Frequently Asked Questions
You can find answers to the most common questions below, but surely we have missed a few. Tell us what we have missed!
- Are professors/experts involved in creating these courses?
- Are the courses free?
- Do I need to apply to take Saylor Academy courses?
- How do I enroll or register to take a course?
- How do I begin taking a Saylor Academy course?
- Do the courses start on a particular date?
- Do you offer courses in other languages?
- I don’t live in the United States. Can I still be a Saylor Academy student?
- Where can I find more information on being a Saylor Academy student?
- Can I take individual courses in an Area of Study or do I need to take them in sequence?
- Does someone moderate student assignments and assessments?
- Are there prerequisites to taking any Saylor Academy courses?
- What is the time limit for the Final Exam?
- What is the passing score for the Final Exam?
- If I fail the Final Exam, can I take it again?
- Will I be awarded a degree, diploma, or certificate?
- Is the Saylor Academy accredited?
- Will my Saylor Academy course count as college credit at another college/university?
- How can someone (such as an employer or school) verify that my certificate is authentic?
- Can I get certificates at Saylor Academy for outside courses that I have passed?
- How can I use the resources linked on Saylor Academy?
- How can I reuse your course material on another site?
Are professors/experts involved in creating these courses? TOP
Our courses were designed and built by credentialed professors, teachers, and industry professionals who have previously taught the specific subjects they work on. These highly-qualified consultants research, design, and outfit our courses from start to finish; many assist in our peer review process.
Are the courses free? TOP
Yes! All of our courses, resources, and associated site features are free.
Do I need to apply to take Saylor Academy courses? TOP
There is no application process. You can register for your free account at the ePortfolio.
How do I enroll or register to take a course? TOP
With our student ePortfolio system, you can register for an account, enroll in courses, and share your progress.
How do I begin taking a Saylor Academy course? TOP
Visit our course catalog and select a course you want to take. On a course page, find Unit 1 and begin to work your way through the units in sequential order.
Do the courses start on a particular date? TOP
Our courses are self-paced, so you can start on any day – and take as much time as you need.
Do you offer courses in other languages? TOP
Currently, we do not have plans to translate our courses into additional languages; however, we welcome opportunities to work with other organizations who wish to do so.
I don’t live in the United States. Can I still be a Saylor Academy student? TOP
Yes, absolutely! Close to half of our students live outside of the United States.
Where can I find more information on being a Saylor Academy student? TOP
Our Student Handbook is a good introduction to the what and how of learning at the Saylor Academy. You can find a copy of the Student Handbook here.
Can I take individual courses in an Area of Study or do I need to take them in sequence? TOP
You can take as many or as few courses as you would like. Some courses, however, do have suggested prerequisites. Be sure to check the “Course Requirements” area to find out what prior knowledge might be useful to you.
Does someone moderate student assignments and assessments? TOP
Students that take our courses will not be able to interact directly with a professor or TA. Some assignments are automatically graded and many others are self-graded. You can also seek feedback from other students in the discussion forums.
Are there prerequisites to taking any Saylor Academy courses? TOP
In some cases, yes. Be sure to check the “Course Requirements” area to find any suggested prerequisites before beginning your course. You are welcome to take any course you wish without completing prerequisites, however.
What is the time limit for the Final Exam?
You have two hours to take the final exam. There is a clock onscreen to help you keep track of your time as you go through the exam. Please note that the two hour limit means that you cannot save your answers and return later to finish your test — you will need to submit your test for grading within two hours of beginning.
What is the passing score for the final exam?
You need to receive a score of at least 70% on the final exam in order to pass.
If I fail the final exam, can I take it again?
Yes, although there is a 14 day waiting period between attempts. You can retake the exam as many times as you wish; only your highest score is considered.
How do I enroll in a course? TOP
There are three ways to enroll in a course. First, you can browse our Course Catalog and enroll in any course that interests you. To get a better idea of the topics covered in a course, click on “read description” for a brief overview; you can select “More…” to view the full course description. Once you have enrolled, the course will immediately show up in the Current Courses tab of your My Portfolio page.
What do the different privacy settings on my ePortfolio account mean? TOP
There are 4 levels of privacy that you can choose for your ePortfolio account:
• Private: Only you and Saylor Academy Administrators will be able to view your portfolio. Sign-in required.
• Link-only Access: Your portfolio can be viewed by only those to whom you have given a direct URL link. Those viewers will not be required to sign-in themselves or have an account.
• ePortfolio User Access: Any registered ePortfolio User can find and access your portfolio. Those users must be signed-in.
• Public: Anyone on the web can find and access your portfolio. No sign-in is required.
Will I be awarded a degree, diploma, or certificate? TOP
The Saylor Academy is not an accredited institution and therefore cannot issue degrees. However, you will be able to download a free certificate of completion after you pass each course’s final exam (a passing score is 70% or higher).
You may be able to obtain college credit using Saylor Academy materials. Learn about our college credit pathways here.
Is the Saylor Academy accredited? TOP
We are not an accredited institution. Some of our courses have been evaluated and recommended for college credit (upon completion of a proctored exam). Learn about our college credit pathways here.
Will my Saylor Academy course count as college credit at another college/university? TOP
Awarding college credit for studies completed at Saylor Academy is a decision that ultimately must be made by individual colleges. We have developed partnerships that connect students with inexpensive, portable credit. Learn about our college credit pathways here.
If you would like your college to award credit for Saylor Academy coursework that is not currently aligned to defined credit pathways, we suggest that you speak with your institution’s administrative offices about a number of different options. Firstly, you should talk to a professor, department head, or registrar about the potential to take an existing challenge exam (common at many schools), to earn credit and/or place out of a course for which there is a Saylor Academy equivalent that you have taken. Typically, schools that do have these exams will let students take them anywhere from no cost, to $100 per test.
Alternatively, you could ask to have a school official proctor your Saylor Academy exam attempt (thereby verifying that you are the one who passed the test, and should receive credit for it). This option may require the extra step of having your school review the Saylor course and exam, to determine whether it assesses the same topics as other college level courses on the subject.
If you have already taken and passed a Saylor Academy course, try submitting your digital transcript, available in your ePortfolio, for review by your school.
You should also look into whether your school has a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, by which you may be able to write a narrative/create a learning portfolio, based on what you have learned in one of our courses. Often, a student will have to take a PLA writing class from the school first (for regular tuition), but they are then usually able to bundle courses into one portfolio assessment, thereby reducing the cost per credit earned.
We would be happy to assist in any conversation you have with your school!
How can someone (such as an employer or school) verify that my certificate is authentic? TOP
Each course certificate has its own verification code, which is also available when viewing your transcript:
Note that the course titles on the transcript (shown above) will be hyperlinks, as is the “Verification Code” column heading. The course titles point to the course page on Saylor Academy, while the column heading points to http://school.saylor.org. Visitors to the latter page can then find the “Verify Certificates” box toward the right of the home screen and input the appropriate code. A page will then display your name, the course name, and the date you passed the exam:
You may wish to provide the verification codes and appropriate hyperlinks directly to your employer or school. For instance, displaying certificates and transcripts on a resume would be difficult, but you could accomplish the same thing by writing:
Computer Skills and Literacy (online course) – verify at http://school.saylor.org (use code 2fGBBepe57)
Can I get certificates from Saylor Academy for outside courses that I have passed? TOP
At present, we do not have the capacity to review outside work or transcripts and award a certificate for the matching Saylor Academy course. The best current option is to take and pass the final exams for Saylor Academy courses that match your prior knowledge and experience — there is no strict need to complete the coursework again, although you may find it helpful to do so.
How can I use the resources linked on Saylor Academy? TOP
While the goal of the Saylor Academy is to provide as much educational material as freely as possible, we also try to present our students with the best and most accurate information. Sometimes, this means using resources that are protected by a variety of licenses and copyright agreements. Below is an explanation of the various licensing you may encounter throughout our courses. Although we strive for accuracy, you should verify copyright and licensing for yourself before reusing any materials.
Creative Commons License Suite
Founded in 2001, Creative Commons issued its first set of licenses the following year. These are intended to make it easier for copyright holders to extend specific usage rights to their audience. Six basic licenses are offered:
BY-SA (Attribution – Share Alike)
BY-NC (Attribution – Non-Commercial)
BY-ND (Attribution – No Derivatives)
BY- NC-SA (Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share Alike)
BY-NC-ND (Attribution – Non-Commercial – No Derivatives)
GNU License Suite
GNU is an organization sponsored by the Free Software Foundation; GNU has produced a number of licenses relating to software. Some of our materials make use of the following:
GNU’s General Public License is used for many software packages, as well as other items.
The GNU Free Documentation License is a form of copyleft intended for use on a manual, textbook or other document to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, either commercially or non-commercially.
The Design Science License is a form of copyleft intended for use on source data to grant permission to distribute, publish or otherwise present verbatim copies of the entire work, in any medium, provided that full copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty, where applicable, is conspicuously published on all copies, and a copy of the license is distributed along with the work. The DSL license was written by Michael Stutz.
These are materials that can only be reproduced or distributed for academic or teaching purposes. The licensors often intend audience and distribution to be limited to a classroom or a private website.
These are materials that can only be reproduced or distributed for non-commercial purposes, as specified by the copyright holder.
These are materials that the Saylor Academy has received the right to host through the outreach of our Permissions Initiative. However, please note that these materials are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.
All Rights Reserved
We do link to materials that we do not own and do not have permission to modify or host.
More information about Creative Commons and licensing can be found in the Open Licenses section of our Open Course Resource Center.
How can I reuse your course material on another site? TOP
For entire courses:
Although we hold the copyright to our course outlines, we have made them available under a Creative Commons Attribution license (http://www.creativecommons.
For individual materials:
Detailed information about adapting a Saylor course can be found in the Revising and Remixing section of our Open Course Resource Center.