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Advanced Placement

AP Physics 1 Credit Policy

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal


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There are many advantages of opting for and clearing the AP Physics 1 exam can be advantageous to your academics and college applications. Completing the AP Physics 1 course and scoring good scores on the exam might get your college credits or placement even before starting college.

With this guide, you will learn about the AP Physics 1 credit policy, how many colleges in the US offer credits for AP Physics 1, and the credit policies of the top 20 colleges in the US.

AP Physics 1 credit and placement

Credits and placements are granted by colleges for passing an AP course with the required score. Colleges have their own policies to grant these credits and placements and differ from college to college.

In order to be eligible for this benefit merely taking an AP course and passing the AP exam is not enough. To be eligible for the AP credit and placement benefit students need to score the required score specified by the college and it varies from college to college.

So, before knowing about the credit policies of the top 20 colleges, let’s first understand the difference between credits and placement.

AP credits

Typically, to graduate from college, students require a credit of 120. These credits are granted over a period of 4 years by taking classes and passing exams, submitting projects, taking summer courses, etc.

The advantage of taking an AP course and passing the AP exam is that you will get some credits from the college before starting out college. For example, you scored 4 in your AP Physic 1 class and the college gives you 8 credits for that so you enter college with 8 credits under your belt even before starting classes.

Advanced placement

Instead of credits, some colleges grant students the option of skipping some classes for scoring the required score in AP classes. These classes can be introductory classes of your major or core classes required by your college. This is called advanced placement.

Does colleges offer credits for AP Physics 1?

Yes, of course! Colleges do offer credits for AP Physics 1. But it is important to keep in mind that AP Physics 1 does not cover the same depth of material as a college-level Physics course which is why many highly selective colleges do not offer credits for AP Physics 1. So, read about the credit policy of the college to which you want to apply.

Acceptable AP scoresNo.of colleges
Total no.of colleges offering AP credits for AP Physics 11579
No.of colleges accepting 5 AP scores31
No.of colleges accepting 4 or more AP scores412
No.of colleges accepting 3 or more AP scores1136
No.of colleges offering AP Physics 1 credit

Source: College Board

As you can see from the above table, only 1579 colleges offer credits for AP Physics 1 which when compared to other AP courses like AP Biology and Chemistry is lower. Out of these colleges, 31 accepts only 5 AP score, 412 colleges accept 4 or more score, 1136 accepts 3 or more score, and no college accepts an AP score of 2 and 1.

AP Physics 1 credit policy of top 20 colleges

CollegeMinimum score requiredMinimum credit offeredAP credit policy linkAdditional notes
Princeton University

Princeton, NJ
52Princeton AP Physics 1 credit policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA
00MIT AP Physics 1 credit policyNo AP credits are granted by MIT for the AP Physics 1 exam.
Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
50Harvard AP Physics 1 credit policy No AP credits are granted by Harvard for the AP Physics 1 exam.
Stanford University

Stanford, CA
48Stanford AP Physics 1 credit policy
Yale University

New Haven, CT
0Yale AP Physics 1 credit policyNo AP credits are granted by Yale University for the AP Physics 1 exam.
University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
0University of Chicago AP Physics 1 credit policy No AP credits are granted by the University of Chicago for the AP Physics 1 exam.
Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
00John Hopkins AP Physics 1 credit policyNo AP credits are granted by John Hopkins for the AP Physics 1 exam.
University of Pennsylvania5
Physics 0101 (1.5 c.u.)
University of Pennsylvania AP Physics 1 credit policy UPenn offers advanced placement for AP Physics 1.
California Institute of Technology00Caltech AP Physics 1 credit policyCaltech doesn’t grant credit for AP exams.
Duke University

Durham, NC
00Duke AP Physics 1 credit policyDuke University doesn’t grant credit for AP Physics 1.
Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
51.34Northwestern AP Physics 1 credit policy
Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
00Dartmouth AP Physics 1 credit policyDartmouth doesn’t grant credit for the AP Biology exams.
Brown University

Providence, RI
5Physics 0030Brown University AP Physics 1 credit policyAP credit for Physics 0030
Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
54Vanderbilt University AP Physics 1 credit policy
Rice University

Houston, TX
43Rice University AP Physics 1 credit policy
Washington University in St. Louis

Saint Louis, MO
53Washington University in St. Louis AP Physics1 credit policy
Cornell University

Ithaca, NY
54Cornell AP Physics 1 credit policy

New York, NY
46Columbia AP Physics 1 credit policy
University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN
53University of Notre Dame AP Physics 1 credit policy
University of California, Berkley

Berkley, CA
35.3University of California, Berkley AP Physics 1 credit policy
AP Physics 1 Credit Policies of Popular US Colleges

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Does a 3 on an AP Physics 1 exam give you college credit?

There are a total of 1136 colleges in the US that offers college credit for AP Physics 1 for a score of 3.

Is a 2 on AP Physics 1 bad?

Yes, because no college offer credit in AP Physics 1 for a score of 2.

Does UCLA accept AP Physics 1 credits?

Yes, UCLA awards a credit of 8 to students who secure an AP score of 3 or more.

Does Harvard accept AP Physics 1?

No, Harvard doesn’t offer credits for AP Physics 1.

What is AP Physics 1 equivalent to?

AP Physics 1 is equivalent to a first-semester college course in Algebra-based Physics.

Reviewed by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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