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 141/151 and Physics 142/152 respectively.

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:

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

NOTE:  These are AP course credits only and do not count toward safisfying 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 PHY 141L/151L/161+161L and/or PHY 142L/152L/161+162L, then the AP course credits on your transcript will be replaced as:

  • PHY 25 AP will be replaced by either PHY 141L or PHY151L or  PHY 161+161L
  • PHY 26 AP will be replaced by either PHY 142L or PHY152L or  PHY 161+162L

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
PHY 161+161L and 162+162L Physics and math majors
PHY 141L/142L Science majors and premeds
PHY 151L/152L/153L Engineers

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

Academic Concentration AP Course Credit Recommended Course
Physics and Math Majors PHY 25 and/or 26 PHY 161+161L and PHY 162+162L
Sciences Majors and Premeds PHY 25 and 26 PHY 141L or PHY 142L
Sciences Majors and Premeds PHY 25 only PHY 142L
 Sciences Majors and Premeds PHY 26 only PHY 141L

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

Prospective Physics Majors

Students considering a major in physics are strongly encouraged to take the PHY 161+161L and PHY 162+162L courses even if they have AP physics course credit. These students should also meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as possible to get advice about physics course placement and other courses that are useful for a physics major to take.