Chatham University

Chatham University

Credit-by-Exam (CLEP & DSST) FAQs

How can Chatham University’s Credit–by–Exam Program contribute to my educational goals?
By earning credit in college–level introductory courses, students is in a position to advance more quickly towards their educational goals while saving money. Studies conducted by the College Board state that students utilizing credit–by–exam programs (specifically CLEP– College Level Examination Program) tend to outperform peers as well as complete their degrees at a higher rate1. While you might consider some exams to fulfill elective requirements, some exams may suit a portion of your general education requirements or credit towards your major or minor. Graduate students might consider some of these exams to satisfy program pre-requisites.
How much credit is available through credit-by-exam?
Student may earn as many as 60 prior learning assessment (PLA) credits through a combination of credit-by-exam and portfolio narratives. Student may not earn credit for courses which they have failed or in which they have received a "W" grade by either registering for the course or by submitting a narrative that did not receive a passing grade. No more than 50% of PLA and transfer credits can be applied towards the major or minor. The remaining 50% must be completed at Chatham. Credit earned through CBE does not fulfill Chatham University’s residency requirements.
Which exams are available to Chatham University students?
Currently enrolled Chatham University degree-seeking students most frequently find CLEP or DSST exams to best serve their interests. With over 30 CLEP ( and 38 DSST exams (, these 90 minute, multiple choice exams provide a wide array of options to students. Additionally, some Chatham University departments offer course-specific challenge exams. Advance Placement (AP), A-Levels and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams are exams to consider during your high school career.
Who is eligible for Chatham University's credit-by-exam program?
While Chatham University's PLA program is designed to help Gateway adult students save time and money, any student may opt to take CLEP and DSST Exams. Credit will be awarded if the student meets Chatham University's established minimum requirements for each examination. Please contact the Office or Prior Learning Assessment to review the guidelines. Your advisor must also be consulted to ascertain that the exam will lend itself to fulfilling your degree requirements.
How do I prepare for exams?
Chatham University offers exam preparation workshops. Also, affordable study guides for CLEP and DSST exams are readily available for purchase. The study materials target the knowledge about which you will be tested. It is highly recommended that you consider these study guides prior to taking an exam.
When will I receive my results?
In most cases (with the exception of essay requirements), your results will be available at the end of your testing session.
What costs will I incur?
Fees for CLEP exams are $80 per exam plus a $20 administration fee if taken at Chatham University's CLEP testing center. DSST exams are available at a cost of $80 per exam plus a similar test administration fee which varies per testing site. In total, these combined costs for exams that can result in the award of 2-6 credits are often less expensive than required reading material for a typical course.

¹Scammacca, N., and Dodd, B. (2005). An Investigation of Educational Outcomes for Students Who Earn College Credit through the College-Level Examination Program. College Board Research Report No. 2005-5 (New York: The College Board).

Please contact the Director of Academic Support and Prior Learning Assessment with any additional questions or to explore credit-by-exam as a means of earning credit:

Deborah Prise
Director of Academic Support & Prior Learning Assessment
Chatham University
Coolidge Hall–Room 235A