Skip to main content

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL), also known as Prior Learning Assessment, is an academic process that offers students the opportunity to earn credits for college-level learning acquired outside the traditional classroom.

At QCC, there are five options for Credit for Prior Learning for degree seeking students, transfer credit, military training and occupations, standardized exams, professional certifications, and departmental exams. Each is explained below.

Transfer credit

Credit will be given for college-level courses taken at other colleges and universities, subject to the following limitations.

  1. College credit for courses taken elsewhere will be granted ONLY for courses that are:

    • applicable toward the student’s chosen curriculum at Queensborough, and

    • completed at the undergraduate level at an accredited degree-granting institution with a minimum grade of C. (D grades are accepted from other CUNY colleges.)

  2. Transfer of International Credits: Upon acceptance for admission, students seeking transfer credit for courses completed at a college or university outside of the United States must contact the academic chairperson of each department at Queensborough for a decision on the award of college credit. An English translation of the course syllabi or descriptions must be submitted for college-level work taken abroad. Only grades of ‘C’ or better (or their equivalent) are accepted.

  3. Transfer students pursuing an Associate degree may NOT receive more than a total of 30 transfer credits from institutions previously attended; no more than 15 credits are accepted toward a certificate program at Queensborough.

Military Training and Occupations

Queensborough Community College grants transfer credit to US military veterans as follows: Upon submission of the Joint Services Transcript (JST), veterans will be waived from health and physical education degree requirements. Veterans may receive up to 30 transfer credits based on evaluation of their military transcripts and/or official DSST examination scores (see Standardized Exams below). All transfer credit for military service will be based on specific equiv­alencies, as determined by each academic department chair (or designee), between courses offered at the College and documented experiences on ACE transcripts or from DSST examination scores.  Veterans are strongly encouraged to meet with the Office of Military and Veterans Services, who can help with Credit for Prior Learning.

Standardized Exams

QCC will give academic credit for the standardized exams listed below, subject to the minimum score requirements noted.  In all cases, official scores should be submitted to the Office of Admissions for evaluation.  

Credit for the exams will be awarded as a “CR” grade in a course or set of courses that cover the same material as assessed by the exam.  When an equivalent course is not offered at the college, the student will receive credit for completing a specific part of the common core general education requirements or be awarded elective credit. The college maintains a list of credit awarded for each of the exams on its website.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Many high schools offer Advanced Placement courses that are similar to common first-year college courses. The CollegeBoard™ offers Advanced Placement (AP) examinations intended for students who have completed those courses. More information about Advanced Placement, including descriptions of courses and sample examination questions, is available at the College Board AP website.  Queensborough Community College awards college credit to students who have scored 3 or above on one or more AP exams. (No college credit is awarded for taking the high school Advanced Placement courses.)

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Examinations

The College-Level Examination Program, unlike Advanced Placement, is not built around a curriculum, but rather is designed to test students’ knowledge on a variety of college-level subjects, regardless of where they may have learned the material. CLEP exams are developed by committees of college faculty who design questions based on what is typically covered in lower-level college courses and who set passing standards for the exams. More information about CLEP, including recent test information guides, can be found online at the College Board CLEP website.  Credit will be awarded for scores of 50 or higher.


The DSST exams, unlike Advanced Placement, are not built around curricula, but rather are designed to test students’ knowledge on a variety of college-level subjects, regardless of where they may have learned the material. Exams are developed by committees of college faculty. More information about DSSTs, including descriptions of test content and sample examination questions, is available at the DSST's Get College Credit website. Credits shall be awarded for minimum score of 400 on criterion referenced tests or 45 on norm referenced tests.

Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)

As part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center provides instruction in two dozen languages. DLIFLC is a multi-service school for active and reserve components, foreign military students, and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. To attend DLIFLC one must be a member of the Armed Forces or be sponsored by a government agency. Students at the school may take the Defense Language Proficiency Test, for which credits will be awarded for minimum score of 3.

Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education Program (AICE)

The AICE program is an international, advanced secondary curriculum and assessment program equivalent to the British system of “A-Levels.” AS-Level courses are comprised of curricula lasting one academic year. A-Level courses encompass all AS-Level curriculum as well as additional topics. A-Level coursework is completed over two academic years. Information about the program, including course syllabi, can be found online at the AICE website. Credits will be awarded for grades of E or better (US equivalent of C or better).

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diplomas and Exams

The International Baccalaureate program is a challenging curriculum offered in high schools around the world that is designed to prepare students for advanced work in many countries’ postsecondary systems. Many subjects have both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) versions, which are taught over two academic years and typically require additional specialized research or independent work. More information about the IB program is available on their website.  QCC will award 30 credits to students who have completed an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma with a score of 30 or higher. Students who have completed an IB diploma with a score of 29 or less and students who did not complete a diploma will be awarded credit for standard and higher-level IB exams with scores of 5 or better. 

Professional Certification and Prior Work Experience

In the specific cases listed below, QCC will grant academic credit to students who have earned selected professional certifications or have specific work experience.  The following opportunities are currently available:

Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN's) currently matriculated at Queensborough Community College and who have been accepted to the Clinical Program may attain advanced standing into NU-102 by successfully completing the following examinations:

  • The NACE 1 PN to RN: Foundation of Nursing, mobility examination. This exam may only be taken once (refer to

  • Pass and meet a practicum which is given at the college by a member of the QCC Nursing faculty.

Students who have a current LPN license and believe they qualify to take these examinations should contact the Nursing Department for more information.

Surgical Technicians

Students who are certified as a surgical technologist (CST) or surgical first assistant (CSFA) by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA) or have specific work experience as surgical technicans may be eligible to receive credit for NU-110.  These students must also:

  • Be admitted to the Nursing program at QCC (see Nursing A.A.S. admissions requirements for details)

  • Have at least 6 months of work experience as a Surgical Technician or Assistant

Interested students should contact the Nursing Department for more information.

BTECH High School Career and Technical Eductation Certification

Graduates of the Business Technology Early High School (BTECH) who earned a CTE certificate with a GPA of at least 80/B in their Computer Science and Technology courses are eligible to receive college credit, depending on their major at QCC.  

  • Students who declare a major of Internet and Information Technology, Computer Science and Information Security, or Computer Engineering Technology will receive credit for ET-574 (Programming and Applications with Python).

  • Students who declare a major of Computer Information Systems will receive credit for CIS-102 (Computer Programming Fundamentals for Business)

Information Technology Professional Certifications

Students who have earned specific professional certifications in Information Technology can apply to receive credit for specific courses that cover the same topics. The credit for prior learning awarded is given in the table below.

Professional Certification

Course credit awarded

Credit hours

AWS Certified Developer Associate

ET 757 Cloud Technology Developing

3 credit hours

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator

ET 758 Cloud Technology Operations

3 credit hours

CompTIA A+

ET 481 Personal Computer Technology, Architecture and Troubleshooting

2 credit hours

To request CPL, please email your digital badge to along with your student ID number. Once the Office of Admissions has verified your credential, they will notify you of the course credit awarded. Those awarded credit will receive a grade of CR in the appropriate course.

Queensborough Departmental Examination

A student who wishes to receive course credit by departmental examination within the College should first consult with the appro­priate departmental chairperson or designee. If the chairperson or designee agrees to offer the examination, the student needs to fol­low the procedures outlined below:

  1. Pay a special examination fee of $25.00 to the Bursar.

  2. Show Bursar’s receipt to the chairperson or designee who will then arrange for the date and time the examination will be given.

  3. If the departmental examination is passed in a course in which the student is currently registered, a grade of P will be recorded on the final grade sheet at the end of the semester.

  4. If the student is not registered in the course and passes the examination, the department will notify the Registrar that the student is to receive a P grade, credit by examina­tion, upon registration for the course. The grade of P does not affect the student’s GPA but is counted as “credits attempted.”

  5. Credits earned by departmental examination are posted on the student’s record only after all tuition and fees due for the semester are paid.

Credits completed by departmental proficiency examination are considered to be taken in residence. Such credits are counted toward (a) tuition and fees due for a semester; (b) the identification of a student as part-time or full-time; and (c) the requirement for matriculation of non-degree students.