University Credit for International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations

IB HL test for college credit

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Many universities award college credits for each higher-level IB subject examination in which a minimum score of 5 was earned and/or each standard level IB subject examination in which a minimum score of 6 was earned.

Each university determines their own maximum number of credits that can be awarded on the basis of IB examinations, but up to 30 is possible at many schools. Credits earned by examination frequently count toward general credit requirements only and might not be used to satisfy area-of-study requirements.

International Baccalaureate Credit at Johns Hopkins University

As an example, Johns Hopkins University awards college credit for higher level International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in the following subjects:

IB Exam Score Credits Awarded
Biology 6 or 7 8
Chemistry 6 or 7 8
Computer Science 6 or 7 3
(B level only)
6 or 7 6
(B level only)
6 or 7 6
Macroeconomics* 7 3
Microeconomics* 7 3
Mathematics with Further Math 5 4
Mathematics with Further Math 6 or 7 8
Physics 6 4
Physics 7 8
(B level only)
6 or 7 6

*JHU requires students majoring or minoring in economics to take an additional economics course for each course awarded through IB credit. They also award credit for IB Microeconomics only if the student passes an additional economics departmental exam.

The Johns Hopkins example is meant to give some specific details to how this looks in action and is not intended to show a standard US university policy. Indeed some schools award no credit for IB participation, while others eagerly seek IB students and have generous credit policies.  Here are other examples:

If you are in an IB program and can choose HL courses, that is a good way to give yourself a chance to lower your cost and time in an American bachelor’s degree. In general, 12-15 credits are taken in a semester so earning a 5 or 6 on four or five HL IB exams would potentially grant you a full semester of credit. This could lower your investment by lowering the cost and time to complete the bachelor’s degree. It also increases your income later on by giving you 4-6 months head start when entering the workforce.