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Legislative Requirements FAQ

Georgia law states that “All colleges and universities sustained or in any manner supported by public funds shall give instruction in the history of the United States and the history of Georgia and in the essentials of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia; and no undergraduate student in any college or university shall receive a certificate of graduation or a degree without successfully completing course work or previously passing a satisfactory examination on the same.” 

In compliance with this law and the policies of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, every undergraduate student at UGA, no matter what type of degree or major they might be pursuing, must satisfy the following three university-wide requirements: 

  1. Federal Constitution Requirement 
  1. Georgia Constitution Requirement
  1. United States and Georgia History Requirement

FAQ Overview


How do I know if I have satisfied these requirements or not?

You will see these requirements near the top of your DegreeWorks audit along with the other university-wide requirements such as Cultural Diversity, Environmental Literacy, Experiential Learning, and Physical Education.  If you see a green check mark next to each of the three requirements, then you have already satisfied them: 

University Requirements

However, if you are currently enrolled in a course (either in the current semester or an upcoming semester), then you will see a green check mark followed by a statement indicating that the requirement is “in progress.” 

In progress

In progress 2

If the requirements have not been satisfied and are not in progress, then the boxes will be unchecked and the lines will display in red/pink rather than yellow:

Unchecked requirements

 


Which courses will satisfy these requirements?

The most common way that students satisfy the legislative requirements is by earning course credit.  Most students take POLS 1101 (American Government) to satisfy both constitution requirements, while most students take either HIST 2111 or HIST 2112 to satisfy the history requirement.  You can find a list of courses that will satisfy the two constitution requirements by clicking on this link to the UGA Bulletin.  You can find a list of courses that will satisfy the history requirement by clicking on this link to the UGA Bulletin.


Advanced Placement Credit

Advanced Placement credit and course equivalency policies are subject to change from year to year.  For the most up-to-date information on course credit, please see the Registrar's Office website.  

If you received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP American History exam, then you should have received credit for HIST 2111 or HIST 2112, thereby satisfying the U.S. and Georgia History requirements. 

If you received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP U.S. Government & Politics exam, then you should have received credit for POLS 1101, thereby satisfying the U.S. Constitution requirement.  However, to satisfy the Georgia Constitution requirement, you must have graduated from a high school in the state of Georgia.*

*If you attended another college or university outside the state of Georgia before transferring to UGA but you graduated from a high school in the state of Georgia, you may need to arrange to have your AP scores sent directly to UGA.


Transfer Credit

History Requirement

If you took a course at another college or university that is equivalent to HIST 2111 or HIST 2112, then this will satisfy the U.S. and Georgia History requirement.  Courses that transfer as HIST 1GHX will also satisfy the U.S. and Georgia History requirement. 

Constitution Requirements

If you took a course at another college or university that is equivalent to POLS 1101, then this will satisfy the U.S. Constitution requirement.

If you took the POLS 1101 course at an institution within the state of Georgia, then it will also satisfy the Georgia Constitution requirement.This includes the following types of institutions…

  • University System of Georgia (USG)
  • Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)—e.g., Athens Technical College
  • Private schools (e.g., Emory University or Georgia Military College)

If you took the POLS 1101 course at an institution outside the state of Georgia, then it will not satisfy the Georgia Constitution requirement.

In cases such as this, you will need to pass a proficiency exam in order to satisfy the Georgia Constitution requirement.


Proficiency Exams

In lieu of completing coursework, students also have the option to take and pass a proficiency exam in order to satisfy one or more of the legislative requirements.  You cannot receive course credit for passing these exams.  UGA offers three separate exams for each requirement.

U.S. and Georgia History Exam

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions divided into three parts.  You will have one hour to complete it.  You must correctly answer a minimum of 60% of the questions for each section.

Section

Minimum Number of Correctly Answered Questions Needed to Pass

Georgia History (20 questions)

 

12

U.S. History to 1877 (40 questions)

 

24

U.S. History since 1877 (40 questions)

 

24

Adding to the difficulty of this exam is the fact that there are multiple versions, so you should not expect to see the exact same set of questions on each attempt.  More information about the exam—including topics covered on the exam, recommended books, study guide materials, and sample questions—can be found at the UGA History Department website.

U.S. Constitution Exam

The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions.  You will have one hour to complete it.  You must correctly answer at least 30 questions (60%) to pass the exam.  More information about the exam—including topics covered on the exam, recommended books, study guide materials, and sample questions—can be found at the School of Public & International Affairs website.

Georgia Constitution Exam

The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions.  You will have one hour to complete it.  You must correctly answer at least 30 questions (60%) to pass the exam.  More information about the exam—including topics covered on the exam, recommended books, study guide materials, and sample questions—can be found at the School of Public & International Affairs website.

How many times can I attempt to pass an exam?

U.S. and Georgia History

 

5 attempts

U.S. Constitution

 

2 attempts

Georgia Constitution

 

2 attempts

How do I go about taking the exams?

Students take the exemption exams through University Testing Services (located in Clark Howell Hall).  Students can walk-in and request to take an exam anytime during normal operating hours (assuming there is sufficient time to complete the exam), but appointments are preferred.  You can register to take one or more of the exams through the UTS website.*     

*In the wake of the pandemic, remote testing options have become available. Contact UTS for more info: uts@uga.edu.

What is the cost of each exam?

As of May 2020, each exam costs $28.50. 

Students needing to take both the U.S. Constitution and Georgia Constitution exams can save money by registering to take a combined exam that only costs $28.50.  However, if you need to retake one or the other, you will have to pay another $28.50.

How soon can I retake an exam?

Students are required to wait at least one week between attempts at the same exam.

What happens if I fail to pass an exam and have exhausted all of my attempts?

You will need to arrange to complete coursework that satisfies whichever requirement you are missing: 

  • POLS 1101 if you need to satisfy the U.S. Constitution and/or Georgia Constitution requirements (but remember that you must take the course at an institution within the state of Georgia in order to satisfy the Georgia Constitution requirement).
  • HIST 2111 or HIST 2112 if you need to satisfy the U.S. and Georgia History requirement.

How likely is it that I will pass the history exam on my first attempt?

Not Very Likely.  The odds are against you.  Information on test outcomes in 2018 and 2019 suggest that almost half or more of attempts end in failure:

Exam Part

 

Total Number of Attempts

 

Number of Failed Attempts

Percentage of Failed Attempts

Georgia History

 

2,571

1,228

48%

U.S. History to 1877

 

2,938

1,728

59%

U.S. History since 1877

 

3,052

1,846

60%

*All attempts by all UGA students for spring, summer, and fall semesters for 2018 and 2019.

I have applied to graduate this semester, but I still have not passed an exam.  When is the last day that I can take the exam and avoid having to reapply to graduate next term?

There is no precise date, but in general, a good rule of thumb is to pass the exam(s) by the date of commencement. However, you may have additional time to complete your remaining attempts after commencement.  Commencement usually occurs on the Friday after final exams are over. The deadline for UGA instructors to submit grades is the Monday after commencement. Processing of graduation applications then begins that Tuesday and lasts for ten business days (excluding holidays such as Memorial Day or Christmas), so you may have about two weeks after commencement to complete your remaining attempts. However, remember that you must wait at least a week between attempts, and if you are cutting it this close, you should probably save some proof of when you actually took the exam such as an email confirmation or screenshot from University Testing Services.


 

What if I satisfied these requirements at my previous school before transferring to UGA?

Most other University System of Georgia (USG) schools have adopted policies that are similar to UGA in terms of the methods through which students satisfy the legislative requirements.  If you took equivalents of POLS 1101, HIST 2111, or HIST 2112 at your previous institution, then this should already be reflected on your DegreeWorks audit. 

Most USG schools also offer a testing option.  While it is exceedingly rare, if you took and passed a proficiency exam to satisfy one or more of the legislative requirements at your previous USG school before transferring to UGA, this should be reflected on your transcript at that institution.  If you have any doubt, review your unofficial transcript from your previous school to see if there is any indication that the requirements were satisfied.  If so, let your advisor know.   

Some USG institutions allow their students to satisfy all three legislative requirements by completing a single course.  Did you transfer from Albany State University, Georgia Tech, Gordon State University, or the University of North Georgia?  If so, let your advisor know.  You may have already satisfied all three requirements because of UGA’s core-to-core transfer agreement with these USG schools.

Can students appeal the legislative requirements?

These requirements are mandated by state law and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.Students cannot petition the Educational Affairs Committee for a waiver of any of the three legislative requirements, no matter what the circumstances.

I want to graduate on time.  I do not want to jeopardize my career, graduate school, salary, or other opportunities.  What is the safest course of action?

If you have not already satisfied all three of the legislative requirements by the end of your sophomore year or by the time you have transferred to UGA (if you are a transfer student), then the safest thing to do is make room in your schedule to complete coursework that will satisfy these requirements as soon as possible. 

If you are considering trying to satisfy one or more of these requirements by passing a proficiency exam, then you should avoid delaying this.  If you have not attempted or passed the exam before your last semester, then you should plan to take the courses that semester.  Above all else, you should not wait until the end of the semester in which you expect to graduate to complete your first attempt at the exam.  This is especially true of the history exam.  The history exam is incredibly difficult and has a significantly high failure rate.  Failing to pass all three parts of the history exam is probably the most common reason why some UGA students are unable to graduate on time.  You should take this very seriously.