This is an archived copy of the 2014-2015 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.uchicago.edu.

Placement Tests | Accreditation Examinations | Advanced Placement Credit | International Baccalaureate Programme | British A-Levels and Other Examinations | Transfer Credit

In order to earn a degree from the College of the University of Chicago, a student must obtain credit for at least forty-two quarter courses, distributed among general education requirements, major program requirements, and electives, as described in the section on the curriculum at the front of this publication. All students receive credit toward their degrees by taking courses in the College. In addition, students may receive credit and/or satisfy College requirements in the following ways: by placement test; by Advanced Placement (AP) examinations; by accreditation examination; by International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme; and by advanced standing, which is credit transferred from another institution. The limits and conditions placed on credit earned in these various ways are explained in the following section. A student must be in residence at the University of Chicago for at least six quarters, full or part time, and must successfully complete a minimum of eighteen courses while in residence. More than half of the requirements for a major or minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Placement Tests

Placement tests serve to adapt the needs and backgrounds of individual students to the College curriculum. They place entering students at the proper level of study in a given subject and may be used to award academic credit where appropriate. On the one hand, placement tests minimize the repetition of subjects already mastered and, on the other, they reduce the possibility that students might begin their programs with courses for which they are inadequately prepared. Placement tests measure skill in problem solving as well as general knowledge in a subject field. Students who have some background in the areas being tested are urged to review it, but incoming students without such knowledge are not expected to acquire it over the summer preceding entrance.

Placement tests may be taken only at the time of matriculation and each test may be taken only once. Information that describes these tests is sent to incoming first-year and transfer students.

Biological Sciences Placement Test

Information will be sent to incoming students the summer before they arrive on campus.

Chemistry Placement Test

Students who wish to enroll in chemistry must take the online chemistry placement test along with the mathematics placement test (or they must have earned a score of 5 on the AP chemistry exam).

Economics Placement Test

Students who wish to begin their economics major with ECON 20000 The Elements of Economic Analysis I in their first year must pass the economics placement test or complete ECON 19800 Introduction to Microeconomics. No standardized external exams (IB, AP, A-Levels) will substitute. The placement test will be offered Monday evening of the first week of Autumn Quarter.

Language Placement Tests

Language placement tests are required of students who plan to continue in languages studied prior to entrance in the College. Language placement tests determine where a student begins language study; results do not confer credit or satisfy the language competency requirement.

Online placement tests in some languages may be taken the summer before arrival on campus. Students will be given instructions in early July on how to access more information. For placement in languages without an online exam, students meet with a coordinator in the language during Orientation Week.

Placement tests are not available in languages not taught at the University of Chicago. For additional information, visit college.uchicago.edu/newstudents/examination-credit-and-transfer-credit/placement-tests .

Mathematics Placement Test

Every entering student must take the mathematics placement test. This online test must be taken during the summer before arrival on campus. Students will be given instructions in early July on how to access more information. Scores on the mathematics placement test, combined with a student’s high school record, determine the appropriate beginning mathematics course for each student: a precalculus course (MATH 10500 Fundamental Mathematics I) or one of three other courses (MATH 11200 Studies in Mathematics I, MATH 13100 Elementary Functions and Calculus I, or MATH 15100 Calculus I). Students wishing to begin in mathematics courses beyond MATH 15100 Calculus I must take the calculus accreditation examination, given on campus during Orientation Week.

Scores on the mathematics placement test are used to determine placement into CHEM 10100 Introductory General Chemistry I, CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I, CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I, PHYS 13100 Mechanics, and PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics.

Accreditation Examinations

Credit is available by accreditation examinations, which are optional, to those students who have already studied certain subjects at the college level. See the information below under each subject heading for when these exams are offered. In the case of a course where both experimental and theoretical skills are involved, students may be required to fulfill the laboratory portion along with the rest of the class.

College credit achieved by accreditation examination is entered as units of credit on the student’s official academic record. Letter grades are not assigned. An accreditation examination may be taken only once.

Calculus Accreditation Examination

Well-prepared students are invited to take the calculus accreditation exam in order to have the option of beginning in a mathematics course beyond the first quarter of calculus. On the basis of this exam, students may be invited to begin MATH 16100 Honors Calculus I or MATH 20700 Honors Analysis in Rn I, or to earn credit for up to three quarters of calculus.

During Orientation Week, the College administers the calculus accreditation examination. On the basis of this exam, a student may receive credit for up to three quarters of calculus (MATH 15100-15200-15300 Calculus I-II-III). Students earning one quarter of credit on this exam may begin MATH 15200 Calculus II; students earning two quarters of credit may begin with MATH 15300 Calculus III; and students earning three quarters of credit may begin with MATH 19900 Introduction to Analysis and Linear Algebra, MATH 19520 Mathematical Methods for Social Sciences, MATH 19620 Linear Algebra, or MATH 20000 Mathematical Methods for Physical Sciences I. Strong students, especially those planning to continue with higher level mathematics or other disciplines requiring advanced mathematics, are urged to take this accreditation exam. Students who are invited to begin Honors Calculus are encouraged to forgo credit in MATH 15100 Calculus I and/or MATH 15200 Calculus II in order to take the full Honors Calculus sequence, MATH 16100-16200-16300 Honors Calculus I-II-III.

Students may also earn up to two quarters of credit for calculus on the basis of AP scores. Students with a grade of 5 on the BC Calculus AP exam receive credit for MATH 15100 Calculus I and MATH 15200 Calculus II, and may begin taking MATH 15300 Calculus III. Students with a grade of 4 on the BC Calculus AP exam or a grade of 5 on the AB Calculus AP exam receive credit for MATH 15100 Calculus I and may begin taking MATH 15200 Calculus II.

The calculus accreditation exam is given only during Orientation Week and may be taken only once by incoming students (first-years or transfers).

Chemistry Accreditation Examinations

Students who are exceptionally well prepared in chemistry may earn credit for one or more quarters of chemistry on the basis of AP scores or accreditation examinations. Students who have taken the Advanced Placement (AP) test in chemistry and received a grade of 5 will be given credit for CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III. The Department of Chemistry also administers an accreditation examination in CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III. Students may receive credit for chemistry on the basis of their performance on these examinations. The examination in general chemistry is offered only during Orientation, or at the start of Autumn Quarter by arrangement with Dr. Vera Dragisich, Department of Chemistry, 702.3071. Only incoming students (i.e., first-year and transfer students) are eligible to take these examinations.

Physical Sciences Accreditation Examination

For students whose probable major is in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or New Collegiate divisions, a good performance on this examination will confer two quarters of credit for the general education requirement in the physical sciences. Students with good high school preparation in both chemistry and physics are strongly encouraged to take this examination, which is offered during Orientation only to entering students.

The physical sciences accreditation examination does not give credit for chemistry or physics. Students planning to major in the biological or physical sciences or prepare for the health professions must fulfill their general education requirement in the physical sciences by passing or placing out of a three-quarter sequence of 10000-level courses in either chemistry or physics. (Students who register for chemistry or physics forgo credit earned on the physical sciences accreditation examination.) Students who are exceptionally well prepared in chemistry and/or physics should consider taking the chemistry and/or physics accreditation examination(s).

Physics Accreditation Examinations

Accreditation examinations are administered for the content of PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III and PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat. The first examination may be taken by incoming students only at the time of matriculation in the College. Students who pass the first examination (for PHYS 12100 General Physics I or PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics) will receive credit for the lecture part of the course only and will then be invited to try the next examination of the series. Entering students who have taken AP physics in high school but who do not receive AP credit from the College (and who do not plan to major in physics) may take the PHYS 12100 General Physics I accreditation examination. Students who receive AP credit for PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III but whose planned major requires PHYS 13100-13200-13300 Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat or PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat are eligible to take the PHYS 14100 Honors Mechanics examination. Entering transfer students who choose a major requiring physics but who are not granted transfer credit for a completed calculus-based introductory physics sequence may take one of the accreditation examinations.

NOTE: Accreditation examinations in physics confer credit only for the lecture portion of the courses; additional laboratory work may be required.

Advanced Placement Credit

Students who request college credit or fulfillment of College requirements for Advanced Placement (AP) examinations taken in high school (i.e., before a student matriculates in the College) are asked to submit an official report of their scores on the AP tests given by the College Entrance Examination Board. The decision to grant credit is reported at the end of the first year in residence and units of credit awarded appear on the student’s official academic record.

While AP scores alone are sometimes used to establish placement or to confer credit, satisfactory performance on the College’s own placement tests may supplement AP scores and lead to additional credit.

For further information on AP credit and how it relates to the Chicago degree program, a student should consult his or her College adviser. NOTE: Credit for no more than six electives may be gained by examination.

Although students may use AP placement to satisfy the language competence requirement, language AP scores do not confer credit.

The following chart shows how AP credit may be applied to the forty-two credits required for graduation.

AP Exam Score Credit Awarded 2014-15
Biology41 quarter general education (BIOS 10130)
Biology51 quarter general education (BIOS 10130)+
Calculus AB5MATH 15100
Calculus BC4MATH 15100
Calculus BC5MATH 15100-15200 †
Chemistry42 quarters 10000-level PHSC*
Chemistry5CHEM 11100-11200-11300
Chinese Language and Culture4 or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Computer Science AB4 or 52 quarters general elective credit
Computer Science A4 or 52 quarters general elective credit
Economics: Micro and Macro4 or 52 quarters general elective credit
French Language and Culture3, 4, or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
German Language and Culture3, 4, or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Government and Politics: Comparative and U.S.4 or 53 quarters elective credit
History: European51 quarter general elective credit
History: U.S.51 quarter general elective credit
History: World51 quarter general elective credit
Italian Language and Culture3, 4, or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Japanese Language and Culture4 or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Latin Literature or Vergil3, 4, or 5Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Physics B4 or 52 quarters 10000-level PHSC*
Physics C: Mechanics and E&M32 quarters 10000-level PHSC*
Physics C: Mechanics only4 or 5PHYS 12100
Physics C: E&M only4 or 5PHYS 12200
Physics C: Mechanics and E&M4 or 5PHYS 12100-12200-12300 ‡
Spanish Language and Culture3, 4, or 5 Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Statistics4 or 5STAT 22000++
Other§4 or 53 quarters elective credit

Credit for no more than six general electives may be gained by any combination of AP, placement, accreditation, IB, or other examinations.

AP Physics or Calculus: Students who register for physics or calculus forgo AP credit.

AP Computer Science: Students who register for CMSC 10500 Fundamentals of Computer Programming I, CMSC 10600 Fundamentals of Computer Programming II, CMSC 15100 Introduction to Computer Science I, and CMSC 15200 Introduction to Computer Science II forgo AP credit. Students who enroll in CMSC 12100 Computer Science with Applications I, CMSC 12200 Computer Science with Applications II, CMSC 16100 Honors Introduction to Computer Science I, and CMSC 16200 Honors Introduction to Computer Science II may retain elective credit.

AP Chemistry: Students with a score of 5 may accept credit for CHEM 11100-11200-11300 Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II-III, or they can register for CHEM 12100-12200-12300 Honors General Chemistry I-II-III in Autumn/Winter/Spring Quarters. Students who complete one to three quarters of Comprehensive General Chemistry or Honors General Chemistry forgo AP credit for all quarters completed at the University of Chicago.

A student who wishes to receive credit for MATH 15300 Calculus III or to register either for MATH 16100-16200-16300 Honors Calculus I-II-III or for PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat, or both, is required to take the calculus accreditation examination during Orientation.

Students wishing to apply AP credits for "Physics C: Mechanics only" or "Physics C: E&M only" toward the physical sciences general education requirement should plan to complete the requirement with an appropriate course from PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III.  Note that a major in physics or chemistry requires PHYS 13100-13200-13300 Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat or PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat.

+

A biological sciences major requires a “Fundamentals” sequence in general education or an “AP 5” sequence in the major. Students with an AP 5 who complete the three-quarter “AP 5” sequence are awarded a second AP credit to meet the general education requirement.

*

Students forgo credit when they register for the same subject in which they have AP credit for 10000-level PHSC.

++

AP Statistics: Will count for general education mathematics credit. May not be used to meet requirements for the statistics major or minor. Students who register and obtain credit for STAT 20000 Elementary Statistics, STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications, or STAT 23400 Statistical Models and Methods forgo AP credit for STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications.

§

No credit is given for Environmental Science, Human Geography, or Psychology.

International Baccalaureate Programme

Credit earned for courses in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme may be applied to certain general education requirements or to electives as described below. Credit will not be granted for other exams. Course credit is only granted for grades of 6 or 7 on Higher-Level IB Examinations (HL). The Language Competency Requirement may be satisfied with grades of 5, 6 or 7 on Higher-Level IB Examinations (HL) in languages other than English.

IB Examination Score Credit Awarded 2014-15
Biology6 or 7 Higher Level1 quarter biological sciences general education (BIOS 10130)
English6 or 7 Higher Level3 quarters general elective credit
Languages other than English5, 6, or 7 Higher LevelSatisfies the Language Competency Requirement
Physics6 or 7 Higher Level1 quarter 10000-level PHSC*

Credit for no more than six general electives may be gained by any combination of AP, placement, accreditation, IB, or other examinations.

*

Students with a grade of 6 or 7 on the Higher-Level IB Physics Examination will receive one quarter of 10000-level PHSC credit and may complete the general education requirement in the physical sciences with PHSC 10900 Ice-Age Earth, PHSC 11000 Environmental History of the Earth, PHSC 13400 Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, PHSC 13500 Chemistry and the Atmosphere, or PHSC 13600 Natural Hazards. NOTE: Students who register for physics forgo both IB and AP credit for 10000-level PHSC.

British A-Levels and Other Examinations

Credit for A-level work in calculus, physics, and chemistry may be awarded through satisfactory performance on the College’s placement or accreditation examinations taken at the time of matriculation. Credit for A-level work in biology may be awarded by petition to the Senior Advisor in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division; credit for A-levels in other fields except language may be awarded by petition to the Dean of Students in the College. No credit is given for general education requirements in humanities or social science. Elective credit may be given only for grades of A in the Advanced Test in liberal arts subjects.

Transfer Credit

Courses Taken While in a Degree Program Elsewhere

Students transferring from other institutions must be in residence at the University of Chicago campus for at least six quarters, full or part time, and must successfully complete a minimum of eighteen courses while in residence. NOTE: Certain College-sponsored study abroad programs (chiefly the civilization studies abroad programs) may be used to meet this residency and course requirement.

Generally, the College grants transfer credit for liberal arts courses carrying at least three semester hours or four quarter hours of credit and passed with a grade of C or better (in some cases, a grade of B or better is required) from an accredited institution. Transfer credit is not awarded for foreign language courses. Instead, transfer students are encouraged to take the appropriate language placement test(s) upon completing courses at the 20200 level or higher at Chicago. Students may petition for placement credit for the language courses between 20100 and the course completed.

Transfer credit, referred to as advanced standing, is listed on the student’s University of Chicago transcript only as number of credits approved for transfer. Courses and grades are not listed, nor do transferred courses contribute to the student’s University of Chicago grade point average for the purpose of computing an overall GPA, Dean’s List, departmental honors, or general honors. Credit for courses in precalculus and calculus must be validated by College placement examinations. Depending on the student’s major and on the level of work to be evaluated, credit for some courses in chemistry, physics, and biology may also be subject to examination.

Professional or technical courses (e.g., journalism, business, law, musical performance, speech, nursing) do not transfer; only courses similar to those taught in the College may transfer. The College grants credit for some CEEB Advanced Placement examinations with scores of 4 or 5, but not for CLEP, USAFI, or correspondence course work.

Most transfer students can complete their studies with no more than one extra quarter beyond the usual four college years, although this may depend on how course work elsewhere relates to the structure of a Chicago degree program. College housing and financial aid are available to all transfer students. After matriculation in the College, transfer students may not earn additional credits from schools other than the University of Chicago, except for study abroad programs sponsored by the University of Chicago. However, these courses will not count toward the requirement to be in residence at the University of Chicago campus for at least six quarters, full or part time, and to successfully complete a minimum of eighteen courses while in residence. NOTE: Certain College-sponsored study abroad programs (chiefly the civilization studies programs) may be used to meet this residency and course requirement.

More than half of the requirements for a major must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Courses Taken Elsewhere While in a Degree Program at the University of Chicago

Students who wish to take courses at other institutions after they enter the College should read carefully the following regulations for transfer credit and discuss their plans in advance with their College advisers.

Before registering for course work elsewhere, students must submit to the Office of the Dean of Students a petition requesting tentative pre-approval for transfer credit to be applied toward graduation requirements. The petition should include course descriptions and/or syllabi, units of credit, and the name of the institution where courses will be taken. Students who wish to apply transfer credit to requirements in their major or minor must have the approval of their program chair.

Upon completion of the course work, students should have an official transcript sent to their College adviser. Transfer credit is listed on the student’s Chicago transcript only as number of credits approved for transfer.

To be eligible for transfer credit, a course:

  • must be taken for a quality grade and the grade received must be a C or higher; and
  • must confer at least three semester hours or four quarter hours of credit, although contact hours (normally a minimum of 30) may be used for institutions without standard credit models.

No course is eligible for transfer credit if it:

  • is taken at an institution that does not grant bachelor’s degrees or is unaccredited;
  • duplicates college-level course work for which credit has already been granted or appears anywhere in the student’s high school record;
  • is eligible for placement-test credit (e.g., calculus or precalculus);
  • is a foreign language course (literature or advanced courses taught in a foreign language may qualify for transfer credit);
  • is a distance learning, independent study, or tutorial course; or
  • is a professional or technical course or is otherwise unlike liberal arts courses that are offered by the College (e.g., accounting, business administration, communications, engineering, English composition, leadership, music performance, nursing, public speaking, rhetoric, first-year writing).

Students who wish to take science courses that are eligible for transfer credit must comply with the preceding regulations and also must follow the guidelines below:

  • The grade must be a B or higher if the student is majoring in science.
  • General education courses must have a laboratory component.
  • To receive credit in physics at the 12000-, 13000-, or 14000-level, the course must be calculus based.
  • To receive credit for chemistry, the course must be taken at an institution that is accredited by the American Chemical Society. Students majoring in chemistry may not receive transfer credit for organic chemistry, although they may take an accreditation test that confers credit.

Students who wish to take transfer courses that are eligible to be counted toward the general education Civilization Studies requirement must comply with the preceding regulations and are expected to follow the guidelines below:

  • The course curriculum should fulfill the spirit of the Civilization Studies requirement as described in the Curriculum section of this catalog.
  • Courses taught by faculty whose primary academic affiliation is with the host institution are preferred.

College Courses Taken during High School

Because it is not uncommon for students to graduate from the University of Chicago with more than the required forty-two credits, students should wait to begin the petition process until they determine (in their second year or later) that they will need the credit. However, students may petition earlier if previous course work may serve as a prerequisite for a Chicago course.

Students who wish to receive credit for college courses taken during high school must submit a petition to the Dean of Students. Credit is evaluated on an individual basis. To be considered for credit, petitions must comply with both the preceding regulations and the following guidelines:

  • Course work may not have been counted toward high school graduation requirements.
  • Credit for science and calculus courses is awarded only by satisfactory performance on the appropriate placement or accreditation examinations taken at the time of matriculation.
  • Credit for college-level courses completed prior to matriculation at the University of Chicago, including courses taken at the University of Chicago itself, may be used only as general elective credit. Credit will not be awarded for general education requirements or for foreign language courses.
  • Course work must have been completed in a cohort containing undergraduate students, not in a program open only to high school students.

College Courses Taken in the Summer Prior to Matriculation in the College

Admitted students are not allowed to register for University of Chicago courses in the summer prior to matriculation in the College. Before they begin their course work, it is important that admitted students learn about curricular issues, academic expectations, placement test results, and course selection alongside their classmates during the First-Year Orientation. Admitted students may take college-level courses at another institution. In order to receive credit for those courses, they must petition the Dean of Students complying with the regulations and guidelines outlined above. As the general education curriculum is designed to provide a common vocabulary of ideas and skills for all students in the College, credit will not be awarded for general education requirements.