The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 07/27/18

Technical Correction 01/04/19

Amended 11/15/19

Amended 01/19/23

Technical Correction 02/07/24


Policy on Awarding Undergraduate Credit on the

Basis of Advanced Course Examination Scores


I.                     Purpose. The University of North Carolina System recognizes that learning occurs in a variety of ways and that allowing students to earn credit by evaluating their prior college-level learning is valuable in supporting their academic goals. The purpose of this policy and accompanying regulation is to encourage constituent institutions to award credit for prior learning (CPL) and establish consistent and transparent practices for the awarding of CPL.  


II.            Assessment Methods. Consistent with the provisions of this policy and regulation, constituent institutions are encouraged to award credit for prior learning through a variety of assessment methods including, but not limited to:

                A.            Certification or licensure

                B.            Industry or corporate experience

                C.            Military education and training

                D.            Standardized examinations, including advanced course examinations

                E.            Challenge exams

                F.            Portfolio assessment


III.           Student Eligibility. Credit may be granted by a constituent institution only to an enrolled degree-seeking student who is in good standing and for a corresponding course or elective credit in alignment with the policies and procedures of the constituent institution.


IV.          Awarding Credit for Advanced Course Examination Scores. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-174.26 (hereinafter G.S.), establishes the intent of the state to enhance accessibility and encourage students to complete rigorous advanced courses at the secondary level. The state has defined advanced courses as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, and Cambridge International Advanced Subsidiary (AS) Level and Cambridge International Advanced (A) Level. Students enrolled in North Carolina public schools are exempt from paying any fees for the administration or registration of examinations for these Advanced Courses. With this substantial support from the state of North Carolina, students in the state’s high schools have the opportunity to earn credit toward a postsecondary degree via AP, IB, and Cambridge A Level and AS Level  examinations.


It is therefore in the best interest of North Carolina’s students that the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) System constituent institutions award undergraduate credit on the basis of Advanced Course examination scores in a uniform manner, and that potential students and their families receive clear and consistent information regarding this awarding of undergraduate credit. Furthermore, it is in the best interest of students and the state that UNC System undergraduate students who prove that they have completed college-level work via one of these state-supported Advanced Course examinations receive credit so that they might complete a degree in a timelier manner.


Accordingly, the constituent institutions shall adopt policies governing the awarding of undergraduate credit on the basis of Advanced Course examination scores not inconsistent with this policy.


A.            Awarding Credit. UNC System constituent institutions shall award appropriate credit to undergraduates who have earned a Qualified Advanced Course Examination Score, as defined in the Regulation on Awarding Undergraduate Credit for Prior Learning, Section 700.10.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the institution’s board of trustees in accordance with the guidance described in Section 700.10.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual.


B.            Report on Exceptions Granted. An institution must report any exceptions granted by its board of trustees, and the reasons and evidence for those exceptions, to the president annually no later than July          1.


C.            Relationship to Other Credit Programs. This policy provides a standard minimum consideration of college credit for Advanced Courses, as defined by G.S. 115C-174.26. This policy does not preclude UNC System constituent institutions from electing to award additional college credit for other scores on the AP, IB, Cambridge A-Level, or Cambridge AS-Level exams, or for acceptable performance in other programs as identified by the constituent institution.


V.            Other Matters


A.                  Effective Date. The requirements of this policy with regard to AP examinations shall be effective as of the 2019-20 academic year and thereafter; the requirements of this policy with regard to IB and Cambridge AS-Level and A-Level examinations shall be effective as of the 2020-21 academic year and thereafter. All other requirements of this policy shall be effective on the date of adoption of this policy by the Board of Governors. Requirements are stipulated further in Section 700.10.1[R] of the UNC Policy Manual.


B.                  Relation to Federal and State Laws. The foregoing policy as adopted by the Board of Governors is meant to supplement, and does not purport to supplant or modify, those statutory enactments which may govern or relate to the subject matter of this policy.


C.                  Regulations and Guidelines. This policy shall be implemented and applied in accordance with such regulations and guidelines as may be adopted from time to time by the president.