Credit by Examination

Undergraduate students may receive credit for an APU course by taking an examination in place of the course. Some exams can be taken prior to admission to APU. View information below for each type of exam, equivalent courses, and other conditions that may apply to credit being awarded.

Four examinations are recognized by the university: Advanced Placement (AP) tests, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and Departmental Credit Examinations (DCE).

Credit is granted to students who score a 3 or higher on an AP test, meet the cutoff level (individually determined by each APU department or school) in CLEP subject area tests, or earn a 5 or higher on the IB higher-level exams.

There is no maximum number of credits that can be accumulated from AP, CLEP, IB, and/or DCEs. Credit received by examination is tuition-free and applies toward the total requirement for graduation from the university. Administrative fees may be applied.

College credit earned by a student still in high school may be transferred to Azusa Pacific University provided that the course was taken at an accredited college/university. An official college transcript must be sent from the college/university to Azusa Pacific in order for such coursework to be evaluated for transfer of credit. Requirements for transfer applicants apply.

Challenge exams are available only in the School of Nursing according to specific guidelines.

Departmental Credit Examinations (DCE)

A Departmental Credit Examination is intended to permit a student to establish academic credit in a subject in which the student has gained experience or competence equivalent to an established university course. Departmental Credit Examinations are given only for courses listed in the current catalog and only for courses for which a Departmental Credit Examination can serve as a satisfactory measure of accomplishment.

Process of Approval for New DCEs

  • A faculty member submits a Departmental Credit Examination application to the department chair and dean (applications should include examination proposal and rationale to demonstrate that the exam can serve as a satisfactory measure of accomplishment).
  • Dean approves the application and sends it to the provost.
  • Provost approves or denies the application.
  • Approved applications are submitted to the Undergraduate Registrar to create the corresponding credit in the university academic system to be able to grant students units earned.

Process of Administration of DCEs

  • The faculty advisor and department chair sign the Departmental Credit Examination application.
  • The examination is prepared and scheduled by an approved faculty member within the department who communicates the time and place for the student to take the exam.
  • An approved faculty member grades the exam and awards a credit (CR) or no credit (NR) grade.
  • The faculty member sends the Departmental Credit Examination application, the student’s graded examination paper, and any appropriate evaluations of oral performance or projects to the Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center to award the grade and archive the exam and any corresponding materials.
  • The Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center posts the credit to the student’s academic record and applies exam fees ($125 per exam).

Information For Students Wanting to Qualify to Take a DCE

  • Students may pick up a DCE application from the respective department or the Student Services Center.
  • Students must obtain appropriate signatures from the faculty advisor and department chair.
  • The examining instructor and the head of the examining department must determine the eligibility of the applicant and sign the application.
  • If the application is approved, the examining instructor contacts the student to set up a time and place to take the exam.


  • No other enrollment or credit for that course is present on the student’s record.
  • Credit may not be received for a lower-level or prerequisite course when credit has already been received in a higher-level course within the same field.