Chatham University

Credit by Examination – Prior Learning Assessment

Undergraduate and graduate students may earn credit for courses by meeting established exam guidelines. Testing options include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST, and some course-specific challenge exams offered by Chatham academic departments. This is determined by each program.

Studies conducted by the College Board state that students utilizing credit-by-exam programs (specifically CLEP) tend to outperform peers as well as complete their degrees at a higher rate. While undergraduates might consider some exams to fulfill elective requirements, some exams may suit a portion of their general education requirements or credit towards their majors or minors. Graduate students might consider some of these exams to satisfy program pre-requisites.

The process

Students should first contact the Office of Academic Support and Prior Learning Assessment and their advisors to determine which exams will fulfill degree requirements. Once eligibility and exam(s) are determined, students should consider exam preparation workshops that Chatham offers. Affordable study guides that target the knowledge that will be tested for CLEP and DSST exams are also readily available for purchase. It is highly recommended that students consider these study guides along with the resources provided by Chatham University prior to taking an exam.

Credit will be awarded if the student meets Chatham University's established minimum requirements for each examination. In most cases (with the exception of essay requirements), results will be available at the end of the testing session. When a student successfully passes an exam, the student should request the official test scores to be sent to the University, once the university receives the scores the course earned will be added to the student's transcript.

Credit by Exam (CLEP & DSST) FAQs

Which exams are available to Chatham students?

CLEP has more than 30 exams available and DSST offers nearly 40 exams. These are typically 90 minute multiple choice exams that cover a spectrum of academic disciplines. 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.

What costs are associated with these exams?

Fees for CLEP exams and DSST are $85 per exam plus an administration fee that may vary fomr site to site, usually $20. In total, these combined costs for exams that can result in the award of 2-6 credits are often less expensive than just the required reading material for a typical course.

Which CLEP examinations are available for credit at Chatham?


Below are some guidelines for credit granted by means of CLEP examination. Please refer to the CLEP website for more information on course availability.

CLEP ExamMajor/ElectiveCredit AwardScore
Financial Accounting Both 3 50
Introductory to Business Law Both 3 50
Principles of Management Both 3 50
Principles of Marketing Both 3 50
French Language Level 1 Elective 6 50
French Language Level 2 Neither N/A N/A
German Language Level 1 Elective 6 50
German Language Level 2 Neither N/A N/A
Spanish Language Level 1 Elective 6 50
Spanish Language Level 2 Neither N/A N/A
American Government Both 3 50
Principles of Macroeconomics Both 3 50
Principles of Microeconomics Both 3 50
Social Sciences & History Elective 3 50
U.S. History I Elective 3 50
U.S. History II Elective 3 50
Western Civ. I Elective 3 50
Western Civ. II Elective 3 50
Human Growth & Development Both 3 50
Intro. to Educational Psychology Both 3 50
Introductory Psychology Both 3 50
Introductory Sociology Both 3 50
Biology Both 6 50
Calculus Both 4 50
Chemistry Both 6 50
College Algebra Elective 3 50
College Math Neither N/A N/A
Natural Sciences Elective 3 50
Precalculus Elective 3 50
Info. Systems & Computer Apps. Elective 3 50
American Literature Both 6 50
Analyzing & Interpreting Literature Elective 3 50
College Composition Elective 3 50
College Composition Modular Elective 3 50
English Literature Both 6 50
Humanities Elective 3 50

When can credit by examination not be used?

There are many courses that do not have CLEP, DSST, or developed Chatham exams which students can take. Additionally, a student may not receive credit by examination for a course:

  • which the student has failed
  • for which the student has already received credit
  • for which the student is presently registered after the add-drop period

Additional testing parameters and policies can be obtained by contacting the Office of Academic Support and Prior Learning Assessment.

Please contact your admissions representative with any questions or to explore your eligibility for credit by examination as a means of earning credit.