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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Earned Credits

Earned Credits: AP, CLEP, & Other Special Options

Students may earn credit for knowledge gained prior to enrollment in the college, or for knowledge gained outside traditional college courses. Students should contact the CLAS Advising Office for specific details on how credits can apply to core requirements. For credit within a student’s major or minor, the appropriate departmental major/minor advisor must be consulted. Individual departments establish criteria for AP, IB, and CLEP credits, therefore students should contact the departmental major/minor advisor for specific details.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have taken advanced courses in high school and who have earned high scores on the Advanced Placement (AP) standardized exams may be eligible to receive college credit for lower-level courses. Advanced Placement scores of five, four, or three (a score of three requires a course letter grade of A in the last semester of the corresponding AP class) may receive college credit and advanced standing in those areas.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Students who have taken International Baccalaureate (IB) standardized exams may be eligible for college credit. IB scores of seven, six, five, or four may receive credit toward completion of a degree at the Downtown Denver Campus. Students completing an International Baccalaureate Diploma program shall be awarded 24 credit hours minimum in accordance with HB 03-1108.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

College credit for lower-division courses is awarded at the Downtown Denver Campus for approved CLEP subject examination areas in which students score at or above the 50th percentile. College credit is not awarded for CLEP general examination areas. To receive college credit from CLEP, students must present official score reports to the Downtown Denver Campus Office of Admissions. A maximum of 30 hours of CLEP credit will count toward the degree.  Please click HERE for more information on the CLEP.

Credit by Examination

Students with sufficient experience and knowledge may receive credit for a specific course by taking a comprehensive examination given by the faculty. Students should contact their major or minor faculty advisor in advance to determine whether examination credit will apply to their degree. To qualify for an examination, the student must be formally working toward a degree at CU Denver, have a grade point average of at least 2.0, and be currently registered. A non-refundable fee will be charged.  Please contact the Registrar's office​ for instructions. 

Internships or Cooperative Education

Internships are designed to tie together a student’s academic program with a position in his/her chosen career field or area of interest. Internships are paid or unpaid work experiences for which a student can earn academic credit. The Internship experience will contain academic content and is sponsored by a CLAS faculty member. Internships are helpful for career exploration early in a student’s academic career, or for job experience after developing academic content in the major.

To be eligible for an Internship for credit, students must have:

  • A minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA.
  • A minimum of 15 semester hours of completed CU Denver course work.

Students are allowed to complete a maximum of 3 semester hours of internship credit per semester and 9 semester hours of internship credit is allowed overall toward the 120 semester hours applied toward graduation.

Cooperative Education (CO-OPS) experiences are always paid, and students never earn academic credit for the experience. CO-OPS are different from job experience because of their academic nature.

Undergraduate students should contact the Experiential Learning Center for details about internship opportunities, faculty sponsorship requirements, and cooperative education opportunities.

Courses in The Professional Schools And in Physical Education

Students may count up to 24 semester hours of academic course work taken outside of liberal arts and sciences (such as business, engineering, architecture, journalism, or education) toward completion of a degree.

Up to 8 semester hours of activity courses in physical education will count toward the 120 hours required for the degree.

Independent Study

Qualified CLAS undergraduate students who seek to extend their education and knowledge outside of the structured classroom setting are encouraged to register for an independent study. Undergraduate independent study is a structured, independent project within the student’s discipline. Independent study projects are overseen by tenure/tenure-track faculty members. Independent study projects as part of an undergraduate honors project must be sponsored by tenure-track rank faculty. Students should consult with their faculty sponsor and CLAS advisor to discuss the project and initiate the independent study contract. A maximum of 12 credits in independent study may apply toward the bachelor’s degree.

To qualify for independent study credit, students must have a declared major or minor in the discipline of the independent study project and a minimum cumulative CU Denver GPA of 2.5. Those seeking senior level independent study must have a minimum junior standing and sufficient course work to allow independent research in the discipline.

Independent study projects are typically awarded credit on a 3:1 (4:1 in summer) basis for contact hours per week to credit hours. That is, a 3-credit-hour independent study project typically requires 9 hours of effort per week over the semester.