Policies Governing College Credit Away

After matriculation, students may receive Penn credit for courses taken during the summer at other schools. This is called credit away. Note: Students may also be interested in Penn summer courses.

IMPORTANT:  Credit Away is not awarded automatically, and departmental approval does not guarantee a student will receive credit if other credit-away criteria are not met. It is each student’s responsibility to be aware of the policies regarding credit away. Students should reach out to the College Office with questions if they are unsure whether their credit-away request satisfies the established criteria.

  • Penn credit will only be awarded for courses taken at another school during the summer. Penn credit will not be awarded for courses taken at another school during the academic year (fall and spring). 
  • Students must complete the final two semesters of full-time study in the College.
  • Students pursing a degree in the College may take no more than 5 c.u. at another college or university.
  • The maximum amount of credit away that can be transferred for one summer is 4 c.u.
  • Penn financial aid can only be used for courses taken at Penn.
  • Incoming students cannot receive Penn credit away before matriculation at Penn. 
  • If approved, students will receive credit away equivalency, but the grade will not appear on their transcript, nor will it be factored into their Penn GPA..

To be awarded Penn credit, a course taken at another school must meet the following criteria:

  • The school must be a regionally accredited institution.
  • The school must be a four-year institution that grants bachelor’s degrees.
  • No credit away will be awarded for courses taken at two-year institutions (i.e., a junior or community college).
  • Both in-person and online courses may be approved for credit away.
  • No credit will be given for courses taken in timeframes significantly different from the regular University schedules.
  • No credit will be granted for courses (other than field courses) taken on sites without appropriate facilities of a college or university (e.g., libraries and laboratories) unless supervised by School of Arts and Sciences faculty.
  • A student must earn at least a grade of C to have credit away posted on their Penn transcript. Some departments, however, require a minimum grade of B- for a course to be eligible for credit away.

Prior approval must be obtained from the appropriate academic department at Penn. To seek approval, students log in to XCAT and submit a course syllabus and other supporting materials from the external institution. 

A Penn department can act on an XCAT request for credit away in one of four ways:

  1. Departments may return the request in XCAT for more information. In that case, students should include the requested information and resubmit to the department.
  2. Departments can approve the request for a Penn equivalency. This approval applies to the student making the request only. 
  3. Departments can approve the credit for the student requesting the course and set a precedent for students taking the course in the future. 
  4. Departments may deny a request if there is no equivalency in the Penn department.

The kind of Penn credit awarded will depend on Penn departmental review through XCAT. The Penn department will also determine the number of c.u. appropriate for a credit away request.

Students may use the comment section of their XCAT request to ask that a particular course number be listed for the credit. The Penn department will consider whether the requested course number is appropriate.

With careful planning, credit away can be used to satisfy College requirements.

  • The General Requirements if the reviewing Penn departments awards the same course number (e.g., EESC 1000) for the credit away course as they do for a Penn course that fulfills that General Requirement. If the Penn department does not grant the exact number, the course cannot be use to fulfill the General Requirement. 
  • Major and minor requirements with the major or minor departmental approval.  Students are advised to contact the appropriate department for confirmation that the credit away course fulfills their requirements.
  • Credit away courses can be used as free electives.

Students are advised to:

  • Research which courses at Penn meet the requirement they would like to fulfill with credit away
  • Research courses at other schools to determine if there are similar courses at the other institution
  • Submit the course information including a syllabus in XCAT to the appropriate Penn department for review prior to taking the course.
  • Discuss their plans with their College Contact--and also with their major advisor and the relevant department if they are intending to use credit away to fulfill a major or minor requirement.

After the course has been completed, the student must request that the institution send an official electronic transcript to the College email address: college@sas.upenn.edu or a hard copy official transcript to 120 Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304.

Credit away cannot be posted until the course has been approved in XCAT and an official transcript has been received by the College from the institution where the class was taken. Grades received from other institutions are not recorded on the Penn transcript nor are they included in the grade point average at Penn.

The departments are asked to review a request within two weeks of submission.  Students can check on the status of their request if it has not been reviewed by contacting the departmental credit evaluator. The review of requests is done by staff and faculty in Penn departments and requires a good deal of work on their part.  Please do not request credit away unless you are fairly certain you will take the course if the Penn equivalency is granted.

Students can check the status of their requests in XCAT. The notations of “Precedent approved, in division queue” or “Dept. approved, in division queue,” indicate that departmental approval has been granted and, if all other credit-away criteria are met, Penn credit will be given.