Advanced Standing for AP Students

What is Advanced Standing?

Advanced Standing at the University of Alberta refers to the three ways in which we recognize Advanced Placement (AP) students who earn a 4 or higher on identified AP exams:*

Learn more about each type of advanced standing in the sections below.

*For a list of eligible AP exams and the Advanced Standing options offered, please see Chart 5 in the University Calendar.

Transfer Credit

With transfer credit, you receive university-level credit for AP courses completed in high school, meaning you will have the option not to take that course in university.

Transfer credit is awarded either for a specific class (e.g. MATH 114) or an unspecified 100-level class (e.g. MATH 100-level).

If you are awarded transfer credit, you will not be assigned a specific grade for that course, nor will an AP grade appear on your U of A transcript. Your transcript will simply reflect credit already achieved towards your degree. For example, transfer credit earned for AP Calculus will show as ★3 MATH credits towards a U of A degree.

If you are eligible for a transfer credit, your AP transcript will be automatically assessed and the credit will be appear in Bear Tracks.

You may meet professional program prerequisites with your AP course work, including Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science and Radiation Therapy. If you accept transfer credit for a course, the AP grade will be converted to its equivalent on the four-point scale to calculate the prerequisite average. An AP grade of 5 is equal to 4.0 (A or A+), while an AP grade of 4 is equal to 3.7 (A-).

Not sure whether to accept or decline your transfer credit? See the Declining Transfer Credit section for more details. Remember that transfer credit may impact your application to a professional program or scholarships.

Note: it is your responsibility to ensure your timetable accurately reflects your transfer credit and that you are registered in the proper higher-level course.

Declining Transfer Credit

While we encourage you to retain the transfer credit you have earned, you do have the option to decline it at the time of admission. You are responsible for initiating the process to decline transfer credit, and can do so on a course-by-course basis.

Things to Consider:

  • By accepting transfer credit, you may end up with a lighter course load, which can affect your eligibility for certain programs and scholarships. Check the eligibility details for your program or scholarship(s) of interests for more details.
  • The Faculty of Engineering does not grant the same transfer credit as other faculties.
  • The faculty recommends declining transfer credit in Chemistry and Math, because of the way the program is structured.
  • If you accept transfer credit and have a Light Load Adjustment, it will lower your ranking for entry into second-year engineering programs.
  • For more information, contact

How to Decline Transfer Credit:

  1. Send in your official AP transcripts by the add/drop deadline indicated in the University Calendar. You must send in your official AP transcripts as an AP student, even if you plan on declining transfer credit.
  2. Check Bear Tracks to see what credit you have earned. Transfer credit assessments happen over the summer and are typically posted mid-August.
  3. Download the Decline AP Transfer Credit Form and return it to the Student Service Centre by the date below. The deadline is firm for all credit posted on documents received by the document deadline.
    • September 1 (if admitted to Fall Term)
    • January 1 (if admitted to Winter Term)
    • May 1 (if admitted to Spring/Summer term)
  4. Make sure not to retake a course for which you have earned transfer credit. If you do wish to retake a course, you must first decline your transfer credit.
  5. Check for your revised transfer credit report in Bear Tracks approximately 14 business days following submission of the form.

Important: If you decline your AP credit, the credit cannot be reinstated at any point during your university career. Declined AP credit cannot be used for admission to a professional program of study at the U of A.

Advanced Placement

Advanced placement at the U of A (not to be confused with high school AP) enables you to register in a senior-level course without taking the junior-level course first.

Advanced placement is different from transfer credit in that you will not formally receive transfer credits on your transcript, but you will be able to jump straight into more advanced areas of a subject you are passionate about. Advanced placement is commonly given for language courses.

Advanced placement cannot be declined. When given advanced placement, it is your responsibility to make sure you are registered in the appropriate course(s).

Credit by Special Assessment (CSA)

If you are eligible for CSA, you will have the opportunity to challenge a university course for credit by writing a special examination. CSA is administered through your faculty; contact a faculty advisor to begin the process.

You do not need to decline CSA if you are eligible but not interested.

Things to Consider:

  • Choosing to challenge a course through CSA is like writing a 100% final.
  • The mark you earn on your CSA exam will appear on your official U of A transcript and will be factored into your GPA.
  • When is the exam? Is it during final exams? How many other finals are you writing at that time? These are all important questions to ask yourself before choosing CSA.