Overview of Approval Process for Courses Taken at Other Institutions
The process of obtaining approval for summer courses at accredited four-year U.S. institutions is fairly simple, but it does require that you pay attention to details. Please read the Criteria for Courses Taken at Other Institutions carefully, check out the FAQs below, access the "Summer Course Pre-Approval" form through TigerHub under the "Academic Tasks" tile, and contact your college dean or assistant dean for studies if you have questions. If you are planning to take a summer course abroad, indicate the relevant information in the e-form and reach out to the Study Abroad Program in the Office of International Programs if you have any questions.
The deadline to submit an application for transfer credit is Monday, May 15 2023.
What's the process?
1. Do some web research and find a class that looks promising (see below for details about eligible courses, and review the approval form very carefully before you start looking). Then save all of the course information, the syllabus, and the summer session calendar stating the first and last days of class. You will need to identify the following information to upload within the e-form:
- A detailed description of the course that includes a syllabus that outlines (a) description, frequency, and duration of the course instruction sessions and (b) assignments, texts, articles, to be used
- A screenshot of the course listing in the institution catalog that shows it is a regularly offered course normally offered in a semester time frame. Courses normally offered in a trimester or quarter time frame will not be approved unless they meet the threshhold for instructional hours and are comparable to a semester course in material and coverage.
2. Go to TigerHub and click on "Summer Course Pre-Approval" (under the Academic Tasks tile). Use a separate form for each course you want approved, unless they are in sequence (e.g. CHM 201-202). Fill the form out carefully; if it is rejected at any step of the review process, you'll have to start over. Note that the form asks you to specify the following:
- Are you applying for a 2-credit course sequence (e.g. CHM 201, CHM 202)?
- Is there a direct equivalent course being offered at Princeton (this is not essential for credit to be approved but it is an important piece of information for appropriate approval)
- Are you requesting to satisfy a specific requirement through the course?
All requests must be submitted by May 15. The sooner you submit the form the better. You must have approval to take the course BEFORE the first class meeting in order to be eligible for Princeton University transfer credit.
- Once you complete the course, request that an official transcript be sent to the appropriate Princeton office. Credit for non-Princeton courses will be processed upon receipt of an official transcript. Transcripts for courses taken in the United States should be mailed to the dean of your residential college. Transcripts for courses taken outside the U.S. should be mailed to:
Dr. Gisella Gisolo
Director, Study Abroad Program
Louis A. Simpson Building
Princeton, NJ 08544
FAQs (Please also make sure to read carefully the comprehensive guidelines: Criteria for Courses Taken at Other Institutions)
When is the deadline?
You must submit your signed approval to your college office by Dean’s Date of the term before you intend to take the course (e.g. by spring term Dean’s Date for a course taken over the summer).
What kinds of courses may be approved for credit?
A course you take elsewhere must “fit generally within the range of course offerings in a Princeton department or program.” This means that a course on the sociology of gender might well be approved; a course on horticulture would not. Journalism, business school, and communications courses are unlikely to be approved for Princeton credit, although you may certainly take them for your own enrichment.
Courses must be offered by a four-year accredited university. The course must meet for a minimum of four weeks, and include 30 hours of in-class time.
Will I get distribution credit for my summer course?
A maximum of two outside courses may be used to fill AB distribution requirements. You may use only one course each in two of the three following areas: LA, SEN, SA. Members of the class of 2015 and beyond will be able to seek transfer credit only for SEN, not SEL, whether the course has a lab component or not.
Can I use a summer course for a prerequisite or department requirement?
If you are planning to take a class as a prerequisite or required course in your department, be very sure to make this clear when you ask for departmental approval. Most departments require that the content of outside courses be “substantially similar” in order for them to qualify as prerequisites or requirements.
What about language courses? Can I fill my language requirement with a summer course?
- Equivalent courses: Language courses may be pre-approved as equivalent to 100-level Princeton courses. The course credit will be transferred to Princeton as a course equivalent if the relevant Princeton department determines at the conclusion of the preapproved summer study that the student has progressed beyond the expected language level for the course/s (typically with a departmental exam). If the student does not demonstrate the expected language level upon completion of the course but passes the course with a C grade or better, the student will retain the credit as a language elective, transcripted as “TRN.”
- Elective courses: Departments may, upon occasion, pre-approve a language course as an elective credit with no Princeton course equivalent. Such courses will be transcripted as “TRN.”
- University language requirement: Students seeking to use a transfer course to satisfy the University’s language requirement for general education must confirm that the relevant course equivalent has been satisfied by taking a departmental exam at the conclusion of the course.
Will my summer grade show up on my transcript?
The course will appear on the transcript, but the grade will not. In order to get any credit, you must receive a grade of C or higher (a C- is not acceptable for credit). After we receive your summer transcript, your summer grade will be turned into a “T” for transfer credit when it appears on your Princeton transcript, and it will not go into your GPA. Note that many grad schools and scholarship applications require transcripts from every school you attend, so these summer grades won’t really disappear.
Where can I get a summer course approval form?
Go to TigerHub and click on "Summer Course Pre-Approval" under the "Academic Tasks" tile.