Transfer Credit FAQs
The following are some common questions relating to transfer credit. If you have questions not referenced here, please contact Pam Fowler at 509-527-5982. 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?
Where do I send my official transcript after completing classes I want to transfer to Whitman?
Coursework earned through Running Start (Dual Enrollment): Incoming First Years will need to complete the Credit Transfer form in their Admissions portal, and submit an official transcript from the institutions previously attended. The transcript usually is sent to the Admissions Office as part of the application process but if you did not send one (or if you have an updated transcript) you should send it to the Registrar's Office after accepting your offer of admission.
Coursework completed after High School but before Whitman: To transfer in credit earned after High School but 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 preapprove 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.
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 can 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.
The electronic Transfer Guide is only to be used as a tool. The guide is a compilation of what has historically been accepted at Whitman College and does not guarantee transferability, as each request is evaluated on an individual basis.
You may take preapproved 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 your advisor. 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.
Transfer credit may count in one of three possible categories:
- General degree credit—Elective credits that count toward the 124 required credits for a degree.
- 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).
- 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. See "Major Credit" for transfer limits.
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, that is not academic in nature, and/or appropriate for the liberal arts program.
- Remedial courses, including lower-level math coursework (such as precalculus, 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.
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, Cambridge A-Level Exams, 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).
Acceptance of Online Coursework completed during Spring 2020 (COVID-19) and Beyond:
As of Summer 2021, the Board of Review has elected to permanently lift the restriction of a maximum amount of 10-online credits which may be counted toward a Whitman degree. From Fall 2021 and later, online labs will be considered as Whitman lab course equivalents on a case by case basis. Please be aware there is a limit of 70 transfer credits (62 from a 2-year college) which can be applied toward a Whitman degree.
The Biology department currently does accept online labs for transfer credit towards a Biology major. However, if your interests include the health professions, we strongly recommend discussing your plans with Health Professions advisor Kimberly Mueller. Some advanced degree programs in the health professions do not accept online labs, other than those taken during the height of the Covid pandemic.
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.
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.
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 preapproved courses transfer.
This depends on several factors: whether the transfer course is taught in the quarter or semester system, whether the course is taught in-person or online, and the level of the course taken.
If everything lines up cleanly, your major advisor (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 be granted a general equivalency, not an exact equivalency. For example, you may be granted an "equivalency" of MATH-TF.OC instead of MATH-126.
Semester-length online labs can be accepted for certain courses if taken during the period of COVID-19. Online lab courses from Fall 2021 and later will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Your advisor, and in some cases your major department, must approve all courses and credit to be applied to your major. In turn, your advisor or department must officially notify the Registrar of any accepted courses and credits.
No, since courses taught at a 2-year college cannot be counted as 300 or 400-level 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.
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.
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.
Whitman College, Registrar's Office
345 Boyer Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362