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 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 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.
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: one of two levels of Calculus (MATH 13100 Elementary Functions and Calculus I or MATH 15100 Calculus I) or a third mathematics course (MATH 11200 Studies in Mathematics 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.
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 Examination 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 15900 Introduction to Proofs in 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.
Physics Accreditation Examinations
Accreditation examinations are administered for the content of PHYS 12100-12200 General Physics I-II 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 General Physics I-II 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.
The following chart shows how AP credit is automatically awarded. For further information on how credit may be used toward individual degree programs, a student should consult his or her College adviser. For more information on how AP credit may be used to meet major requirements, refer to the major requirements listed under “Programs of Study” in this catalog.
NOTE: Credit for no more than six electives may be gained by any combination of examination or placement credit.
Although students may use AP placement to satisfy the language competence requirement, language AP scores do not confer credit.
|AP Exam||Score||Credit Awarded 2015-16 based on exams offered in May 2015|
|Art History||4 or 5||3 quarters general elective credit|
|Biology||4||1 quarter general education (BIOS 10130)|
|Biology||5||1 quarter general education (BIOS 10130)+|
|Calculus AB||5||MATH 15100 †|
|Calculus BC||4||MATH 15100 †|
|Calculus BC||5||MATH 15100-15200 †|
|Chemistry||4||2 quarters 10000-level PHSC*|
|Chinese Language and Culture||4 or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Economics: Micro AND Macro||4 or 5||2 quarters general elective credit|
|English Language and Composition||4 or 5||3 quarters general elective credit|
|English Literature and Composition||4 or 5||3 quarters general elective credit|
|French Language and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|German Language and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Government and Politics: Comparative AND U.S.||4 or 5||3 quarters general elective credit|
|History: European||5||1 quarter general elective credit|
|History: U.S.||5||1 quarter general elective credit|
|History: World||5||1 quarter general elective credit|
|Italian Language and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Japanese Language and Culture||4 or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Latin Literature or Vergil||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Music Theory||4 or 5||3 quarters general elective credit|
|Physics 1 AND 2||4 or 5||2 quarters 100-level PHSC*|
|Physics B||4 or 5||2 quarters 10000-level PHSC*|
|Physics C: Mechanics AND E&M||3||2 quarters 10000-level PHSC*|
|Physics C: Mechanics AND E&M||4 or 5||PHYS 12100-12200-12300 ‡|
|Physics C: Mechanics only||4 or 5||PHYS 12100 ‡|
|Physics C: E&M only||4 or 5||PHYS 12200 ‡|
|Spanish Language and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Spanish Literature and Culture||3, 4, or 5||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Statistics||4 or 5||STAT 22000++|
|Studio Art (2-D Design, 3-D Design, or Drawing)||4 or 5||3 quarters general 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 for the courses they complete.
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 for MATH 16100-16200-16300 Honors Calculus I-II-III 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 General Physics I-II.
A biological sciences major requires a “Fundamentals” sequence in general education or an “Advanced Biology Fundamentals” sequence in the major. Students with an AP 4 or 5 who complete three quarters of an “Advanced Biology Fundamentals” 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.
Physics: PHYS 120s, 130s, 140s, or PHSC 11100-11200 Modern Physics I-II
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.
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 2015-16|
|Biology||6 or 7 Higher Level||1 quarter biological sciences general education (BIOS 10130)|
|English||6 or 7 Higher Level||3 quarters general elective credit|
|Languages other than English||5, 6, or 7 Higher Level||Satisfies the Language Competency Requirement|
|Physics||6 or 7 Higher Level||1 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 only PHSC 10900 Ice-Age Earth, PHSC 11000 Environmental History of the Earth, PHSC 12500 Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease, 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 must be evaluated and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. If approved, transfer credit is listed on the student’s University of Chicago transcript only as the number of credits approved to transfer. Transfer credit does not count toward the University of Chicago GPA.
In this section, you will find guidelines for what credit may and may not be accepted by the College, as well as additional restrictions on course work in the sciences, arts, and civilization studies. In the subsequent sections are directions for submitting transfer course work for approval, specific rules related to transfer students, and additional restrictions on course work taken prior to matriculation.
Minimum Requirements for Transfer Eligibility
- Be taken at an accredited institution that grants bachelor’s degrees, subject to review by the Office of the Dean of Students in the College.
- Confer at least three semester hours or four quarter hours of credit. For institutions without standard credit hours, contact hours (normally a minimum of 30) may be used.
- Be completed with a grade of C or above (not C- or P). Students in science majors must earn at least a B in science courses.
- Not duplicate credit that students earn or have already earned for college-level course work. (For instance, a student could not take PLSC 28701 Introduction to Political Theory and also transfer in credit for an Introduction to Political Theory course taken elsewhere.)
- Be in liberal arts subjects similar to those offered at the University of Chicago.
Courses in the following categories are NOT eligible for transfer credit:
- Calculus and pre-calculus. (Credit may only be earned via accreditation or AP test.)
- Foreign language study. Placement level is determined by exam. Advanced literature or topics courses taught in a foreign language may qualify.
- Any kind of online/distance, tutorial, or independent study course work, including internship credit.
- Professional or technical courses, or course work otherwise unlike University of Chicago liberal arts courses. This includes law, civil/mechanical engineering, speech, nursing, leadership, first-year writing, and undergraduate courses in business. Courses in media production will only transfer if there is an equivalent course listed in the University of Chicago catalog.
Science course work must follow these additional guidelines:
- Students in any science major must earn at least a B in science courses.
- Courses must have a lab to be considered for the physical sciences general education requirement. At least one course in the biological sciences general education must have a lab component.
- Chemistry course work must be taken at an institution accredited by the American Chemical Society.
- Chemistry majors may only transfer credit for general chemistry. Incoming transfer students may seek to earn credit for organic chemistry via an accreditation exam offered during Orientation Week.
- Physics courses must be calculus-based and include a lab component to be considered as a substitute for General Physics (PHYS 12100-12200 General Physics I-II, PHYS 13100-13200-13300 Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat, PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat). Lab work must be validated by Physics faculty.
Courses petitioned to count for general education credit in the civilization studies or arts requirement:
- Should fulfill the spirit of the requirement and have similarities to eligible courses offered on campus.
- For the civilization studies requirement, area studies courses in history will be favored over courses that focus on political science, anthropology, sociology, etc.
Process for Petitioning for Transfer Credit
For students taking courses elsewhere while enrolled in a degree program at UChicago:
Students who wish to take courses at other institutions after they enter the College should carefully read the regulations for transfer credit listed above and discuss their plans in advance with their College advisers. To have non–University of Chicago courses considered for transfer credit, students must follow these steps:
- Submit a petition to the Office of the Dean of Students in the College, including course descriptions and/or syllabi, units of credit, and the name of the institution where courses will be taken. This information should be submitted online well in advance of taking the course.
- Seek additional approval for use of pre-approved credit toward major/minor/general education requirements. Instructions will be provided if/when the initial petition is approved. Note that approval is not guaranteed and should be sought as early as possible.
- Have an official transcript sent to their College adviser upon completion of the course work.
Note: Students should petition for approval at least two weeks before the start date of the desired courses. Students submitting petitions within that two-week window should not expect to receive a final decision before the courses begin, especially if they hope to use the course toward a particular requirement.
For Transfer Students:
After admitted transfer students have committed to attending University of Chicago, they receive information from the Admissions Office about how to submit the materials necessary for an evaluation of their previous college course work. Students must also have their previous institution send a final, official transcript to the Admissions Office. These materials should be submitted in early- to mid-June. More course information (i.e., syllabi) may be solicited over the summer prior to matriculation. Transfer evaluations cannot be completed before a student has accepted an offer of admission.
The evaluation of transfer credit is based on the guidelines and restrictions listed in the previous section. Note the following restrictions in particular:
- Language study will not transfer. Incoming students should take the placement exam and complete the appropriate course. Students who place into and complete a higher-level course (20200 or higher) may be able to petition for credit for the language courses between 20100 and the University of Chicago course completed.
- Credit for calculus and pre-calculus will be granted only by College accreditation or AP exam.
- 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.
- The restrictions on college course work taken during high school (outlined in the next section) apply to all undergraduate students.
Residency Requirement. Transfer students must be in residence at the University of Chicago for at least six quarters and successfully complete a minimum of 18 courses while in residence. More than half of the requirements for a major must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.
After matriculation in the College, transfer students may not earn additional credits from schools other than the University of Chicago. Faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by the College may be used to meet both the residency and course requirements. Transfer students will be allowed to participate in direct enrollment study abroad programs affiliated with the College, but these courses cannot be used to satisfy the residency requirement.
College Courses Taken Prior to Matriculation
Courses taken during high school:
Students should not petition until they determine (in their second year or later) that they will need the credit. Students may petition earlier if previous course work may serve as a prerequisite for an University of Chicago course. The petition must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students in the College, including course descriptions and/or syllabi, units of credit, and the name of the institution where courses were taken.
To be considered for credit, petitions must comply with the preceding regulations and the following restrictions:
- Courses may not have counted toward high school graduation requirements.
- Credit for science and calculus courses is not accepted; students should take the appropriate placement or accreditation exams at the time of matriculation.
- Approved credit may only be used as general elective credit. Credit will not be awarded for general education requirements or foreign language courses. This restriction also applies to courses taken at the University of Chicago prior to matriculation.
- Courses must have been offered to a cohort that included undergraduate students. Courses taught specifically for high school student programs will not transfer.
Courses taken in the summer prior to matriculation:
Admitted students are not allowed to register for University of Chicago classes in the summer prior to matriculation. It is important that admitted students learn about curricular issues, academic expectations, placement test results, and course selection alongside their classmates during Orientation Week.
Admitted students may take college-level courses at another institution and submit a petition for transfer credit. The petition will be evaluated based on all of the above criteria. Credit will not be awarded for general education requirements.