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Placement Information

The most current guidelines regarding placement and credit can be found in the Dean's Office website for new students, in particular the Math/Stat Placement page.   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, as described below,


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


  • credit by arranging with the professor of the course that covers the previously taken material to get credit by exam, see the course catalog, section 8.1, for details.

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

Math/Stat Placement Advisor:

Credit and Placement for AP Exams

For students who matriculate in or after 2019, credit is awarded as described below. Students who are eligible for credit for a course because of an AP exam 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 021.

The AP Calculus AB Exam

  • Score: 4 or 5 
    One credit for Math 015 and placement into Math 025.

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 or 5 
    Two credits for Math 015 and 025 and placement into Math 027.

The IB math HL exam

The International Baccalaureate Higher Level math curriculum does not exactly correspond to the first year calculus sequence offered at Swarthmore College.  The credit and placement listed below may work well for many students, but we urge incoming students to take the Readiness Exam and the Calculus Placement Exam in order to determine more accurately the correct math course for them.

  • Score: 6 or 7
    One credit for Math 015 and placement into Math 025.