Alternative Credit Opportunities

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The University offers you a wide variety of programs on all higher educational levels. Specialized programs are available on the associate and baccalaureate levels. In addition, the University gives attention to ways it might better serve present-day educational needs. Described below are opportunities for you to earn credit through means other than the traditional classroom method. While greater flexibility is the goal, the University exercises appropriate supervision to ensure the flexibility is accompanied by educational soundness.

Credit by Means Other than Classroom Attendance

Credit for Military Experience

To receive credit for military service, active military personnel and veterans should submit an official copy of their Joint Service Transcript (JST), AARTS, SMART, or CCAF transcript. The JST can be ordered via the site, with SIU Carbondale as the recipient.  CCAF transcripts should be sent directly from the college to:

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Office of the Registrar -Articulation & Evaluation
1263 Lincoln Drive, Mail Code 4725
Carbondale, IL 62901

Students who are active in the military can submit their official JST or CCAF transcript for review. Students with at least one year of active duty are eligible for UCC Human Health credit.  Additional credit for military training or coursework may be available. Students should consult with their academic advisor about additional credit from the JST. If a student has separated from or is retired from the military, then a DD214 (Service 2 or Member 4 copy) is required to show the time in service. 

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

DSST exams are available to anyone who is seeking college credit outside the traditional classroom, including college students, adult learners, high school students, and military personnel. Credit will be accepted for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) subject standardized examinations within the limitations enforced for proficiency credit. The minimum ACE recommended score for all exams is 400. Upon receipt of the official test score report, the appropriate course articulation will be awarded to the student's record. If test scores for new freshmen are received after orientation/registration, the student will need to work with their academic advisor to ensure duplicate courses are not taken. DSST proficiency credit does not carry a grade, and is not used in computing the student's grade point average. SIU policy limits the amount of proficiency credit to 30 hours, which includes AP/CLEP/IB/DSST. For more information, see the DSST website:

No credit is allowed for college-level GED tests. The recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) as set forth in the U.S. Government bulletin, Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces, are followed in evaluating credit possibilities based upon formal service-school training programs.

High School Advanced Placement Program (AP)

The College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) Program enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies with the opportunity to earn college credit, Advanced Placement, or both while still in high school. High school students who are qualified through registration in an Advanced Placement course(s) in high school may qualify to receive college credit upon transfer.

To receive credit, a student must earn at least a grade of three (3), and in some cases, a 4 or 5. Transfer students who have Advanced Placement credit transcripted as college courses from their previous institution will receive that course credit at SIU Carbondale as transfer credit. We award the credit based on the transcript that we receive first. Advanced Placement (AP) credit does not carry a grade and is not used in computing the students’ grade-point average. The maximum credit granted through Advanced Placement examinations is 30 hours (15 for an associate degree). The thirty-hour limit also includes any CLEP credit or proficiency credit that has been earned. Advanced classes, which qualify for this purpose, are offered in many high schools in specific subjects such as English composition, economics, foreign languages, history, biology, computer science, chemistry, government, mathematics, physics, and psychology. A national examination is given in each subject with the examinations administered through the Educational Testing Service. The examinations are prepared by a national committee of high school and college teachers and intended to measure the achievement of the student and determine at what point the student should begin college work in the subject. The credit to be granted at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is determined by the appropriate academic program. Any credits earned will appear on the student record as transfer work. The following link reflects a list of exams and the credit that can be received with the required scores. Advanced Placement transcript scores should be sent to:

Articulation & Evaluation
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Student Services Building 0251, Mail Code 4725
1263 Lincoln Drive,
Carbondale, IL 62901
SIU Carbondale AP code: #1726

Advanced Placement Capstone Program

Advanced Placement Capstone is an innovative program that equips students with the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges. Advanced Placement Capstone is built on the foundation of two new Advanced Placement courses - AP Seminar and AP Research-and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth discipline-specific study provided through Advanced Placement courses. The Advanced Placement Capstone curriculum fosters inquiry, research, collaboration, and writing skills through the intensive investigation of topics from multiple perspectives.

The Advanced Placement Capstone Program is composed of:

  • Advanced Placement Seminar: Advanced Placement Seminar provides sustained practice of investigating issues from multiple perspectives and cultivates student writing abilities so they can craft, communicate, and defend evidence-based arguments. Students are empowered to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision and are assessed through a team project and presentation, an individual written essay and presentation, and a written exam.
  • Advanced Placement Research: In Advanced Placement Research, students develop the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research to produce and defend a scholarly academic thesis. This second course in the Advanced Placement Capstone experience allows students to explore deeply an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest and through this inquiry, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long mentored, research-based investigation. The course culminates in an academic thesis paper of approximately 5,000 words and a presentation, performance, or exhibition with an oral defense.
  • Advanced Placement courses of the student’s own choosing.

Students typically take Advanced Placement Seminar in the 10th or 11th grade, followed by Advanced Placement Research. Students who earn scores of three (3) or higher in Advanced Placement Seminar and Advanced Placement Research and on four (4) additional Advanced Placement Exams of their choosing will receive the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma™. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills.

Alternatively, students who earn scores of three (3) or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research will receive the Advanced Placement Seminar and Research Certificate™ signifying their attainment of college-level academic and research skills.

Students entering SIU having earned AP Seminar with a score of 3 will receive ENGL 101 credit (three hrs.). Students who earn AP Research credit with a score of 3 will receive ENGL 102 credit - three hours, (if ENGL 101 has already been earned), as well as Elective credit (three hrs.) to be used as needed by the student/advisor.

State Seal of Biliteracy

According to the Illinois Board of Education, the State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) "recognizes public high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English." Through HB 4330, the School Code was amended to include the Seal of Biliteracy.  For more information, go to

HB 4330 requires that public universities in the State of Illinois (1) for admission purposes accept the State Seal of Biliteracy as equivalent to two years of foreign language coursework taken in high school and (2) establish criteria for awarding equivalent course credit. These requirements went into effect January 1, 2017.

Students that have earned the State Seal of Biliteracy while in high school will automatically receive foreign language credit at SIUC once a high school transcript is received awarding the State Seal of Biliteracy. SIUC does not require foreign language for admission purposes; thus, only those programs that require foreign language will show complete upon receipt of the State Seal of Biliteracy. If a student is seeking specific foreign language credit they should work with their academic unit to have the coursework reviewed for articulation.

International Baccalaureate Program (IB)

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Organization is a comprehensive and challenging course of study for students. The Diploma Program (DP) is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate.

The Standard Level (SL) courses represent 150 teaching hours and the Higher Level (HL) courses represent a recommended 240 teaching hours. Students who do not satisfy the requirements of the full Diploma Program or who have elected to take fewer than six subjects are awarded a certificate for the examinations completed. Subjects at HL are studied in greater depth and breadth than at SL.

SIU Carbondale awards proficiency credit to students, who have passed the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) exams with a minimum score of 4 and in some cases a 6 or 7, as indicated in the following chart. Upon receipt of test scores, the appropriate number of credit hours will be entered on the student’s record. If test scores for new freshmen are received after orientation/registration, the student will need to work with their academic advisor to ensure duplicate courses are not taken.

Transfer students who have IB credit transcripted as college courses from their previous institution will receive that course credit at SIU Carbondale as transfer credit.

The maximum credit granted through IB examinations is thirty hours (fifteen for an associate degree). It is nonresident credit, does not carry a grade, and is not used in computing the student’s grade point average. The thirty-hour limit includes any college level proficiency credit that has been earned. The credit to be granted at SIU Carbondale is determined by the appropriate academic department. For a list of test names, scores, and credit granted go to: International Baccalaureate Credit | Articulation and Evaluation | SIU

For more information, please see the International Baccalaureate Organization’s website.

IB Transcripts may be ordered from the following address:

ATTN: Transcript Officer, International Baccalaureate American Global Centre
7501 Wisconsin Ave., Suite 200 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

The transcript scores should be sent to:

Articulation & Evaluation
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Student Services Building 0251, Mail Code 4725
1263 Lincoln Drive, 
Carbondale, IL 62901

SIU Carbondale IB Code: 001663

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Southern Illinois University Carbondale awards credit for satisfactory performance on both the General Examinations and the Subject Examinations developed and administered through the College Level Examination Program Board The General Examinations cover comprehensive content of a subject which would be covered by several introductory-level courses, while the Subject Examinations cover more specific content of a single college-level course.

These exams allow students who have acquired knowledge outside the traditional classroom setting - through independent study, on-the-job training, or cultural inquiry - to gain recognition of mastering college-level material by receiving introductory course credit.

Through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) students may apply for credit, which may substitute for one or more SIU Carbondale courses. The minimum required scores and the credit awarded for each CLEP exam are listed here:

If prior to taking a General CLEP examination the student has received a grade (including a W or an audit) or has enrolled in college-level work in any discipline included in the CLEP exam (see below) they shall be ineligible for credit. (Military credit does not constitute prior coursework). One exception to this rule is made if the course the student took in a discipline from a CLEP exam was taken more than five years prior and no credit was awarded for the course.

The Natural Sciences General examination includes the disciplines of plant biology, microbiology, physiology, zoology, chemistry, physics, geography and all SIU Carbondale University Core Curriculum science courses.

The Social Sciences and History General examination includes the disciplines of western civilization, American history, Afro-Asian civilization, world history, political science, economics, anthropology, geography, sociology, social psychology, social studies, and all SIU Carbondale University Core Curriculum social science courses.

The Humanities General examination includes the disciplines of literature, poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, creative writing, and films.

The College Composition General examination disciplines includes rhetoric; composition, creative writing and all English prefix courses.

The College Mathematics disciplines include all college-level mathematics courses.

The Foreign Language disciplines include all college-level courses in the corresponding foreign language.

Transfer students who have CLEP credit transcripted as a college course from their previous institution, with the exception of English Composition, will receive that course credit at SIU Carbondale as transfer credit. Students who transfer with an AA or an AS degree from an Illinois Community College will receive credit for their English Composition CLEP if it is transcripted as a course from that institution.

A maximum of thirty hours of proficiency credit, including CLEP, DSST DANTES, Advanced Placement (AP), program and Core Curriculum proficiency exams, will be accepted toward a Bachelor’s degree (fifteen hours toward an associate degree).

Proficiency credit does not apply toward the residence requirement for graduation.

For further information, students should consult with their academic advisor.

Proficiency Examinations

Through its proficiency examination program, the University recognizes the importance of providing encouragement for academically talented students. Such students are permitted to submit an application to demonstrate the mastery of certain courses through proficiency examinations. Application forms are available at the school offices.

The following general rules govern the proficiency examinations for undergraduate credit:

  1. Students who believe they are qualified to take a proficiency examination should check with the school offering the course to determine their eligibility to do so. Students scoring in the top ten percent of ACT are particularly encouraged to avail themselves of this opportunity.
  2. Credit not to exceed thirty hours (fifteen hours toward an associate degree), including credit through the AP, CLEP, and DSST, may be earned through proficiency examinations. Credit will be considered nonresident. A combined total of 40 hours may be earned through proficiency examinations and credit for work experience.
  3. All University Core Curriculum courses are available for proficiency credit, subject to specified restrictions.
  4. Upon passing proficiency examinations, students are granted course credit and receive a Pass grade. Their records will show the name of the course, the hours of credit granted, and the notation ‘‘credit granted by proficiency examination.” Students who fail a proficiency examination receive a Fail grade. This results in no penalty to the students. They will not receive credit and there will be no official record regarding the proficiency examination. However, the proficiency examination grade report form will be in the student’s file for reference purposes.
  5. Students may not take proficiency examinations for the same course more than one time. Neither may they take a proficiency examination in a course in which they have previously received a grade. Students who are registered for a course may not receive credit by proficiency examination for that course unless they withdraw from the course by the date during the semester which would result in no course entry appearing on the transcript. This date is the end of the second week for a regular semester course, and a correspondingly shorter period for summer session or short courses. Individual schools may require the proficiency examination to be completed in advance of this date.
  6. Credit granted by proficiency examinations taken at SIU Carbondale as resident credit requires the student to have earned at least 12 hours of credit of C grade or above in residence at the University.
  7. Proficiency credit received as transfer work is posted to the record upon receipt.

Credit for Work Experience

Southern Illinois University Carbondale recognizes that there might well be a number of undergraduate programs for which work experience has a meaningful relationship. It therefore permits those undergraduate programs to grant credit for work experience that relates to the students’ areas of specialization. The credit granted is to apply to the major program and is awarded only upon approval by the school where the major is offered. Credit earned by work experience is limited to 30 hours. Any combination of credit for proficiency examinations, AP, CLEP, DSST, and work experience is limited to 40 hours. Credit granted for work experience and posted to the record as SIU coursework is considered resident credit. Students should consult with their major schools to see whether they approve credit for work experience.

Occupational Education

Technical programs at Southern Illinois University are authorized to award a form of non-traditional credit to students with professional certifications and licensure. Occupational Education Credit is a designation for credit granted for past occupational education experiences or industry certification related to the student's educational objectives in their chosen program. All non-traditional credit is established by program evaluation and may be applied only to the technical or career electives requirement of the degree, unless otherwise determined by the program chair. The maximum number of Occupational Education hours that can be posted to the student record is 60. To request Occupational Education Credit, speak with your Academic Advisor or Program Coordinator, who will complete the Certificate of Non-Traditional Credit on your behalf.