Alternative Ways to Earn Credit

Here are some additional options for earning credit toward a Penn State degree program. In order for the credit to appear on your transcript, you will need to be in degree status or have completed at least one 3-credit course at Penn State.

Students who achieve CLEP scores equivalent to the American Council on Education’s recommended score may receive academic credit to apply to a degree program. 

Read more about CLEP

Students who have earned a grade of C (2.0) or better in a course at an institution outside the United States or at an institution that is not regionally accredited (but is licensed to offer associate or higher degrees) may seek credit by validation. Credit is validated by the Penn State department in which an equivalent course is taught.

World Campus students can earn additional credits to fulfill degree requirements through successful completion (C or better) of a comprehensive examination, which is a substitute for completing the usual requirements of a course. Please note that this option is only available to students who have already completed at least one Penn State course for 3 or more credits.

Credit by examination may not be used to earn credit for courses previously completed with a quality letter grade (including courses that were failed) and may not be attained on the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading system. Credit by exam will be awarded for grades of C or above. The transcript will show the course, the grade will appear as blank, and "CRX" will appear in the notes column, with a description on the Special Notes and Actions portion of the transcript. No notation is made if a grade of D or F is earned (the fee will also not be refunded).

Contact your academic adviser for a credit-by-examination application form, which outlines further instructions and procedures. Exam preparation materials are available through Barnes and Noble College (BNC).

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is how Penn State determines whether knowledge gained outside of the traditional academic environment is at the college-level and worthy of college credit. For more information and to see if your experience qualifies for PLA, visit Penn State’s Prior Learning Assessment website. Your adviser can tell you if credits obtained through PLA will apply to your degree program.