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Extra-institutional learning related to subject areas, courses, and programs of study is evaluated for students registered at Graceland University. Extra-institutional learning is defined as learning that is attained outside the sponsorship of legally authorized and accredited postsecondary education institutions. The term applies to learning acquired from work and life experiences, independent reading and study, the mass media, and participation in formal courses sponsored by associations, business, government, industry, the military and unions. Established institutional evaluation procedures are followed, using one or more of the authorized publications and methods for effecting assessment. Questions concerning extra-institutional learning credit should be directed to the Registrar’s Office in the F.M. Smith Library.

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Advanced Placement Tests

Graceland participates with the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) in its Advanced Placement Program. Credit will be granted to students who score a 3, 4, or 5 as recommended by the American Council on Education. The amount of credit granted will be the same as the Graceland corresponding course, but will not exceed 8 semester hours for any one course.

A student who scores a 3 will be granted credit for a one-semester course or the first half of a one-year course. He/she will be permitted to enroll in a year long course at the beginning of the second semester. Scores of a 4 or 5 may merit credit in a one-year course.

The Advanced Placement credit listing can be found in PDF format here.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP exams may be taken either before or during enrollment at the university. CLEP exams are designed to award university credit to those students who have met a satisfactory level of proficiency in a subject area without having had formal college classwork. Recommendations for credit made by the American Council on Education are followed.

A list of examinations acceptable for credit is available at the Office of the Registrar in the F.M. Smith Library or you may view the Credit Allowed List in PDF format here.

If you are interested in earning credit through CLEP and want to learn more about it, the Registrar suggests the following website:



The School of Nursing utilizes the Excelsior program as an option to enable qualified Registered Nurses to earn credit towards the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Credit may also be awarded for other courses through the successful completion of Excelsior examinations. A listing of acceptable examinations is available from the Registrar in the F.M. Smith Library.


Experiential Learning Credit

Graceland University may award up to 30 semester hours of undergraduate credit for college-level learning that has occurred from prior work and life experiences. Prior learning is evaluated by appropriate department faculty for degree-seeking students who have been admitted to the university. Experiential learning credit cannot substitute for an internship or a practicum.  An internship/practicum is a unique and specific learning experience requiring planning and preparation ahead of the internship/practicum experience.  Students are assessed a nonrefundable evaluation fee and a recording fee for each credit hour recorded.

Students requesting experiential learning credit must submit, at least one year prior to graduation, a completed Request for Experiential Learning Credit form for each course and supporting documentation that verifies learning. Credit is generally awarded for learning that:

  1. will apply toward the student’s undergraduate degree program;
  2. is measurable;
  3. demonstrates a level of achievement defined by department faculty, i.e., course objectives are understood at the same level of understanding achieved through enrollment in the course;
  4. has a knowledge base; and
  5. is conceptual as well as practical.

Credit awarded to students is recorded on the academic record as experiential learning credit with a grade of “P” (Pass) after payment of the recording fee has been made.


International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma

Graceland University recognizes the IB Program and awards college credit for the successful completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Students who have completed the diploma, as evidenced by an official IB transcript, will receive 30 semester hours of credit toward graduation. Course equivalency will be granted in consultation with the faculty of the appropriate academic division or school.  Students who have not completed the diploma, but have scored a 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the higher level examination, can receive up to 6 s.h. of credit in the subject area. Those who score a 5, 6, or 7 on the subsidiary level examination, can receive up to 3 s.h. of credit in the subject area. Credit for individual exams will be granted on a course-by-course basis in consultation with the faculty of the appropriate academic division or school.


Language Placement Examinations

All students who have had high school or non-academic experience with a foreign language and who wish to enroll in courses in this language at Graceland must take the Language Placement Examination. It is given on campus during orientation. Examinations are presently offered for Spanish. The results of the examination will determine the placement of students in the proper language course level: beginning, intermediate, or advanced. Those students who place in the intermediate or higher classes will have met Goal 4 for general education.


Proficiency Exams

There are many courses in which proficiency exams may be given. These exams provide an opportunity for students to receive credit in areas where previous experience or study has given them an understanding of the course material.

To initiate a request for a proficiency exam, the student will first get the approval of the instructor of the course. The application will then be presented for division or school approval.

A list of courses acceptable for proficiency examinations will be prepared by and available from each division or school.

Such examinations are subject to the following limitations:

  1. They may be taken only by persons who have matriculated at Graceland.
  2. They may not be taken by students who have already received credit for the specific course or equivalent.
  3. They may be taken only if the credit earned applies toward graduation.
  4. They may not be taken to raise grades or to remove failures in courses.
  5. They may be taken only once for a given course.
  6. They may not be taken by a student during the final term before graduation.
  7. They may not be counted as residence work.

The grade given on the examinations is either “credit,” “waiver” (meets course requirement but carries no credit), or “no-entry.”

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