Academic Credit by Examination and Other Credit Options

Stony Brook accepts up to 30 credits by examination in partial fulfillment of the bachelor’s degree. Included in this total may be credit based on standardized external examinations such as AP, CLEP, Regents College Examinations, and Stony Brook’s own Challenge Program (see below). Credit by examination may not be used to satisfy most Diversified Education Curriculum re­quire­ments; however, they may be used to satisfy one course in each of categories E, F, and G, and AP credit may be used to satisfy the first course of category A and category C. Credit by examination does not count toward the University’s residence requirement.

Credit requested for examinations or programs (e.g., military) not specifically mentioned below must be substantia­ted by the appropriate documentation. Re­quests for reviews of students’ qualifications must be submitted in writing to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Foreign Language Challenge Exam Program

Stony Brook University’s Foreign Language Challenge Exam program permits students to meet requirements, earn credit, and receive advanced placement by taking examinations in place of foreign language courses. Students interested in taking a Challenge Exam must complete the Challenge Exam form and meet with an academic advisor in the Academic and Pre-Professional Advising Center, certifying eligibility before making payment or scheduling an exam. For more information, visit

The guidelines for the Challenge Exam are as follows:

 1. Only matriculated undergraduates are eligible to take a Challenge Exam.

 2. The relevant academic department determines the foreign language courses, if any, for which it will offer Challenge Exams.

 3. A maximum of 15 credits may be accumulated through the Challenge Exam program. This total is included in the 30-credit limit on examination credits, including AP and CLEP, which can be applied toward the bachelor’s degree.

 4. Challenge Exams cannot be taken in foreign language courses that are pre-requisites for courses already passed.

 5. Challenge Exams cannot be taken for 111-level courses since they does not satisfy the skill 3 foreign language requirement.

 6. Challenge Exams cannot be taken in foreign language courses that already appear on the student’s Stony Brook transcript, including courses transferred, registered (except during add/drop period), passed, failed, withdrawn, or incomplete.

 7. Students may not take a Challenge Exam if they received credit in high school or college in the course being challenged or a higher level course.

 8. Students may not take a Challenge Exam if they graduated from a high school where the language of instruction was the same as the course being challenged.

 9. Challenge Exams cannot be taken more than once for the same course.

 10. Challenge Exam credit does not count toward full-time student status or academic standing.

 11. Challenge Exam credit does not fulfill the University residence requirement or satisfy the 55 credits in residence required of candidates for degrees with distinction.

 12. Challenge Exam credit may be used to fulfill upper division credit for foreign language courses at the 300-level and higher.

 13. Challenge Exam credit may be used to fulfill foreign language major and minor requirements, pending approval from the Undergraduate Program Director in the respective department.

 14. Students who receive academic advising and academic departmental approval to take a Challenge Exam are eligible to take the exam by the end of the current semester, unless the applicant ceases to meet the eligibility requirements.

 15. The grading option for Challenge Exams is satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U). S grades appear on the student’s transcript. U grades do not appear on the student’s transcript.

 16. Credit is not awarded for Challenge Exams in foreign languages not included in Stony Brook’s curriculum.  

 17. The University does not guarantee proctors for every language.  

Information for students enrolled in the Chinese or Japanese Teacher Preparation Program: Students enrolled in the CHI or JPN Teacher Preparation Program may earn up to twenty-one (21) Challenge Exam credits. They are exempt from items 7 and 8 noted above, but are not permitted to enroll in CHI 111 or JPN 111 if they receive Challenge Exam credit for any CHI or JPN courses at the 112-level or higher. Approval for Challenge Exam courses is required by the respective Language Advisor and the Foreign Language Director.