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Credit By Examination (Challenge a Course)


A student can receive credit for a class in which they can, instead of attending the course, pass an equivalent test.

The student will receive credit toward earned hours, graduation requirements and verification of enrolled units once the paperwork is processed at the end of the term, but the units do NOT apply toward resident credit.

The length of the examination will be consistent with the unit value of the course and will be structured in such a way as to determine that the student has essentially the same knowledge and skills as those student who successfully complete the course.

The Credit by Examination Petition must be submitted to Office of the Registrar by the last day of lecture.


The student must be registered for the quarter in which they would like to receive credit, but NOT in the class to challenge. Note: The student CANNOT have ever been enrolled in the course (graded or withdrawn/Cal Poly or other campus) or enrolled in a comparable course at a more advanced level.

Credit will NOT be awarded if an examination for the same course was previously taken within the past year.

Credit will NOT be awarded if the total amount of credit awarded for externally developed tests exceeds 45 quarter units (Advanced Placement Examination credit is excluded from this limit).

How to Apply

The student must request the Credit by Examination Petition directly from the Office of the Registrar, Records Unit. The form will be provided to the student via Adobe Sign. When the student contacts the Records Unit to request access to the form, they must specify which course (Ex. ENGL 134) they are petitioning to receive credit by examination.

As an Adobe Sign form, the Credit by Examination Petition will route automatically to the Department Chair and the Instructor once the student has completed the top section of the form and paid $25 to the University Cashiers. The $25 receipt must be attached to the form (payment instructions can be found at the top of the form).


The Instructor will administer the test and indicate the earned grade on the Credit by Examination Petition.

The student can view the added course on when grades are available for the appropriate term. Said grade will become part of the student's permanent record.

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