Credit by Examination

Students may demonstrate evidence of college-level achievement through the use of nationally standardized tests. Competency to write these examinations may have been gained through intensive preparation in high school, extensive reading in a particular field, or other types of formal or informal preparation. A student may not repeat by proficiency testing a course that has been previously taken or failed at NDSU or another accredited institution. Score reports must be sent directly to NDSU from the awarding agency/board. High school transcripts and student-issued grade reports are not considered official for purposes of awarding credit by examination. Credit by examination is not considered NDSU residential credit.


Advanced Placement Examination (AP)

Students from high schools that participate in the Advanced Placement Program may earn credit through examinations provided by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). The examinations are administered at the conclusion of a college-level course taught in participating high schools. AP Score Reports are sent to the colleges or universities designated on your exam answer sheet. Students who do not designate NDSU on their answer sheet may contact AP Services (see below) to have scores sent to NDSU. The code for NDSU is 6474.

In accordance with North Dakota University System policy, a minimum score of three is required to receive credit for Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. If NDSU does not have an equivalent course, free elective credit may be awarded. Credit earned through AP is not residence credit and may not be used to satisfy residence-credit requirements for graduation.  For a listing of AP exams and current NDSU equivalent courses visit the NDSU credit by examination webpage.

For general information or to order AP score reports contact:

  • AP Services
  • P.O. Box 6671
  • Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
  • Phone: (609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada)
  • Automated score report request line: (888) 308-0013 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada)
  • Email: apexams@info.collegeboard.org
  • Web site: www.collegeboard.org

*Please contact the NDSU Office of Registration and Records at 701-231-7981 for more information on credit awarded for these tests.


College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP is a national testing program sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB).

According to North Dakota University System policy, a minimum score of 50 is required to receive credit for CLEP subject examinations. If NDSU does not have an equivalent course, free elective credit may be awarded.

The following CLEP policies apply at NDSU

  1. The examination should be taken prior to enrollment in the equivalent or more advanced college-level course.
  2. Scores from an examination may not be used to establish credit for a course previously taken and failed or for a course in which the student is currently enrolled.
  3. Three months must elapse before an examination may be repeated.
  4. Credit earned through CLEP is not residence credit and may not be used to satisfy residence-credit requirements for graduation.

CLEP Registration and Fees

NDSU is a national testing center for students wishing to take CLEP examinations. CLEP examinations are computerized and administered as needed. To register for a CLEP examination, contact the NDSU Counseling Center, 212 Ceres Hall, 231-7671. The current fee for each of the Subject Examinations is $105.  For a listing of CLEP exams and current NDSU equivalent courses visit the NDSU credit by examination webpage.

For general information, additional test center locations, or to order transcripts contact:

*Please contact the NDSU Office Registration and Records at 701-231-7981 for more information on credit awarded for these tests.


DSST Examinations

NDSU recognizes the DSST (Dantes) examination, which was originally designed for the military as a way to provide individuals an opportunity to obtain college level credit for what they have learned in nontraditional ways. Now available for civilian use, the DSST Test Control Officer (TCO) administers the exams on more than 560 military installations and official DSST test centers. The main users of the exams include adult education programs, U.S. Department of Defense, and two- and four-year colleges and universities.

In accordance with North Dakota University System policy, students must receive a minimum score on the examinations to qualify for possible awarding of credit and advanced placement, which is determined by the appropriate academic department on campus. If NDSU does not have an equivalent course, free elective credit may be awarded. Credit earned through DSST may not be used to satisfy residence-credit requirements for graduation.  For a listing of DSST exams and current NDSU equivalent courses visit the NDSU credit by examination webpage.

Additional Information:
For more information on DSST exams and to locate a test center, go to www.getcollegecredit.com


International Baccalaureate (IB)

NDSU recognizes the International Baccalaureate program, offered at many high schools in the United States and abroad, which allows students to take examinations for credit. The examinations are offered at the standard (SL) and higher (HL) levels. However, according to state policy, NDSU will only grant credit for applicable HL examinations.

In accordance with North Dakota University System policy, students must receive a predetermined minimum score on higher-level (HL) examinations to qualify for possible awarding of credit and advanced placement, which is determined by the appropriate academic department on campus. Credit earned through IB may not be used to satisfy residence-credit requirements for graduation. Scores received in IB examinations not included in the table below may be considered for credits. Contact the Office of Registration and Records for information.  For a listing of IB exams and current NDSU equivalent courses visit the NDSU credit by examination webpage.

To order official transcripts, please contact:


Course Challenge

A student who is currently registered may seek credit by challenging a course. A course challenge usually consists of a special comprehensive examination; however, additional types of performance may be required for some courses. A course challenge is only permitted for courses in which the student has no previous record (prior registrations allowable if course was dropped by the No Record Drop deadline in a given term). Further, credits earned by course challenge may not satisfy requirements toward a graduate degree.

Procedures for pursuing a course challenge include the following

  1. Obtain a Petition for Course Challenge Form, available online.
  2. Obtain approval from the academic adviser, the instructor of the course, and the chair of the department offering the course. Clarify expectations of the challenge, e.g., examination only or examination plus other performance. Based on the nature of the course and content area, some courses may not be approved for challenge by the department.
  3. Pay the course challenge fee at the Customer Account Services, 302 Ceres Hall, after receiving approval for the challenge (50% of the regular credit tuition charge; not subject to tuition cap).
  4. Arrange a mutually convenient date and time for the challenge with the instructor or department.
  5. Upon receipt of the signed Petition for Course Challenge form from the department, courses and credits successfully challenged are listed on the student's academic transcript with a passing grade. Unsuccessful challenges are not recorded.