Course Placement and Credit by Examination

Students at the University may earn credit and determine course placement by examination. Many exams are optional, while others are recommended or required for enrollment in certain courses. Most serve as a basis for both placement in an appropriate level course as well as course credit.

Any current, former, or prospective University student may attempt to earn credit by exam for any required or elective undergraduate course, provided the student has neither passed nor failed that course at the University or at any other collegiate institution. The sole exception to this policy is when a student has received transfer credit for a course with fewer semester hours than the corresponding University course carries; in those instances, the student may earn credit by exam for the University course. Additional eligibility requirements may be established by the academic department awarding credit, with the approval of the dean of the college or school. Information about additional requirements is available from Testing and Evaluation Services (TES) and from the academic department.

Credit earned by examination satisfies degree requirements in many of the same ways as credit earned by passing a course, except that it does not count as credit earned in residence and does not award award any Skills and Experience Flags associated with a given course. Credit earned by examination does not jeopardize eligibility for scholarships that require freshman standing. Credit earned by examination is designated on the student's transcript with a grade of 'CR,' and does not impact the student's GPA. The student’s official transcript does not reflect unsuccessful attempts to earn credit by examination.

A student’s academic dean may approve an exception to the course placement and credit by exam policies for compelling academic reasons. If the exception involves the student’s eligibility to be tested or to receive credit by exam in a particular course, the exception must also be approved by the department in which the course is offered.

All tests administered at the University for course placement and credit by exam require a fee. Information, including the testing schedule, eligibility requirements, test descriptions, sample questions, and the amount of test fees (including a $25 nonrefundable test registration fee), is available on the TES website.

Claiming Placement and/or Credit 

A student who has earned a credit-eligible score by exam has the option of using the score as a course prerequisite by petitioning for (claiming) "placement,” or by claiming “credit.” If the student claims "credit", TES reports the claimed course to the Registrar’s Office and the course then becomes part of the student’s academic record. Credit by examination cannot be reported to the Registrar for former students who are prohibited from enrolling in Texas public colleges and universities due to noncompliance with Texas Success Initiative regulations. Students currently on academic dismissal may not claim credit by examination. If the student wishes to use the test score as a course prerequisite without earning credit hours for the prerequisite course, they may use the qualifying score, after consulting their academic advisor, to enroll in the subsequent course. In this case, the course does not appear on the student’s academic record. A student who uses a test score for placement only may later petition for course credit, but once the score has been used for course credit it may not be changed to placement only.

A fee is assessed for using the test score for either placement or credit. The TES website gives complete instructions for petitioning and paying for placement and/or credit.

Although prospective students may take examinations to establish their eligibility to receive credit or placement, credit is awarded only to officially enrolled students and former students. Enrollment on the twelfth class day of a semester or the fourth class day of a summer term constitutes official enrollment.

In deciding whether to claim credit by exam, students should consider the impact of the credit on their eligibility for a tuition rebate; and the possibility that they will be charged additional tuition if they have excessive credit. They should also consider their program requirements and recommendations, future graduate or professional education plans, as well as any residency requirements. It is strongly advised that a student speak with their academic advisor prior to claiming credit by exam.

Examinations for Course Placement

Most of the tests mentioned below are given on the University campus immediately before each semester and before the first summer term, and at least once each fall and spring semester. General testing periods for the exams listed below may be found on the Yearly Testing Schedule on the TES website.

  1. Placement in languages. Foreign language placement tests serve not only to determine the level of work appropriate for students but also as the basis for credit by exam, which normally may be earned in lower-division courses. Credit by exam may be used to absolve a high school unit deficiency or to fulfill degree requirements. Language credit that exceeds degree requirements often may be used as elective credit.

    For course placement and credit by examination, the University uses the University of Wisconsin College-Level Placement Test in French; the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Test in German Language: Levels 1 and 2; and The University of Texas at Austin tests for credit in American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Information about the language tests and in some cases, sample questions and recommended preparation materials, are available on the TES website and from the TES office. 

    Students who have taken either a College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, or Spanish or any International Baccalaureate (IB) Examination in a foreign language do not need to take the corresponding recommended placement test, because the AP or IB examination results can be used for placement. Students should contact TES for information about foreign language tests not listed in this section.

    Students with transfer credit in a foreign language are encouraged to take the placement test before enrolling in further coursework in that language; however, in most languages, students with transfer credit are not required to take the placement test. 

    Students without transfer credit or eligible AP or IB scores but with knowledge of American Sign Language or a foreign language, however acquired, are strongly encouraged to take the associated placement test before enrolling in a course in that language. However, some languages, such as Spanish and Chinese, require students to take the placement test before enrolling in a language course. Please contact the TES office for additional information.

  2. Placement in mathematics. Students whose degree programs allow credit for Mathematics 305G  may take the UT Exam for M305G (Pre-Calculus) Credit. Students that need calculus for their major must take the UT Math Assessment (UTMA) before enrolling in a calculus course. For more information about the UT Math Assessment, including which students must complete the exam and a list of exemptions, please visit the College of Natural Sciences website.

Additional Examinations

The following tests serve as bases for placement and credit by examination at the University.                  

  1. Placement in rhetoric and writing. A student must have an eligible score on the ACT Writing or the SAT Writing and Language Test to receive credit for Rhetoric and Writing 306 . Students first admitted to UT Austin as freshmen who were first enrolled at the University in the summer 2021 and subsequent semesters may be eligible to use a qualifying score on the essay portion of the TSI Assessment (TSIA) to earn credit for Rhetoric and Writing 306. A score on the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in English Language and Composition or transfer credit for Rhetoric and Writing 306  may also be used for credit and placement. Additional information is available from TES.

    International students whose native language is not English must submit satisfactory scores on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) for admission to a lower-division rhetoric and writing course.

  2. College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations. Credit is granted to students who have earned satisfactory scores of 3 or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examinations in Art (Art History and Studio Art), Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Computer Science, English, European History, French, German, Human Geography, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Macroeconomics, Mathematics, Microeconomics, Music Theory, Physics, Psychology, Spanish, Statistics, United States Government and Politics, United States History, and World History. The AP Examination in US Government and Politics is supplemented with test items on Texas government; these additional items are administered only at the University. Advanced Placement Examinations are offered only once each year, in May, at specific high schools across the country. More information about AP Examinations is published by the College Board.

  3. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). The CLEP examinations in American Government, American Literature, Calculus, English Literature, German Language: Levels 1 and 2, Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, Introductory Psychology, and Introductory Sociology are used as basis for credit by examination. The tests in American Government, American Literature, and English Literature are supplemented with items prepared by University faculty members; these items are available only on the University campus. Information about locally prepared items may be obtained from TES. All CLEP examinations used by the University as a basis for credit by exam are given on campus on an ongoing basis.

  4. International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level Examinations. Credit is granted by the University to students who earn satisfactory scores on the IB Higher-Level Examinations in Arabic, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Computer Science, Danish, Dutch, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, Hebrew, Hindi, History (concentrations in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Islamic History), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mathematics, Norwegian, Philosophy, Physics, Portuguese, Psychology, Russian, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Spanish, Swedish, and Visual Arts.

  5. International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Students who have earned an IB Diploma and enter the University as freshmen are awarded credit based on scores of 4 or higher on IB Higher-Level (HL) and Standard-Level (SL) examinations as described by Texas Education Code section 51.968. Before claiming the credit, students should consider the impact of these hours on their eligibility for a tuition rebate; and the possibility that they will be charged additional tuition  if they have excess credit. Each student is strongly encouraged to discuss these issues with an academic advisor in their college before claiming credit. The student and advisor should also discuss the student’s academic preparation for subsequent courses based on IB test scores. Credit by exam is awarded as described below to students who have earned an IB diploma and who are admitted as freshmen:

    1. All students who submit satisfactory scores on the IB HL Examinations are eligible to receive credit by exam, whether or not they have also earned the IB Diploma or entered the University as freshmen. A list of satisfactory scores can be found on the TES website.
    2. Students who submit scores of 4 or higher on HL exams in the subjects listed in item 5 or in other IB subjects are eligible to receive credit by exam if they have also earned the IB Diploma and entered the University as freshmen.
    3. Students who submit scores of 4 or higher on IB SL exams are eligible to receive credit by exam if they have also earned the IB Diploma and entered the University as freshmen.
  6. The University of Texas at Austin tests for credit in American Sign Language (ASL), Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Computer Science, Government, Hindi, History, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Math, Physics, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian. Eligible students can earn credit for specified courses in these fields. Descriptions of the tests are available at the TES website and from the TES office. These exams are offered at various times throughout the academic year. General testing periods can be found on the Yearly Testing Schedule on the TES website.

  7. Other credit by examination. With the approval of the appropriate academic dean and department chair or program director, a student may take an examination in any undergraduate course offered by the University for which they have reason to feel qualified. A candidate may apply to take a Department Administered Exam (DAE) only after registering as a student at the University. Exams are given at the discretion of the administering department. A student who earns a satisfactory score will receive credit for the course.

  8. Department Administered Exam (DAE) forms for course exams are available from the TES office. A student who intends to apply for a Department Administered Exam should obtain a copy of the syllabus for the course or courses for which they are interested; only students who have the equivalent in knowledge or training of that presented in the outline should apply for the exam.