Nontraditional Credit

Recognizing that valuable learning often takes place outside the classroom, the College offers the opportunity to obtain academic credit for nontraditional learning experiences within certain guidelines. Nontraditional credits are not accepted in transfer from another institution and may apply to no more than 31 semester hours for a baccalaureate degree or 15 semester hours for an associate's degree.

Nontraditional credit is posted on the transcript after successful completion of one semester of full-time enrollment. Students may apply for nontraditional credit up to the end of their second term of attendance at Rocky Mountain College for work completed prior to enrolling at the College. Applications after the second term of attendance will not be accepted; nontraditional credit will not be granted for work done while enrolled at RMC.

Nontraditional credits granted are indicated on student transcripts with a grade of "P." There is a $40/credit transcripting fee. In all cases of nontraditional credit, it is the responsibility of the student to provide sufficient evident to clearly show that he or she has earned the credit. For further information concerning the application process for nontraditional credit, including guidelines for the specific materials that need to be submitted for each type of nontraditional credit, and associated fees, contact the Office of Student Records at 406.657.1030. Details about the types of nontraditional credit that can be earned at Rocky Mountain College follow.

Challenge of a Course

Students may challenge courses not previously taken. Approval of the faculty in the discipline and the academic vice president must be obtained, and written notification of successful challenge must be filed with the Office of Student Records. A challenge of a course involves a process whereby faculty members can effectively evaluate the student's knowledge and skills in the content area. Examples of methods faculty may use to evaluate a challenge include exams, having the student write a paper or give a presentation, and/or having the student demonstrate skills in relevant activities.


Rocky Mountain College recognizes, for college credit, successful completion of one or more of the general examinations or subject examinations of the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Credit may also be earned through the Defense Activity for Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) program. Any CLEP or DANTES examinations for credit must be completed by the end of the second semester of enrollment at Rocky Mountain College. More information is available at the Office of Student Records.

Credit for Military Experience and Training (non-ROTC course work)

Credit is evaluated based on the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations for credit for military experience. Students should submit their information to ACE for evaluation. Once the ACE evaluation is returned, it should be brought to the Office of Student Records, who will then evaluate the ACE recommendations and make determinations about which credits will transfer to Rocky Mountain College and how those credits will county toward graduation requirements.

Credit for Advanced Learning in High School

College credit is awarded for advanced work in high school through the advanced placement test of the College Entrance Examination Board and International Baccalaureate diplomas.

Advanced Placement Program

In order for credit to be granted by Rocky Mountain College, the institution must have a copy of the student's score sheet sent directly from the College Board Advanced Placement Program. Use 4660 as the Rocky Mountain College code.

Rocky Mountain College uses the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines for determining the minimum score requirements for college credit on each AP exam.

Although Rocky Mountain College accepts the ACE recommendations for minimum scores (which, for most subjects, is a 3), students often struggle in higher level courses at RMC if they do not achieve at least a 4 on the AP exam. Academic advisors may advise students to take the Rocky Mountain College equivalent course even though they have already received credit through AP. Students are only encouraged, not required, to take this advice.

International Baccalaureate Program

Rocky Mountain College recognizes the standards set by the International Baccalaureate Program for awarding college credit. Contact the Office of Student Records at 406.657.1030 for more information on how IB credits transfer to Rocky Mountain College.

Credit for Prior Learning

This category of nontraditional credit is only appropriate under restricted and unusual circumstances; it applies to situations where students can document college-level learning in disciplines for which there is no corresponding course to challenge at Rocky Mountain College or any appropriate external examination, such as CLEP or DANTES.

The Academic Standards Committee is responsible for making final decisions about the granting of credit for prior learning; those decisions are typically made after consultation with appropriate faculty from within the College when available or from other colleges, if necessary. To earn academic credits, students are required to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that their learning outside of the classroom is equivalent to the content of an academic course. Evidence is presented in the form of a portfolio and typically includes performance tests, essay examinations, and samples of student work. Interviews with faculty or outside experts may also be appropriate. 

There is a fee of $200 for the development and evaluation of the portfolio. Credits granted are subject to a $40/credit transcripting fee. Students wishing to pursue this option should consult with the Office of Student Records to begin the process.

Waivers and Substitutions of Program Requirements

In exceptional circumstances specific program requirements may be waived or substituted. If the requested waiver or substitution pertains to requirements of a student's major or minor area of study, an exception to the stated requirements may be granted at the discretion of the faculty in the relevant discipline, subject to the approval of the academic vice president. Waivers or substitutions related to the general education requirements are, like other exceptions to the stated academic policy beyond those already noted, the purview of the Academic Standards Committee. 

A waiver or substitution may be granted, for example, if a student unexpectedly does not have the opportunity to meet a program requirement because of an unavoidable conflict or because of a course cancellation. Substitutions are preferred over waivers so that the student will have an opportunity to learn most or all of the material by taking another course or combination of courses. When waivers or substitutions are approved, the student must still meet the minimum credit requirement for the major or minor – the student may need to take additional elective courses in the discipline. Students are not awarded credit for waivers. Waivers and substitutions are not appropriate in cases in which a student believes he or she has already learned the material necessary for the requirement. In such cases, the student should challenge the course.