Placement Information

The most current guidelines regarding placement and credit can be found in the academic packet for incoming students from the Dean's Office. See the Dean's Office website for new students, in particular the Math/Stat Placement page, and refer to your summer mailing.   There is additional information from our department here. Below is a summary of some of the information found in those other sources.

In evaluating work that first-year students have completed in mathematics before entering Swarthmore, the Department draws a distinction between  placement and credit. Placement allows students to skip material they have learned well already by starting at Swarthmore in more advanced courses. Credit confers placement as well, but it also is recorded on the student's Swarthmore transcript and counts towards the 32 credits needed for graduation.

First-year students seeking advanced placement and/or credit for mathematics and statistics taken previously (at a high school or a college) have several alternatives. They can receive

  • placement and credit through sufficient scores on the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations, as described below,

    or

  • placement without credit in mathematics by taking the appropriate Swarthmore Placement Exam, as described under Placement Exams below,

    or

  • credit by taking the final examination for the appropriate Swarthmore course, at the time when the final exam is given for the course.  We strongly encourage students to take these during their first semester at Swarthmore.   The course will appear on the student's transcript exactly as if the student had attended that class; the final exam grade becomes the student's course grade.  Students who wish to take these exams must arrange to do so with the Math/Stat Placement Advisor.

For questions not answered in the materials discussed above, please contact:

Math/Stat Placement Advisor, Profesor Cheryl Grood: cgrood1@swarthmore.edu

Credit and Placement for AP and IB Exams

The credit and placement that can be earned for scores on these exams is listed below.   Students who are eligible for credit for a course because of  AP or IB exam scores but who take the course anyway will forfeit the exam-based credit.

The AP Statistics Exam

  • Score: 4 or 5
    One credit for Stat 011 and placement into Stat 031.

The AP Calculus AB Exam

  • Score: 4
    One credit for Math 015 and placement into Math 025.
  • Score: 5
    One credit for Math 015, one-half credit for the first half of Math 025, and placement into Math 026.

The AP Calculus BC Exam

This exam has two scores, an AB subscore and a score for the BC exam as a whole. The possible credit earned by the AB subscore is as above. The possible credit earned by the score on the BC exam as a whole is given below. Should the credit earned by the two scores differ, students will be awarded the better of the two possibilities.

  • BC Score: 4
    One credit for Math 015 and placement into Math 025.
  • BC Score: 5
    Two credits for Math 015 and 025 and placement into Math 027.

The Higher Level IB Exam

  • Score: 5
    One credit for Math 015 and placement into Math 025.
  • Score: 6 or 7
    One credit for Math 015, one-half credit for the first half of Math 025, and placement into Math 026.