Advance Registration Guide

Advanced Placement Credit and Advanced Standing Credits

Sufficiently high scores on some nationally sponsored/administered secondary school examinations (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-Levels, etc.) may be eligible for advanced standing at Penn. This may make it possible for the recipient to complete the Bachelor’s degree in less than four years.

Advanced Standing Credits are not granted until the student has been admitted as a freshman. The original certificate or an official copy of the certificate from the appropriate examining agency must be received and evaluated by Penn’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions for the credit to be granted. Each student will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

All engineering students receiving AP, IB, and/or A-level credit are required to complete the credit evaluation process during their freshman year.

Types of Advanced Standing Credit

What counts for Advanced Standing Credit?

You can earn advanced standing credits in the following ways:

  • By taking an Advanced Placement Examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the International Baccalaureate exam, or any other similar exam while in high school and receiving a high enough score.
  • By passing an optional internal examination given at Penn at the start of each semester. Please check with the respective department to see if these exams are being offered. See below for a table of common internal exams for Engineering students.
  • By taking a course at another college or university prior to matriculating at Penn, receiving a high enough grade, and receiving approval by the respective department at Penn.

Evaluation of Credits

When you arrive at Penn, bring your high school transcripts or foreign examination certificates to the Office of Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing. The staff will be glad to help you with whatever questions you have.

Exams or scores that are not listed do not qualify students for advanced standing credit. Equivalents such as “History of Art Free” and “English Free” count as one History of Art credit and one English credit respectively, although no specific course requirements are fulfilled. For engineers, this type of AP credit may be used to satisfy Social Science and Humanities requirements or Free Electives. Please note that “English Free” does not satisfy the Writing Requirement.

Credits are awarded according to current policy. For more detailed information regarding the University’s Advanced Placement, A-Level examinations, International Baccalaureate Higher Level exams, and other foreign exam board policies, please contact the Office of Transfer Credit and Advanced Placement. The contact information is as follows:

Office of Transfer Credit and Advanced Placement
College Hall

You may find the latest policies on International Advanced Standing at:

You may find the latest policies on Advanced Placement at:

**Please note that the University AP credit policy remains under ongoing review and is subject to change. Remember to bring ALL your laboratory notes, laboratory reports, and other materials for AP credit evaluation.

**Also note that students with AP credits who take the equivalent course at Penn will forfeit the AP credit.

Registering for Courses Before Knowing Your Major

Advanced Standing Credit Results

Most first-year students are required to register before they know how much Advanced Standing Credit they will earn. If you are in this position:

  • Register for the courses you think you will take.
  • If it turns out that you need to switch, you will be able to do so during the Course Selection period of registration.
  • Students will not be turned away from the introductory science and math courses. You will be able to get into any class required for your major, although you may not get your first choice for time and professor. If Advanced Standing Credit has been earned for a course, and if that course credit matches your curriculum requirements, then that requirement has been satisfied. For instance, if your degree program requires MATH 104 and you obtain credit for that course by scoring well on an AP exam, then you do not need to take MATH 104. You may now move on to the next level of that course (i.e. MATH 114) or choose other options. Advanced Standing Credits will give you more room in your four-year plan for additional course work.

Refer to the chart below for examples:

Advanced Standing Credit Earned

Course Equivalent

Take Next

MATH 104

MATH 104

MATH 114


PHYS 140

PHYS 141

PHYS 93 (lecture) + PHYS 50 (lab)

PHYS 150

PHYS 151

Internal Departmental Exams

If you have studied a subject in which an Internal Departmental Exam is offered, you are encouraged to take the exam. No records are kept of those students who do not pass. Thus if you take the exam and fail, you have lost nothing. If you pass, however, you will have eliminated one of your course requirements and gained more flexibility in choosing your four-year curriculum. The exams are open to all students without charge. They are held immediately when the semester begins.

Contact the respective departments for details and updates.



More information


Yes - Internal


Yes - Internal
Phone: 215-898-7121


Yes - Internal
Phone: 215-898-8311


No - See Physics website for more information

Please note that credit for PHYS 91 and PHYS 92 cannot be used to fulfill the Physics requirement for SEAS students.