IMPORTANT NOTE: Different policies may be in place depending on the date of matriculation at Penn. Consult the policies for your class for further details.
The University of Pennsylvania recognizes that many incoming students have participated in special programs of study that may earn them college credit or placement. These programs include exams such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, S.A.T.II, GCE A-levels, and other international exams as well as courses taken at other colleges or universities before matriculation at Penn ("pre-College" credit). It is important that students understand the policies governing the award of credit in these cases since they will be responsible for submitting the appropriate materials.
Penn will grant either credit or placement (a "waiver") for high achievement on most Advanced Placement (A.P.) exams taken before matriculation if the student indicated on the exam registration form that the scores were to be sent to Penn. Note that the ETS code for Penn's College of Arts and Sciences is 2926.
After arriving at Penn, students should check their transcript using Penn InTouch. If expected A.P. credit does not appear, they should contact the Office of the Registrar (215.898.6636). If expected A-Level, A.P., I.B. or S.A.T.II credit does not appear, they should contact Ms. Eddrena Owens in the Undergraduate Admissions office (215.898.7507).
It is wise for students to bring their student copy of the Advanced Placement score report with them to campus.
Some students enter Penn having already taken college-level courses during high school, either in competition with college students or as part of a special program taught at their high school. Penn treats these two cases differently, and students must be careful to observe the criteria below.
In order to seek credit for college work completed prior to matriculation at Penn, a student must log in to XCAT and submit a course syllabus to the appropriate Penn department. Students should be sure to check "pre-college course" when they make the request in XCAT.
Please note: Acceptance of pre-college credit is at the discretion of the individual Penn department or program. Instead of awarding pre-college credit, some departments may provide an assessment exam that may result in Penn credit. Please contact the undergraduate chair for confirmation.
A detailed policy statement governing credit equivalence is available from the Office of Transfer Credit (215.898.7507 or email@example.com). Credit is also awarded for the following on a case-by-case basis:
Credit cannot be granted until Penn is in receipt of official exam results and official certified translations.
Students must show their original A-Level certificates to the Office of Transfer Credit (215.898.7507 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to have their scores evaluated for credit. For exams not listed on the GCSE Advanced (A) Level Exam chart, and those which specify “departmental review,” students will be sent to the relevant department with a transfer credit form recommending 1 or 2 c.u. for a grade of A or B, and 1 c.u. for a grade of C. Courses taken at Advanced Supplementary level (above Subsidiary level, below Advanced level) need departmental approval for possible 1 c.u. only.
A student may receive credit for MATH 104 (1 c.u.) by earning:
• A score of 5 on the Advanced Placement (A.P.) Calculus BC exam
• A score of 7 on the International Baccalaureate (Mathematics [Higher Level] plus Further Mathematics).
No credit is given for the A.P. Calculus AB exam regardless of score.
The Math department does not give credit for foreign examinations, such as the German Abitur, the French Baccalaureat, and the English A-Level.
All students are eligible to take the Math department's internal A.P. exams, which are offered at the beginning of the fall semester. Near the end of the summer, the times and dates of the exams will be posted near the top of the department's undergraduate web page.
Anyone who has studied calculus should consider taking these exams. The department keeps no record of those who do not pass; thus, students who take the exams and fail have lost nothing. The exams are open to all without charge. More information is available on the Math department website.
Students whose high school math curriculum did not provide them with the necessary foundation in algebra and trigonometry should take the half-credit on-line MATH 101 course before continuing with a calculus course.
Students who have had little or no calculus in high school, or who took AB Calculus but scored poorly on the exam, should take MATH 103 to prepare themselves for MATH 104. Students who took AB Calculus in high school and did well on the exam should register for the Calculus I course, MATH 104.
An online placement exam will be available in June for all incoming Freshmen. Students who are considering taking a Math course at Penn should discuss the results of this exam with their pre-major advisor during the summer Advance Registration period. Students taking their first math course at a later point should talk to their advisor about placement.
Students with A.P. credit for MATH 104 may choose to continue in the calculus sequence with either MATH 114 and MATH 115. Some majors (such as Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics) specifically require MATH104 and 114; otherwise students who need a second semester of calculus may take either 114 or 115. Not all students will need to take a second semester of calculus; when in doubt, consult a pre-major or department advisor.
Students who are interested in math or science might also want to consider a more challenging honors version of Calculus, MATH 116 and MATH 260 (the analogues of MATH 114 and MATH 240). These courses will cover the material more in depth and involve discussion of theory as well as computations.
Note: Students who request a math course may not get the exact lecture or recitation section they want. It may take some persistence to get into the course. The department never turns a student away because a course is full. The student can always be fit in somewhere, although not necessarily in the section or at the time the student prefers. Students who need help getting into a course should contact the Math department.
Credit will be granted to students who achieve a score of 5 on the appropriate Advanced Placement (A.P.) exam. Students may also receive credit based on their performance on the A-level, International Baccalaureate or other centrally administered examinations.
Students who wish to receive credit for prior lab experience must submit their lab reports and lab manual to the undergraduate chair for evaluation. In general, the evaluation as to whether credit will be awarded for laboratory work performed at another institution will be based on the number of experiments performed, the perceived difficulty of each experiment, the level of analysis required (including graphical presentation of data and error analysis), and the choice and spread of topics. Students with A.P. credit who need to satisfy the lab requirements will be allowed to register for PHYS 050 or 051 to receive lab credit.
Note: A student who takes PHYS 101/102, 150/151 or 170/171 at Penn will lose the corresponding physics A.P. credit.
Advanced placement credit in biology can be obtained by earning a sufficient score on the ETS Advanced Placement Test, the International Baccalaureate exam, or the British A-Level exams. Credit is given as BIOL 091 only for the lecture portion of an introductory biology course. BIOL 091 does not fulfill the Living World sector or Biology major or pre-med requirements. Any student (with or without BIOL 091 credit) may take a Biology Department Advanced Placement Exam given early in the fall and spring semesters. Credit for a departmental placement exam results in lecture credit for the equivalent course (BIOL 101, 102, or 121). See Information for New Students for details on the advanced placement policies.
Students planning to major in Biology or BBB, or those satisfying pre-med requirements should follow one of these two recommended tracks:
Recommended for students with A.P., I.B., or other advanced biology courses and high school chemistry. Introductory level:
Recommended for students with one year of high school biology. Introductory level:
Advanced placement credit in chemistry can be obtained by earning a sufficient score on the ETS Advanced Placement Test, the International Baccalaureate exam, the British A-Level exams and/or the Chemistry Department Advanced Placement Exams (which are given very early in the fall and spring semesters). Credit is given only for the lecture portion of an introductory chemistry course. For example, a student who has a score of 5 on the ETS Advanced Placement Test is given 1 c.u. for introductory chemistry, CHEM 091. More complete advice and explanations of advanced placement policies can be found on the Chemistry Department website.
See the Chemistry Department's website for additional information about majoring in Chemistry or policies such as transfer credit and credit away.
At the time they first enroll in a beginning- or intermediate-level language course, all students who have previously studied that language must have a placement score. The only students exempt from having a placement score are those who have never studied the language before. Credit will not be given for a language course taken at a lower level than a student's placement score indicates.
French and Spanish offer computerized exams. Written exams for Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Hebrew, Russian, Latin and German are offered at the beginning of each semester. The schedule and location of these exams in the fall will appear on the New Student Orientation website during the preceding summer.
Students wishing to be evaluated in a modern language other than those taught by the language departments should consult the Penn Language Center.
Students who feel their placement scores do not accurately reflect their language level, or students who have other questions about their language study, should make an appointment to speak with the coordinator of their particular language program. Read more >>