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Departmental Placement and Credit Guide

Credit and placement are distinct and do not always go together. A student may receive advanced placement for work done before college enrollment, but not get credit, or vice versa.

For incoming first-year students, the first issue to be concerned with is placement rather than credit. It is more important to be enrolled in the right course than to settle the matter of how much credit will be received for previous work. The latter normally can and will be sorted out over a longer period (the first year).

Each department sets its own policy about awarding credit or advanced standing, and some departments require a placement examination to validate a student's previous work. As stated above, departments make a distinction between advanced standing and credit, and first-year students often need help understanding the various departmental nuances.

Note: Placement tests are not a substitute for an official standard achievement test of a foreign language (such as the College Board exam or the International Baccalaureate). Therefore, they do not serve as proof of achievement for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement. These tests are only intended to assist instructors in placing students in the appropriate Swarthmore course.

One of the more standard ways of receiving credit or placement is through AP or IB exam grades. Please see the AP and IB Credit Guide on the Registrar's Office website for a summary of the credit and placement options offered by departments. Also recall that you may check to see what AP and IB scores we have received by logging in to and looking in the AP/IB Exams section.

Credit will be granted by the Registrar only on receipt of (1) written credit validation from the relevant department at Swarthmore and (2) an official copy of the academic record (transcript, school report, or certificate). A record of credit awarded for work done elsewhere appears on each of the student's grade reports. If a student believes there is a discrepancy, the Registrar should be consulted.

Chemistry placement

Math/Stat placement