Tips for Major Advisers
Students who wish to participate on an Off-Campus Studies (OCS) Program for credit must first receive approval from their Major Adviser for their off-campus study plans prior to leaving campus by completing the Whitman Off-Campus Study (OCS) Application. The OCS staff and, in some cases the OCS Committee, reviews OCS Applications to approve or deny a student's request to study off campus for credit.
The Whitman Off-Campus Study Application includes a four-year course plan. Major advisers are asked to
- review the courses their advisee has listed on the form
- check that the advisee has completed all major, distribution requirements and the 124 credits required to graduate if they study off-campus
- recommend how the OCS credits will apply to the student's Whitman degree (eg, major, distribution and degree credit)
Whether or not credit from courses enrolled in off-campus can be applied to the major is at the discretion of the major adviser (or major department). If you need additional information such as a course description or syllabus, please see the program information available through the Programs section of this web page or contact the OCS staff.
When courses are suitable for major credit, please indicate either the Whitman equivalent course number or "major elective credit" in the Major column. Your signature at the bottom of the page serves as "consent" for the transfer credit to the major.
In the "Major" column, major advisers should indicate specifically how the credit should transfer to Whitman by choosing one of the following options:
- If a course replaces a Whitman major course, write in the specific Whitman course number, eg Bio 310 Physiology.
- If a course will count as elective credit for the major toward the minimum credits in the major and there is no Whitman course equivalent, write in "elective major credit."
- If the course will help fulfill minimum credits in the major of a certain level, please write in "upper-division major credit" or "300-level and above."
- If the course off campus should count only as lower-division major credit, please write in "lower-division major credit."
The Registrar will review transfer credit recommendations for consistency.
Major advisers may indicate which off-campus courses they believe should apply to a distribution area by writing in the Distribution area, such as "Fine Arts" or "Cultural Pluralism" in the "Distribution" column. It is not necessary to list a specific Whitman equivalent course.
Major advisers should indicate which off-campus courses they believe should be awarded elective degree credit (rather than major or distribution credit) by checking the "Elective Credit" column. It is not necessary to list a specific Whitman equivalent course.
If your advisee wishes to take courses abroad that are for a minor, please ask them to obtain approval from the Chair of the minor department. Please do not approve minor credits for departments other than your own. To obtain minor credit approval the student should ask the Chair of the minor department to indicate how the OCS course will apply to the minor in the "Minor" column.
Not Acceptable for Credit
- If your advisee indicates courses for which Whitman can not offer transfer credit, such as vocational courses like business and nursing, you should check the "No Credit" column. Please feel free to consult with the Registar or OCS staff about the transferability of vocational/applied courses.
- Major advisers are asked to review the courses the student lists on the last page of the application indicating what classes they will take at Whitman after off-campus study and prior to graduation. The OCS staff advises students to use the most recent Whitman catalog to complete that section and solicit advice from their adviser to help them complete the last page of the form. Students often are unsure about what they should be taking during their last 2-3 semesters, especially with respect to senior seminar and thesis courses. It is important for major advisers to review this page carefully with advisees for accuracy.
Overall Approval for Off-Campus Study
- Major Advisers are asked to sign the bottom of the last page of the Whitman OCS Application to indicate overall approval for the student's plan to study off-campus and attest that completing the outlined program will enable the student to complete all requirements for graduation. If you are not sure if your advisee will be able to graduate on time if he/she studies off-campus or if you have concerns about the student's overall suitability for off-campus study, please discuss this with your student and/or the OCS staff.