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Course Credit

Your college work at El Camino is measured in semester units. One unit of credit is awarded for approximately 54 hours of lecture, study or laboratory work. Find details about all courses offered in the El Camino College Catalog.

Learn how to earn course credit in different ways as you work to meet your academic goals.

Course Credit

Take on a new challenge and study a subject independently. Be sure to have your Independent Study project approved by your instructor and department dean before you begin. Independent Study projects:

  • Usually earn one unit of credit with a maximum of three units per semester; and
  • Are usually taken in the department or division of your academic major. 

To be eligible for Independent Study you must:

  • Show evidence of competence or in-depth study in the El Camino College curriculum of the academic major and the area of independent study; and
  • Be concurrently enrolled in at least one other class at El Camino College. 

All exceptions must be approved by the department dean.

Credits earned in other colleges that are accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies are customarily accepted in transfer to El Camino College on receipt of an official transcript of record. Appropriate college-level United States Armed Forces Institute courses are also included.

Petitions for evaluation of military experience may be filed with the Office of Admissions. Credit will be awarded after completion of one semester of attendance at El Camino College. A photocopy of the veteran's separation paper (form DD 214) or discharge paper (including the side showing dates of induction and separation) must be filed with the petition. No credit is approved for the six-month reserve program. Credit for military service is given according to length of service as follows:

90 days to 1 year: Contemporary Health 1 (3 units); Elective Credit (2 units)

1-2 years: Contemporary Health 1 (3 units); Elective Credit (4 units)

2 years or more: Contemporary Health 1 (3 units); Elective Credit - (6 units)

You may audit selected El Camino College courses with these provisions:

  • Priority in-class enrollment shall be given to students desiring to take the course for credit toward a degree or certificate.
  • No student auditing a course shall be permitted to change his or her enrollment in that course to receive credit for the course. Students will not be permitted to earn credit by examination for audited courses.
  • A student wishing to audit a class must first obtain a petition to audit form in the Admissions Office. Registration for audit will occur no sooner than the second week of classes.
  • The audit of a class is subject to the approval of the instructor of the course and the dean of the academic division. Neither the instructor nor the dean is obligated to approve an audit.

The fee for auditing a class shall be $15 per unit per semester (subject to change). Students enrolled in classes to receive credit for 10 or more semester credits units shall not be charged a fee to audit three or fewer semester units per semester. Fees are to be paid before auditing the course, and fees are nonrefundable. Classroom attendance of students auditing a course shall not be included in computing the apportionment due to the District.

Education Code Section 76370 permits the Board of Trustees to authorize a person to audit a community college course. 

Credit by Examination

You can earn credits for a specific course by demonstrating mastery of the subject matter and/or skills. View updated lists of courses eligible for credit by examination in the catalog, or in the Counseling and Student Success offices and in Admissions & Records. This test, portfolio, or skills demonstration can establish that the knowledge, skills, and/or experiences gained outside the regular college curriculum are compatible with course objectives.

  • A student must have completed 12 semester units at El Camino College with a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 and be in good standing at the time the credit is granted. However, students enrolling in or enrolled at El Camino College may be allowed to take the examination at any time, even though credit will not be granted until 12 semester units have been completed.
  • Students shall only be allowed to petition to receive credit by examination one time per course. Students may not petition for credit by examination for a course in which they have previously enrolled and received a grade.
  • Students may not petition for credit by examination for a course in which they have been enrolled after the first two weeks of a semester, except under special circumstances as determined by the dean or appropriate faculty.
  • Students must petition for credit by examination no later than the middle of the term except under special circumstances as determined by the dean and appropriate faculty.
  • Only those courses listed in the catalog and approved for credit by examination at the time of the examination shall be available to students for such credit.
  • Credit is not available for any course that is lower in a sequence than a course for which credit has already been granted, except under special circumstances as determined by the dean and appropriate faculty.
  • The maximum amount of credit permissible shall not exceed 15 semester units, including not more than 50% of the credit required for the major subject field.

Fee amounts for credit by examination are established by the College Council or a subcommittee and do not apply to students involved in high school/SCROC-articulated programs.

Students shall complete a petition for credit by examination and submit it to the Admissions & Records Office along with satisfactory evidence of knowledge, skills or experience. The Admissions & Records Office shall forward petitions, with supporting documentation, to the respective dean of the academic division concerned. The dean, in consort with appropriate faculty, shall determine the eligibility of the student for such an examination.

If the petition is approved, the dean and appropriate faculty shall consult regarding the form and content of the examination. Subject matter mastery and/or skills proficiency, as stated in the objectives of the course outline or record, may be established by written examination, portfolio, skills demonstration, or combination thereof. It shall be the responsibility of the academic division to notify the student of the examination arrangements. 

The examination shall be graded and recorded only as credit/no credit and the results shall be recorded on the petition form and forwarded to the Admissions & Records Office. If credit is granted, the Admissions & Records Office shall record credit for the course on the student's official transcript when all eligibility requirements have been met. The petition, with recorded results, shall be filed in the student's folder. The Admissions & Records Office shall notify the student of the results.

Units earned by examination are not to be considered part of the student's subject load. Units shall not be used for reports to Selective Service, Social Security, Veterans Affairs, or similar agencies and shall not be considered in verifying eligibility for athletics or student government.

It is the policy of the El Camino Community College District, under the California Administrative Code, Title 5, Section 51605, and the requirements established by the Board of Trustees to grant credit by examination. View El Camino Community College District Board Policy 4235.

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