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Transferring Credits

Transferring Credits

Transferring economics credits for work completed away from Swarthmore

Students must receive pre-approval for any economics or business course they plan to take for Swarthmore credit outside of the Tri-Co system.


Before enrolling in any program or course, students submit requests for pre-approval via the Off-Campus Study Office’s online portal. Visit to consult the College's conditions and process for applying for transfer credit. Follow the instructions to submit a request for pre-estimation of credit through mySwarthmore, making sure to upload the course syllabus as well as links or screenshots for both the number of credits the course represents and the number of credits required for graduation at the other institution.

After the off-campus course has been completed, students must formally request the chair’s approval of transfer credit unless the course was designated for auto-credit at the pre-approval stage. Return to the Off-Campus Study Office’s online portal to submit a request for approval. The student must submit extensive evidence – syllabus, exams, papers – concerning the content of the course.

Important notes

  • Transfer credit can be awarded only for courses whose content does not reproduce the content of courses the student has taken for credit in the Tri-Co system.  
  • Problems transferring credit may arise in connection with off-campus courses that are labeled as economics though they are in fact courses in law, history, or political science; the department does not accept such courses for economics credit. It is usually sufficient for partial credit transfer that the course be taught by a qualified economist and be largely analytical in content, as are nearly all courses in economics departments in American colleges and universities.
  • Off-campus courses often provide something less than a full 1.0 Swarthmore credit. (Consider, as one example, a 3-credit course at an institution that requires 120 credits for graduation.) Core requirements of the economics major - ECON 001, 011, 021, 031 - can only be fulfilled by taking off-campus courses if those courses deliver a full Swarthmore credit. The department does not top off credits earned off campus.
  • Subject to the department chair’s approval, students may transfer credit for introductory economics taken at other colleges or universities, whether taken as a one- or a two-semester introductory course. A student may be granted credit for taking a one-semester course in either introductory microeconomics or introductory macroeconomics, but will be advised in such cases to audit the other part of the introductory material at Swarthmore before taking higher level economics courses. Students who receive a transfer credit for ECON 001 cannot enroll in ECON 011 or 021 before taking at least one other economics course.
  • For courses offered at UPenn, be sure to follow the additional guidance and procedures on this page.

Transferring credits for business and Finance courses

Students are advised to consult the department chair before taking a course in business or finance outside of the Tri-Co system. As above, such courses require pre-approval and, unless designated for auto-credit at the pre-approval stage, final transfer credit approval as well. One course in financial accounting may be transferred for credit towards the economics major if the student has not taken Financial Accounting in the Tri-Co system. All other business or finance courses are designated as business electives. Business-elective credits may be counted towards the 32 credits required for graduation, but they do not count towards an economics major. A student can receive no more than two business-elective credits in total. No credit is given for night school classes at Wharton. No credit will be granted for courses whose content substantially reproduces that of finance courses the student has taken in the Tri-Co system. Students cannot subsequently take Tri-Co courses with content overlapping transfer credits.