Transferring Physics Credit to Yale

Sometimes Yale students seek to transfer summer course credit from another institution to count for one of Yale’s introductory Physics courses, namely PHYS 170/171, PHYS 180/181 or PHYS 200/201. Often, this is possible. However, transfer credit is not automatically granted, and there are a number of guidelines that Yale College and the Yale Physics Department follow in determining whether to grant transfer credit. It is important that you understand these guidelines before taking a physics summer course outside Yale. The Yale College regulations concerning transfer credit are at:

Additional Physics department guidelines for approving transfer credit are as follows:

What qualifies an institution’s courses for possible transfer credit?

1) The institution must be a four-year college or university (Yale College rule).

2) The physics department at the transferring institution must have a bachelor’s degree program in Physics.

What qualifies a particular course for possible transfer credit

1) The course must satisfy the physics major requirements at the transferring university.

 2) The Physics DUS must judge that the content and level of the proposed transfer course is comparable to the content and level of PHYS 170/171, PHYS 180/181, or PHYS 200/201. Since syllabi and texts often change, the Physics DUS cannot pre-approve a course. However, before you take a course, the Physics DUS can advise you as to the likelihood that the course in question will be approved, pending successful completion, if you provide copies of the course catalog, course syllabus and course schedule, and you specify the course text book.

3) The course must carry a value of at least three semester credit hours; if the course is taken at an institution on the quarter system, it must carry a value of at least four-and-one-half quarter units (Yale College rule).

4) The number of contact hours for the course must equal or exceed the number of contact hours for PHYS 170/171, PHYS 180/181 or PHYS 200/201 during the fall or spring term, and the length of term (from the first to the last day of classes) must be at least four consecutive weeks (Yale College rule).

5) You must earn at least a B in the course.

6) The DUS of your major department must also rule that the content and level of the proposed transfer course is satisfactory to your major department. Since final approval rests with the Physics DUS, your DUS must email or write the Physics DUS with this approval.

You’ve completed a summer course satisfying the criteria described above. What next?

In order for a request for transfer credit to be considered by the Physics department, you must provide the physics DUS with the following materials:

1) A communication from your Residential College Dean confirming that the course in question meets ALL of Yale College’s requirements for transfer credit, except for Physics DUS approval.

2) A detailed syllabus and timetable of the course.

3) The course textbook.

4) An official transcript showing your grade.

5) A copy of pages from the transferring university’s course catalog, indicating the requirements for the physics major and providing the course description.

6) Documentation that tells us whether the school you attended runs on semesters or quarters, and specifies the number of units of the course.

7) Copies of your exams and your homeworks.

Bring these materials and the transfer credit form to the Physics Undergraduate Registrar, who will pass them on to the Physics DUS for consideration. A decision usually takes a week or so, at which point you can collect your materials in person.

Any other advice?

If you are going to count on transferring physics course credits, be sure to understand the relevant guidelines and consult your dean and the physics DUS the spring before you go to summer school. Make sure you collect and keep all the relevant materials. Once you complete the course apply for the transfer credit right away. Students who wait until their senior year to transfer a course they took between their freshman and sophomore years have often lost their documentation. We’ll be sympathetic, but we can’t approve a transfer credit, if you don’t have the documentation we need, even if it’s the week before graduation.