Undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences have the opportunity to earn college credit by taking and passing a proctored examination or other approved assessment to demonstrate their experience, aptitude or knowledge of a GT Pathways course instead of attending an instructor-led class.

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

How to Apply

Before you apply for a specific course challenge, we recommend speaking with your advisor and the department offering that course to ensure you have the requisite knowledge for the exam.  

Once you've spoken to the department, complete the course challenge request form.

The Office of the Registrar will initially review your eligibility (see restrictions below). If confirmed, registrar staff will 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.

After you take the exam, your earned grade will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Only course challenges 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 and you cannot challenge the course again; you would need to enroll in and pass the equivalent course to earn that credit. Credit earned through course challenge will appear on the transcript with a section number of CRC and grade of CR. A CR grade will not affect your GPA at CU Boulder.


Students can only request to challenge a course through the fifth Friday of the semester. After that date, requests are effective for the next semester.

Once you submit the form and the college or school schedules your exam or other assessment, the Office of the Registrar must receive your course challenge grade by the final grading deadline of the semester.


  • 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 term at CU Boulder,
    • or continuing students who are registered for the current or upcoming term.
  • Students may earn a maximum of 36 credits through institutional course challenge.
  • Students can only challenge guaranteed-transfer (GT Pathways) courses, which encompass various core classes and requirements.
  • A student may only attempt to challenge a CU Boulder course once.  
  • Students cannot challenge a course in which they were previously enrolled (including earned transfer or test credits). This includes attempts in which a failing mark (F), an incomplete mark (I) or a drop (W) is recorded for the course.
  • Successful course challenges are recorded on transcripts as earned institutional, residential credit within the term completed. No grades or quality points are assigned; instead, CR is recorded to denote earned credit. Transcripts will display the name and catalog number of the course challenged, the number of credits earned and an indication that the credit was earned through a course challenge.
  • Credit earned through institutional course challenge will apply to general education requirements, but may not always apply to specific degree requirements (see your college or school's policies).

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.