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Undergraduate Catalog 2015-2016


Prior Learning Credit - AP, IB, A-Level/AS-Level, CLEP, Credit-by-Exam, Basic Military Training

The University of Maryland provides students with several opportunities to receive undergraduate credit for knowledge and achievements gained through prior earning and non-traditional experiences. Typically, the University recognizes the following for awarding Prior Learning Credit (PLC): Advanced Placement Exams (AP), International Baccalaureate Exams (IB), Advanced Level/Advanced Subsidiary Level Exams (A-Level/AS-Level), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Basic Military Training and Departmental Proficiency Exams (Credit-by-Exam). Once a student has matriculated to the University of Maryland, they are not permitted to go back and take AP, IB or A-Level exams for credit. Credits earned for the above PLC, except for Credit-by-Exam are posted to the student’s record as transfer credit. Credit-by-Exam is considered resident credit. Undergraduate students may earn a total of up to one-half of the credits required for their degree through Prior Learning Credit. Usually, this is no more than 60 credits. No more than 30 of these credits can be from CLEP. Students will not receive credit for both passing an examination and completing an equivalent course.

Students should inform their advisor that they have received or anticipate receiving credit for AP, IB, CLEP, or A-Level/AS-Level exams. This information may impact placement into courses required for their major. If a student has already been awarded credit for one of these exams at another institution, the exam will be re-evaluated by the University of Maryland prior to credit being awarded. The score received must be equivalent to the minimum score the University of Maryland accepted at the time the test was taken; otherwise, the credit will not be eligible for transfer. Credit for AP, IB, A-Level/AS-Level and CLEP exams are awarded based on approval of the relevant department offering the course material and is subject to ongoing departmental re-evaluation. Exam credits that are accepted are recorded as transfer credit and will be included in the total number of credits earned. However, it is up to the advising college to determine how the exam credits are applicable to the student's degree requirements. 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.

Effective July 16, 2013, the University of Maryland implemented a new policy to award active duty and former service members in the United States Armed Forces 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.

Information about the Prior Learning Credit, including the acceptance and awarding of credit, along with course equivalency charts, can be found online at www.transfercredit.umd.edu/plc.html . The University of Maryland Policy and Procedures Concerning Credit for Prior Learning can be found at  www.president.umd.edu/policies/2014-iii-141a.html .  The University System of Maryland Policy on Credit for Competency-Based Education and Prior Learning can be found at  www.usmd.edu/regents/bylaws/SectionIII/ .  Questions regarding PLC should be directed to Transfer Credit Services at transfercredit@umd.edu .

Advanced Placement Credit (AP)

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 the College Board. Credits are awarded based on departmental approval. For most exams, credit is awarded for minimum scores of 3 or higher. However, there are some exams that require a score of 4 or higher. All departments reserve the right to re-evaluate the content of exams to determine the acceptability, assignment of credit and course equivalencies. Students need to have their scores sent directly to the University of Maryland from the College Board; the University’s code is 5814.

International Baccalaureate Exams (IB)

IB credit is awarded to students who have completed IB exams with a minimum grade of 5. Credit is not awarded for all exams offered by IB and is based on departmental approval. All departments reserve the right to re-evaluate the content of exams to determine the acceptability, assignment of credit and course equivalencies. Students need to have their scores sent directly to the University of Maryland from the IB Program.

Advanced Level/Advanced Subsidiary Level (A-Level/AS-Level)

The University of Maryland awards credit for A-Level/AS-Level Exams taken through Cambridge International Exams (CIE). All departments reserve the right to re-evaluate the content of exams to determine the acceptability, assignment of credit and course equivalencies. Students are not permitted to earn credit for both AS-Level and A-Level exams within the same subject areas. Official scores must be sent by CIE to the University of Maryland.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) recognizes college-level competence achieved outside the college classroom. Two types of CLEP tests are available: General Examinations, which cover the content of a broad field of study; and Subject Examinations, which cover the specific content of a college course. Credit can be earned and will be recognized by the University of Maryland for some CLEP General or Subject Examinations, provided satisfactory scores are attained. Credits are awarded based on departmental approval. All departments reserve the right to re-evaluate the content of exams to determine the acceptability, assignment of credit and course equivalencies. Credits earned under CLEP are treated as transfer credit. CLEP exams are administered at CLEP testing centers throughout the country. The University of Maryland is a CLEP Test Center (Test Center Code: 5814). To obtain an application or additional information, contact the CLEP Administrator in the Counseling Center, Room 2112 Shoemaker Hall, (301-314-7688), or write to CLEP, CN 6600, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6600. Students who want to earn credit through CLEP must request their official score reports to be sent to the Office of the Registrar. The University of Maryland Score Recipient Code is 5814.

Policies governing CLEP are as follows:

1.       A student must matriculate at the university before CLEP credits are officially posted. The posting will not be done until a student has established a record.

2.       Each institution of the University System of Maryland establishes standards for acceptance of CLEP exemptions and credits. Students must check with the institution to which they will transfer to learn if they will lose, maintain, or gain credit.

3.       The University of Maryland will award credit for some, but not all CLEP examinations

a.       provided the examination was being accepted for credit here on the date the student took the examination, and

b.      provided that the examination was not taken during a student’s final 30 credits. The final 30 hours of credit are to be taken in residence, unless prior approval has been granted by the student's advising college.

4.       Credit will not be given for both completing a course and passing an examination covering substantially the same material.

5.       Furthermore, credit will not be awarded for CLEP examinations if the student has previously completed more advanced courses in the same field.

6.       CLEP examinations posted on transcripts from other institutions will be accepted if the examination has been approved by the University of Maryland and the scores reported are equal to or higher than those required by this institution. If the transcript from the prior institution does not carry the scores, it will be the responsibility of the student to request Educational Testing Service to forward a copy of the official report to the Office of the Registrar. The University awards credits for CLEP Examinations only as indicated on the chart provided online at http://transfercredit.umd.edu/plc.html .

Questions about the applicability of specific CLEP exams to your degree requirements should be directed to your college advisor.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (Credit-by-Exam)

Credit-by-Exam at the University of Maryland is comparable to comprehensive final examinations in a course. Although the mathematics department receives the most applications for credit-by-exam, many departments will provide examinations for certain of their courses. Initial inquiry as to whether an examination in a specific course is available is best made at the academic department which offers the course in question.

If an examination for a course is available, the department will provide information regarding time and place, type of examination, and material which might be helpful in preparing for the examination. An undergraduate who passes a departmental proficiency examination is given credit and quality points toward graduation in the amount regularly allowed in the course, provided such credits do not duplicate credit obtained by some other means. After making arrangements with the department, apply through the Division of Letters and Sciences, 1117 Hornbake Library, 301-405-2793.

Policies governing credit by examination:

1.          The applicant must be formally admitted to the University of Maryland. Posting of credit earned, however, will be delayed until the student is registered.

2.          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.

3.          Credit-by-Exam may not be used to change grades, including Incompletes and Withdrawals.

4.          Application for credit-by-exam is equivalent to registration for the course at the University of Maryland; however, the following conditions apply:

a.       A student may cancel the application at any time prior to completion of the examination with no entry on his/her permanent record. (Equivalent to the schedule adjustment period.)

b.      The instructor makes the results of the examination available to the student prior to formal submission of the grade. Before final submission of the grade, the student may elect not to have this grade recorded. In this case, a mark of W is recorded. (Equivalent to the drop period.)

c.       No examination may be attempted more than twice.

d.      The instructor must certify on the report of the examination submitted to the Office of the Registrar that copies of the examination questions (or identifying information in the case of standardized examinations), and the students answers have been filed with the chair of the department offering the course.

5.          If accepted by the student (see 4b above), letter grades earned through credit-by-exam are entered on the student's transcript, and are used in computing his/her cumulative grade point average. A student may elect to take a credit-by-exam Pass-Fail only if the credit fulfills an elective in the student's degree program. No college, major, field of concentration, or general education program requirement may be taken under the pass-fail option. Please refer to the Pass-Fail policy under the Records section in this chapter.

Basic Military Training Credit

Students who are currently 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 be enrolled as an undergraduate student in the Fall 2013 semester or beyond, 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.
  • Have been Honorably Discharged from service in the United States Armed Forces.
  • Have been Honorably Discharged from a reserve or National Guard branch of the United States Armed Forces.

Please see the Prior Learning Credit webpage at www.transfercredit.umd.edu/plc.html for required documentation to request these credits.

Other Non-Traditional Experience

There are some instances of prior learning experiences for which the University of Maryland typically 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), departmental credit-by-exam from non-Maryland public institutions, and life experiences. Students may contact the Office of the 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 content, level, scope and learning outcomes of courses offered at the University of Maryland. 

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