Credit by Examination

Penn State students may earn credit for a course to fulfill degree requirements by earning a grade of C or higher on a comprehensive examination made available through the academic unit that offers the course. This examination is a substitute for completing the usual requirements of a course.

Non-credit examinations are offered in foreign languages for proficiency certification.


Credit by examination is not offered for all courses; the academic unit that offers the course makes the determination.

A student cannot earn credit by examination if the course is already on his/her transcript with a quality letter grade (even if the grade was an F) or with a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade.

A student cannot earn credit by exam in a course he/she transferred from another institution (described in Senate Policy 42-80) or credit earned by other means (described in Senate Policy 42-90).

The satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system cannot be used for credits earned by examination.

Student Action

Obtain credit-by-examination application form from the office of your appropriate dean, and follow the directions on the back of the form.

Fee: A $30.00-per-credit assessment is paid in the department offering the course. The fee defrays the cost of preparing, administering, and grading the exam; it is nonrefundable.

Impact on a Student's Penn State Record

Credit by Examination does not result in a quality grade (A, A-, etc.) or effect the calculation of a student's grade-point average. Credits earned are included in total credits on the student's Penn State transcript; however, they are not included in cumulative credits. On the student's transcript, the course is listed, the grade column is left blank, and CRX is noted in the field to the right of the grade column. If a student earns less than a grade of C, credits are not earned and there is no notation made on the student's transcript.

Reviewed: July 2015
Last Update: May 2009

Reference(s): Senate Policies 42-50