Credits for computer science courses taken off campus are approved by the CS Department Off-Campus Study Coordinator, currently Professor Rich Wicentowski. Please review the information below and contact to Coordinator if you have questions.
Types of Off-Campus Credit
The department will award 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 UPenn. 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. Note that you cannot take a course for credit at these schools that you previously took for credit at Swarthmore. UPenn has the additional rule that UPENN does not permit Swarthmore students to register for any course at UPENN that is regularly offered at Swarthmore College.
Courses taken at these schools will be assigned credit by Tri-Co/UPenn. There is no need to follow up with the off campus study coordinator after completing the course.
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 elgible, 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.
Official 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 Studies office can help you select and plan your program. With regards to CS Credit for courses, you will need to complete a Pre-Estimation of Credit form (via mySwarthmore) and meet with the CS department off-campus study coordinator to get pre-approval. Note that the Off-Campus Study Office should make a recommendation for the number of Swarthmore Credits and some programs 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. In some cases, students can combine multiple partial credit courses to satisfy single Swarthmore CS requirements.
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, that you can share 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 return, the departmental off-campus study coordinator will review your work and the pre-estimated credits and forward the credit recommendation to the off-campus study office, the registrar's office, and you.
Students may also take courses at other colleges and universities outside the scope of Tri-Co, UPenn, or the Off-campus study program. These are typically summer courses taken by the student. If you are planning to take such a course and wish to get CS credit, please review the Registrar's policies, complete a pre-approval form [pdf] and get the approval of the departmental off-campus study coordinator.
The department does not grant credit to online only programs or programs that are not eligible for credit at the host institution.
Credit towards Major/Minor
Typically, transfer credit is counted only as CS elective credit, and only two elective credits can count towards the major, or three if the student was exempt for CPSC 21 and does not have AP credit.
In special cases, students can request to have transfer credit count towards group 1, group 2, or group 3 credit, but this process will require additional approval from the departmental off-campus study coordinator.
In no case will the department approve off-campus or transfer credits totaling more that half the CS credits for the CS major or minor. This means at most four CS course can be taken outside the Swarthmore CS department for the CS major, and most three courses for the CS minor.