Challenge & Competency Exams

The CS department offers two options to meet certain course prerequisites via examination. Please contact a department academic advisor or the appropriate exam administrator (listed below) for more information or to schedule an exam.

CS 1400 Challenge Examination

Students may receive credit for CS 1400 by successfully passing the CS 1400 Challenge Examination. This is a great option for any student who has completed a similar class in High School or has a background in programming. Students who successfully pass the exam may receive credit for CS 1400 and enroll in CS 1410 and CS 1440.

There are two parts to the exam, 1) written section, and 2) programming section. A score of 70% is required to pass each section. Students who pass the written exam may move on to the programming section.

The exam is currently available only in Python.


There is a $50 fee to take the exam. However, this fee is only required to take the programming section. This means a student who is not extremely confident about passing may take the written exam without any financial risk. If a student does not pass the written exam they may retake it for $10.

The Registrar’s Office charges a $40 fee to record the 4-credit course on your transcript. A letter grade is not assigned.

Taking the Exam

If you are interested in pursuing the CS 1400 Challenge Exam, please contact Dr. Chad Mano to start the process. You will receive more details about the process and exams, including a list of topics.

Java Competency Exam

The Java competency Exam (JCE) is intended for students who have taken ECE 1400 and ECE 1410 and want to get into CS 2420 and continue with a CS minor, or for those changing majors from EE/ECE to CS.

Students who have successfully completed ECE 1400 and 1410, may enroll in CS 2420 by passing the departmental Java Competency Exam.


The exam may be attempted once for free. A student who does not pass may retake the exam one-time for free. Any retakes thereafter require a fee of $25. A recording fee is not required as this exam does not affect your transcript.

Taking the Exam

The JCE is administered between Fall and Spring semesters and then again during the summer.

If you are interested in taking the Java Competency Exam, please contact Dr. Dean Mathias to start the process. Dr. Mathias will provide details about specific dates the exam is offered, the process, and the exam itself, including a list of topics.