Credit by Examination

Northwestern recognizes that students enter college with varying degrees of preparedness. Students with superior skills and academic accomplishments have the opportunity to obtain college course credits by examination. After enrollment at Northwestern, a satisfactory performance recorded in semester hours, with no letter grade will be placed on the student’s transcript.  The hours of credit will not be used in the computation of grade point averages or considered in determining academic hours, probation, or suspension.  While students are encouraged to utilize all types of credit by examination programs, there are certain limitations. Credit by examination may be awarded only to students who are currently registered in other courses during a semester.  A maximum of thirty semester hours of credit may be earned through any one type of program. In addition, not more than half of the semester hours of credit required for an undergraduate degree may be fulfilled through an accumulation of credits from the categories of testing, correspondence, and extension work. Credit earned by examination may be used to reduce residence requirements.  A special examination for credit may not be taken in any course already completed or audited.


American College Testing (ACT):  Beginning freshmen at Northwestern may be eligible for semester hours of credit on the basis of their English and Mathematics ACT sub scores.



Advanced Placement Program (AP):  Sponsored and coordinated by the College Board and Educational Testing Service (ETS), the AP program consists of college-level courses and standardized examinations for high school students. Each May, AP exams are administered in the high schools to students who have participated in this program.  Fees are determined by, and are payable to, ETS. Recipient code number 6492 should be used by students to have their scores reported to Northwestern.  A complete list of the AP tests and credit is available in the Testing Center at NSU.



College-Level Examination Program (CLEP):  Any prospective or enrolled student who attains satisfactory scores on Northwestern State University approved Subject Examinations of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) administered by or under the auspices of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) for the College Board is eligible to receive credit on the basis of such tests.  Registration forms must be received by the Testing Center at least three weeks prior to each test date.  Students may also arrange to take CLEP tests at other centers and use recipient code 6492 to have their scores reported to Northwestern.  Students applying for credit for NSU-approved CLEP Subject Examinations must have scores sent directly to Northwestern State University from CLEP.  CLEP scores will not be used from the previous institution’s transcript unless the scores are over 20 years old.  (Military service veterans who took CLEP as part of the DANTES program must have CLEP scores reported directly to the University from DANTES).  A CLEP Subject Examination should be taken well in advance of the semester during which the student would normally register for the course involved.  Examinations are given by appointment excluding December and February, at Northwestern.  A complete list of the Subject CLEP tests is available in the Testing Center.  CLEP registration materials may be obtained from any national test center or the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey.  A CLEP Subject Examination of the same title may not be repeated within a 180-day period after the initial administration.  If an exam is retaken within the 180-day period, the administration will be considered invalid, the score will be canceled, and fees will be forfeited.  Additional detailed information can be found at CollegeBoard.


Northwestern’s Advanced Standing Program:    Advanced Standing Examinations are offered by the academic departments at Northwestern to eligible freshmen with English and Mathematics ACT scores of 25 or above. These students are invited to attend Credit Connection, the annual spring testing day at Northwestern, for the opportunity to earn credit hours through this program.


Northwestern’s Challenge Examination Program:    Academic departments extend to enrolled undergraduate students the opportunity to “challenge” virtually any course offered by the University. These examinations, administered by the departments, may not be repeated. A student may not challenge any course in which a grade (A, B, C, D, F, P, I, U, W, Z, or AU) has been earned.  Undergraduate students interested in taking a special examination must be enrolled in at least one credit hour and must register for the exam on or by the last day to register for classes during regular registration by completing the following steps:


o   Contact the Department Head/Instructor responsible for the course to get a special exam card. The Department Head/Instructor must approve the special exam by completing the information on the card and signing the card.  (If there is no Department Head, the Dean must complete the information.)


o   Have your advisor sign the card to approve the special exam.


o   Take the completed card to the University Registrar’s Office to be registered for the exam.


o   A non-refundable fee of $100.00* for each special exam will be assessed.





  • A student cannot register for a special exam and the same regular semester course at the same time.
  • A Student who fails to complete at least one credit hour during the semester in which a special exam is taken will forfeit credit for the exam.


Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT):   Beginning freshmen at Northwestern may be eligible for semester hours of credit on the basis of their English and Mathematics SAT sub scores.


 * Fee is subject to change without notice