Credit for College Board Advanced Placement (AP)


The Duke webpage Credit: AP, IPC, and PCM summarizes what course credit can be received for students who took an an AP exam or an international standardized exam. Since all introductory physics courses at Duke are calculus-based, no credit is given for an algebra-based physics course, even if a student got a 5 on the AP Physics B exam (which corresponds to an algebra-based physics course). A score of 4 or 5 on the Physics C exam for Mechanics or for Electricity and Magnetism will lead to credit equivalent to the Duke courses PHYSICS 141L/151L and PHYSICS 142L/152L respectively.  Physics AP credit is not accepted for Physics/Biophysics major requirements, although some majors may accept it.

It is important that you have the College Board testing agency send your AP test scores to the Office of the University Registrar no later than the first day of classes of the fall semester, with sooner being preferable.

Note that Trinity College students may be granted up to two elective course credits toward the degree requirements of 34 course credits, and up to six additional credits may be awarded for accelerated graduation. This limitation on the number of AP credits does not currently apply to students in the School of Engineering.


What will automatically appear on your transcript with AP credit?

On the basis of the AP exam alone, you will have one entry for each AP exam:

  • PHYSICS 25 AP for the Mechanics Exam
  • PHYSICS 26 AP for the Electricity and Magnetism Exam

NOTE: These are AP course credits only and do not count toward satisfying the curriculum requirements of Area of Knowledge and Modes of Inquiry.

What will appear on your transcript if you take introductory physics at Duke?

 If you decide to take the PHYSICS 141L/151L/161D and/or PHYSICS 142L/152L/162D, then the AP course credits on your transcript will be replaced as:

  • PHYSICS 25 AP will be replaced by either PHYSICS 141L or PHYSICS 151L or PHYSICS 161D
  • PHYSICS 26 AP will be replaced by either PHYSICS 142L or PHYSICS 152L or PHYSICS 162D

Suggestions for Trinity College students who have AP course credit

The three introductory physics course sequences currently offered are designed for particular groups of students according to their academic concentration (see table below). While a student may take any of the introductory courses for which he or she meets the prerequisite requirements, it is recommended that students take the course sequence that best matches their academic concentration.

Sequence Academic Concentration
PHYSICS 161D+164L and 162D+165L Physics and math majors
PHYSICS 141L/142L Science majors and premeds
PHYSICS 151L/152L/153L Engineers

Trinity College students with AP course credit for PHYSICS 151L or 152L must decide on the next course to take to complete their major requirements.  Some guidance is given below.

Academic Concentration AP Course Credit Recommended First Course(s)
Physics and Math Majors PHYSICS 25 and/or 26 PHYSICS 161D+164L or 162D+164L or 163D+164L 
Sciences Majors and Premeds PHYSICS 25 and 26 PHYSICS 141L or PHYSICS 142L
Sciences Majors and Premeds PHYSICS 25 only PHYSICS 142L
Sciences Majors and Premeds PHYSICS 26 only PHYSICS 141L

Premeds and Biological Science majors should consult with their DUS before registering for PHYSICS 153L.

Prospective Physics Majors

Students considering a major in physics or biophysics are strongly encouraged to take PHYSICS 161D+164L and PHYSICS 162D+164L, or PHYSICS 163D+164L and PHYSICS 165L.  These students are also encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (for potential physics majors) or the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies (for potential biophysics majors) for advice about physics course placement, and other courses that are useful for their major.