Skip to main content

Credit for work done elsewhere

There are four different ways that students can earn credit for work done elsewhere:

  1. You can earn up to 1 credit if you took the Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science.
  2. You can take classes at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and the University of Pennsylvania.
  3. You can work with the Off-Campus Study office to take a semester or year at another institution.
  4. You can transfer credits from another institution.

Credits for computer science courses taken through the Off-Campus Study office and transfer credits are approved by the CS Department Off-Campus Study Coordinator, currently Professor Rich Wicentowski/Lila Fontes.

Advanced Placement

The department will award one CS credit to students with high scores on the Advanced Placement exam who have also completed one course in the Computer Science department at Swarthmore. See the Course Catalog for details. Students with AP credit that wish to skip CPSC 21 need to take the placement exam.

Tri-Co or UPenn

Swarthmore students can take courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or the University of Pennsylvania. Please consult the instructions for getting pre-approval for Tri-Co and UPenn courses at the Registrar's website. The departmental off-campus study coordinator or the department chair can sign your pre-approval forms for Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Your academic advisor must sign your pre-approval form for courses at UPenn. Note that you cannot take a course for credit at these schools that you previously took for credit at Swarthmore. Note that UPenn does not permit Swarthmore students to register for any course at UPenn that is regularly offered at Swarthmore.

Courses taken at these schools will be assigned credit by Tri-Co/UPenn. There is no need to follow up with the chair or off-campus study coordinator after completing these courses.

In response to high enrollments, as of 2019, all Tri-Co Computer Science Departments have decided to limit requests for cross-institution enrollments to exceptional circumstances only. To be eligible, a Swarthmore student needs to demonstrate that the only way to complete their major requirements is to enroll in a Bryn Mawr or Haverford course. Swarthmore students must petition the Chair of the Swarthmore Computer Science Department, who will make the request on their behalf if they qualify.

Off-Campus Study

The Off-Campus Study Office offers a number of semester-long off-campus study opportunities officially supported by the college. The Off-Campus Study office can help you select and plan your program. In order to receive CS credit for the courses you take off-campus, you will need to complete a Pre-Estimation of Credit form (via mySwarthmore). Although the Off-Campus Study office is the best place to get initial information about programs and courses, you can also schedule an advising meeting with the CS department off-campus study coordinator. 

The Off-Campus Study Office will make a recommendation for the number of credits each course you take will count towards your Swarthmore degree. In some cases, courses taken off-campus may not offer a full credit per course. In these cases, the Computer Science Department does not allow the extra work credit option mentioned on the pre-approval form. However, in some cases students can combine multiple partial-credit courses to satisfy a single Swarthmore CS requirement.

Once you have completed your pre-estimation of credit form, the CS department encourages you to save documents pertaining to the course including syllabi, notes, assignments, and exams to a Google Drive folder, preferably in PDF format, so that you can share these with the departmental off-campus study coordinator after you complete the course and return to campus. If some documents cannot be saved electronically, please retain printed materials to share with coordinator. Upon completion of your off-campus study courses, you can upload these documents into mySwarthmore to obtain final approval for your coursework.

See below for information on how Off-Campus Study credits can receive credit towards the major.

Transfer Credit

You may also take courses at other colleges and universities outside the scope of Haverford, Bryn Mawr, UPenn, or the Off-campus study program. These are typically taken over the summer. If you are planning to take such a course and wish to get CS credit, please review the Registrar's policies and complete the pre-approval form before enrolling.

There are a number of important College-level restrictions on transfer credits. Please familiarize yourself with these on the College's Transfer Credit page.

See below for information on how Off-Campus Study credits can receive credit towards the major.

Credit towards Major/Minor

Typically, credits earned from off-campus study courses or transferred from another college are counted as electives towards the CS major or minor. Students can request to have these courses count towards a group requirement (Group 1, Group 2, or Group 3), but this process requires additional approval from the departmental off-campus study coordinator and in most cases will not be approved until after you have completed the course and the department has had the chance to review your work.

The CS department requires that you complete at least half of the credits needed for the major or minor at Swarthmore. This means that at most four off-campus/transfer courses can be used to satisfy the CS major, and at most three can be used to satisfy the CS minor.