Office of the President

Policy on Challenging Courses, partially superseded by EM 23-033

Executive Memorandum 89-015 November 27, 1989

This Executive Memorandum has been superseded by 23-033 .

From: Robin S. Wilson, President

Subject: Policy on Challenging Courses

The Faculty Senate and the Provost have reviewed and recommended the revisions to the Policy on Challenging Courses. I approve the revised policy for implementation fall 1990. This memorandum will replace EM 72-026.


(Credit by Internal Examination)

Supersedes EM 72-026

The purpose of the revisions is to clarify, simplify, and standardize the various policies and procedures now in use at the University.


  • Students may apply to challenge by examination any course listed in the current university catalog.
  • Students must be enrolled at CSU, Chico to apply for credit by challenge examination.
  • Students must apply for course credit by challenge examination to the chair of the department or unit in which the course is offered.
  • Only those courses offered in the semester of the application may be challenged.
  • Credit by challenging examination will result in a credit/no credit grade except in those contexts approved by the Provost and will not count toward the residence requirement for degrees and credentials.
  • Students may not challenge a course if they have previously received credit for a more advanced course dealing with the same concepts.
  • Credit by challenge examination will generate FTE for the department or unit administering the exam.


  • A student must submit an Application for Credit by Examination to the department chair with the responsibility for the course to be challenged. The application will include pertinent information concerning the student's educational background, readiness to challenge a course by examination, potential educational value of such a challenge in contrast to experiencing active enrollment in the course, and contact with a faculty member in the context of such enrollment.
  • The application must be filed by the end of the second week of classes.
  • The department chair will approve or reject the application based on department policy and information on the student's application and notify the student of the decision.
  • The student must enroll in the class to be challenged by examination and pay appropriate fees (AA 86-13).
  • If the application is approved, the course instructor will administer a written examination which will be graded credit/no credit (see exception noted above). Where skills are involved which are not easily demonstrated by a written examination, a performance test will be required in addition to the written examination and will be properly counted toward the credit/no credit grade.
  • If the examination is passed, the course instructor will submit a credit grade for the student on the regular class grade sheet at the end of the semester; the department chair will send a memorandum instructing the Registrar to enter the credit on the student's record as "passed by examination. "
  • If the examination is failed, the student may remain in the course and receive a letter grade upon completion of the course. If appropriate, the student may change to a credit/no credit option by completing the appropriate form in the Records Office in accordance with established university procedures.
  • The application form and the examination will be retained in the department office for at least one year.