Transferring Credits

Once you've successfully applied to a program and have been granted a leave of absence, you must arrange for transfer of credits.  If you are petitioning for study abroad approval, you must complete the transfer credit petition as part of the petitioning process.

Credit Transfer Process

  1. Select a large number (more than you will actually take) of courses you might take.

  2. Complete a transfer credit petition for all courses you have selected.
  3. Take the petition and catalogue copy of the courses, course syllabi and/or course descriptions to everyone who must sign the form. Make sure your advisor and any necessary department chairs have signed the form.
  4. Turn in the signed petition and course materials to the Registrar's Office.  Students who are petitioning should include a completed transfer credit petition with the study abroad petitioning documents that they submit to Off-Campus Study.
  5. When you receive a copy of the approved petition, check to see that ALL courses have been approved. If a course has not been approved, you will not receive credit for it.
  6. Verify the number of credit hours you will need to enroll in to receive four Hamilton credits. This will be specified on the form just below the course list. You may need to take more than four courses.
  7. Make sure you enroll for the proper number of credit hours when you arrive at your study abroad destination! 
  8. If you complete an independent study, bring the paper back to Hamilton for approval.

Students attending Hamilton College programs (China, France, India, Spain) do not need to have courses approved for transfer credit. Courses will automatically receive Hamilton credit and will appear on the Hamilton College transcript.

All students attending non-Hamilton College programs MUST preapprove courses for transfer credit. To see what a completed petition should look like, view a sample of a typical transfer credit petition or a petition for an SIT program.

Courses taken pass-fail will NOT receive transfer credit. Grades must be equivalent to C or higher in order to receive transfer credit.

How to Choose and Preapprove Courses for Transfer Credit

  • When you have a list of courses available at your host university, choose twice as many courses for preapproval as you will actually enroll in. This helps guarantee that you will be able to enroll in a full complement of preapproved courses even if some courses conflict, are over-subscribed or are not offered.
  • Consider courses you must take (for example to fulfill a requirement for your concentration or minor), country-specific courses you want to take (for example a national history or literature course), and courses that complement Hamilton course offerings (for example, courses in subfields of your discipline that may not be offered at Hamilton).
  • Remember that Hamilton students are required to enroll in one course each semester in the language of any non-English speaking country in which they study (one course in Danish, Czech, Swahili, etc.).
  • Choose courses that are substantially similar to Hamilton courses in terms of content. They may match a Hamilton course closely enough to be counted as its equivalent, or they may simply be rigorous, liberal arts courses in a discipline taught at the College.
  • Be aware that Hamilton DOES NOT award transfer credit for non-liberal arts courses. Transfer credit is rarely awarded for courses in business, advertising, management, accounting, law or journalism or for "practice" courses such as television production.
  • Any course in your concentration or minor must be approved by your department chair, even if you do not intend to count it as a requirement or elective. 
  • Independent study projects completed abroad will not receive transfer credit until they have been reviewed by Hamilton College faculty members upon your return.
  • The quantity of transferred credit you receive is determined by a proportionality between the 32 Hamilton units required for a Hamilton degree and the number of units the transferring institution requires for a degree.  For example, if a school requires 120 semester-hours for a degree, a course worth three semester-hours at that school is .025 of the total required to graduate.  By proportionality, that three-semester-hour course generated .8 of a Hamilton unit, because (.025)(32)=.8.  The registrar uses this rule to evaluate the amount of transferred credit you will receive.  NOTE that you may need to enroll for more than four courses in order to receive four Hamilton units!

What if My Course Schedule Changes?

If you must choose new or additional courses when you arrive at your destination, be sure to follow the guidelines above: liberal arts courses in disciplines taught at the College and that seem substantially similar to Hamilton courses are the ones most likely to be approved.

Notify Sara Soika (ssoika@hamilton.edu) in the Registrar's Office as soon as possible that you need approval for a new course. Email her the course title, description, number of credit hours and any other information you think is relevant. She will seek the necessary signatures and notify you whether the course has been approved.

Do NOT plan to wait for approval until you get back to Hamilton! If you wait, you risk not receiving Hamilton credit for your courses abroad.

Back to Top