Department of History CLEP Policies

The Department of History will award credit to students who pass the following CLEP exams:

  • History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 (with required essays) for HIST 2010/US to 1877
  • History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present (with required essays) for HIST 2020/US since 1877

See the University of Memphis Testing Center  for information about how to pay for and schedule your exams.


To be awarded credit for HIST 2010 or HIST 2020:

  • The student must first take the appropriate multiple-choice CLEP exam at the University of Memphis Testing Center. Students will have 90 minutes to answer approximately 120 questions for this portion of the exam.
  • If the student passes the multiple-choice exam, s/he may then take the essay portion of the exam at the University of Memphis Testing Center.
    • For the essay exam, the student is given 90 minutes to answer two of six possible questions. The essays require the student to analyze, interpret, draw connections and/or comparisons, and ultimately make an argument about a historical topic.
    • The essays are graded by a faculty member in the Department of History who teaches the course for which the test is the equivalent (HIST 2010 or 2020). If the faculty member decides the essays would earn a "C" or above in their equivalent course, the student passes the exam.
    • The evaluation of the essays takes at least two weeks during the regular semester, and longer if the exam is taken during or just before the summer, winter, or spring breaks. Please note that students should take History CLEP exams more than one semester in advance of their desired graduation date.
    • The Director of Undergraduate Studies will inform the student, by email, if s/he passed or failed the exam as soon as it had been evaluated by a faculty member. If the student passed the exam, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will also notify the admissions office, which will award the credit.
    • To help prepare for the essay portion of the exams, the Department of History recommends students read and study the following textbook which is typically assigned to our HIST 2010 and HIST 2020 courses: Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty!: An American History, Fifth Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2017 (Volume 1 for History of the United States I and Volume 2 for History of the United States II).

Retake policy:

Students must pass both the multiple choice and essay portions of the exam to earn course credit. Students who fail one or both portions of the exam must either take the appropriate course or retake and pass the exam. A student who fails the exam must wait a FULL YEAR before retaking the test. The student must retake and pass both portions of the test in order to earn credit.