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URI Providence Blog


For more information:

URI Providence Campus

80 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-277-5000

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Alternative Ways to Earn Credits

At the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education, there are many ways to earn credit towards your degree program. Many adults take advantage of one or more of these methods to augment the credits earned in traditional college courses. In addition, many students also take courses over the web to use in their degree plans.

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams
  • Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
  • Military Credit
  • Job-Related Credit
  • Challenge Exams


College Level Examination Program Exams (CLEP) - Frequently Asked Questions

What are CLEP Exams?

The College-Level Examination ProgramĀ® offers 34 exams. There are General Education exams and Subject exams. The exams allow people who have acquired knowledge outside the usual educational settings, such as through independent or prior study, on-the-job training, or cultural pursuits-to show they have learned college-level material so that they can bypass certain college courses. You can take examinations in a wide variety of topics to earn credit towards your degree. These exams cover material usually taught in the first two years of a bachelor's degree program. Most exams cover approximately one semester of material, although there are some exams that cover 6 credits worth of material.

Why take CLEP exams?

Shorten time for degree
Earn credit for what you know
Save money

Who can take CLEP exams?

Students who have not been pursuing formal studies for at least three years may take General Education CLEP exams to demonstrate academically measurable learning acquired in nontraditional ways. Transfer students may receive credit from CLEP General Examinations taken prior to enrollment at the University provided that their scores meet University standards and provided that their academic dean judges that the CLEP credit does not duplicate other transfer credit. Subject CLEP exams can be taken at any time during a student's academic career.

How do I earn credit by taking a CLEP exam?

If you earn a satisfactory score on the exam (as determined by the University of Rhode Island), you will earn credits for the course associated with that exam. The courses are computer-based, although no prior computer experience is necessary to take them. The scores are generated immediately after the end of the exam, so you will know whether you have achieved the minimum score required to earn credit.

When should I take a CLEP exam?

Eligible students are encouraged to take the General Education CLEP exams, after conferring with a URI academic advisor, before or during their first semester at the University and before you accumulate more than 45 credits.
Credits placed on the student's record as a result of passing scores for General Education CLEP exams, in combination with all other earned credit, may not exceed 45 credits.

How many credits can I earn through CLEP exams?

The General Education CLEP exams can earn you a maximum of 30 credits (if you pass all 5 general examinations).
Academic departments may use Subject CLEP exams as proficiency exams to test students' mastery of the subjects taught by the department. A department that judges a Subject CLEP exam to be a satisfactory proficiency exam will decide what credits shall be awarded within the department to students who pass the exam. The department will establish the minimum score for credit, will decide whether students must answer the optional essay questions supplied by CLEP, and will decide whether students must pass a supplemental departmental test, such as a lab exam. All the decisions of the department must gain the endorsement of the dean of the college to which the department belongs. A list of courses which afford credit by Subject CLEP exams are included in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

How are CLEP credits applied to my academic record?

Students who earn credit for General Education CLEP exams shall be allowed to apply these credits toward the General Education requirements in the following manner:

Humanities Examinations: ART 1XA = 3 credits; ENG 1XA = 3 credits
Natural Sciences Examination: XXX 1XN = 6 credits
Social Science and History Examinations: SOC 1XS = 3 credits; HIS 1XL = 3 credits
College Composition: WRT 1XECw = 3 credits; WRT 2XECw = 3 credits
College Composition Modular: XXX XXX = 3 credits free electives; to earn an additional 3 credits WRT 1XECw, students must contact the Department of Writing & Rhetoric for optional proficiency test prior to earning 12 credits at URI
Mathematics: MTH 1XMQ = 3 credits; MTH 1XX = 3 credits

Should I study for a CLEP exam?

For the General Education CLEP exams, generally no. However, talk to the CLEP Advisor for more specific advice. For the Subject CLEP exams, you might obtain a copy of the textbook used by your college for the corresponding course. Or use the CLEP Official Study Guide.

How do I register to take the CLEP exams?

Students can register for CLEP exams at CCRI. Please visit this link of information: http://www.ccri.edu/advising/clep/ where you will see the testing schedule. Tests are offered once a month on a Saturday.

Students can also call Tania Arriaran, ACT Center, CCRI, 400 East Avenue, Warwick RI at 401-825-2404 for more specific questions.

How do I contact the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)?

Getting started with CLEP: http://clep.collegeboard.org/started

CLEP Online at: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html

Please call Deb Carroll, URI CLEP advisor at 401-277-5160 to make an appointment or email dcarroll@mail.uri.edu with questions.


Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) - Frequently Asked Questions

What is prior learning assessment? (PLA)

The ability to earn credit for documented college-level learning you acquired outside a college classroom.

College-level learning - from where?

paid and/or volunteer work
training programs/internships
travel or living in another culture
community activities
in-depth study of a topic of interest

Will the credit apply toward my degree?

Depending on your degree plan, the credits earned through Prior Learning Assessment will be able to be used toward your degree. Check with your academic advisor

How do I start?

Sign up for PLA 100 Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio Development, a one-credit course. It is offered each semester.  In this course you will develop a prior learning portfolio to submit to faculty for evaluation.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a compilation of data, experiences, theory and applied knowledge that demonstrates college-level learning. It most usually is in written form, but might also be in pictures or another format that best demonstrates the learning you acquired.


Military Credit - Frequently Asked Question

Is credit available for college-level military credit?

Credit is awarded for Basic Training (3 credits for most branches; 5 credits for the marines).  Other credits possible for learning while in the military. See your academic advisor. Credits are not awarded for Army MOS's, etc.  Check with your advisor.


Job-Related Credits - Frequently Asked Question

Is credit available for employer training programs/ apprenticeships?
Some employer-sponsored training programs and/or apprenticeships are eligible for college credit.  The American Council of Education (ACE) Guide is used to check these training experiences.  Check with your advisor.


Challenge Exams - Frequently Asked Question

What are Challenge Exams?
These exams test your knowledge of the subject matter of specific courses.  They are administered by academic departments with prior approval of the department chairperson and the academic dean.  They are not offered in all departments - see your advisor.