Advanced Placement Examinations

Advanced Placement exam scores are not eligible for course credit at Brown, but students may use certain AP scores to enroll in higher-level courses and/or to satisfy concentration requirements. In other words, AP credit will not increase your course credit total. 

AP course equivalency policies are determined by academic departments. Some departments allow automatic transcript notation of AP credit(s) on the sole basis of qualifying AP test scores, while others allow AP credit(s) retroactively, upon successful completion of one of their advanced courses. Still other departments have policies that grant no AP credits whatsoever. Pertinent policies for each department are detailed at the bottom of this page.

Brown receives AP scores for most incoming students from the College Board in July if they designated Brown as a score report recipient earlier in the same year.  Score processing and placement of corresponding AP credits on a student's transcript occurs during August for AP credit(s) that are not contingent on taking a higher level course at Brown.  Incoming students are expected to either decline or accept AP credit notations during July by going into ASK > Incoming Students > Test Scores. When an election is not made, the election by default is "Notation Accepted." Students who initially decline one or more AP credits by August can later request AP credit notation (unless they registered for and failed the course to which an AP credit corresponds or dropped that course after the Registrar's deadline to add courses). For "Contingent" AP credit notation(s) and all other requests for AP credit notation(s) after the Decline/Accept period, students must request notation after satisfying the requirements for earning credit by going to ASK>Incoming Students>Test Scores. Follow the instructions here.  

Important Note: Students must seek AP credit notations and ensure receipt of all required documentation well before they graduate. The official academic record of all graduating students is sealed upon Commencement to reflect what was in effect upon degree completion. No transcript notations of AP credit--or of any other credit--will be made post-Commencement. Students should therefore carefully review their transcripts and file all requests for AP credit with the responsible dean in the Office of the Dean of the College well before graduating. 



(Upon consultation (mandatory) with the responsible dean in the Office of the Dean of the College, some students may be able to apply for advanced semester standing in their sophomore or junior year. Students with a semester of Advanced Standing from AP credits should remember that AP credits will not increase their course credit count; in order to graduate, they must still successfully complete enough courses to earn at least 30 course credits, and they must plan to do so in 7 rather than 8 semesters.)

‘No AP credit’ policies are in effect for the AP subjects listed below:

  • Art History
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics: Macroeconomics or Microeconomics
  • English: Language and Composition or Literature and Composition
  • Government and Politics: Comparative or U.S.
  • Human Geography
  • International Relations
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • Music: Listening, Literature, and Theory
  • Political Science
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art Drawing and Studio General

Departmental AP Policies

Art History
No AP credit for students entering after 2011. For students who entered fall of 2011 or prior, a 4 or 5 on the Art History AP Exam earns AP credit for History of Art 0010, but does not count toward concentration credit.

No AP credit, but students with a score of 4 or 5 may enroll in Chemistry 0330 without taking the placement exam. Students with a score of 3 or lower should take the placement exam to determine appropriate course placement.

Computer Science
No AP credit, but CS does consider placement. Students are advised to attend the first class of either CSCI 0150 or 0170, where placement will be discussed.

No AP credit for students who matriculated fall 2012 and after. Students may place out of Economics 0110 if they have a) 4 or 5 in Macroeconomics and b) 4 or 5 in Microeconomics. Students with these scores cannot count AP credit toward concentration requirements.  

For students who entered Brown prior to fall 2012, a 4 or 5 in Macroeconomics plus 4 or 5 in Microeconomics earns AP credit for Economics 0110 and placement into Economics 1110. 

Policies for departments granting AP credit:

Listed below are AP policies for departments that give credit for AP exam scores. Since these policies are subject to change, students are advised to confirm AP credit policies with the appropriate department(s). Additional information may be found on department websites or by consulting the departmental AP advisor. The policies below apply to all incoming Brown undergraduates, including transfer students.

Note: You cannot register for a course for which you have AP credit, and once posted to your transcript AP credit will not be removed.

American History
5: earns AP credit for 1 unassigned history course upon the successful completion of any one 1000-level course in US history, including cross-listed courses, but excluding courses taken during study abroad.

In no case, however, will AP credit count toward the concentration requirement in History.

4 or 5: earns AP credit for BIOL 0200.

Environmental Science
5: earns AP credit for ENVS 0490

As of June 2016, concentrators with a 5 on the AP Exam in Environmental Science meet their ENVS 0490 requirement and do not need to substitute an additional environmental elective. 

European History
5: earns AP credit for 1 unassigned history course upon the successful completion of any one 1000-level course in European history, including cross-listed courses, but excluding courses taken during study abroad.

In no case, however, will AP credit count toward the concentration requirements in History.

French Language and Literature
4: earns AP credit for French 0400 and placement into French 0500. 
5: earns AP credit for French 0500 only.

Placement into French 0600 (language), 0720 (first-year seminar), 0750 and 0760 (literature) should be confirmed during Orientation week, or during the first week of classes after consultation with the senior language coordinator or concentration advisor.

All incoming students with a score of 5 should consult a faculty member regarding appropriate placement.

German Language
4 or 5: earns AP credit for German 0400.

Italian Language and Culture
5: earns AP credit for ITAL 0400.
4: earns AP credit for ITAL 0300.

Latin Lyric or Epic Exams
4 or 5: The Department of Classics awards 1 unassigned AP credit in Latin for completion of one 1000-level course in Latin with at least the grade of B. Students with a 4 or 5 on both exams will not receive 2 AP credits upon completion of a single 1000-level course. Receipt of 2 unassigned AP credits in Latin requires completion of two 1000-level courses in Latin with grades of B or higher.

AB Calculus 4 or 5: earns AP credit for Math 0090.
BC Calculus 4 or 5: earns AP credit for both Math 0090 and Math 0100.
BC Calculus 3: earns AP credit for Math 0090.

AP credit for Math 0100 blocks registration in Math 0100, Math 0170 and Math 0190.

To earn an AP credit in Physics a student must achieve ONE of the following:

5 in Physics B exam (taken before May 2015):
or 5 in both Physics 1 and Physics 2 (exams taken May 2015 or later):
or 5 in Physics C Mechanics exam:
or 4 in Physics C Mechanics exam PLUS 5 in Physics C Electricity and Magnetism exam.

Students with these scores who then successfully complete either Physics 0040, 0060, 0160 (formerly 0080), 0470, 0500, or an appropriate 1000-level physics course may receive retroactive AP credit for Physics 0030. While these are the requirements for earning an AP credit, they are not necessarily required for placement in a Physics course when a student enters Brown.

Students considering skipping Physics 0030, 0050, or 0070 should consult with their first-year advisor the Physics Placement Coordinator (Prof. Robert Pelcovits).

4 or 5: earns AP credit for CLPS0010. If placement is granted on the basis of an AP score, then another CLPS course must be substituted for concentration credit.

Spanish Language or Literature
4 or 5: may earn one unassigned AP credit in Spanish language upon successful completion of HISP 500, 600, or a 700-level course. See the Spanish Placement Guide.
1–3: No AP credit. Placement in Spanish courses at Brown depend on the results of the Brown Placement Test.

World History
5: earns AP credit for 1 unassigned history course upon the completion of any one 1000-level course in African, East Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or South Asian history, including cross-listed courses, but excluding courses taken during study abroad.

In no case, however, will AP credit count toward concentration requirements in History.