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Vassar College

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 study 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.

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. 

A maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based pre-matriculation credit will be awarded.

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 neither have earned high school credit nor 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.

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.

A maximum of 6.0 units of pre-matriculation credit of any type will be awarded.

Advanced Placement (APs)

The general policy: Students will receive 1.0 unit of pre-matriculation transfer credit for every score of 4 or 5, subject to the maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based pre-matriculation credit. Admission into higher level courses on the basis of AP credit is at the discretion of the individual department.

Please refer to the First-Year Handbook for department specific AP information.

Note: Scores will not appear on the transcript for Advanced Placement credit, only the department, exam name, 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 score of 5, 6, or 7 on an IB exam will receive 1.0 unit of transfer credit, subject to the maximum of 2.0 units of exam-based pre-matriculation credit.

Note: Scores will not appear on the transcript for International Baccalaureate credit, only the department, course title, and units transferred.

Cooperative Programs

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 9.0 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 study abroad program, or they can take a Vassar approved domestic leave. In the case of summer work, pre-approval is recommended. In the case of study abroad 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.

All grades will appear on the transcript for all post-matriculation credit whether earned over the summer, on a study abroad semester, or on a domestic academic leave of absence; however, they will not be factored into the student’s GPA. Only grades of C or better will be awarded credit.

Transfer Students

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 16.0 units. Transfer students are also able to do summer work, go study abroad, 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.