Academic Catalog

External Credit Program

Benedictine University recognizes that students may have learning opportunities prior to enrollment in a degree program at Benedictine University or non-traditional learning experiences which are part of their educational pathway. Students have an opportunity to provide materials (i.e. exam scores, certificates, portfolios, etc.) to demonstrate competencies within subject areas that align with college-level learning that may satisfy degree requirements or place them in the appropriate level of coursework based on acquired knowledge.

External credit may be applied toward a student’s degree program, general education requirements, general electives, or electives within a major/minor with faculty review and approval. In some instances, students may be restricted from applying for or be required to receive prior approval for external credit within an area of study or their major.

External credit cannot be used to satisfy degree residency requirements, is not included as part of a student’s semester enrollment, and will not be calculated in a student’s GPA. External credit cannot duplicate any previously earned or awarded credit either as presented by transcript or enrolled coursework at Benedictine University and any external credit presented on another institution’s transcript will not be accepted. Students are required to submit any official documents for the external credit programs to Benedictine. Students must be enrolled in classes to post external credit awards to their academic record and once posted, awarded credit may not be removed. Benedictine University reserves the right to apply fees to student accounts where applicable for external credit programs. In some cases, students may earn credit though more than one external credit program.

Benedictine University reserves the ability to determine how external credit shall be granted if the student can earn the credit through more than one means.

Approved External Credit Programs:

Credit by Examination

Benedictine University recognizes several national and international examination-based programs such as AP, CLEP, and IB for acceptance and credit awards. These exams are recognized as having met learning outcomes for secondary education coursework and each exam is to be reviewed by faculty for credit awards based on how this prior learning most accurately aligns with lower level college learning outcomes. Benedictine University Department Chairs oversee the credit awards of any related exams and through the Transfer Credit Evaluation process have established course credit awards for each program. Students must submit any official documentation for consideration to be reviewed and evaluated by the Office of the Registrar.

Approved Credit by Examination programs include:

Advanced Placement (AP) Program

AP exams are accepted in accordance with Benedictine University’s AP credit award program. Students are required to submit official score reports from College Board/AP for consideration and AP exams must have been taken prior to high school graduation. AP Credit cannot be awarded for a subject if the student has already received institutional credit. Students must earn at minimum an AP score of 3 to receive credit. Some AP exams may require a score higher than 3 to earn credit or to receive the maximum credit award.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme

Benedictine University recognizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme which offers high school students quality two-year programs of studies which lead to examinations. Students are required to submit official score reports from IB for consideration and IB exams must have been taken prior to high school graduation. Benedictine University will award credit for scores of 4 or higher on International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme subjects - including Standard and Higher Level examinations. Credit awards will be determined by the appropriate departments. Duplicate credit will not be awarded in the case where credit has already been earned for the equivalent course from another source (i.e. dual coursework, AP, etc.).

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a college-level exam program offered by College Board. There are 34 exams that cover college-level course content primarily at the introductory level. CLEP exams are offered and proctored at various testing sites and scores are recorded on official College Board/CLEP score documents. Students are required to submit official score reports from College Board/CLEP for consideration. CLEP credit for major coursework must be approved in advance by an advisor and department. Students must receive a minimum score of 50 for credit consideration.

ACT Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) Test

At Benedictine University, PEP allows Bachelor of Science in Nursing students to be examined in the three nursing areas of Maternal and Child Nursing, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, and Adult Nursing.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW)

Benedictine University is proud to partner with nationally-recognized STEM program, Project Lead the Way (PLTW).  In recognition of the rigor and content taught through PLTW’s K-12 curriculum, BenU offers incoming freshmen students an opportunity to achieve college credit upon completion of PLTW high school coursework and Benedictine University criteria requirements. High school students who have successfully completed at least (1) and a maximum of (2) eligible PLTW course(s) and submit test scores may be considered for Benedictine University college credit(s).  Awarding of credit is based on submitted official end of course assessment score from PLTW. 

Proficiency and Placement Credit by Department

Proficiency and placement credits are determined individually by departments as described in the academic program section of the catalog and students should request information through advisors.

Procedures for requesting proficiency credit in languages are described on the External Credit for Languages page.  Credit awards are subject to faculty review and must be approved by the department prior to being submitted on a Petition for External Credit form to the Office of the Registrar.The department reserves the right to make equivalency decisions for students.

Work/Life Experience Credit

Benedictine University recognizes students may have learned competencies or college-level learning through experiences outside of a classroom through professional work experience, military experience or certificate-based training or programs. Consideration for work/life experience credit should align with a course in Benedictine University’s catalog and attained with the same degree of competence in a subject area (grade of “C” or higher). Programs such as post-secondary education programs, professional development, industry-based training, non-degree certificate programs at another institution may be reviewed by faculty to determine learning outcomes and potential course credit awards. State Seal of Biliteracy, Military Credit, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolios, Credit Recommendation Agencies (such as ACE, NCCRS), approved Training Experiences and Certificate-Based Learning Opportunities are examples of accepted work/life experience credit. Work/Life Experience Credit must be submitted on a Petition for External Credit Form with the approval from the department and advisor to the Office of the Registrar.
Approved work/life experience credit includes:

Military Credit

Benedictine University accepts for consideration under the military credit program: credit on a military transcript issued by any branch of the armed services; credit presented on a Joint Services Transcript (JST); credit for training courses and programs that have been evaluated by a national higher education associate such as the American Council on Education (ACE) Military Guide credit recommendations; military training or experience that may be otherwise documented

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) portfolios

Each College and Department determines if students are permitted to submit Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) portfolios for review and acceptance of credit. Students may submit a request for work/life experience credit via a formal portfolio for review or with department-based processes for assessing collegiate level experiences directly to the department of their program. Work/life experience credit will be assessed based on knowledge and skills that students demonstrate they have learned through submission of credentials, work experiences, and training that meet the collegiate level. Portfolio submissions must demonstrate that a student has achieved the equivalent competencies and learning outcomes of any awarded course(s).

Credit Recommendation Agencies (ACE, NCCRS, etc.)

Students may utilize published guides for potential credit acceptance from several approved external services. Students who utilize these services should submit official transcripts or documentation for external credit consideration and potential review, acceptance and credit awards to the Transfer Credit Evaluation team for review.

Approved training experiences/Certificate-based learning opportunities

Benedictine University recognizes students may have learned competencies or college-level learning through training programs that may result in a credentialled certificate. These include post-secondary education programs, professional development, industry-based training, and non-degree certificate programs at another institution and may be reviewed by faculty to determine learning outcomes and potential course credit awards. Awarded credit should consist of not less than 38 hours of instruction/training time per credit hour awarded, individual learning activities (such as pre-course assignments, course assignments, preparation time), and team-based collaborative learning activities per one semester credit hour awarded. Faculty review and approval of certificate programs are encouraged to pre-determine credit awards before accepting a certificate program under the provisions of the work/life experience credit acceptance program. Programs currently approved include: the State Seal of Biliteracy, Law Enforcement Training Academies, and Food Sanitation Certification. Students must request course credit for State Seal of Biliteracy within three academic years after graduating from high school. Please consult an advisor for more information on these programs.

Students should seek additional information including eligibility, score requirements and potential course awards through the Office of the Registrar.