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Transfer Credit Policy

Credit for Work Done Elsewhere

Technically, Swarthmore doesn't transfer credit. We award credit for work done elsewhere, and we casually call this transfer credit.

Current Students

Transfer credit for summer school, for domestic leaves of absence, and for study abroad are supported by the Office of Off-Campus Study.

  • For information about summer school and domestic transfer credit, see this page on Transfer Credit.
  • For information about study abroad, see this page on Study Abroad.

Related Links:

For Prospective first-year students
For Prospective transfer students


For reference, Additional Details:

Catalog policy:  Transfer credit is based on  catalog policy 8.6.

Remote degree finishers have a May 15 Deadline  For any transfer of credit to count toward graduation in a given year, all required documentation (official transcript and departmental final credit validation/approval) must be received in hand by the Registrar's Office by May 15 of that year.

How transfer credit is recorded: Credit originating from elsewhere is recorded toward the Swarthmore degree as follows: The course subject, number, and credit are Swarthmore's, reflecting the approval of the department validating the credit. The course title and U.S. equivalent grade are recorded from the other school's transcript, although the other school's grade is marked with an asterisk and does not factor in to Swarthmore's graduation grade average requirement.

Repeat courses: Although you cannot replace a course with transfer credit, as a part of the approval process described above, you might "repeat" a course by taking an equivalent one elsewhere and getting credit for it here, following the repeat course rule.

NSEPs elsewhere: Students who wish to receive NSEP credit for courses taken elsewhere must get preliminary approval for the course from the department involved. The department chair should be consulted as part of the process.  For example, if the student wants to take a Chemistry course as an NSEP at another university, he or she must get it pre-approved as an NSEP with the support of the chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Official approval for NSEP credit occurs only during the usual follow-up process, after the student has taken the class.  NSEP credit can be approved by the department chair if the chair determines that the course is comparable to a Swarthmore course that has already been designated as an NSEP.  As a general rule, courses taken elsewhere that are not comparable to a Swarthmore NSEP will not receive NSEP credit, but, in exceptional cases in which he or she believes that the NSEP criteria are satisfied, the department chair may recommend to the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering that NSEP credit be awarded.  In such cases the Division will review the recommendation and make the final decision.   Even if the request is declined, the course may still be eligible for normal transfer credit according to usual departmental procedures.

Natural sciences and engineering practicums (NSEPs) have at least 18 hours per semester of scheduled meeting time for laboratory, separate from the scheduled lecture hours. How the laboratory hours are scheduled varies with the nature of the course and the types of laboratories involved. Such meetings may entail weekly or biweekly 3-hour sessions in a laboratory, several all-day field trips, or several observation trips.

Writing Courses elsewhere. Writing courses are not available through transfer of credit, because all Writing-requirement approved courses go through a specific committee approval process not amenable to application to courses elsewhere.