Carlow offers seven methods for gaining credit for college-level learning that has taken place outside the classroom. 

Advanced Placement Program of the College Board

A student who has taken college-level courses in one or more subjects in high school and has submitted the results of the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Tests will be considered for advanced placement. Test scores of 3, 4, or 5 may entitle the student to academic credit in course areas corresponding to the advanced study. Scores are submitted to the Office of Admissions, usually at the time of application for admission. The university registrar will consult with the appropriate academic department to assign course equivalencies.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) 

Carlow accepts CLEP credit for scores at or above the recommended score of 50 or higher. Credit cannot be awarded if the student has already taken an equivalent course or a course at a more advanced level in the same discipline. CLEP scores are only applied to Core requirements. CLEP credit does not affect grade point average and does not count for residency requirements.

College in High School Courses 

A student who has taken College in High School (CHS) courses in one or more subjects during high school and has submitted official transcripts from the awarding institution will be considered for college credit. A grade of C or better will be accepted for college credit. Course equivalency is determined by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the appropriate academic department. Official transcripts are submitted to the Office of Admissions, usually at the time of application for admission.

Course Challenge or Credit by Examination

Some courses may be challenged for either credit or exemption by passing an examination and/or by satisfying another means of evaluation. Students may qualify for challenge if they have not already attempted to pass or challenge the course or have not been enrolled in the course for more than four weeks. (For accelerated courses, consult the specific academic department office for an appropriate time frame.) 

To challenge the course, students must submit to the appropriate academic department a declaration of intention as well as reasonable evidence of preparation. The academic department of the course determines the appropriate criteria for credit by challenge. After a student has successfully challenged a course for credit, the course is entered onto the transcript and the notation “Credit by Challenge” is posted in lieu of a grade. Credits earned by challenge are charged at a special fee. If a student chooses exemption, the exemption is noted by the Office of the Registrar, and there is no fee. Students are permitted one attempt to successfully challenge or exempt themselves from a given course.

International Baccalaureate Program

Students who have completed the International Baccalaureate Program and score 5 or above on the examinations may qualify for Carlow University credit. In most cases, credits awarded will be for elective credit only.

Military Service

Carlow is part of the ACE Credit College and University Network that considers ACE recommendations for military training and experience.


Carlow will also review additional types of credit for prior learning on a case-by-case basis. Students may contact the Office of the Registrar for guidance.

Any credits earned are not included in the number of credits necessary to satisfy college residency requirements. Credits earned by any of these methods are considered transfer credits and subject to the 90-credit limit allowed by Carlow University. Once awarded, these credits are posted on a student’s official academic transcript, and how the credit is applied to degree requirements is viewable on a student’s program evaluation in Self Service.

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