Course Challenge at UMUC
With a course challenge, you can earn credit by taking the equivalent of the final exam for a UMUC course.
If you are considering earning credit through a course challenge, here is what you need to do:
- Read this page thoroughly to learn course challenge policies and regulations.
- Read the Course Challenge Criteria to find out if you're eligible.
- If you determine that a course challenge is suitable for you, you can then apply online.
Academic credit may be earned for any UMUC undergraduate course for which a suitable examination can be prepared and administered. See the list of courses not eligible for a course challenge. Course challenge examinations are comprehensive tests of the material that is normally presented through a semester-long course. The examinations provide the opportunity to establish academic credit for competencies gained outside the classroom for which academic credit has not already been earned.
While the majority of course challenges consist of a final exam, the challenge can include other requirements based on the course chosen. These can include research papers, computer programs, language tapes, or other documents that exhibit the competency for which you are seeking credit. Requirements are set by the applicable academic department.
Course challenge examinations are created individually, so timelines can vary greatly. You should be aware that the course challenge process can take more than four months. For that reason, it is strongly suggested that students not attempt a course challenge during their final semester prior to graduation.
Any degree-seeking UMUC student who has received an official evaluation may apply for a course challenge. Applications are available online or from the Prior Learning office.
Students enrolled at other University System of Maryland institutions are not eligible to take UMUC course challenge examinations.
The fee for a course challenge examination is the current tuition for the appropriate course. This fee is paid when the syllabus for the examination is sent, and is non-refundable (except in certain cases described under Policies below), regardless of whether or not you complete the examination. There is no separate registration fee for taking a course challenge examination.
Upon receipt of your completed application and approval by the degree audit team, an instructor will be sought to prepare the examination. If approved, a study syllabus will be provided. You have up to 60 days to study the syllabus and prepare for the examination to avoid cancellation.
The examination will be administered at an agreed upon time in the Prior Learning office, an approved proctored site, or the UMUC Testing Center (proctoring fee required).
Application for credit by examination is equivalent to registration for a course. However, the conditions described below apply.
- You may cancel the application at any time before completion of the examination with no entry to your permanent record. However, your application fee is non-refundable. A student wishing to take an examination previously cancelled at the student's request must reapply and pay all applicable fees.
- You may elect to take an examination for credit on a pass/fail basis, but only in accordance with UMUC regulations governing the use of the pass/fail option. The election of regular grading or pass/fail must be made at the time of application; if you make no election, regular grading will apply.
- UMUC academic standards will govern the examination. The grades awarded by the examiner will be entered on your permanent record. Under no circumstances can you elect to not have the grade posted once you have earned a grade on a challenge exam.
- Letter grades earned on examinations to establish credit are entered on your official academic record and are used in computing your cumulative grade point average.
- You may not attempt credit by examination in any writing course or in any course for which you have previously earned a letter grade (including a W) at UMUC.
- No course challenge may be attempted more than twice. An "attempt" is considered to begin at the time you see the contents of the examination.
- You may apply for course challenge for only one course of a course sequence (e.g., Accounting I or II) at a time.
- Normally, you may not challenge a lower-level course (numbers 100-299) after completing higher-level courses (numbers 300-499) in the same discipline. You may never seek a course challenge for a course that is prerequisite to a course for which you have already received credit.
- In the case of foreign language examinations, UMUC reserves the right to determine your native language and the level of examination to be taken. The following specific regulations apply:
- Your "native language" is the one you first learned to read and write in as a child through regular schooling. Therefore, it is not necessarily the native language of your parents or the primary language associated with your country of birth.
- You may not seek credit by examination in lower-level courses of your native language.
- You may not seek credit by examination in upper-level conversation courses of your native language.
- You may seek credit by examination in upper-level courses of your native language when those courses emphasize written translation to and from English, linguistics, or literature.