Undergraduate students may request a challenge exam for any of the 14 categories in the statewide Guaranteed Transfer (GT) Pathways general education curriculum.

Students must take and pass a proctored examination or other approved assessment to demonstrate their experience, aptitude or knowledge. By successfully challenging a GT Pathways category, a student will earn 3 general credits toward the analogous category in their general education requirements. They will not earn credit for a specific CU Boulder course.

Students who have additional work or educational experience in a particular field, or students who are self-motivated, independent learners may be interested in a GT Pathways challenge exam.


  • Students must be enrolled at CU Boulder, meaning they must be either:
    • matriculated new students who are registered for classes as of the first day of their first semester at CU Boulder, or
    • continuing students who are registered for the current or upcoming term.
  • Students may only challenge guaranteed-transfer (GT Pathways) categories. These categories are similar to the College of Arts and Sciences General Education categories and the general education categories in the other CU Boulder colleges and schools.
  • Students may not take a challenge exam in a GT Pathways requirement area once they have completed that area.
  • Credit earned through this institutional challenge will apply to general education requirements, but will not apply to specific major requirements (see your college or school's policies).
  • Students may earn a maximum of 36 credits through general education challenge exams, though the limit may be lower for specific degree programs.

If you have additional questions about the policies related to course challenge, or if you have questions regarding the status of your course challenge request, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

How to Apply

Before you apply to challenge a GT Pathways category, we recommend speaking with your advisor to ensure you have the requisite knowledge for the exam and identify how many of the GT Pathways categories are required in your degree program.  

NOTE: Many of the degrees in Engineering, Music, Business and Environmental Design do not require completing the entire GT Pathways curriculum.

Once you've spoken with your advisor, complete the General Education Challenge Request Form and return it to the Office of the Registrar.

That office will perform an initial eligibility review (see restrictions above), then forward your request to the College of Arts and Sciences for further review.

If the college approves your request, you'll be charged a nonrefundable $115 administrative fee at the Office of the Registrar. After confirmation of payment, you'll need to make arrangements with the instructor to take the exam.

The exam must be taken and graded by the end of the semester's gradign period.

How Results Are Recorded

After you take the exam, your earned grade will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Only exams that receive grades of C- or better will appear on your transcript and count for college credit. If you earn a grade lower than a C-, nothing is recorded on your transcript.

Successful challenge exams are recorded on transcripts as earned institutional, residential credit within the term completed. Transcripts will display:

  • a generic Arts and Sciences course number
  • a section number of CRC
  • the name of the GT Pathways category challenged
  • the number of credits earned

No grades or quality points are assigned; instead, CR is recorded to denote earned credit. CR grades do not affect GPA.