Can I earn college credit without taking classes at COD?

Credit by Examination

In accordance with Title 5, section 55050, College of the Desert allows for the granting of units through credit by examination for a course. Credit by Exam is based on the principle that previous experience, training, or instruction is the equivalent of a specific course taught by the College. The faculty shall determine that the examination adequately measure mastery of the course content as set forth in the Course Outline of Record. The faculty may choose to accept an examination conducted at a location other than the community college for this purpose.

If an examination shows that the student possesses adequate equivalency and mastery of the subject, credit is granted. A student seeking credit by examination will receive a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F, P, NP) and grade points in the same way as if enrolled in a regular course.

A student may challenge a course only once. Credit earned according to this policy shall not count toward determination of eligibility for veteran’s benefits. Credit by examination is possible in selected courses only. Exceptions to the above may be made when necessary to meet provisions of California state law or the rules and regulations of state agencies governing programs of the California Community Colleges. Credit by examination may be granted only to a student who

  1. is currently enrolled in at least one course in the College,
  2. is not on academic probation,
  3. has submitted transcripts of all previous course work,
  4. has not earned college credit in more advanced subject matter, and
  5. has not received a grade (A, B, C, D, F, P, NP), or equivalent, in the course for which he or she is seeking credit by examination at this or any other educational institution.

Unit credit granted by examination to a student shall not count toward the minimum of 12 units required for College residency to earn a degree or certificate at COD. The 12 units College residency requirement is waived for high school students who have successfully completed a high school course that has been articulated with a COD course and have earned credit by Credit By Examination (CBE). Students interested in credit by examination will be required to submit a Credit by Examination form to the Admissions & Records Office to initiate the approval process. Prior to submitting the form, interested students should meet with a counselor or faculty advisor to discuss their eligibility for credit by examination. The signature of the appropriate Instructional Dean will also be required, prior to submitting the Credit by Examination form to the Admissions & Records Office. Payment of a nonrefundable fee is required upon submission of the Credit by Examination form (please check the Admissions & Records Office webpage for current fees.) The request must be approved by the midpoint of the semester, and the examination must be given prior to the last day of the final examination period.

Credit from High Schools & Regional Occupational Programs

College of the Desert cooperates with high schools and Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) within the boundaries of the college district in an effort to assist students to transition from secondary to post-secondary levels without a duplication of learning. Opportunities to earn credit or request a prerequisite course waiver may be offered to qualifying high school and ROP students in approved areas of study. For complete information, please contact the CTE Transitions Office at (760) 674-7627.

Credit for Military Service Schools

College of the Desert awards elective college credit for certain military training, experiences, and coursework. This credit is based on recommendations from the “American Council of Education: Guide to Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces.”

Credit will be granted for those training courses substantially similar to coursework offered by College of the Desert. Usually credit earned is not transferable but may be applicable to some of the occupational degrees available at College of the Desert.

Veterans must have completed 12 units at College of the Desert (unless presently receiving V.A. benefits) before requesting the military credit evaluation.

Students must request the official copy of their JST (Joint Services Transcript for Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy) or CCAF (Air Force) transcripts.  If these are not available, then their DD-214 form will be used for credit evaluations. Please contact COD Veterans Services for information regarding this process at (760) 773-2536.

Credit for CEEB Advanced Placement Examinations (AP)

College of the Desert grants credit for scores of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement Examinations of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Such credit may apply toward requirements for COD degrees and for transfer programs to both the California State University and University of California systems. The CSU and UC campuses determine what courses and credits are awarded on their campus. AP Foreign Language credit may prevent you from earning credits in a lower level foreign language course. Please see a counselor for additional information.

California Community College (CCC) AP Policy for General Education Credit
Colleges shall award General Education Area credit as shown on the CCC AP GE list below. For General Education Requirements refer to title 5 § 55063. If the college does not have a course similar in content to the AP Examination, then the college shall award credit for the indicated GE Area as shown on the CCC AP GE Areas List. If there is no GE Area that fits the AP Examination, the college may award elective credit. This policy does not address course-to-course awarding of AP credit as that is a local decision made by the appropriate discipline faculty.

High School students who intend to participate in this program should make the necessary arrangements with their high schools. Students should request that their test scores be sent to College of the Desert at the time they take the Advanced Placement Examinations. To apply for credit for advanced placement, students should contact the Admissions & Records Office at (760) 773-2516.

Credit for CEEB Advanced Placement Examinations

College Board Advanced Placement Tests (AP) Minimum Semester Credits Earned1 Semester Credits Toward GE Breadth American Institutions and/or GE Breadth Area2 CCC GE Areas3
Art History 6 3 C1 or C2 Humanities
Biology 6 4 B2+B3 Natural Sciences
Calculus AB4 3 3 B4 Language & Rationality
Calculus BC4 6 3 B4 Language & Rationality
Calculus BC/AB Subscore4 3 3 B4 Language & Rationality
Chemistry 6 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
Chinese Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Comparative Government & Politics 3 3 D8 Social/Behavioral Sciences
Computer Science A4 3 0 n/a n/a
Computer Science AB4 6 0 n/a n/a
English Language & Composition 6 3 A2 Language & Rationality
English Literature & Composition 6 6 A2+C2 Language & Rationality or Humanities
Environmental Science5 4 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
European History 6 3 C2 or D6 Social/Behavioral Sciences or Humanities
French Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
German Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Human Geography 3 3 D5 Social/Behavioral Sciences
Italian Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Japanese Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Latin 6 3 C2 Humanities
Macroeconomics 3 3 D2 Social/Behavioral Sciences
Microeconomics 3 3 D2 Social/Behavioral Sciences
Music 3 n/a Humanities
Physics 16 4 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
Physics 26 4 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
Physics C (electricity/magnetism)5 4 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
Physics C (mechanics)5 4 4 B1+B3 Natural Sciences
Psychology 3 3 D9 Social/Behavioral Sciences
Seminar 3 0 n/a n/a
Spanish Language & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Spanish Literature & Culture 6 3 C2 Humanities
Statistics 3 3 B4 Language & Rationality
Studio Art - 2D Design 3 0 n/a n/a
Studio Art - 3D Design 3 0 n/a n/a
Studio Art - Drawing 3 0 n/a n/a
U.S. Government & Politics 3 3 D8+US-2 Social/Behavioral Sciences
U.S. History 6 3 (C2 or D6)+US-1 Social/Behavioral Sciences or Humanities
World History 6 3 C2 or D6 Social/Behavioral Sciences or Humanities
1

These units count toward eligibility for admission. The units may not all apply toward certification of the corresponding GE Breadth area. See Executive Orders 1033 and 1036 for details.

2

Areas of GE Breadth (A1 through E) are defined in Executive Order 1100. Areas of American Institutions (US-1 through US-3) are set forth in Sections IA and IB of EO 1061, and at assist.org.

3

Advanced Placement score of 3, 4, or 5 is required for general education certification

4

If a student passes more than one AP exam in calculus or computer science, only one examination may be applied to the baccalaureate.

5

Students who pass AP Environmental Science earn 4 units of credit. Tests prior to Fall 2009 may apply to either B1+B3 or B2+B3 of GE Breadth. Fall of 2009 or later, those credits may only apply to B1+B3.

6

 If a student passes more than one AP exam in physics, only six units of credit may be applied to the baccalaureate, and only four units of credit may be applied to a certification in GE Breadth.

AP Government & Politics: United States does not satisfy CSU baccalaureate constitution requirement.

Note: College of the Desert does not have comparable courses for all courses listed above.

Credit for College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

A maximum of 30 semester units of credit is given for CLEP (College Level Examination Program) with scores at the 50th percentile or higher. Credit is not awarded for English composition. Official CLEP examination results must be submitted to the Admissions & Records Office. CLEP exams are offered through COD's Partnership and Community Education Division (PaCE) Office, (760) 776-7420. CLEP credit will not be used to meet IGETC General Education Requirements for Certification. CLEP may be used to meet CSU General Education requirements for certification. Below is the list of exams for which College of the Desert awards credit.

Credit for College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Passing Score Minimum Semester Credits Earned1 Semester Credits Toward GE Breadth American Institutions and/or GE Breadth Area2
American Government 50 3 3 D8
American Literature 50 3 3 C2
Analyzing & Interpreting Literature 50 3 3 C2
Biology 50 3 3 B2
Calculus 50 3 3 B4
Chemistry 50 3 3 B1
College Algebra 50 3 3 B4
College Algebra - Trigonometry 50 3 3 B4
College Composition 50 0 0 n/a
College Composition - Modular 50 0 0 n/a
Financial Accounting 50 3 0 n/a
French Level I 7 59 9 3 C2
French Level II 7 59 9 3 C2
German Level I7 50 6 0 n/a
German Level II 7 60 9 3 C2
History, United States I 50 3 3 D6+US-1
History, United States II 50 3 3 D6+US-1
Human Growth & Development 50 3 3 E
Humanities 50 3 3 C2
Information Systems & Computer Applications 50 3 0 n/a
Introduction to Educational Psychology 50 3 0 n/a
Introductory Business Law 50 3 0 n/a
Introductory Psychology 50 3 3 D9
Introductory Sociology 50 3 3 D0
Natural Sciences 50 3 3 B1 or B2
Pre-Calculus 50 3 3 B4
Principles of Accounting 50 3 0 n/a
Principles of Macroeconomics 50 3 3 D2
Principles of Management 50 3 0 n/a
Principles of Marketing 50 3 0 n/a
Principles of Microeconomics 50 3 3 D2
Spanish Level I7 50 6 0 n/a
Spanish Level II 7 63 9 3 C2
Western Civilization I 50 3 3 C2 or D6
Western Civilization II 50 3 3 D6
1

These units count toward eligibility for admission. The units may not all apply toward certification of the corresponding GE Breadth area. See Executive Orders 1033 and 1036 for details.

2

Areas of GE Breadth (A1 through E) are defined in Executive Order 1100. Areas of American Institutions (US-1 through US-3) are set forth in Sections IA and IB of EO 1061, and at assist.org.

7

If a student passes more than one CLEP test in the same language other than English (e.g., two exams in French), then only one examination may be applied to the baccalaureate. For each test in a language other than English, a passing score of 50 is considered "Level I" and earns six units of baccalaureate credit; the higher the score listed for each test is considered "Level II" and earns additional units of credit and placement in Area C2 of GE Breadth, as noted.

Note: College of the Desert does not have comparable courses for all courses listed above.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit 

The Desert Community College District may award International Baccalaureate Examination (IB) credit toward a Certificate or Associate Degree, or for CSU GE or IGETC Transfer Certification to those who attain an appropriate score on Higher Level (HL) Exams. If you are intending to transfer to a four-year institution, you should consult with a counselor or the individual institution regarding its IB credit policy.

A score of 5, 6, or 7 on Higher Level exams is required to grant credit for IGETC and CSU GE Breadth Certification (exception: a score of 4 on the following IB subjects is considered a passing score for CSU GE Breath Certification: Language A1 HL, Language A2 HL, Language B HL, Mathematics HL, and Theatre HL). An acceptable IB score for IGETC or CSU GE Breadth equates to either 3 semester or 4 quarter units for certification purposes.

If you have earned credit from an IB exam, you should not enroll in a comparable college course because credit will not be granted for both. (CSU may grant additional units for eligibility for admission.) If you wish to apply for IB credit, you should: (1)  Submit an official IB transcript to Admissions & Records and (2)  Review IB scores with a counselor.

International Baccalaureate Examination (IB) Passing Score Minimum Semester Credits Earned1 Semester Credits Toward GE Breadth American Institutions and/or GE Breadth Area2
Biology HL 5 6 3 B2
Chemistry HL 5 6 3 B1
Economics HL 5 6 3 D2
Geography HL 5 6 3 D5
History (any region) HL 5 6 3 C2 or D6
Language A Literature HL 4 6 3 C2
Language A1 (any language) HL 4 6 3 C2
Language A2 (any language) HL 4 6 3 C2
Language B (any language) HL 3 4 6 3 C2
Mathematics HL 4 6 3 B4
Physics HL 5 6 3 B1
Psychology HL 5 3 3 D9
Theater HL 4 6 3 C1
1

These units count toward eligibility for admission. The units may not all apply toward certification of the corresponding GE Breadth area. See Executive Orders 1036 and 1100 for details.

2

Areas of GE Breadth (A1 through E) are defined in Executive Order 1100. Areas of American Institutions (US-1 through US-3) are set forth in Sections IA and IB of EO 1061, and at assist.org.

3

Students seeking certification in GE Breadth prior to transfer must have passed the test before this date.

Note: College of the Desert does not have comparable courses for all courses listed above.

Transfer of Credit from Other Colleges

Units earned at other institutions for courses completed with a grade of "C" or better may be found sufficient for registration purposes. Students who have completed coursework at another institution should meet with a counselor with unofficial transcripts. Counselors can verify completion of prerequisite courses for registration purposes.

Students who wish to obtain a degree or certificate from College of the Desert and have completed coursework at other regionally accredited institutions must provide an official transcript when they request an evaluation of other college coursework by submitting a Degree Application online via the MyCOD Student Portal, Admissions & Records Forms when they have completed 40 units, with at least 12 units completed in residence at COD. (Approved regional accreditation associations: NASC, NCA, NEASC, MSA, SACS, WASC)

To determine General Education and/or Associate Degree equivalency, the course must be easily identifiable by a commonly used course prefix and title. To be verified, sufficient information including course descriptions and prerequisite information must be available from the accredited institution. The College reserves the right to deny acceptance of any course for the purpose of General Education, Associate Degree graduation requirements, or subject requirements.

Getting Your transcripts Sent to College of the Desert

Students should have their transcripts sent to the Admissions & Records Office. Hard copy transcripts are not considered official unless they arrive in the Admissions & Records Office sealed and unopened. Official transcripts received from other institutions become the property of College of the Desert and cannot be returned to the student or forwarded to other institutions.

College of the Desert has partnered with Credentials eSCRIP-SAFE and National Student Clearinghouse Electronic Transcript Exchange (ETX) as our trusted agents for processing incoming OFFICIAL electronic academic transcripts. At this time College of the Desert does accept paper transcripts delivered via First Class U.S. Postal Mail; however, our preferred method of receipt is via electronic PDF file delivery. You will need to check with your sending university or institution to verify that they are able to send electronic PDF transcripts to other institutions like College of the Desert.

Many colleges, universities, and other agencies are members of Credentials eSCRIP-SAFE’s and/or National Student Clearinghouse Electronic Transcript Exchange (ETX) secure network and actively send electronic transcripts.

If your school is not a member of Credentials eSCRIP-SAFE and/or National Student Clearinghouse Electronic Transcript Exchange (ETX) and your school does send electronic PDF transcripts, you can request through your school that the transcript(s) be sent to the following email address: Registrar@collegeofthedesert.edu

Students are encouraged to visit the Counseling webpage and review the Transfer Equivalencies link to determine if courses completed at other institutions are an allowable equivalent for credit at College of the Desert.

Understanding Your Transfer Credit

As a student with transfer credit, you may be wondering exactly how your previously completed courses fit into your intended degree program or if they can be used to meet prerequisite requirements for courses in which you wish to enroll. Students with transfer credit should review the College of the Desert Transfer Course Equivalency Database (TCED) to determine if previous coursework from another college has already been equated to a COD course. The database is located on the Counseling webpage. If the database does not identify an equated COD course, please consult with a counselor.

For registration clearance of prerequisites, students are encouraged to visit the TCED webpage, print out the course equivalency (if available) and meet with a counselor to have the prerequisite validated and cleared for registration.

For degree completion, students are encouraged to visit the TCED webpage to determine if previously completed courses at another institution meet their intended degree requirements at COD (print out your research results). It is recommended students bring their research results to meet with a counselor before the end of their first semester in order to verify course equivalency and develop a Student Education Plan (SEP).

Foreign Transcript Evaluations

Students entering COD who have earned university/college credits in foreign countries and believe the courses are comparable to those offered at COD can submit a foreign transcript evaluation at the time they request an evaluation of their college coursework by submitting a Degree Application online via the MyCOD Student Portal, Admissions & Records Forms when they have completed 40 units, with at least 12 units completed in residence at COD. Students may obtain the Foreign Transcript Evaluation Application forms for the foreign transcript/credential evaluation services from the International Student Office.