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Getting IB diploma credit at US colleges and universities

Entering or considering university in the United States? You may be looking to lower the cost of your education or the time it takes to graduate. In addition to finding scholarships, many institutions offer generous course credit for your IB diploma and exams to help you save time and money. While not comprehensive, consider this list to guide you through credit offerings at four-year and two-year institutions.

Help this list grow! Know of a great credit offering we’re missing? Comment below. Are you an IB graduate? Join the IB Alumni Network by visiting ibo.org/alumni.


Four-year institutions

Many US universities and colleges differ in their approach to offering credit for IB exams. Below is a summarry of benefits offered for your hard work during the Diploma Programme (DP) or Career-related Programmed (CP).

Ball State University: Located in Muncie, Indiana, this 4-year institution offers up to 30 credits to students who receive the full IB diploma with scores of 5-7 in HL courses.

Barnard College: New York, New York. Open to high-achieving young women, this elite university in Manhattan offers up to 30 credit hours for IB diploma scores of 30 or higher. The school is the women’s college affiliate of Columbia University and is home to 2,600 undergraduates.

Bard College: Located in New York, New York, Bard College says that recipients of the full IB diploma can earn up to 32 credits (a full year).

Bryn Mawr College: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania’s own college gives IB diploma recipients with 30-45 points a full year of credit. Bryn Mawr doesn’t consider individual SL exams, but if you have a total of 35-45 points OR 30-34 points on your diploma and 3 high scoring HL exams, credit can be earned.

Universty of California (UC) system: All nine UC campuses offering undergraduate degrees reward a full IB diploma score of 30 or more with 30 quarter (20 semester) units toward their UC degree. Students who take only select HL course exams with scores of 5, 6 or 7 will receive 8 quarter (5.3 semester) units.  These units may be applied to graduation requirements for specific subjects or for general education/breadth requirements.


In addition to the broad 30 for 30 policy, each UC campus has their own exam-specific equivalencies : Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles (UCLA), Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.


California State University (CSU) system: 20+ CSU campuses all use the same qualifications for DP course credit. By looking at a DP graduate’s higher level (HL) scores, a student can earn 15-18 credits towards their university education at CSU. Out of this number, 6-9 credits can apply toward the GE Breadth certification.

UC vs. CSU? Keep in mind that California State University (CSU) campuses and the more widely known University of California (UC) schools (UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, etc) are not the same. CSU schools began as teacher’s colleges and later grew into a broader higher education system that grant bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The difference? The better known UC schools have larger research programs that allow them to offer doctorates and professional degrees in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

University of Chicago: This elite Illinois-based university grants students general education credit for certain DP HL exams in biology, English, foreign languages, and mathematics.

Colorado Department of Higher Education: Covering 14 universities and 15 community college campuses and both HL and SL exams, this one reference guide is among the most comprehensive state-wide credit guides available. It covers both big-name destinations like Colorado State University and University of Colorado Boulder as well as smaller campuses like Colorado Mesa University.

Columbia College (Missouri): Including both HL and SL, this Missouri schools offers a minimum of 10 and a potential of 36 credits to all IB diploma holders with SL exams scores of 5-7 and HL scores of 4-7.  There’s also an easy to follow equivalency table for students to calculate credit for individual exams.

Columbia University (New York): If you are on your way to Columbia’s urban Manhattan campus, you may be eligible for 6 credits per HL exam in which you receive a 6 or 7. That’s a maximum of 18 credits for most full IB diploma holders.

Creighton University: At this Omaha, Nebraska university, it is possible to get up to 31 credits with DP exam scores ranging from 4-7 (depending on the subject). Some SL exams are also awarded for credit.

CUNY (The city university of New York): Every undergraduate college at CUNY follows the excellent 30 credits for diploma scores of 30 and up, or for short, 30 for 30. Just missed the 30 point mark or opted for exams only? You still have guaranteed credit for HL IB exams with a score of 5 or better.

DePaul University: Including both HL and SL, this Chicago, Illinois based university offers generous credit to IB grads. Based on their equivalency chart, full IB diploma holders may be eligible for 24-30+ credits.

Drury University: Located in Springfield, Missouri, Drury offers a minimum of 30 credits hours for IB diplomas with 28-45 points. Course credit can still be given without a diploma, with a minimum of 4 on HL exams and 5 on SL exams.

Duquesne University: Coming from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, students applying to Duquesne can receive up to 32 credits for DP courses. IB diploma recipients must have at least 3 HL exams. Non-diploma students will get advanced standing for HL exams with a score of 5-7 and foreign language SL exams if the score is 6-7.

Earlham University: At Earlham in Richmond, Indiana, students can receive up to 18 credits for HL exam scores of 5-7, regardless of earning the diploma.

Evergreen State College: If a DP student receives a 4 or higher on their DP exams, they will receive up to 45 college credits at this Olympia, WA university. This university accepts SL and HL exams, awarding 9 credits per HL and 5 per SL exam.

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT): For this New York, NY college, DP exam scores of 4-7 can earn up to 30 credits to transfer (with official IB transcripts.) FIT is also part of the SUNY network.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU): Located in Boca Raton, FAU offers up to 30 credits for DP exams; scores of level 4 will give the student one class of credit (3-4 credit hours) and levels 5-7 will award two classes of credit (6-8 credit hours). Some of the credit equivalencies also have other awards or restrictions stacked on top, as marked by asterisks in the footnotes.

Florida Gulf Coast: DP exam scores of 4-7 will be awarded up to 30 credits. Diploma recipients can apply to the Honors Program as well. To see what courses qualify, click here.

Florida State University:  In Tallahassee, Florida, IB diploma recipients can receive up to 30 credit hours. Their link to the equivalency table from the descriptive page we listed above is out of date, but the table is there and available by clicking here.

Franklin-Marshall College: In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, students arriving with a score of 30 or more on their IB diploma are awarded a full year of credit toward a Franklin & Marshall degree. For individual exams, IB course students will receive one or two course credits (depending on discipline) for each HL exam passed with a score of 5 or higher. Because of their simplified credit system, this is roughly equivalent to the 30 for 30 policy offered at many other universities. Franklin-Marshall courses are generally worth one credit (rather than the typical four credits per class), meaning eight course credits is equal to one year of study.

Franklin Pierce College: Located in Rindge, New Hampshire, IB diploma recipients at Franklin Pierce will receive credit for scores of 4-7 on HL exams.

University of Georgia: Although their website generally describes credit awarded, a quick search leads to a very generous HL and SL credit offering described in this document. Deciphering the equivalency table is tricky, but depending on your score you are likely to get 4-12 credits per exam even for some SL’s. That will add up fast and they indicate that most students arrive on campus with an average of 7 courses already covered by credit.

Georgia Tech: If you are on your way to Atlanta, look forward to credit for both  HL and SL exams. Their website is also extremely easy to read. A full IB diploma is likely to grant you between 18 and 34 credits depending on your exams.

Heidelberg University: Located in Tiffin, Ohio, Heidelberg offers credit for both HL and SL and generously includes score ranges from 4-7. Their equivalency chart is light on details, but in the description they promise to evaluate all IB courses for the potential to earn college credit. We recommend contacting them for further details, but you’re likely to be rewarded well for your DP exams.

Hofstra University: Located in Hempstead, New York – Hofstra not only has a great credit offering, their credit policy is among the easiest to navigate of any university page we reviewed (other uni’s take note!). Full IB diploma recipients with 30-45 points,  including 3 HL exams with at 5-7,  may receive up to 30 credits.

Hood College: IB diploma graduates heading to Frederick, Maryland with 30-45 points may receive up to 30 credits toward an undergraduate degree as long as they have a score of 4-7 on their exams.  Those who took only DP courses are also eligible for 6-8 university credits for their HL exams.

Ithaca College: If you are on your way to Ithaca, New York, the university may only accepts HL exams, but its policy is generous and very clearly laid out. Depending on the HL exam, you can earn between 9-24 credits for toward your university degree.

Marquette University: Although this covers HL exams only, pay close attention. Marquette offers credit for most exams with scores between 4-7. That means nearly every IB diploma student may receive 12 – 18 credits toward their degree.

Kent State University: This university in Kent, Ohio offers generous credit and a friendly, easy to follow website.  They offer credit for both HL and SL exams, highlight scholarship opportunities, and list common resources for incoming IB students. Specific credit amounts aren’t listed in their equilavency chart, but given the range of exams included, you are likely to find yourself with great flexibility as you begin your degree.

University of Maryland: The terps offer generous credit for IB exams. Their policy page looks generic at first glance, but clicking through to the full course equivalency document will not disappoint. You’ll find that they cover both SL and HL exams with 18-24 semester credits possible with a full IB diploma.

University of Michigan’s Go Blue Guarantee: Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan offers HL exam credit, with the minimum score of 4 needed to get up to 28 credit hours for IB exams. In addition, in-state residents who qualify for financial need can get a full four years of tuition through the university’s Go Blue Guarantee, often awarded to high performing IB students.


Michigan State Universities: While only offering HL exam credit, universities in Michigan will likely grant between 9 and 24 semester credits for your HL exams with a full IB diploma. Links to many of the exam-specific equivalencies included here: Central Michigan UniversityEastern Michigan UniversityMichigan State University, Michigan Tech, University of Michigan (above), Wayne State, and Western Michigan.


Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE): With both HL and SL included, if you’re going to MSOE in Wisconsin and hold the full IB diploma you may be eligible for up to 33 credits based on their equivalency chart. Most individual exams and courses are covered as well.

University of Minnesota: Covering both HL and SL,  all IB students with a score of 5-7 on HL exams will arrive with 12-24 credits, and more is possible! There is one catch, to get SL credit you must complete the full IB diploma with a score of 30 or higher. Those SL exams will add another 6-16 credits, making 18 – 30+ credits a real possibility for the full IB diploma. Their website also stands-out for it’s readability and clarity, thanks for making this easy for parents and students!

Minnesota State: The policy guide for this college located in St. Paul may be sparse on details, but with a full set of exams for the IB diploma, students can earn up to 24 credits with scores of 4-7.

New York University (NYU): Although there’s no equivalency table, in general NYU will grant up to 32 credits to first-year students; and up to 64 credits for transferring students coming from another institution. For IB diploma holders that covers HL exams and scores of 6 or 7 only, consider contacting the admissions office to determine how much credit you may be eligible to receive.

Northwestern University: In Chicago, Illinois and at campuses abroad, Northwestern grants up to 2 units for each HL exam meeting their score range (depends on exam, but most are 6-7).  To get an idea of how that credit will apply to your future studies, contact the Weinberg College Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising.

Oregon State University (OSU): Located in Corvallis, OSU, offers credit for both HL and SL exams, meaning you may receive a full year of credit at OSU. In addition they also offer a dedicated IB scholarship and broadly grant 30 credits and sophomore standing for candidates who score 30 or more points with a full IB diploma; 30 for 30.

University of Oregon: Another example of a very generous credit offer, particularly after adding up your options on the equivalency table.  Covering both HL and SL examsyou could earn 24-40 quarter credits for your full IB diploma. If you are headed to either flagship Oregon university (UO or OSU, above) be sure to send in your IB scores!

Purdue University:  Students going to West Lafayette, Indiana may receive as many as 24-30 combined credits for their HL and SL exams. Exam scores of five or higher are needed to earn credit, but Purdue’s exam specific credit chart is incredibly easy to follow.

University of Rochester: This university in Rochester, New York is fully dedicated to IB student success. They offer credit for HL exams, merit scholarships for IB students, and are excited to introduce a few IB graduates that you might meet on campus. All the details are easy to find on their website.

Saint Michael’s College: Merit scholarships and course credit — this schools in Colchester, Vermont has IB graduates covered in all respects. Full IB diploma awards up to 32 credits. Individual exams? Both HL and SL are covered for scores of 5-7. Scholarship details: IB diploma holders are eligible for $15,000/year or more depending on your overall score.

Southern Methodist University (SMU):  While only covering HL exams, they’ve generously paired their credit offering with a dedicated IB scholarship that has grown in value each year. If you’re on your way to Dallas, Texas, most full IB diploma holders are likely to receive anywhere from 10-22 credits for exam levels 5-7. The equivalency table, we use to make that estimate is tricky to find about 2/3 of the way down the page — but there are some added benefits in the fine print; your IB credit may fulfill the Science and Engineering breadth requirement, adding flexibility to your university course requirements.

SUNY Binghamton: Read this generous policy carefully! This New York state school offers full IB diploma holders 32 credits for scores of 30 or higher; 32 for 30, presuming HL scores of 5 -7.  They’ll award equivalent credit for each exam, then add elective credit to meet the 32. If you are a course or exam student without the full diploma, they will still cover your HL exams of 4-5 (4 credits) and 6-7 (8 credits).

SUNY Geneseo: This New York school in the city of the same name offers a maximum of 30 credits for both HL and SL exam scores. Specific courses can be skipped with HL exams of 5-7, while elective credit is be awarded for an HL scores of 4 and SL scores of 4-7.

SUNY New Paltz: Awarding credit for both HL and SL exams, with a full IB diploma you may be awarded between 24-30 credits. To find out exactly how many credits you may earn, check their expansive course equivalency chart.

SUNY Potsdam: Although their course equivalency chart isn’t available on the web, it is possible to receive up to 30 credits for both HL and SL exams with scores of 4-7 on each. If you are considering Potsdam, contact their admissions office for guidance on the amount of credit you may receive.

SUNY Oswego: Entering students may earn generous credit for both HL and SL exams with a minimum score of 4 on each exam. According to their course equivalency table, the full IB diploma may earn you between 18 – 30 credits depending on the course.


Other SUNY campuses: Credit varies from campus to campus, so be sure to check the individual SUNY campus for credit offered and course equivalencies. Among others that list IB exam credit include Stony Brook (HL only) and Purchase College (HL only).


University of Tampa (UT): Florida’s UT writes clearly on its acceptance system. For grades of 4-7 on HL exams, one year of credit per subject may be awarded, with a maximum of 30 credits. The full diploma is not required.

Texas Christian University (TCU): Scrolling down the page on their website and expanding the drop down menu for International Baccalaureate,  you’ll be pleased to know that IB graduates may receive 9 to 24 credits for HL exams (and one SL exam, math studies).

Towson: Located in Towson, Maryland, this university offers 30 credits for completing the IB diploma. On top of that, students will receive sophomore status and get some of those general-education courses out of the way.

University of Tulsa: At the University of Tulsa in Florida, IB diploma recipients with 24-45 points can receive 10-30 credits. Students who don’t have the diploma can still earn credit for their DP exam scores, up to 36 credits max.

Washington College: Located in Chestertown, Maryland, Washington can award a maximum of 32 credits. The table shown in the drop down is just an “example set,” though they offer credit for more DP exams. If you get more than 28 credits you arrive on campus with sophomore standing.

University of Wisconsin: Unique among the very generous policies on this list, Badgers on their way to Madison get HL exam credit + 3 bonus credits for diploma scores of 28 or higher. Looking at their equivalency chart, that means anywhere from 9 to 28 credits possible for entering IB diploma holders.

In-state Wisconsin resident? Announced in 2018, Bucky’s tuituion promise offers free tuition based on the financial need of in-state students. This builds upon the Badger Promise, for qualifying in-state students who transfer from two-year institutions.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM): Including HL and SL exams with scores of 4-7 each, incoming UWM students will find themselves with great credit in exchange for their work on the IB diploma. Based on the equivalency table, students may be eligible for as many as 27 credits.


Two-year degrees and community colleges

Starting off at a two-year institution may be one of the best ways to reduce the cost of a degree. Even elite institutions like Princeton are creating new policies to pave the way for highly qualified transfer students.

Clark College, Washington: This small college in Vancouver, Washington offers associates degrees with many students transferring to receive degrees from major four-year institutions. The school generously offers up to 60 quarter credits for higher level (HL) IB exams. The college has tuition of $4,023 and supports 72% first-generation college students according to their fact sheet.

Colorado Department of Higher Education: We’re repeating this one because it includes 15 community college campuses and both HL and SL exams. This one reference guide provides generous credit for IB exams including Aims Community College, Greeley, Arapahoe CC, Colorado Northwestern CC, CC of Aurora, CC of Denver, Front Range CC, Lamar CC,Morgan CC, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak CC, Pueblo CC, Red Rocks CC, Trinidad State Junior College, and Colorado Community College Online.

Linn-Benton Community College: By following the same credit policies as nearby Oregon State University, Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon is one example of a two-year institution that paves clear a path for students to transfer to complete a four-year degree with greater flexibility and lower cost.

The Oregon Promise: If you are an Oregon resident, you may be able to have the majority of your tuition toward a two-year community college or associates degree covered by the Oregon Promise, a state grant that provides most tuition at any Oregon community college for recent graduates.

Normandale Community College: This community college in Bloomington, Minnesota offers credit for both HL and SL courses. A student would receive 6 credits per HL exam score of 4 or higher and 2 credits for each SL exam with the same score range. This allows for up to 24 credits (3 HL and 3 SL courses) to be applied.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA):  At NOVA it is possible to receive up to 24 credits for taking 3 HL courses with scores of 6 or 7, but it depends on the subject and your exam grade.  Their credit policy is not easy to find. From their website discussing transfer credit, you’ll need to navigate to page 38 of the Credit for Prior Learning Manual where they list credit offerings for 18 different HL examinations.

Santa Monica College: Boasting a roster of notable alumni and a history of transferring students to four-year degrees within the University of California (UC) system, Santa Monica college offers up to 24 quarter units or 15.9 semester units for each HL exam completed with a score of 5 or higher. Many of their policies also mirror those of California State University (CSU) campuses.


Scholarships

Our list of more than 50 scholarships for new IB graduates specific to IB diploma holders. The list includes prominent institutions in Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Guide to US applications

Applying to university in the United States from another country? If you are unfamiliar with the US higher education landscape this PDF guide explains many of the nuances of the US college and university application system.

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