Advanced Standing for IB Students

What is advanced standing?

Advanced Standing at the University of Alberta refers to the three ways in which we recognize IB students who earn a 6 or 7 or higher on identified IB exams:*

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

*For a list of eligible IB exams and the Advanced Standing options offered, please see Chart 4 in the University Calendar»

Transfer credit

With transfer credit, you receive university-level credit for IB work 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 have been awarded the IB diploma, you will be granted three credits in an open 100-level elective course.

If you are awarded transfer credit, you will not be assigned a specific grade for that course, nor will an IB grade appear on your UAlberta transcript. UAlberta transcripts will simply reflect credit already achieved towards a degree. For example, transfer credit earned for IB Biology will show as ★3 BIOL credits towards a UAlberta degree.

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

You may be able to meet professional program prerequisites with your IB course work, including Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, and Radiation Therapy. If you accept transfer credit for a course, the IB grade will be converted to its equivalent on the four-point scale to calculate the prerequisite average. An IB grade of 7 is equal to 4.0 (A or A+), while an IB grade of 6 is equal to 3.7 (A-).

Not sure whether to accept or decline your transfer credit? See the Declining Transfer Credit section below 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 scholarships and programs. Check the eligibility details for your scholarship or program 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:

If you wish to decline transfer credit, please carefully follow the steps below and as indicated on the form:

  1. Send in your official IBO transcripts by the add/drop deadline indicated in the University Calendar. You must send in your official transcripts, even if you plan on declining transfer credit.
  2. Check to see what credit you have earned. The University of Alberta will automatically award the transfer credit for which you qualify and post a transfer credit assessment in Bear Tracks around mid-August.
  3. Download the Decline IB 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. Remember that it is your responsibility to ensure your registration accurately reflects your transfer credit status. In other words, you must make sure you are not retaking a course for which you have already earned credit. If you wish to retake a course at the University of Alberta, you must first decline the 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 IB credit, the credit cannot be reinstated at any point during your university career. Declined IB credit cannot be used for admission to a professional program of study at the University of Alberta.

Advanced placement

Advanced placement at the University of Alberta (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

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.

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 UAlberta 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?

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