's transcript, a grade is not recorded and the student's grade-point average is not affected. Credits earned are included in the total credits earned (see Cumulative Credits/Total Credits) even if they do not meet requirements for graduation.

Tuition Assessment

Depending on when the AP credits are approved, a mid-semester tuition increase may result based on the student's tuition assessment.

Advising Note

Although there isn't an upper limit on the number of AP credits that can be applied toward a Penn State degree, there are some issues that should be considered when deciding which AP exams to take:

Background: Earning AP credit for foundation courses in place of a classroom experience sometimes compromises a student's background knowledge. For example, a student considering a major in engineering might be better off taking MATH 140, the foundation calculus course, rather than using AP credit (see recommendations provided by the Department of Mathematics).

Major Requirements: Some courses will not satisfy requirements for a degree and might not "count." Therefore, care must be taken to evaluate how AP credits will relate to a student's educational plans. For example, for a grade of four or five on the AP physics exam credit is awarded for Physics 250 and Physics 251 (algebra-based physics courses). If a student is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, those courses would not "count" in the major, because the physics courses required are calculus based. However, if a student's major is Biology, those courses would satisfy requirements.

Information at helps a student assess how credits earned through AP will relate to courses at Penn State. If you have questions about how AP credits in a specific course relate to your educational goals, contact the advising center offering the major that is of interest to the student.

The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information.

Last Update: March 2016

Reference(s): Senate Policy 42-92