Placement, Credit, and Registration

Placement and Credit General Information

Credit and placement do not always go together. A student may receive advanced placement for work done before college enrollment, but not get credit, or vice versa.

For incoming first-year students, the first issue to be concerned with is placement rather than credit. It is more important to be enrolled in the right course than to settle the matter of how much credit will be received for previous work. The latter normally can and will be sorted out over a longer period (the first year).

Advanced placement and/or credit for work done before college enrollment can be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. CEEB Advanced Placement exams, or IB (International Baccalaureate) exams
  2. Swarthmore College departmental exams. Several departments offer such exams, including Math, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Modern Languages and Literatures. (See the following sections for details.)
  3. College courses taken elsewhere. Placement may or may not be granted for such courses. Departments must be consulted. Departments set their own policies regarding any credit, but credit awards are rare and not to be expected. Students will not receive credit unless they formally apply to the Registrar and the department(s).
  4. Foreign secondary work considered the equivalent of work in the American higher education system (e.g., British A- Level work or other examinations): Credit and placement for foreign secondary school work is given by departments in consultation with the Registrar. Students should consult the Registrar for specific procedures. They will not receive credit unless they formally apply to the Registrar.

Credit will be granted by the Registrar only on receipt of (1) written credit validation from the relevant department and (2) an official copy of the academic record (transcript or certificate).

A record of credit awarded for work done elsewhere appears on each of the student's grade reports. If a student believes there is a discrepancy, the Registrar should be consulted.

Each department sets its own policy about awarding credit or advanced standing, and some departments require a placement examination or a course at Swarthmore to validate a student's previous work. As stated above, departments make a distinction between advanced standing and credit, and first-year students often need help understanding the various departmental nuances. The information below describes departmental policies. Any questions should be addressed to the person indicated at the end of each department's section.

Credit and placement do not always go together. A student may receive advanced placement for work done before college enrollment, but not get credit, or vice versa.

For incoming first-year students, the first issue to be concerned with is placement rather than credit. It is more important to be enrolled in the right course than to settle the matter of how much credit will be received for previous work. The latter normally can and will be sorted out over a longer period (the first year).

Advanced placement and/or credit for work done before college enrollment can be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. CEEB Advanced Placement exams, or IB (International Baccalaureate) exams
  2. Swarthmore College departmental exams. Several departments offer such exams, including Math, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Modern Languages and Literatures. (See the following sections for details.)
  3. College courses taken elsewhere. Placement may or may not be granted for such courses. Departments must be consulted. Departments set their own policies regarding any credit, but credit awards are rare and not to be expected. Students will not receive credit unless they formally apply to the Registrar and the department(s).
  4. Foreign secondary work considered the equivalent of work in the American higher education system (e.g., British A- Level work or other examinations): Credit and placement for foreign secondary school work is given by departments in consultation with the Registrar. Students should consult the Registrar for specific procedures. They will not receive credit unless they formally apply to the Registrar.

Credit will be granted by the Registrar only on receipt of (1) written credit validation from the relevant department and (2) an official copy of the academic record (transcript or certificate).

A record of credit awarded for work done elsewhere appears on each of the student's grade reports. If a student believes there is a discrepancy, the Registrar should be consulted.

Each department sets its own policy about awarding credit or advanced standing, and some departments require a placement examination or a course at Swarthmore to validate a student's previous work. As stated above, departments make a distinction between advanced standing and credit, and first-year students often need help understanding the various departmental nuances. The information below describes departmental policies. Any questions should be addressed to the person indicated at the end of each department's section.