Vassar College Transfer Credit Policy
Course work which may be eligible for transfer credit can include course work taken prior to a student’s matriculation at Vassar. Also, course work done on a Vassar approved Junior Year Abroad, domestic leaves of absence, and summer course work taken at other institutions may be eligible for transfer. With the exception of pre-matriculation course work, students are expected to have courses pre-approved for transfer credit if they plan to take them at institutions outside of Vassar.
Courses which are ineligible for transfer credit include ungraded courses, ungraded field work, online courses, courses done at unaccredited institutions, courses which come under the category of pre-professional or vocational, continuing education courses (CEU's), and course work taken on a personal leave of absence.
Transfer credit may be earned both prior to matriculating at Vassar and while a student is a degree candidate. Credit earned before a student matriculates is called pre-matriculation credit.
The definition of pre-matriculation credit comprises college-level work completed before a student has matriculated at Vassar. The category, however of college level work is a broad one that includes domestic scholastic aptitude exams such as the Advanced Placement Exams (APs) and the United States chapter of International Baccalaureate (IB). Vassar also recognizes the International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Advanced Level examinations (A Levels), the French Baccalaureate, the German Arbitur, the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), and the Romanian Baccalaureate. Other college level pre-matriculation examination results will be evaluated as they are submitted provided they are accompanied by appropriate documentation authenticating and supporting their academic integrity and level of proficiency. In some cases transcription and translation must also be provided.
Pre-matriculation course work also includes college or university courses completed while a student was attending high school. However, course work of this type must be completed at the college or university campus along with other undergraduates, taught by a qualified college teacher, and may not have been used to fulfill any high school requirements. Students may not apply for transfer credit for these courses until after they matriculate and are active students at Vassar.
Note: The minimum grade required for any course to be eligible for transfer credit is C. Grades will not appear on the transcript for pre-matriculation credit, only the department, course title, and units transferred. Grades earned at other institutions for pre-matriculation credit will not be figured into the Vassar GPA.
Advanced Placement (APs)
The general policy: Students will receive 1.0 unit of pre-matriculation transfer credit each for every score of 4 or 5 up to a maximum of 4.0 units. Admission into higher level courses on the basis of AP credit is at the discretion of the individual department.
Some departments have defined their AP policy in the Freshman Handbook:
Art: Students who score 4 or 5 on the AP on either (or both) Art History or Studio Art will receive 1.0 unit transfer credit.
Biology: A score of 4 or 5 on the AP in Biology exam will receive 1.0 unit of pre-matriculation credit.
Economics: Students who have successfully completed AP or IB exams may be allowed, after consultation with the department chair, to register for courses beyond the introductory level without taking the prerequisites. However, courses numbered 200 and above are not open to freshmen in their first semester. In most cases these students must also pass a department-administered written exam. No credit is granted toward the major for AP or IB exams.
English: Students who score a 4 or 5 on the English Language and Composition or English Composition and Literature will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit.
Geography: Students who score 4 or 5 on the AP in Human Geography will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit.
German: Students who score 4 or 5 on the AP examination in German Language or German Literature will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit. This will fulfill the foreign language requirement for the degree.
Hispanic Studies: Students who score 4 or 5 in Spanish Language or Spanish Literature will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit. This will fulfill the foreign language requirement for the degree.
History: Students who score 4 or 5 on the AP examination in American or European History will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit.
Italian: Students who have taken the AP exam must also pass a department administered oral and written examination in order to decide whether credit will be given. If credit is assigned, a determination as to whether this fulfills the foreign language requirement may also be made.
Mathematics: Students who score 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB or Calculus BC or both will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit.
Music: The Music department offers a written test in if a student has had some previous work in harmony, and/or the AP in Music. Students who demonstrate the appropriate proficiency will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit and will be excused from taking Music 105 (first half of Harmony ).
Physics: Students who score a 4 or 5 on the Physics B Exam will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit. Students who score a 4 or 5 on the Physics C Mechanics exam or Physics C E & M exam will receive 0.5 units each of transfer credit.
Note: AP Scores will not appear on the transcript for Advanced Placement credit, only the department, course title, and units transferred.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate Program is described as a “demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations; it is designed for highly motivated secondary school students and incorporates the best elements of national systems without being based on any one.” The IB exam has received extensive world-wide recognition for the quality of its programs as well as for its rigor. Its influence is growing in the United States and some educators consider the program to provide greater depth and intellectual challenge than the AP. For this reason, IB credits are evaluated a bit differently. Only scores achieved for the Higher Level examinations are eligible for pre-matriculation transfer credit. Students who achieve a 5, 6, or 7, on an IB exam will receive transfer credit. Scores of 5 or 6 receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit. A student may be awarded 2.0 units for a score of 7, but only if the student is not taking a course in that subject at Vassar at the introductory level. Students must check with the appropriate department as well as the Assistant to the Dean of Studies to determine whether 2.0 units is the appropriate evaluation for a IB score of 7. Also, as with AP credits, 4.0 units is the maximum allowable amount of transfer credit.
Note: Scores will not appear on the transcript for International Baccalaureate credit, only the department, course title, and units transferred.
Since Vassar is a liberal arts college, only courses which correspond to the liberal arts curriculum would be considered eligible. A review of the subject fields offered at Vassar would be a useful guide to determine whether a course could be appropriately designated ‘liberal arts.’
In the past five years or so colleges and universities in the United States have taken advantage of the enthusiasm for taking college level work by high school students through offering cooperative programs with local high schools. Parents and students should approach these programs with caution. They are often a source of revenue for the institutions. However, the courses vary considerably in their suitability for transfer to Vassar. In fact, it is wise to consult with the colleges that a student is a planning to apply for admission to before enrolling in any kind of college/university-high school cooperative program.
Post-matriculation Transfer Credit
Students normally matriculate at Vassar in their freshman year. Students who matriculate as freshmen may transfer a maximum 10.0 units of credit. Students have a range of options for earning post-matriculation transfer credit. They can take work at another institution over the summer, they can go on a Vassar approved JYA program, or they can take a Vassar approved domestic leave. In the case of summer work, pre-approval is recommended. In the case of JYA or domestic leaves, pre-approval of proposed course work is required and is built into the application process. Students may not take the same course at another institution which they have already received credit for completing at Vassar.
The procedure for having summer work done at an institution outside of Vassar preapproved for credit is for the student to complete a Summer Election Away form. This form can be obtained at the Vassar Registrar’s Office. The student must take the form along with an official description of the summer course or program to the chair of the department in which the course would be assigned at Vassar. Both the respective department chair and the student’s adviser must sign the form and return it to the Registrar’s Office. Once the student has completed the course he/she must request that an official transcript of their completed course work be sent to the Vassar Registrar’s Office. When the transcript is received, the credit will be applied automatically to the student’s Vassar transcript provided the student achieved a grade of C or better.
Grades will appear on the transcript for all post-matriculation credit whether earned over the summer, on a JYA semester, or on a domestic academic leave of absence. However, they will not be factored into the student’s GPA.
Students who are accepted as transfer students have spent a minimum of one semester at a school other than Vassar. The work they have completed at their previous institution(s) is considered pre-matriculation course work and is evaluated for transfer credit. Transfer students may also earn transfer credit once they have matriculated at Vassar. The maximum amount of transfer credit a transfer student may apply to their Vassar transcript is 17.0 units. Transfer students are also able to do summer work, go JYA, or take a domestic leave of absence, provided they have not exceeded their transfer credit limit.
Courses Which Are Not Eligible for Transfer
When students consider taking courses at institutions outside of Vassar, they must bear in mind that certain categories of courses will not be approved for transfer. These include physical education courses, pre-professional courses, vocational courses, continuing education courses (CEU's), business courses and online (distance learning) courses. This policy applies equally to courses taken at other institutions prior to a student’s matriculation at Vassar.