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Advanced Placement

AP Computer Science Principles Credit Policy

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal


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If you are interested in a career in computer science, then taking an AP Computer Science Principles course can form a bridge for you to get into great colleges.

In this blog, we will talk about the AP Computer Science Principles credit policy, what it means, colleges offering credits for AP Computer Science Principles, credit policies of the top 20 colleges, and their credit policies for AP Computer Science Principles.

AP computer science principles credit policy & placement

Colleges offer credit or advanced placement for appearing and passing AP exams with the required score as it shows great commitment and hard work in students.

These credits and placements that colleges offer vary from college to college. Some colleges offer credits, some might offer placement, some might offer both or some might offer none. So, let’s first understand the difference between credit and placement.

AP credit

When you enroll in any college r university, you need to obtain 120 credits, on average, to graduate. These credits are awarded to you for taking classes, completing projects, and others. So, when a student obtains the required score set by the college in an AP exam, the college grants them a few credits. Let’s understand this with an example.

So, let’s say that you get a 4 AP score in your AP Computer Science Principles exam and the college that you applying to offers 5 credits for that AP score, so you enter college with 5 credits under your belt before even starting any class.

Advanced placement

Sometimes colleges or universities don’t award credits for AP courses. Instead of credits, some colleges offer advanced placement. In this arrangement, colleges allow students to skip some classes for scoring the required AP score set by the college.

These classes, which the college allows students to skip, can be introductory classes of your major or mandatory classes required by the college.

AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide
AP CSP Exam Guide 2023

Do colleges offer credits for AP Computer Science Principles?

Yes of course! Colleges do offer credits for AP Computer Science Principles but they have their own set of credit policies that differ from college to college. In order to get admission into your dream college you need to be very attentive toward the college’s credit policies.

Acceptable AP scoresNo.of colleges
Total no.of colleges offering AP credits for AP Computer Science Principles1196
No.of colleges accepting 5 AP scores14
No.of colleges accepting 4 or more AP scores277
No.of colleges accepting 3 or more AP scores903
No.of colleges accepting 1 or more AP scores2
No.of colleges offering AP Computer Science Principles credits

Source: College Board

From the above table, you can clearly see that a total number of 1196 colleges offer credits for AP Computer Science Principles. Out of these colleges, 14 accepts only 5 AP score, 277 colleges accept 4 or more score, 903 accepts 3 or more score, and 2 colleges accepts an AP score of 1 or more.

AP Computer Science Principles credit policies of top 20 colleges

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do you get college credit for AP Computer Science Principles?

Yes, like all other AP exams, colleges do offer credits for AP Computer Science Principles too. 1196 colleges offer college credit for AP Computer Science Principles. Some major colleges and universities are, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkley, and others.

How many college credits are AP Computer Science Principles?

Credits granted by the colleges for AP Computer Science Principles vary from college to college. Some colleges might not be offering credits but might be offering advanced placement. So it is important to check your college’s AP credit policy. Although 1196 colleges in the US offer credits for AP Computer Science Principles, your college might be one of them.

Should I take AP Computer Science Principles or AP Computer Science A?

AP Computer Science Principles is a beginner course. I was introduced to the school curriculum so that students who have no prior knowledge of CS but have an interest in the subject can get acquainted with the subject before going into detail in AP Computer Science A class. So, if you are a complete beginner then taking AP CSP is the best way forward.

What if I got a 4 on AP Computer Science Principles?

According to the College Board score classification system, an AP score of 4 is termed as “well-qualified”. So, if you get 4 in your AP Computer Science Principles exam that means you have performed well in the exam and are eligible t apply to 291 colleges that offer credits for 4 or more AP scores, out of the total 1196 colleges that offer credits for AP CSP.

Is AP CSA harder than AP CSP?

Both the AP computer science classes differ a lot. AP CSP is considered an introductory to the CS class. The curriculum is very basic where students learn about theories and focus on their problem-solving skills. While AP CSA introduces Java programming language and students are taught how to code.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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