Transfer Credit

Procedural Details

Requests for transfer credit are handled by the Physics Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Tomas Arias physicsdus@cornell.edu.  Forms can be scanned and emailed to physicsdus@cornell.edu.  Transfer requests are typically reviewed, and responses sent, on Mondays.

Transfer Credit

The Physics department allows transfer credit for PHYS 1101-1102, PHYS 2207-2208, and PHYS 1112-2213-2214 for some classes from certain four-year colleges. All applications for transfer credit take place through an online form - do not contact the Physics Office or Director of Undergraduate Studies directly. All applications for transfer credit must be made BEFORE enrolling in these courses. Students must receive a C or higher in their class to receive transfer credit and will not receive a letter grade on their Cornell transcript for that class.

Guidelines for transfer credit validity

  • Only courses from 4-year universities or colleges will be approved. We do not grant transfer credit from two-year or community colleges.  Following the conclusion of the Summer 2022 session, we will NO LONGER accept online courses for transfer credit. Please email physicsdus@cornell.edu with any questions related to transfer credit.

  • For transfer credit, all classes must have either a laboratory component or have an additional complementary lab class. If your desired class does not have a lab component or complementary class, you must complete either PHYS 1190 (a 1 unit, S/U lab-only class) or PHYS 1110 (a 1 unit, letter graded lab) at Cornell to fulfill the lab requirement and have your transfer credit approved. Starting fall 2021, students wishing to take PHYS 1190 as a lab supplement for PHYS 1101 or PHYS 2207 can only do so in the fall. Students wishing to take PHYS 1190 as a lab supplement for PHYS 1102 or PHYS 2208 can only do so in the spring. For students needing a lab supplement for PHYS 2214, 1190 is currently offered both semesters. Starting fall 2021, PHYS 1110 must be taken for PHYS 1112.  Please note:  If you are an Engineering student seeking transfer credit for PHYS 2213 and have already earned credit for PHYS 1112 and 1110 (4 credits), then you do not need to take an additional lab class for PHYS 2213.  If however, you earn less than 4 transfer credits for PHYS 2213, then you will need to complete additional physics coursework in order to obtain the 8 physics credits required for the Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Engineering.  For additional guidance about this, please contact the Engineering Advising Office at adv_engineering@cornell.edu

  • For PHYS 1112-2213-2214 transfer credit, look for phrases like “for engineers or physical sciences majors”, and “calculus-based” in the course description. These classes should fully require and use calculus (and multivariable calculus for 2213). Common textbooks used for the 1112-2213-2214 sequences are by Young & Freedman, Giancoli, Serway, Tipler, Halliday & Resnick, and Pasachoff & Wolfson.

  • For PHYS 1101-1102 and 2207-2208 transfer credit, look for phrases like “for life sciences, pre-medical, or biology majors”. For PHYS 1101-1102, the math requirement may be described as “using algebra and trigonometry”, while for PHYS 2207-2208, the math background may be described as “algebra, trigonometry, and some calculus”. A course that is described as “conceptual” or “requiring only basic arithmetic and some algebra” will not be valid for transfer credit. Common textbooks for the 2207-2208 sequence are by Kesten & Tauck or by Halliday & Resnick. A common textbook for the 1101-1102 sequence is Cutnell & Johnson.

  • If the course is a summer course, or is offered at a university on a quarter system, tally up the total number of contact hours (i.e. hours spent in lecture, discussion section, labs, and formal instruction with teach staff). The total contact hours should exceed 60 hours for the course to qualify (some summer or quarter-based classes will not qualify).

  • Sample syllabi can be found here for: PHYS 1112, PHYS 2213, PHYS 2207, PHYS 2208

Start by checking the list of classes with pre-approved transfer credit here : http://bit.ly/2sFhho9 . There are over 300 pre-approved classes at over 100 universities. If your desired class is already on the pre-approved list, please follow Procedure A below. On the other hand, if the class you are interested in taking is NOT on the pre-approved transfer credit list, follow Procedure B.

Procedure A. Obtaining Transfer Credit for Classes on the Pre-Approved List

  1. Confirm that your class is already on the list of pre-approved transfer credit online here : http://bit.ly/2sFhho9 .
  2. Please fill out the online form for transfer credit : http://bit.ly/2sX7Aky . You only need to fill out Questions A through I; you may ignore questions J-L, as they pertain only to classes that have not been pre-approved.
  3. After completing the online form, fill out and scan your college-appropriate transfer credit form to physicsdus@cornell.edu. Transfer Credit forms are available from your College Registrar.  If the form is approved, it will be scanned back to you. 
  4. Get the form signed by your faculty advisor and drop off the form at your respective College’s registrar’s office.
  5. After successfully completing your course with a grade of C or higher, send an official transcript with that course’s grade to your respective College registrar’s office to finalize the transfer credit process.

Procedure B : Obtaining Transfer Credit for Classes not on the Pre-Approved List

There are a number of requirements that classes must fulfill in order to be approved for transfer credit; a list of some of these guidelines are included at the bottom. Final approval for transfer credit will be made by the DUS. Do not contact the Physics Office or DUS directly about transfer credit, but rather, use the online form.

  1. Find the webpage for the official course listing on the university website (e.g. http://bit.ly/2sql9Yb ). If the the laboratory component is offered as a separate class, please find that webpage as well.
  2. Obtain an electronic copy of a detailed course syllabus and course description for the class(es) you intend to take, either by emailing the instructor or searching online. Make sure to find out the required textbook(s). We will accept course syllabi and descriptions from previous semesters, as long as it is within the last 3 years. If the the laboratory component is offered as a separate class, please include the description / syllabus for that class as well.
  3. Fill out the online form for transfer credit : http://bit.ly/2sX7Aky . While filling out the form, you will be asked for the link to the official course listing(s), textbook(s), as well as to upload the course syllabus & description as PDFs.
  4. You will receive an email response within 10 days approving or denying your request for transfer credit. If your request was approved, fill out and scan your college-appropriate transfer credit form to physicsdus@cornell.edu. (forms can be obtained from your College Registrar).  If approved, your form will be scanned and sent back to you. 
  5. Get the form signed by your faculty advisor and drop off the form at your respective College’s registrar’s office.
  6. After successfully completing your course with a grade of C or higher, send an official transcript with that course’s grade to your respective College registrar’s office to finalize the transfer credit process.

Transfer Credit Forms can be obtained from your College Registrar's Office.

Please review transfer credit information for particular colleges at the links below:

 College of Human Ecology: https://students.human.cornell.edu/ (In Absentia Petition)

College of Engineering: Transfer Credit

College of Arts and Sciences: Transfer Credit

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Transfer Credit

Advanced Placement

Advanced placement credit (AP/IB or A-level) is handled by the registrar: detailed criteria.

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