When students receive College credit for courses or other types of academic work done elsewhere, it is referred to as equivalent credit. Some of these credits will be the result of coursework taken before matriculation at Penn, but it is also possible to do a limited number of courses “away” after matriculation.
Credit for Pre-College Courses
The content on this page is currently under review.
The information below applies to the Class of 2021 and later. College students in the Class of 2020 and earlier should refer to the Policies and Procedures for their class.
Credit is not awarded for college-level coursework undertaken while a student is enrolled in high school or in the summer after high school. Such coursework is considered a part of a student’s preparation for a Penn education. It is used in consultation with the student’s academic advisor to inform decisions about placement into appropriate courses at Penn.
An exception is made for students who enroll in Penn courses during the summer prior to their matriculation into an undergraduate degree program at the University. In that case, the course will be recorded along with the credit earned on the student's Penn transcript, which would otherwise start with the fall semester.
A representative of the appropriate Penn department will need to review external courses before transfer credits will be awarded. To request transfer credit for a course through a Penn department, log in to XCAT (External Course Approval Tool) and submit all course syllabi and other supporting materials from the previous institution.
A minimum grade of C is required for a course to be eligible for transfer credit. The grade earned in a course approved for transfer credit will not appear on the Penn transcript.
Transfer Credit from a Two-Year Institution
Credit earned at two-year institutions either while the student is in high school (including the summer after) or after the student has matriculated at Penn (Credit Away) will not be posted to the Penn transcript. For students who transfer to Penn from a two-year institution, however, departments may at their discretion grant credit for course work done at the two-year institution.
Transfer Credit to the Major
- Only the department or program advisors determine which credits transferred from another institution can count toward the major.
- At least half the courses in the major must be taken at Penn. Some departments require more.
Policies Governing Credit Away
After matriculation, students may take courses during the summer at other accredited colleges and universities. This is called credit away.
Students wishing to apply for College credit away must obtain approval from the appropriate department at Penn before enrolling in the course, if possible. To request credit away through a Penn department, log in to XCAT and submit a course syllabus and other supporting materials from the external institution.
After the course has been completed, the student must request that an official transcript be sent from the institution at which the credit away was taken to the College Office. The College cannot post credit away until this transcript is received.
In many departments, a minimum grade of C is required for a course to be eligible for credit away. Some departments, however, require a minimum grade of B- for a course to be eligible for credit away. Chemistry is an example of such a department. Be sure to check with the department undergraduate chair. The grade itself, however, will not appear on the Penn transcript.
No credit will be granted for:
- Courses taken at two-year institutions (e.g. junior or community college)
- Courses taken in time frames significantly different from the regular University schedules (academic year and summer sessions)
- Courses other than field courses taken on site without the appropriate facilities of a college or university (e.g., libraries and laboratories) unless supervised by School of Arts and Sciences faculty.
After matriculation at Penn, students may not transfer more than 5 c.u. of credit away. Only 4 c.u. may be transferred for work done during one summer. Students must complete the final two semesters of full-time study in the College.