Undergraduate Catalog 2021-2022

Credit for Prior Learning: Standardized Examinations

Nationally recognized examinations are used to validate prior learning from non-collegiate schools as well as independent learning. Examination scores, used to validate prior learning, must meet or exceed the minimums recommended by ACE for national examinations. Those minimums are: a four (on a seven-point scale) in the Higher-Level course in the International Baccalaureate Organization Diploma Program, and a grade level of C or better for locally developed examinations that validate non-technical coursework. Cutoff scores for locally developed and administered advanced standing examinations shall be established. If a student achieves the score listed on an AP, AICE, IB, DSST, DLPT, or CLEP exam, CUNY institutions shall award credit even if they do not offer the subject area.

  1. Credit by examination may not duplicate credit previously earned through non-collegiate courses, examinations or through postsecondary courses in which a transferrable grade has been earned.
  2. If an exam is not listed, the awarding of credit is at the discretion of the institution.
  3. Institutions may not award credit for scores below those listed.
  4. Credit for prior learning, once recorded at a CUNY institution, is transferable on the same basis as if the credit had been earned through regular study at the awarding institution.
  5. For purposes of quality control and consistency across the university, no college may award credit for any scored or graded PLA tool when a student earns less than the published score or grade.

The credit awarded will apply toward the overall number of credits required for graduation and in some cases toward major and general education requirements, as determined by each Academic departments or programs. Otherwise credits will be acceptable only as elective credits. Credits granted by examination through outside agencies will appear on student records appropriately identified by type of exam, subject, number of credits, and P (passing) grade. No credit will be awarded for a subject area examination in which the student has already taken an equivalent college course or completed a higher-level, more advanced college course. Based on faculty review and recommendations, the Office of Academic Affairs monitors and coordinates the awarding of credit by examinations taken through outside agencies and the implementation of uniform College policy on credit-by-examination.

Advanced Placement Examinations (AP)

Advanced Placement exams are curriculum-based, and generally are taken after students complete the corresponding Advanced Placement course in high school. Advanced Placement courses are challenging, college-level courses that are designed to parallel typical lower level undergraduate courses. Exams are developed by committees of college and secondary faculty and are given to test groups of students in actual college courses to determine appropriate passing scores. More information about Advanced Placement, including descriptions of courses and sample examination questions, is available at http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/Controller.jpf. The CUNY Board of Trustees adopted a policy in 2017, that all undergraduate colleges and schools at the University shall grant course credit for advanced placement courses offered in secondary schools provided the student scores 3 or above on the advanced placement test.

Advanced International Certificate of Education Program (AICE)

The AICE program is an international, advanced secondary curriculum and assessment program equivalent to the British system of “A-Levels.” AS-Level courses are comprised of curricula lasting one academic year. A-Level courses encompass all AS-Level curriculum as well as additional topics. A-Level coursework is completed over two academic years. Information about the program, including course syllabi, can be found on-line at http://www.cie.org.uk/countries/usa. Credits shall be awarded for grades of E or better (US equivalent of C or better).


The DSST exams are designed to test students’ knowledge on a variety of college-level subjects, regardless of where they may have learned the material. Exams are developed by committees of college faculty. More information about DSSTs, including descriptions of test content and sample examination questions, is available at http://www.getcollegecredit.com/. Credits shall be awarded for minimum score of 400 on Criterion Referenced test or 45 on Norm Referenced test.

Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)

As part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (http://www.dliflc.edu/) provides resident instruction at the Presidio of Monterey in two dozen languages, five days a week, seven hours per day, with two to three hours of homework each night. Courses last from 26 to 64 weeks, depending on the difficulty of the language. DLIFLC is a multi-service school for active and reserve components, foreign military students, and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. To attend DLIFLC one must be a member of the Armed Forces or be sponsored by a government agency. DLIFLC students are taught by approximately 1,800 highly educated instructors, 98 percent of whom are native speakers of the languages they teach. Aside from classroom instruction, faculty also write course materials, design tests called the Defense Language Proficiency Test, and conduct research and analysis. Credits shall be awarded for minimum score of 3.

College-Level Examination Programs (CLEP)

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is designed to test students’ knowledge on a variety of college-level subjects, regardless of where they may have learned the material. CLEP exams are developed by committees of college faculty who design questions based on what is typically covered in lower-level college courses and who set passing standards for the exams. More information about CLEP, including recent test information guides, can be found online at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html. Credits shall be awarded for minimum score of 50.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate program is a challenging curriculum offered in high schools around the world that is designed to prepare students for advanced work in many countries’ postsecondary systems. Many subjects have both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) versions, which are taught over two academic years and typically require additional specialized research or independent work. More information about the IB program is available at http://www.ibo.org/. The CUNY Board of Trustees adopted a policy in 2017, that all undergraduate colleges at the University will award 30 credits to students who have completed an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma with a score of 30 or higher. Students who have completed an IB diploma with a score of 29 or less and students who did not complete a diploma will be guaranteed credit for higher-level IB exams with scores of “5” or better.