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College-level Credit Policies

College-level Credit at PLU

PLU grants college-level credit to students who have taken and scored a certain level on AP, IB and Cambridge exams.

Additionally, PLU will grant college-level credits to students who have completed Washington State Running Start or other college courses while in high school.

Weighted GPA

PLU grants special status to IB, AP, Cambridge, Honors and Accelerated courses. PLU will weight grades in these courses when calculating an admission GPA in order to benefit those students who have challenged themselves and undertaken a rigorous high school curriculum.

What is First-Year with Advanced Standing?

Academic standing at PLU will depend on the number of college-level credits transferred in (for example, a student with an AA through Running Start will be granted junior academic status), but any high school senior submitting college-level credit through any of the programs listed will be considered first-year with advanced standing.

Here’s the reason: As a first-year student with advanced standing, a student will then still be considered the higher-level freshmen academic scholarships, which are renewable for an additional three years. These students will also be considered freshman for financial aid purposes, granting eligibility for four years.

These policies have been set by the Pacific Lutheran University Office of the Registrar and respective academic departments. PLU reserves the right to make college-level credit decisions on an individual basis.

  • Students who have completed advanced placement tests with appropriate scores receive credit.
  • Credit is awarded only for scores of 4 or 5, except for Calculus, which requires a score of 3 or higher, and physics (B or C), which requires a score of 5.
  • Credit is applied to specific General Education Requirements or elective credit depending on the test category.
  • Click here or refer to the bottom of the page to see credit awarded for each AP test.

If you have tested for an AP class that is not listed, the PLU Registrar’s Office will review the course individually.

  • PLU awards 30 semester hours of credit for completion of the IB Diploma
  • These 30 credits satisfy specific General Education Requirements: Fine Arts, Literature, Philosophy (if higher level Philosophy is included in the IB Diploma), 2 Social Sciences, Natural Science/Computer Science/Mathematics, Science and Scientific Method, and Mathematical Reasoning.
  • IB diploma students are not obligated to complete the Freshman Experience Program requirements, but they must complete the University Writing Requirement as outlined in the University Catalog, as well as the Gen Eds not listed above.
  • Students who do not receive the full IB Diploma are granted 4 semester hours of credit for each higher-level examination with a grade of 4 or higher. Credit awarded in this manner will be matched to the appropriate Gen Ed Elements from the requirements listed above.

In order to transfer Running Start credits to PLU:

  • Courses must be from an accredited Washington community college.
    • Typically, only 100-level or above courses will transfer credit.
  • Students must submit an official college transcript
  • Grades in Running Start courses must be a C- or higher.

If a student earns an Associate of Arts (AA) degree through Running Start, that student will be granted junior academic status and will be considered a first-year student with advanced standing*.

To see class by class transfer credit equivalencies from a specific community college or university, please visit our Interactive Equivalency Guide.

To see major-specific two year transfer guides for some of our nearby community colleges, please visit our Washington 2 Year Colleges to PLU webpage.

  • A maximum of 30 semester hours may be granted for completion of Cambridge International Examinations.
  • Students must earn a passing grade (C or better) to earn credit.
  • No credit will be awarded for AS-Level or O-Level exams.

  • Students who have completed other college courses while in high school may be awarded credit at PLU. The courses must be listed in the official college catalog, be a part of the regular college curriculum of a regionally accredited college or university, and post a grade of a C- or higher.

  • Students are permitted, within limits, to obtain credit by examination in lieu of regular enrollment in a class.
  • No more than 30 hours may be counted toward graduation from the CLEP examination or any other examination.
  • For information on obtaining credit by examination, see the official PLU catalog.

AP Course Policy Chart

AP SubjectAP Exam ScoreCourse EquivalentCreditCredit Awarded
Art History4 or 5None4Gen Ed
Studio Art4 or 5None4Gen Ed
Biology4 or 5BIOL 1114Gen Ed
Calculus AB3, 4 or 5MATH 1514Gen Ed
Calculus BC3MATH 1514Gen Ed
Calculus BC4 or 5MATH 151 & 1528Gen Ed
Chemistry4 or 5CHEM 100TR4Gen Ed [Speak with PLU's chemistry department chair for possible CHEM 115 credit.]
Computer Science A4 or 5CSCI 1444Gen Ed [If CSCI 270 is completed with a C or better]
Computer Science Principles3CSCI 100TR4Gen Ed
English Language & Composition4 or 5None4Elective
English Literature & Composition4 or 5None4Elective
Environmental Science with lab4 or 5ENVT 1044Gen Ed
Government & Politics: United States4 or 5POLS 1514Gen Ed
Government & Politics: Comparative4 or 5None4Gen Ed
History: United States4 or 5None4Elective
History: European4 or 5None4Elective
History: World4 or 5HIST 2154Gen Ed
Human Geography4 or 5None4Gen Ed
Languages & Cultures4 or 5None4[On completion (with a C or better) of the course into which they are placed by PLU's placement system, student may receive four advanced placement credits. AP credit is not awarded for 100-level courses.]
Macroeconomics4 or 5ECON 1024Gen Ed
Microeconomics4 or 5ECON 1014Gen Ed
Music Theory4 or 5MUSI 1014Gen Ed
Physics 15PHYS 1254Gen Ed
Physics 25PHYS 1264Gen Ed
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism5PHYS 1544Gen Ed
Physics C: Mechanics5PHYS 1534Gen Ed
Psychology4 or 5PSYC 1014Gen Ed
Statistics4 or 5STAT 2314Gen Ed [May not be used to fulfill the statistics requirement for degrees in psychology, sociology, social work or minors.]