Transfer Credit FAQs

The following are some common questions relating to transfer credit. If you have questions not referenced here, please contact Cassandra Keithley at x5982. Make sure you are familiar with the Transfer Credit Policy as well.

Tip: Make sure to save all syllabi and coursework from transfer credit, in case there is any question later about transferability. Keep these items in a safe and dry (or electronically backed up) location!


How do I transfer credit and courses?
Can I go anywhere and take courses? Or just certain institutions?
When can I take classes elsewhere?
What kind of credit can I transfer?
Are there any courses that won’t transfer?
How many credits can I transfer?
How does credit transfer from a college on the quarter system?
Do grades transfer? What about my GPA?
How can I get credit equal to a Whitman course?
How can I get major credit for transfer courses?
Can I take courses at a 2-year college and fulfill upper-division course/credit requirements?
Can I transfer sports or music courses?
What if I don’t transfer coursework completed elsewhere?
What does transfer credit look like on my Academic Evaluation?


How do I transfer credit and courses?

Coursework completed before Whitman: To transfer in credit earned before attending Whitman, you will need to submit two things: a Transfer Credit Eligibility Form and an official transcript from the institution(s) you previously attended. The transcript usually is sent to the Admission Office as part of the application process, but if you did not send one then (or have an updated transcript), you should send it to the Registrar’s Office, after you accept your offer of admission.

Coursework completed while a student at Whitman: If you are already attending Whitman, you must submit a completed  Request for Approval of Transfer Credit (RATC) form and have an official transcript of your work sent to the Registrar’s Office here. The RATC tells us which course(s) you plan to take so we can pre-approve them, so we strongly recommend you submit this form before enrolling in courses elsewhere. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that any such courses can transfer.


Can I go anywhere and take courses? Or just certain institutions?

To be transferable, coursework must be completed at a regionally accredited institution (see the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website for further information). Most state schools, community colleges, and private liberal arts colleges are accredited, but you should always check with the Registrar’s Office before enrolling in courses elsewhere. Many state schools and community colleges offer online course programs, so these are the preferred institutions for completing online coursework.


When can I take classes elsewhere?

You may take pre-approved courses when you are not in attendance at Whitman (i.e., during the summer, or while on leave of absence). If you wish to take courses elsewhere (either online or physically at another institution) while you are in residence at Whitman, you must obtain advance approval from the Registrar. In all cases, make sure to submit a RATC in advance.

For graduating seniors: Whitman requires the final two semesters prior to completion of degree requirements to be in residence. If you cannot meet this requirement, you must petition the Board of Review to waive it.


What kind of credit can I transfer?

Transfer credit may count in one of three possible categories:

  1. General degree credit—Elective credits that count toward the 124 required credits for a degree.
  2. Distribution credit—In addition to counting toward the 124 credit requirement, these courses apply to the Distribution Requirements (see the Distribution section of the College Catalog).
  3. Major credit—In addition to the above two areas, these courses apply to the requirements for a major, either as directly equivalent to a required course, or as elective credit toward the total required major credits.


Are there any courses that won’t transfer?

In general, Whitman accepts credit for liberal arts appropriate coursework completed at an accredited institution. That said, there are some more specific restrictions—the following types of courses are not transferable:

  • Professional or vocational courses, including apprenticeships and most law, health, leadership, and business or finance courses.
  • Work not applicable toward a bachelor’s degree, academic in nature, and appropriate for the liberal arts program.
  • Remedial courses, including lower-level math coursework (such as pre-calculus, trigonometry, and algebra).
  • Courses that have been previously completed at Whitman (or anywhere else), or that are very similar to such courses.
  • Courses with a grades lower than C- (1.7 on a 4.0 scale).
  • Courses from unaccredited institutions.
  • Courses taught on a high school campus, by high school instructors, and/or with more than one-third of the participants enrolled as high school students (AP and IB credit are a different category—see the Academics section of the College Catalog for more information).


How many credits can I transfer?

General Limits: You may transfer up to a total of 70 approved credits toward the 124 required degree credits. This total includes all forms of transfer credit—AP and IB, Running Start Credits, and certain military service, as well as regularly offered college courses completed elsewhere. In addition, there is a 62 credit limit placed on coursework completed at 2-year institutions (such as community colleges), and a 10 credit limit on the total credits that may come from online, distance, extension, or correspondence coursework.

Major Credit: Generally, up to one-third of the total credits required for a major may be completed through transfer credit. For most departments, this is 11-12 credits, though some departments set more restrictive limits. See the appropriate department’s section of the College Catalog for details. All credits and coursework to be applied to major requirements must be approved by the department.

Minor Credit: Generally, up to two-fifths of the total credits required for a minor may be completed through transfer credit (usually up to 8 credits). Some departments limit transfer credit further, so make sure to check the appropriate department’s section of the College Catalog. All credits and coursework to be applied to major requirements must be approved by the department chair.


How does credit transfer from a college on the quarter system?

Each quarter system credit is equal to two-thirds of a semester credit. Whitman does not transfer partial credit (anything less than 1 whole semester credit). Thus, a 5-credit quarter system course may transfer for 3 semester credits at Whitman.


Do grades transfer? What about my GPA?

Grades for most transfer credit are not transferred and do not count toward GPAs. The only exception to this rule is coursework completed through Off Campus Studies Partner Programs, which transfer grades, but not grade points, so your GPA still will not change.

Even though grades do not transfer, you must attain the minimum grade required (C-) to have pre-approved courses transfer.


How can I get credit equal to a Whitman course?

This depends on several factors: whether the transfer course is taught in the quarter or semester system, how similar it is to the Whitman course, and the level of the course taken.

If everything lines up cleanly, your major adviser (or the appropriate department chair) may approve you to receive credit equivalent to a specific Whitman course.

However, many introductory course sequences at quarter system institutions are split into three segments (rather than two, as Whitman teaches most such sequences). So, if you complete the third part of an Introductory Calculus sequence, your department may waive the requirement for MATH-126. On the other hand, if you take the middle part of such a sequence, you may not be granted course equivalency for the second semester of a similar series at Whitman. Instead, you would probably receive a general equivalency instead of an exact one, and would need to complete additional coursework to have that requirement waived.


How can I get major credit for transfer courses?

Your adviser, and in some cases your major department, must approve all courses and credit to be applied to your major. In turn, your adviser or department must officially notify the Registrar of any accepted courses and credits.


Can I take courses at a 2-year college and fulfill upper-division course/credit requirements?

No, since courses taught at a 2-year college cannot be counted as 300 or 400-level courses.


Can I transfer sports or music courses?

Of course! Remember though, all limits on Activity and Applied Music credit still apply. If you have already met or exceeded any such limits, you cannot surpass them with transfer credit. See the Credit Restrictions area in the Academics section of the College Catalog.


What if I don’t transfer coursework completed elsewhere?

Failure to provide the Registrar’s or Admission Offices with transcripts of registration in other collegiate institutions, including records of correspondence, extension, online, or distance coursework, as well as registration in summer sessions, is considered a breach of ethics. Such failure may result in disciplinary action, including cancellation of registration or dismissal from the college.


What does transfer credit look like on my Academic Evaluation?

All transfer credit is listed followed by a special designation: AP and IB credit appear with an NE, and all other transfer courses appear with a TE following the equivalency. If the course in question has a direct course equivalency, it will appear as such (ex: BIOL-111). If not, it may be listed in one of several possible configurations, depending on the course content. See How to Read a Transfer Equivalency Report (TER) for details.