Prior learning outside the regular academic setting is a valid part of an educational experience. Students can validate mastery of specific academic subjects to petition for academic credit.
Credit by Examination
Salem State University recognizes mastery of curriculum areas through Advanced Placement (AP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST (Dantes Subject Standardized Tests), New York University Foreign Language Proficiency Examinations, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) and may consider other nationally-recognized examinations or departmentally mandated challenge exams of prior subject area knowledge subject to individual evaluation for course comparability and program applicability. A maximum of 30 semester hour credits earned through these programs may be applied towards the degree. A grade of P is awarded for credit earned through examination, and is not included in the calculation of a student’s grade point average. Additional information may appear in specific departmental or curricular sections of the catalog.
Additional standard options include:
Exemption from English Requirements by SAT score.
Foreign Language Tests used with the CLEP test.
Challenge examinations for Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry and Microbiology for Registered Nurses seeking credit in those areas.
Salem State University recognizes the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. IB Diploma course credit is open to students who have participated in accredited IB high school programs. Credits will be granted in Higher Level (HL) subject areas in which exam scores of 7, 6, 5, or 4 are attained, subject to academic departmental review and approval. Credits will not be granted for scores of 3, 2 or 1. Official IB scores must be submitted directly to Salem State University for college credit review and approval.
Advanced Placement Examinations (AP)
Salem State University subscribes to the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Advanced Placement (AP) examinations are open to students who have participated in Advanced Placement courses in high school. Credits will be granted, generally, in subject areas in which scores of 5, 4, or 3 are attained, subject to academic departmental review and approval. Credits will not be granted for scores of 2 or 1. Students interested in Advanced Placement status in the Freshman year must submit official Advanced Placement test scores during the admissions application process. Transfer students will be required to have official copies of their AP scores submitted within their first semester of enrollment in order to receive advanced placement credit. Information on specific AP credit awarded can be accessed at here.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
CLEP is a national program, sponsored by the College Board, of credit-by-examination or Prior Learning Assessment credit that offers the opportunity to obtain recognition for college level achievement. This examination program is a means of measuring learning attained through formal or informal study. If the results of the examinations are acceptable to Salem State, academic credits may be awarded, subject to periodic academic review for course equivalency and program applicability. For information on specific CLEP credit that is currently accepted by Salem State University, please visit here. CLEP examinations can be taken at any authorized CLEP test center. Salem State University is not a test center but CLEP tests are administered at North Shore Community College and at several institutions in Greater Boston. Students who have previously received CLEP credit from a prior institution must have official copies of their CLEP score reports sent to Salem State University in order to receive credit. Please note that credit policies differ between institutions, and the credit awarded at Salem State University may differ from that granted by the prior institution.
Guidelines for CLEP Subject and General Examinations
Salem State University grants college credit for successful completion of CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) Examinations which, in the judgment of involved departments, correspond to courses offered at the University. The CLEP Subject Examinations which are acceptable for credit may be taken at any time during the student’s academic career. However, no credit will be granted for passing a CLEP examination in cases where the student also earns collegiate level credit through examination or course completion for the same subject matter as that covered by the CLEP examination. The CLEP General Examinations are allowable under the following conditions:
1. Any student desiring to apply CLEP General Examination credits to a Salem State degree must have completed all CLEP General Examinations no later than six months after the date of his/her matriculation at Salem.
2. CLEP General Examinations may be taken only if the student has earned no college credit in specific subjects which relate to a general examination.
3. CLEP General Examinations cannot be taken for credit in areas where a student has already received credit for CLEP subject exams.
DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)
DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-traditional Educational Support) sponsors a wide range of subject area examinations to assist service members in meeting their educational goals. All subject area examinations will be reviewed according to ACE (American Council on Education) recommended score guidelines and the credit to be awarded is subject to periodic review by the relevant academic department for program applicability and course equivalency. Students seeking DSST credit must have official score reports submitted to Salem State University.
Topics in Student Affairs
Student who participate in an approved educational experience offered through the Student Life area may be eligible to receive degree credit for IDS299, Topics in Student Affairs. All eligible experiences will have been reviewed and approved in advance by the Interdisciplinary Studies department and will be graded on a pass/fail basis. The credit so awarded will be usable for free elective credit only, and students may only earn a maximum of three degree credits for any combination of educational experiences offered under this policy. Information on educational opportunities available will be published each semester in Navigator.