Non-Traditional Credit

Non-traditional credit available only to enrolled, undergraduate, degree-seeking students. Policy subject to change by the University, testing services, and other agencies without notice.

Undergraduate, degree-seeking students enrolled at East Tennessee State University may establish advanced standing credit through a number of non-traditional means. Approved programs include the following:

In each case, specific criteria exist for awarding advanced standing credit.* Please review the following information concerning each program. Credit is awarded only to enrolled, degree-seeking, undergraduate students.

Credit is not awarded to special (non-degree) students, with the exception of graduate special students enrolled in an ETSU teacher certification program through the ETSU College of Education.

All nontraditional credit carries a grade notation of “P” (Pass). In order for credit to be considered, an official transcript must be forwarded directly from the reporting agency or testing center.

If you have questions, contact the Office of Admissions at (423) 439-4213 or PO Box 70731, ETSU, Johnson City, TN 37614-0731.

* Policies subject to change without notice.


East Tennessee State University awards credit for educational programs in the Armed Services of the United States as recommended by the Commission on Educational Credit of the American Council on Education and published in their Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces. The credit is awarded for formal military course completion, not for skill level attainment or occupational experience. Only first bachelor degree-seeking veterans are eligible. Military credit does not satisfy baccalaureate proficiency requirements.

U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine veterans should submit official ACE Registry transcripts (ARTS/SMARTS) to the ETSU Office of Admissions. U.S. Air Force veterans should present official Community College of the Air Force transcripts. Coast Guard veterans should submit official Coast Guard Institute Education transcripts. The DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD 295, Application for the Evaluation of Learning Experiences during Military Service, or other official documentation may also be submitted.


The DANTES Program is a testing service conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Originally designed for military personnel, the program is now available to civilians. The DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs) include approximately 50 tests in a wide range of introductory college-level academic, vocational/technical, and business subjects. ETSU awards credit for the following DSSTs. ETSU is not a DANTES test center

Subject ExamMinimum ScoresETSU CoursesSem Hrs Credit
Astronomy 48 ASTR Elective 3
Business, Intro to 46 BADM 1130 3
College Algebra, Intro to 46 Math 1710 3
Computing, Intro to 400 CSCI Elective 3
Contemporary Western Europe 48 History Elective 3
Developmental Psychology, Lifespan 47 HDAL 2310 3
Ethnics in America 400 PHIL 2020 3
Here's to Your Health 48 PUBH 1010 3
History of Vietnam War 49 History Elective 3
Intro to World Religions 48 Religion Elective 3
Modern Middle East, Intro to 44 History Elective 3
Principles of Supervision 400 MGMT 3000 3
Physical Science, Prin of 47 PHYS 1030 3


ACT/SAT Credit for Freshman English

1. Entering freshmen whose standard score on the English section of the ACT is 28 or better will receive 3 hours credit for ENGL 1010 and may then enroll in ENGL 1020.

2. Entering freshmen whose standard score on the Verbal section of the SAT is 630 or better will receive 3 hours credit for ENGL 1010 and may then enroll in ENGL 1020. Note: The highest English score will determine the student’s eligibility for this credit. This is for SAT exams administered before March 2016.

3. Entering freshmen whose standard score on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section of the SAT is 680 or better will receive 3 hours credit for ENGL 1010 and may then enroll in ENGL 1020. This is for SAT exams administered after March 2016.

If ETSU receives a transcript with dual enrollment, the ETSU ENGL 1010 credit will be replaced with the credit with associated grade.

Students who do not want to receive the ETSU ENGL 1010 credit, should contact Undergraduate Admissions ( , 423-439-4213).



The International Baccalaureate Program offers secondary school students the opportunity to participate in college-level courses and to receive college credit. Credit awarded for Higher Level exams only. The courses listed below have been approved for credit. Students must request an official IB transcript be sent to the Admissions Office.

Test SubjectTest ScoreETSU CourseCredit Hours
Biology 5 or higher BIOL1010/11,1020/21 8
Business Management 5 or higher BADM 1130 3
Chemistry 5 or higher CHEM1110/11,1120/21 8
English 5 or higher ENGL 1010 3
English A:Literature 5 or higher ENGL 1010 & ENGL1020 6
History of the Americas 5 or higher Fr History Elective 3
History/Europe 5 or higher Sr History Elective 3
Language B 5 or higher Engl 1006, 1007 6
Music 5 or higher MUSC 1030 3
Psychology 5 or higher PSYC 1310 3
Physics 5 or higher PHYS 2010/11,2020/21 8
Theatre 5 or higher THEA 1030, SO Theatre Elective 6
Visual Arts 5 or higher ARTA 1001 3

* Additional IB courses may be considered for credit.


Eligible students may earn advanced standing by successfully completing College Level Examination Program (CLEP) general and subject examinations of the College Board. The University follows the recommendations of the Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials of the American Council on Education for awarding credit toward the baccalaureate degrees in most academic areas.

CLEP General Examinations

Credit for four general examinations is awarded as detailed below. Students need not successfully complete all exams in order to earn credit. Advanced standing credit is currently being allowed for the following courses.

TestMinimum ScoreETSU CoursesSemester HRS Credit
College Composition 50 English 1010 & 1020 6
Humanities 50 English 2220; Arth 2010 6
Natural Sciences 50 Biology 1020/1021, Physics 1030 8
Social Sciences & History 50 History 1120 & SOAA 1020 6

CLEP Subject Examinations

Credit for the subject examinations is awarded if the student achieves the average score of students in the norming group who earned a minimum grade of C in a comparable college course. The credit awarded is determined by the scope of material measured by the test and the comparable course offered by East Tennessee State University. Advanced standing credit is currently being allowed as outlined in the attached table.

East Tennessee State University
Office of Admissions


Subject ExaminationMinimum ScoreETSU Course(s)Semester HRS Credit
Financial Accounting 50 ACCT 2010,2020 6
American Government 50 PSCI 1120 3
History of United States I 50 HIST 2010 3
History of United States II 50 HIST 2020 3
American Literature 50 ENGL 2110, ENGL 2120 6
Biology, General 50 BIOL 1110, 1111, 1120, 1121 8
Business Law, Intro. 50 Business Elective 3
Calculus 50 MATH 1840, or 1910* 3 or 4
Chemistry, General 50 CHEM 1110, 1111, 1120, 1121 8
College Algebra 50 MATH 1710 3
College Composition Modular ----- No Credit** -
College Mathematics ----- No Credit** -
Pre-Calculus 50 MATH 1720 3
French Lang. Level I 50 FREN 1010, 1020 6
French Lang. Level II 59 FREN 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020 12
German Lang. Level I 50 GERM 1010, 1020 6
German Lang. Level II 60 GERM 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020 12
Spanish Lang. Level I 50 SPAN 1010, 1020 6
Spanish Lang. Level II 60 SPAN 1010, 1020, 2010, 2020 12
Educational Psychology, Intro 50 HDAL 3310 3
English Literature 50 ENGL 2210; ENGL 2220 6
Human Growth & Development 50 HDAL 2310 or 2320 or 2330 3
Information Systems & Comp. Appl. 50 CSCI 1100 3
Literature, Analyzing and Interpreting 50 ENGL 2030 & ENGL Elect. 6
Macroeconomics, Principles 50 ECON 2210 3
Management, Principles 50 MGMT Elect. 3
Marketing, Principles 50 MKTG Elect. 3
Microeconomics, Principles 50 ECON 2220 3
Psychology, Introductory 50 PSYC 1310 3
Sociology, Introductory 50 SOCI 1020 3
Western Civilization I 50 HIST 1110 3
Western Civilization II 50 HIST 1120 3

*Math credit determined by student’s major at time CLEP scores are received.

** Subject examination College Composition Modular does not include the required essay


Departmental Course Challenge Exams

Comprehensive departmental course challenge exams are available in most undergraduate courses. Students enrolled in ETSU who believe they have sufficient mastery of subject matter in specific ETSU courses may request to attempt a comprehensive examination through the chair of the department offering the course. Grades of A, B, C, D, or F or grades of ‘P’ for passed hours and ‘F’ for failed hours may be assigned for examination performance as determined by the appropriate academic department. A fee of $25.00 per credit hour sought will be charged. The administration of the examination is at the discretion of the academic department.


The Excelsior College Examination are a series of college-level examinations designed to mea sure subject matter attained primarily outside typical classrooms in order to provide a basis for awarding college credit. ETSU awards credit for successful completion exam as detailed below:

SubjectMinimum ScoreETSU CoursesSem Hrs Credit
Gerontology, Foundations of Nursing 46 PUBH 4607 3
English Composition C ENGL 1010 3

At this time, Excelsior College Nursing exams will transfer into ETSU as Nursing elective credit.

The Excelsior College English Composition exams measures a student’s ability in responding to written texts through expository writing, argumentation, and analysis. Additionally, it measures a student’s rhetorical, syntactic, and mechanical abilities. At this time, Excelsior College English Composition exams will transfer into ETSU as ENGL 1010.

University Credit for Experiential Learning (General Studies [B.G.S.], Professional Studies [B.S.], and Interdisciplinary Studies [B.S.])

East Tennessee State University reviews experiential learning for possible credit for students pursuing the Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies, or Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. Experiential learning is typically learning that has taken place outside of traditional college settings, but does not include credit based upon advanced placement or other examinations (i.e., CLEP) or training provided by non-collegiate institutions such as the Armed forces and service schools (the American Council on Education National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs reviews such credits). Students work with their academic advisor to prepare a detailed and documented portfolio of experiential learning for possible credit. In the portfolio, students must request specific ETSU credit, identifying an existing ETSU course that is a good match with their experience/training/knowledge. Supporting materials in the portfolio that may help document the learning could include samples of creative works, specific licensures held, continuing education unit certificates awarded at the completion of workshops and training courses, and certificates of completion for applicable courses completed through noncollegiate-sponsored instruction or training. Students must file the Application for Academic Credit Earned through Experiential Learning in addition to the portfolio. The appropriate ETSU academic department reviews the completed experiential learning application and portfolio to determine course equivalency. Departments may request additional materials, an interview, a departmental challenge exam, and/or other methods to assess competencies for the applicable ETSU course. Credits earned through experiential learning are identified on the student's transcript and receive a grade of "P" for "passed hours." No more than 30 hours of credit may be earned through the portfolio. Students must be enrolled in at least one hour of ETSU coursework to apply for experiential learning credit. Credit earned through experiential learning typically cannot be transferred or applied to majors other than those identified. Additional information is available from the Office of Admissions or the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach.

Credit from Non-Regionally Accredited Collegiate Institutions

ETSU will review for possible credit courses earned through nonregionally accredited collegiate institutions. If a student wishes ETSU to consider acceptance of academic credit completed through institutions not accredited by regional accrediting associations, a petition that such credit be reviewed must be filed. This petition, the Application for Academic Credit Earned at Non-Regionally Accredited Collegiate Institutions, is available from the Office of Admissions. The student must obtain this petition form and provide it to the appropriate academic department. Credit will be recorded on a student’s record only after the appropriate academic department and dean have reviewed the course and determined it to be equivalent in content to an ETSU course and approval is issued by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.


1. Non-traditional credit available only to enrolled, undergraduate, degree-seeking students.

2. Policy subject to change by the University, testing services, and other agencies without notice.

Tennessee Statewide Dual Credit

Statewide dual credit classes are college-level courses taught at the high-school level by trained high-school teachers in TN. All statewide dual credit courses are approved by the Consortium for Cooperative Innovative Education before they can be offered as a part of the state’s current pilot program. Students must meet or exceed the exam ‘cut score’ to receive college credit.

Pilot Courses

SubjectETSU Courses
American History II HIST 2020
Criminal Justice CJCR 1100
Pre-Calculus MATH 1720
Psychology PSYC 1310
Intro to Probability & Statistics MATH 1530
World History HIST 1001
World History HIST 1001
Fundamentals of Communication COMM 2025

Full Implementation Course

SubjectETSU Courses
Intro to Agriculture Business GEEL 1001
Intro to Plant Science GEEL 1001
Intro to Sociology SOCI 1020