Earning Credit by Special Examination

With departmental approval, regularly admitted and currently enrolled students may "challenge a course" by special examination to gain credit without being enrolled in specific courses.

  1. For independent study.
  2. For work completed with private teachers.
  3. For work completed in unaccredited institutions if a formal examination is deemed necessary by the chair of the concerned department(s). (In some cases, credit may be validated without an examination. Students who wish to validate credit should inquire at the Office of Admissions.)

The following restrictions apply:

  • No one may take a credit examination for a course in which he or she has previously registered.
  • All credits earned by examination are counted as extension credit and if earned at the UW, are included in the 90-extension-credit maximum that may be applied toward the baccalaureate degree. (Transfer extension credit is limited to 45 quarter credits.) No credit is allowed by examination if the grade earned is less than 2.0. Grades earned are not included in the GPA.
  • No student shall receive credit by examination for a course for which the student would not be eligible to receive credit if the course were taken in residence, e.g., SPAN 202 if credit already awarded for SPAN 203.
  • No student is permitted to repeat any examination for credit.
  • No student shall receive credit by examination for lower-division courses in the student's native language. (Some language departments have more restrictive policies. Consult the individual language department for details.)
  • Credit by examination is not acceptable for application toward an advanced degree in the Graduate School.

A student who wishes to qualify for credit by examination must apply to the Graduation and Academic Records Office for a certificate of eligibility no later than Friday of the second week of the quarter. The student presents the form to the instructor and chair and/or dean for signed approval. It is then returned to the Graduation and Academic Records Office. Signed forms and payment of $25 for each course to be challenged must be submitted by Friday of the second week of the quarter.

Examinations administered by the Office of Educational Assessment are given during the fifth week of the quarter. Examinations administered by the department should be completed by the seventh week of the quarter.

No student is permitted to take more than two examinations in 3-, 4-, or 5-credit courses, or more than three examinations in 1- or 2-credit courses in one day. If the student plans to take more examinations in a given quarter, an additional day may be permitted and arrangements made with the Office of Educational Assessment.