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University Core

Below are a list of questions our office receives on a daily basis with regards to the University Core program. Further information can be obtained on this matter by going to for University Core Information. The information provided is not intended to replace the value of one-on-one advising but may help you find answers to your questions without having to have an appointment or stop in; please feel free to do so with any follow-up questions you may have.

Can I test out of or be exempt from a University Core requirement?

BYU does offer challenge and exemption exams for some GE requirements. Challenge exams will give you graded credit for the University Core requirement, while exemption exams will only fulfill the GE, without giving you university credit. There are fees required to take challenge and exemption exams, payable at Student Services, D-155 ASB.

Standardized challenge and exemption exams are available at the Testing Center for Biology 100 (for more information, see, call 801-422-2729, or visit 109 HRCB), Physical Science 100 (, 801-422-3307, N252 ESC), and American Heritage 100 (, 801-422-6076, 166 SWKT). If you would like to take challenge or exemption exams for other classes, you must contact the departments administering the courses. For example, if you want to test out of Math 112, you will need to contact the Math Department for information on departmental policies.

Can I cover my BYU religion requirements with institute classes?

Regarding religion credits, all students must fulfill two requirements in order to graduate:

  1. Students must complete a certain number of religion credit hours exclusively through BYU (these are called “residency” credit hours). These credits can be completed through daytime, evening, Salt Lake Center, and Independent Study religion courses. 14 residency hours are generally required of all students, though this number decreases by 2 credits for every 15 credit hours transferred into BYU from elsewhere.
  2. Students must complete specific religion core classes. Please review MYMAP or your Progress Report to evaluate which specifc religion core classes are required. However, students transferring credits from other colleges/universities may have some core class requirements waived, depending upon how many credit hours were accepted by BYU.

Should a student complete his/her core classes through BYU (requirement #2 above), they will also count towards the student’s residency hours requirement (requirement #1). Students completing classes through CES Institutes of Religion may transfer those credits into BYU to fulfill their core religion class requirements. However, these classes will NOT help to fulfill students’ religion residency hours requirement. For example, a student can take a New Testament class through institute and fulfill the New Testament core requirement. But the institute class will NOT lower the student’s residency hours yet to be completed.
I’ve studied a foreign language in high school and on my mission - which language class should I register for?

BYU offers online language placement exams for students with French, German, Spanish, Russian, and ESL experience. To take a placement examination for one of these languages, go to and enter the password. The password is “cougars1.” After logging in, select your desired language and follow the instructions on the screen. Prior to leaving the online testing program, you will receive a score for the exam with information on which language class is appropriate for you, given your experience level.

BYU also has several classes tailored specifically to returned missionaries and others who are fluent in a foreign language. For some languages, you can take a challenge exam worth up to 16 credits of lower-level language courses. For more information on the placement and challenge exams, please contact the Center for Language Studies in 3086 JFSB, or call them at (801) 422-1201.

It’s been several years since I last studied math - which math course should I register for?

The Math Department does not offer one comprehensive math placement exam, telling you for which course you must register, given your skill level. However, there are past exams available online for Math 110, 112, and 119 (The placement exam for Math 119 will be replaced by an exam for Math 118 effective Fall 2011). The Math Department suggests that you take a final exam from these courses (there are multiple years’ final exams available), to find which course is best suited for your math experience. If you are able to score at least a 70% on one of the exams, then you have skills proficient to add the corresponding class to your schedule. To access these tests, simply go to, then select the “Exams” link from the pull-down menu entitled “Courses and Services.” As you scroll down the page, you’ll find previous years’ final exams with answer keys. Any further questions should be directed to the Math Department, located in 292 TMCB. They can also be reached at (801) 422—2061.