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Academic Regulations & Procedures

Transfer of Credits

Carleton transfers credit from other institutions only in rare situations. College credits completed elsewhere after matriculation at Carleton will not be considered for transfer to Carleton unless preapproved by the Academic Standing Committee and the Registrar or unless they were completed as part of an approved off-campus study program. Grades for transferred courses are not posted on the Carleton transcript, and grade point averages do not transfer. A standard course is valued at 6 Carleton credits and is the equivalent of 3.333 semester hours or 5 quarter hours. Carleton does not transfer fractional credits; when converting from semester or quarter credits to Carleton credits, tenths of credits will be rounded down to whole numbers.

Carleton accepts up to 36 pre-matriculation credits toward the Carleton degree from the following: College Board Advanced Placement, Higher Level International Baccalaureate, select British A-level Examinations (GCE) with grades of B or higher, or approved pre-matriculation credits (credits earned in college-level courses taken before graduation from high school or before matriculation at a college or university, including as PSEO or College in the Schools).

These credits may not be applied to distribution requirements. Specific articulation information about these exams can be found in the College Catalog.

For transfer students, a maximum of 102 credits may be transferred and applied to the requirements of the Carleton degree, including work done in high school. A matriculated student may apply toward the Carleton degree a total of 54 credits earned while off campus (Carleton faculty-led off-campus seminars are excluded from the 54-credit maximum) unless, as in the case of certain transfer students, this would result in a total number of transfer credits exceeding the 102 overall maximum. Students who are admitted as transfer students are expected to complete a minimum of 108 credits and six terms at Carleton to be eligible for the degree.

Only transfer work from regionally accredited colleges and universities will be considered for transfer. Transcripts and other documents submitted from other institutions and agencies are the property of Carleton College and will not be reissued.

An official transcript from the issuing institution must be received by the Office of the Registrar before any academic work done elsewhere may be accepted for Carleton credit. An official transcript is one that has been authenticated by the issuing institution, usually by applying the official seal to the copy of the academic record along with a facsimile of the signature of the registrar or recorder, or by recognized authentication delivery methods in the case of electronic transcripts. AP and IB scores must be requested by the student and Carleton must receive the scores directly from their issuing agencies. Students with A-Levels should bring their laminated result sheet directly to the Registrar’s Office.

Potential transfer courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Courses must be considered college-level, relevant to a Carleton liberal arts degree, and a student must have earned a C- or above. If a course is taken as Pass/No Pass, and the school awards a Pass for grades below a C-, a letter must be submitted from the institution’s registrar indicating the student would have received a C- or above before transfer credit is awarded. Acceptance of credit may be for general credit only; equivalency to specific courses is determined by individual academic departments. Math courses below the level of calculus will not be accepted. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for independent study or credit by examination. This includes CLEP exams, DSST/DANTES, and ACE exams. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for life or work experience, nor does it grant credit for vocational study. In the disciplines of foreign language and mathematics, Carleton requires placement exam results to determine transferability of credits earned at a prior college.

Off-campus credits may be earned in any combination of the following:

On non-Carleton, nonaffiliated programs approved by the Off-Campus Studies Committee.

  1. Approved summer study at other institutions.
  2. Courses required and approved by the ASC taken for completion of the degree following twelve terms of residency at Carleton College.

The Registrar’s Office will only record off-campus work on a student’s Carleton transcript in these approved cases. Courses taken for personal enrichment or to meet graduate school or other professional requirements will not be recorded on the Carleton record.

Transcripts from foreign colleges and universities must be submitted to an outside agency for course-by-course evaluation and processing before an evaluation can be completed. The agency must be a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Transfer students who have college-level work that they would like to have considered for their major or minor or for graduation requirements (which are not currently recorded as such) should follow these steps:

  1.  Obtain a copy of the course syllabus and/or course description from the official course catalog of the institution where the course was taken.
  2. Have the course reviewed by the chair or director of the department or program.
  3. Have the chair or director contact the Associate Registrar to adjust the course articulation.

Students with non-Carleton OCS work that they would like to have considered for their major or minor or for graduation requirements should complete an Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form, found on the Off-Campus Studies website.

Students with more than the maximum allowed 36 pre-matriculation credits or 102 transfer credits may contact the Registrar’s Office after matriculation to discuss which courses will be represented on the Carleton transcript. Students may elect to take the equivalent Carleton course to ensure their understanding of the material and forfeit the transfer credit.

For information concerning prior credits and their acceptance toward the degree, see the Academic Catalog or the Office of the Registrar.

Beginning with the incoming class of 2026

Carleton accepts any combination of up to 18 pre- or post-matriculation credits toward the Carleton degree from the following: College Board Advanced Placement, Higher Level International Baccalaureate, select British A-level Examinations (GCE) with grades of B or higher, or credits earned in college-level courses taken at a regionally accredited college or university, including courses taken as PSEO or College in the Schools. Specific articulation information about the exams listed above can be found in the College Catalog.

College credits completed elsewhere after matriculation at Carleton will be considered for transfer to Carleton only after prior approval by the Registrar or if they were completed as part of an approved off-campus study program. Grades for transferred courses are not posted on the Carleton transcript, and grade point averages do not transfer. A standard course is valued at 6 Carleton credits and is the equivalent of 3.333 semester hours or 5 quarter hours. Carleton does not transfer fractional credits; when converting from semester or quarter credits to Carleton credits, tenths of credits will be rounded down to whole numbers.

Post-matriculation credits may be earned during breaks when Carleton is not in session, during terms when the student is academically suspended, and with prior approval of the Dean of Students Office during a leave of absence.

Potential transfer courses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Courses must be considered college-level, relevant to a Carleton liberal arts degree, and a student must have earned a C- or above. These credits may not be applied to Liberal Arts requirements. No credits are transferred for work deemed to be equivalent to credits already earned at Carleton, and failed courses may not be replaced by transfer courses. Content may overlap a Carleton course but cannot replace a Carleton course on the transcript; however, departments may make substitutions or waivers for non-Carleton courses at their discretion. Courses may apply to majors and minors or be used for placement or prerequisites with approval of the Registrar and the relevant academic department(s) or interdisciplinary program(s). Math courses below the level of calculus will not be accepted. Mathematics requires placement exam results to determine transferability of credits earned at a prior college. Students should consult departmental and program information regarding pre- and post-matriculation credits in the Academic Catalog to review individual department and program rules or restrictions.

Only transfer work from regionally accredited colleges and universities will be considered for transfer. Transcripts and other documents submitted from other institutions and agencies are the property of Carleton College and will not be reissued.

If a course is taken as Pass/No Pass, and the school awards a Pass for grades below a C-, a letter must be submitted from the institution’s registrar indicating the student would have received a C- or above before transfer credit is awarded. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for independent study or credit by examination. This includes CLEP exams, DSST/DANTES, and ACE exams. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for life or work experience, nor does it grant credit for vocational study.

An official transcript from the issuing institution must be received by the Office of the Registrar before any academic work done elsewhere may be accepted for Carleton credit. An official transcript is one that has been authenticated by the issuing institution, usually by applying the official seal to the copy of the academic record along with a facsimile of the signature of the registrar or recorder, or by recognized authentication delivery methods in the case of electronic transcripts. AP and IB scores must be requested by the student and Carleton must receive the scores directly from their issuing agencies. Students with A-Levels should bring their laminated result sheet directly to the Registrar’s Office. Transcripts from foreign colleges and universities must be submitted to an outside agency for course-by-course evaluation and processing before an evaluation can be completed. The agency must be a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Students who have college-level work that they would like to have considered for their major or minor or, in the case of transfer students’ pre-Carleton work for graduation requirements (which are not currently recorded as such) should follow these steps:

  • Obtain a copy of the course syllabus and/or course description from the official course catalog of the institution where the course was taken.
  • Have the course reviewed by the chair or director of the department or program.
  • Have the chair or director contact the Associate Registrar to adjust the course articulation.
  • Students with non-Carleton OCS work that they would like to have considered for their major or minor or for graduation requirements should complete an Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form, found on the Off-Campus Studies website.

Students with more than the maximum allowed 18 pre- or post-matriculation credits or 102 transfer credits may contact the Registrar’s Office after matriculation to discuss which courses will be represented on the Carleton transcript. Students may elect to take the equivalent Carleton course to ensure their understanding of the material and forfeit the transfer credit, unless the student has used the course as a prerequisite for a more advanced Carleton course in which they earned a passing grade. Students may apply additional credits toward placement or as a course prerequisite with departmental approval, but those credits will not be transcripted. 

For information concerning prior credits and their acceptance toward the degree, see the Academic Catalog or the Office of the Registrar.

Information for Transfer Students

For transfer students, a maximum of 102 credits, including work done in high school, may be transferred and applied to the requirements of the Carleton degree. College-level transfer work taken prior to matriculating at Carleton may apply toward Carleton’s Liberal Arts requirements and may articulate to specific Carleton courses in consultation with the Registrar and relevant academic departments. A matriculated student may apply toward the Carleton degree a total of 54 credits earned while off campus (Carleton faculty-led off-campus seminars are excluded from the 54-credit maximum) or up to a maximum of 18 credits earned via post-matriculation work unless, as in the case of certain transfer students, this would result in a total number of transfer credits exceeding the 102 overall maximum. Students who are admitted as transfer students are expected to complete a minimum of 108 credits and six terms at Carleton to be eligible for the degree. 

Information for Non-Graduates

Students who do not complete their graduation requirements by the end of their final term and are required to complete their remaining graduation requirements away from Carleton, generally at another institution, are referred to as “non-grads,” or “asterisk grads,” and operate under a variation of the above policy.

The Registrar must pre-approve all courses taken elsewhere to complete the Carleton degree, in consultation with academic departments as necessary. Courses must be considered college-level, relevant to a liberal arts degree, and a student must have earned a C- or above. No credits are transferred for work deemed to be equivalent to credits already earned at Carleton, and failed courses may not be replaced by transfer courses. Only transfer work from regionally accredited colleges and universities will be considered for transfer. Transcripts and other documents submitted from other institutions and agencies are the property of Carleton College and will not be reissued.

If a course is taken as Pass/No Pass, and the school awards a Pass for grades below a C-, a letter must be submitted from the institution’s registrar indicating the student would have received a C- or above before transfer credit is awarded. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for independent study or credit by examination. This includes CLEP exams, DSST/DANTES, and ACE exams. Carleton does not grant transfer credit for life or work experience, nor does it grant credit for vocational study.

See also advanced placement, off-campus study, summer study at other institutions, and transcripts.

Last revised March 9, 2022
Keywords: transfer of credits, advanced placement, off-campus study, summer study at other institutions, transcripts, transfer students

Last Reviewed: Mar 9th, 2022

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