In order to earn a degree from the College of the University of Chicago, a student must obtain credit for at least forty-two quarter courses (4200 units), distributed among general education requirements, major program requirements, and electives, as described in the section on the curriculum at the front of this publication. For students matriculating in Autumn 2017 or later, of the 4200 units, 3800 units of credit must be earned by course enrollment, i.e., not credit by examination.
All students receive credit toward their degrees by taking courses in the College. In addition, students may receive credit and/or satisfy College requirements in the following ways: by placement test; by Advanced Placement (AP) examinations; by accreditation examination; by International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme; and by credit transferred from another institution. The limits and conditions placed on credit earned in these various ways are explained in the following section and on the Transfer Credit page. A student must be in residence at the University of Chicago for at least six quarters and must successfully complete a minimum of eighteen courses (1800 units) while in residence. More than half of the requirements for a major or minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.
Placement tests serve to adapt the needs and backgrounds of individual students to the College curriculum. They place entering students at the proper level of study in a given subject. On the one hand, placement tests minimize the repetition of subjects already mastered and, on the other, they reduce the possibility that students might begin their programs with courses for which they are inadequately prepared. Placement tests measure skill in problem solving as well as general knowledge in a subject field. Students who have some background in the areas being tested are urged to review it, but incoming students without such knowledge are not expected to acquire it over the summer preceding entrance.
Placement tests may be taken only at the time of matriculation and each test may be taken only once. Information that describes these tests is sent to incoming first-year and transfer students.
Chemistry Placement Test
Students who wish to enroll in chemistry must take the online chemistry placement test along with the mathematics placement test (or they must have earned a score of 5 on the AP chemistry exam).
Economics Placement Test
Students who wish to begin their economics major with ECON 20000 The Elements of Economic Analysis I in their first year must pass the economics placement test or complete ECON 19800 Introduction to Microeconomics. No standardized external exams (IB, AP, A-Levels) will substitute. The placement test will be offered Monday evening of the first week of Autumn Quarter.
Language Placement Tests
Language placement tests are required of students who plan to continue in languages studied prior to entrance in the College. Language placement tests determine where a student begins language study; results do not confer credit or satisfy the language competency requirement.
Online placement tests in some languages may be taken the summer before arrival on campus. Students will be given instructions in early July on how to access more information. For placement in languages without an online exam, students meet with a coordinator in the language during Orientation Week.
Placement tests are not available in languages not taught at the University of Chicago. For additional information, visit humanities.uchicago.edu/about/languages-uchicago.
Mathematics Placement Test
Every entering student must take the mathematics placement test. This online test must be taken during the summer before arrival on campus. Students will be given instructions in early July on how to access more information. Scores on the mathematics placement test, combined with a student’s high school record, determine the appropriate beginning mathematics course for each student: one of two levels of Calculus (MATH 13100 Elementary Functions and Calculus I or MATH 15100 Calculus I) or a third mathematics course (MATH 11200 Studies in Mathematics I. Students wishing to begin in mathematics courses beyond MATH 15100 Calculus I must take the Calculus Accreditation Examination in the summer prior to matriculation.
Scores on the Mathematics Placement Test are used to determine placement into CHEM 10100 Introductory General Chemistry I, CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I, CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I, PHYS 13100 Mechanics, and PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics.
Credit is available by accreditation examinations, which are optional, to those students who have already studied certain subjects at the college level. See the information below under each subject heading for when these exams are offered. In the case of a course where both experimental and theoretical skills are involved, students may be required to fulfill the laboratory portion along with the rest of the class.
College credit achieved by accreditation examination is entered as units of credit on the student’s official academic record. Letter grades are not assigned. An accreditation examination may be taken only once.
Calculus Accreditation Examination
Well-prepared students are invited to take the Calculus Accreditation Examination in order to have the option of beginning in a mathematics course beyond the first quarter of calculus. On the basis of this exam, students may receive a placement higher than the one earned from the mathematics placement exam (described above) or the AP Calculus exam and/or receive credit for up to three quarters of calculus. The calculus accreditation exam must be taken in the summer prior to matriculation and may be taken only once by incoming students (first-years or transfers).
Strong students, especially those planning to continue with higher level mathematics or other disciplines requiring advanced mathematics, are urged to take this College-administered accreditation exam. On the basis of this exam, a student may receive credit for up to three quarters of calculus (MATH 15100-15200-15300 Calculus I-II-III). Students earning one quarter of credit on this exam may begin MATH 15200 Calculus II; students earning two quarters of credit may begin with MATH 15300 Calculus III; and students earning three quarters of credit may begin with MATH 15900 Introduction to Proofs in Analysis and Linear Algebra, MATH 19520 Mathematical Methods for Social Sciences, MATH 19620 Linear Algebra, or MATH 20000 Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I. Students may also be invited to begin MATH 16100 Honors Calculus I or MATH 20700 Honors Analysis in Rn I. Students who are invited to begin Honors Calculus are encouraged to forgo credit in MATH 15100 Calculus I and/or MATH 15200 Calculus II in order to take the full Honors Calculus sequence, MATH 16100-16200-16300 Honors Calculus I-II-III or MATH 16110-16210-16310 Honors Calculus I (IBL); Honors Calculus II (IBL); Honors Calculus III (IBL).
Chemistry Accreditation Examinations
Students who are exceptionally well prepared in chemistry may earn credit for one or more quarters of chemistry on the basis of AP scores or accreditation examinations. Students who have taken the Advanced Placement (AP) test in chemistry and received a grade of 5 will be given credit for CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III. The Department of Chemistry also administers an accreditation examination in CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III. Students may receive credit for chemistry on the basis of their performance on these examinations. The examination in general chemistry is offered only during Orientation, or at the start of Autumn Quarter by arrangement with Dr. Vera Dragisich, Department of Chemistry, 702.3071. Only incoming students (i.e., first-year and transfer students) are eligible to take these examinations.
Physics Accreditation Examinations
Accreditation examinations are administered for the content of PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III and PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat. The first examination may be taken by incoming students only at the time of matriculation in the College. Students who pass the first examination (for PHYS 12100 General Physics I or PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics) will receive credit for the lecture part of the course only and will then be invited to try the next examination of the series. Entering students who have taken AP physics in high school but who do not receive AP credit from the College (and who do not plan to major in physics) may take the PHYS 12100 General Physics I accreditation examination. Students who receive AP credit for PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III but whose planned major requires PHYS 13100-13200-13300 Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat or PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat are eligible to take the PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics examination. Entering transfer students who choose a major requiring physics but who are not granted transfer credit for a completed calculus-based introductory physics sequence may take one of the accreditation examinations.
NOTE: Accreditation examinations in physics confer credit only for the lecture portion of the courses; additional laboratory work may be required.
Advanced Placement Credit
Students who request college credit or fulfillment of College requirements for Advanced Placement (AP) examinations taken in high school (i.e., before a student matriculates in the College) are asked to submit an official report of their scores on the AP tests given by the College Entrance Examination Board. The decision to grant credit is reported at the end of the first year in residence and units of credit awarded appear on the student’s official academic record.
While AP scores alone are sometimes used to establish placement or to confer credit, satisfactory performance on the College’s own placement tests may supplement AP scores and lead to additional credit.
The following chart shows how AP credit is automatically awarded. For further information on how credit may be used toward individual degree programs, a student should consult his or her College adviser. For more information on how AP credit may be used to meet major requirements, refer to the major requirements listed under “Programs of Study” in this catalog.
NOTE: For students matriculating in Autumn 2017 or later, at least 3800 units of credit must be earned by course enrollment, i.e., not credit by examination.
Students who matriculated prior to 2017 should refer to the Advanced Placement credit table in the catalog of their year of matriculation for earlier guidelines regarding AP credit. Archived catalogs can be found here.
|AP Exam||Score||Credit Awarded 2017-18|
|Art History||5||100 units general elective credit|
|Biology||4||100 units general education (BIOS 10130)|
|Biology||5||100 units general education (BIOS 10130)+|
|Calculus AB||5||MATH 15100 †|
|Calculus BC||4||MATH 15100 †|
|Calculus BC||5||MATH 15100 †|
|Economics: Micro AND Macro||5||100 units general elective credit|
|English Language and Composition||5||100 units general elective credit|
|English Literature and Composition||5||100 units general elective credit|
|Government and Politics: Comparative AND U.S.||5||100 units general elective credit|
|History: European||5||100 units general elective credit|
|History: U.S.||5||100 units general elective credit|
|History: World||5||100 units general elective credit|
|Music Theory||5||100 units general elective credit|
|Physics C: Mechanics AND E&M||5||PHYS 12100-12200 ‡|
|Physics C: Mechanics only||5||PHYS 12100 ‡|
|Physics C: E&M only||5||PHYS 12200 ‡|
|Studio Art (2-D Design, 3-D Design, or Drawing)||5||100 units general elective credit|
|French Language and Culture; German Language and Culture; Italian Language and Culture; Latin (Literature or Vergil); Spanish Language and Culture; Spanish Literature and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Chinese Language and Culture; Japanese Language and Culture||4 or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
Students may earn any amount of credit from AP exams, placement, accreditation, IB, or other examinations. However, for students matriculating in Autumn 2017 or later, at least 3800 units must be earned through course enrollment. Students who enrolled prior to Autumn 2017 should consult the catalog of their year of entry for policies regarding the use of AP and examination credit, or speak to their College adviser.
AP Physics or Calculus: Students who register for physics or calculus forgo AP credit for the courses they complete.
A student who submits a score of 5 on the Calculus BC exam will also receive an invitation to register for MATH 16100 Honors Calculus I. Any student wishing to receive a math placement above what is determined by the AP Calculus exam and/or the mathematics placement examination is required to take the calculus accreditation examination in the summer prior to matriculation.
Students wishing to apply AP credits for "Physics C: Mechanics only" or "Physics C: E&M only" toward the physical sciences general education requirement should plan to complete the requirement with an appropriate course from PHYS 12100-12200 General Physics I-II.
A Biological Sciences major requires a “Fundamentals” sequence in general education or an “Advanced Biology Fundamentals” sequence in the major. Students with an AP 4 or 5 who complete three quarters of an “Advanced Biology Fundamentals” sequence are awarded a second AP credit to meet the general education requirement.
AP Chemistry: Students with a score of 5 may accept credit for CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I, or they can register for CHEM 12100-12200-12300 Honors General Chemistry I-II-III. Students who complete one to three quarters of Comprehensive General Chemistry or Honors General Chemistry forgo AP credit for all quarters completed at the University of Chicago.
AP Statistics: Will count for general education mathematics credit. May not be used to meet requirements for the statistics major or minor. Students who register and obtain credit for STAT 20000 Elementary Statistics, STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications, or STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods forgo AP credit for STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications.
International Baccalaureate Programme
Credit earned for courses in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme may be applied to certain general education requirements or to electives as described below. Credit will not be granted for other exams. Course credit is only granted for grades of 6 or 7 on Higher-Level IB Examinations (HL). The Language Competency Requirement may be satisfied with grades of 5, 6 or 7 on Higher-Level IB Examinations (HL) in languages other than English.
|IB Examination||Score||Credit Awarded 2017-18|
|Biology||7 Higher Level||100 units general education (BIOS 10130)|
|English||7 Higher Level||100 units general elective credit|
|Languages other than English||5, 6, or 7 Higher Level||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
British A-Levels and Other Examinations
Students with A-level work in calculus, physics, and chemistry are encouraged to take the College’s placement and/or accreditation examinations prior to matriculation. Credit for A-level work in biology may be awarded by petition to the Senior Adviser in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division; credit for A-levels in other fields except language may be awarded by petition to the Dean of Students in the College. No credit is given for general education requirements in humanities or social science. Elective credit may be given only for grades of A in the Advanced Test in liberal arts subjects.