Challenge Examinations

Under exceptional circumstances, a student may challenge a course by taking a challenge examination. Challenge examinations are designed to test a student’s knowledge of subjects that s/he has learned in a non-academic setting. An application to take a challenge examination must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar and approved by the student’s department or program chair and the faculty responsible for subject matter content and administering the exam. Approval is contingent on the student’s academic record, the nature of the request and course content being challenged.

All challenge examinations must be completed no later than one month prior to the beginning of the quarter in which the relevant course is offered. Entering students must complete challenge examinations for first quarter coursework by the end of orientation week and will need to make arrangements to comply with this requirement well in advance of the start of fall quarter. 

A student is allowed only one opportunity to challenge a course. Clinic credits may not be challenged. Students may not challenge a course that has appeared on their transcripts from Bastyr University or any other institution, even if the previous grade was a withdrawal or an unsatisfactory grade. Non-matriculated students cannot challenge courses.

The student is responsible for prepayment of the cost of a challenge examination, which is 50 percent of the current tuition rate for the course. If the student fails the challenge exam, the entire fee is credited toward the tuition for the corresponding course the next time it is offered. If the student does not take the course when it is next offered, the tuition credit is forfeited.

If a student satisfactorily completes the challenge examination, s/he will receive full credit for the course. A grade of CE (Challenge) will appear on the transcript.

For students with evidence, on an official transcript from another institution, of coursework in an area of study but the competencies, level of material or age of that coursework is in question, a competency examination may be more appropriate. Please refer to the policy and procedures governing competency examinations for more information.

Procedure for Arranging a Challenge Exam

A student who wishes to take a challenge examination must complete the following steps:

  • Make an appointment with a member of the advising/evaluations staff in the registrar’s office to discuss the challenge exam request. The advising/evaluations staff member will, in turn, confirm the appropriateness of the request with the department/program chair.
  • Complete a challenge exam request form (available from the registrar’s office) and obtain all required signatures.
  • Return the completed form to the registrar’s office, which will prepare a challenge examination fee invoice.
  • Pay the invoice and retain proof of payment.
  • Make an appointment to take the test with the designated faculty member. Proof of payment must be presented before testing can be scheduled.
  • Take the examination as scheduled.

The faculty member administering the exam will advise the student of his/her grade and submit the completed challenge examination form to the registrar’s office.