Course Placement

students in the accounting lab

The options below provide you with suggested courses based on coursework or testing you may have already done that may make you eligible to bypass some entry-level courses to be placed into advanced ones. You are encouraged to discuss placement in your one-to-one meeting with your academic advisor.

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Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)

High school students may earn college credit by receiving satisfactory examination scores (3, 4, or 5) on the College Entrance and Examination Board Advanced Placement Program examination, or scores (of typically 5, 6, and 7) on the International Baccalaureate  examination.  Academic departments evaluate whether the material in the AP exam is substantially similar to that of an existing course, and if so, will award credits for that course. If the material is judged not to be substantially similar to an existing course, the academic department will assign general departmental credits. Academic departments may also provide an alternative method for evaluating proficiency in order to award academic credit. Here are the lists of approved AP and approved IB exams and the associated academic credit awards.

Math Placement

UMD Mathematics Placement

Placement is done primarily through students' mathematics scores on the ACT test. The mathematics department has researched UMD student success in mathematics courses based on many factors and the mathematics ACT score was found to be the most significant predictor. Our placement is based on the findings of this study. Students who can provide evidence that they are incorrectly placed may contact Michele Hatcher at 218-726-7585. 

Mathematics Placement Tools

  • Submitted ACT/SAT scores,
  • Completed college math course(s) through PSEO,
  • Completed college math course(s) through CITS,
  • Completed math through accepted transfer institution, and/or
  • Completed course credit via AP, CLEP, or IB
  • Accuplacer:
    - If you have not earned course credit or taken either the ACT or SAT, you have the option to take Accuplacer for math placement. To start the Accuplacer process, please fill out this brief form.

    - Once we get your request we will send a voucher to Accuplacer on your behalf and they will contact you by email with further instructions about taking the assessment.

    - If you would like to do some practice assessments to prepare you are welcome to do so. 

    - We highly recommend you take the assessment at least two weeks prior to your orientation session so your advisor has the information when you register for classes.

    - If you have taken the Accuplacer at another school, you can visit this link to share your scores with UMD.

    - If you feel you have been improperly placed in a math course, please contact Michele Hatcher at 218-726-7585 for assistance. 

    - Contact the Bulldog Resource Center with any other questions you may have and we'd be happy to help you.


College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Students may earn college credit for successful completion of some CLEP examinations which have been reviewed by faculty and determined to assess the content of certain UMD courses.  Here is the list of approved CLEP exams.

Fine Arts Placement

Some fine arts courses require an individual evaluation to determine appropriate course placement. In addition, all Music majors and all BFA Theatre majors require an audition/interview prior to admission into those majors. Students should seek additional information from an advisor if they are interested in pursuing courses or a major or minor in one of the fine arts programs.

The courses that follow are open to any UMD student without audition:

  • MU 1501 - Concert Band
  • MU 1510 - Concert Chorale
  • MU 1541 - Marching Band
  • MU 1541 - Pep Band

Language Placement

Language placement is based on...

  • the course levels previously completed in a language
  • the number of years devoted to a particular language
  • the recency of language study

Details about language placement from UMD's Department of World Language and Cultures (WLC) are available here.  Students may work with WLC to find the best fit for their level of proficiency.

Science Placement

Science placement varies from college to college.  Find your college (below), and review its science placement protocols.


A few majors within CEHSP require a student to take BIOL 1011 - General Biology or CHEM 1153/1154 - General Chemistry I/Lab. Other majors within the college allow students to choose their own science courses to fulfill the Natural Sciences Liberal Education requirement. During the fall semester, the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE) allows only students declared in majors that have Biology or Chemistry as requirements to enroll. At Advisement & Registration, your advisor will help you determine placement.

In order to enroll in BIOL 1011 - General Biology, you must have:

  • one year of high school chemistry or one semester of college chemistry
  • a Math ACT score of 21 or higher, 1-semester college math, or 15 college credits
  • a declared major in exercise science, teaching life science, teaching physical science, teaching earth and space science, or recreation-outdoor education.

In order to enroll in CHEM 1153/1154 - General Chemistry I/Lab you must have:

  • one year of high school chemistry
  • one year of high school algebra
  • a Math ACT score of 21 or higher or a grade of C- or better in MATH 1005 - College Algebra.


Majors within the College of Liberal Arts allow students to choose their own science courses to fulfill the Natural Sciences requirement of the Liberal Education program.  Please note:

In order to enroll in BIOL 1011, General Biology you must have:

  • One year of high school chemistry OR one semester of college chemistry
  • Math ACT score of 21, or a C- or better in MATH 1005 - College Algebra

In order to enroll in CHEM 1153/1154 during the fall semester, students must be declared in a major in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. Students in the other colleges may register for that course in the spring term, if they've completed:

  • One year of high school chemistry
  • One year of high school algebra
  • Math ACT score of 24 or higher or a grade of C- or better in MATH 1005 - College Algebra


For LSBE, there are no specific science placement guidelines/requirements other than those of the Liberal Education Program.  


Most Swenson College first-year students enroll in a science course their first term. Work with an Academic Advisor to determine which is most appropriate based on your interests. If you are not sure you will choose a science or engineering major, consider starting with subjects outside of science. Some students choose to take their science course in Spring semester.

  • BIOL 1011 - General Biology 1 (5 cr)
  • CHEM 1113 - Introduction to Organic and Biological Chemistry (5 cr) 
  • CHEM 1153/1154 - General Chemistry 1 Lecture/Lab (4/1 cr)
  • CHEM 1173/1174 - General Chemistry 1 Lecture/Lab (Chemistry majors) (4/1 cr)  
  • CS 1511 - Computer Science 1 (5 cr) or other CS course
  • GEOL 1110 - Geology and Earth Systems (4 cr)
  • PHYS 2013/2014 - General Physics 1 Lec/Lab (4/1 cr)

Writing Placement

WRIT 1120 - College Writing (or its equivalent) must be completed within the first two semesters of attendance at UMD as part of the UMD Liberal Education Program and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.  Students may be exempt from taking WRIT 1120 for one of the following reasons:

  • Entering freshmen who score a 4 or above on either of the Educational Testing Service Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in English: Literature and Composition or Language and Composition are granted 3 credits for WRIT 1120.
  • Students scoring a 32 or above on the ACT English exam are exempt from WRIT 1120.