Student Handbook

Academic Policies and Regulations

Transfer of Credit to Hamilton for Study Away

With faculty approval, qualified students may spend one to three semesters of study in an approved program overseas or at another American institution, or may receive credit for part-time study while on personal leave or during summers. The College tries to be responsive to the needs of students seeking diverse educational settings or courses not offered at Hamilton. At the same time, transferred credit can have a significant effect on the meaning and value of the Hamilton degree and thus must represent work that meets Hamilton's standards. The College considers the opportunity to earn transferred credit a privilege, rather than a right, and evaluates carefully the merits of all transferred credit petitions.

Every student intending to study away from Hamilton should prepare by taking the appropriate foundation courses. Consultation with the appropriate department chairs and the associate dean of students for study abroad early in the sophomore year is advised.

The conditions for transferred credit are as follows:

  1. Students planning to study away from Hamilton must register their intentions with the Dean of Students Office by the published deadlines. They must complete the transferred credit petition and receive the approval of their advisor and/or the appropriate department chairs before they begin the course of study away. Students who change their programs after leaving campus should discuss substitutions with the associate dean of students for off-campus/international study by e-mail or telephone.
  2. Courses must be taken at an accredited institution and must be considered by the faculty at Hamilton to be in the liberal arts. Students are encouraged to study at four-year institutions. Students who have earned 14 or more Hamilton units (including units earned by all forms of transferred credit) may present for transferred credit only courses taken at a four-year institution.
  3. Each course must be approved by the chair of the Hamilton department or program that would offer the course at the College. To obtain approval, students must provide a copy of the catalogue description of each course. If a course is not clearly within the purview of a Hamilton department or program, the Committee on Academic Standing will determine its acceptability. The appropriate chair should indicate if a course will apply toward a student's concentration or minor.
  4. Correspondence courses are not acceptable for transferred credit. Courses in which a substantial portion of the enrollment consists of high school students are not acceptable for transferred credit, even if they are college-level courses taught by a university-approved instructor or visiting professor.
  5. Grades must be the equivalent of C or higher.
  6. Students who carry out independent studies at another college or university in the United States must submit a separate form indicating that a Hamilton faculty member has evaluated and approved the completed project.
  7. 7. Transferred credits may account for no more than one-half of the total graduation credits. No more than two course credits will be granted for study during a summer.
  8. Seniors must take their final semester at Hamilton College. Matriculated students may spend no more than three semesters studying away from Hamilton.
  9. The quantity of transferred credit that a student may earn toward a Hamilton degree for work done at another school is determined by a proportionality between the 32 Hamilton units required for a Hamilton degree and the number of units required at the other school to earn 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 work required for a degree at that school. By proportionality, that three semester-hour course would generate .8 of a Hamilton unit, because (.025)(32) = .8. The registrar will use this rule to evaluate the totality of a student's transferred credit for a given semester or summer.
  10. The Committee on Academic Standing grants final approval of all transferred credit petitions. Any requests for exceptions to the above conditions must be submitted to the committee.

Transferred credit, including summer school and advanced placement credit, is counted toward the courses required for a degree. Such credit is entered on the transcript. The grade, however, is not included in the student's average and, therefore, does not affect class rank, which is determined solely on the basis of grades awarded for courses taken in Hamilton programs.

Once transferred credit has been entered on a student's transcript, that credit may not be removed from the transcript without approval of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Foreign students who enter Hamilton as first-year students and desire transferred credit for work done at a foreign college or university should consult the associate dean of students (academic) during their first year.

Study in a Foreign Country

  1. Students planning to study in a foreign country must follow and complete the procedures specified above for off-campus study and transferred credit. (These provisions do not apply to the Hamilton programs in China, France, Spain or the Hamilton-affiliated program in India. See the appropriate departments for the relevant information.)
  2. All students planning to study away must discuss their plans with the associate dean of students for off-campus/international study (located in the Dean of Students Office) by the published deadlines. Only students in good academic and social standing at the College may receive an approved leave of absence for foreign study.
  3.  As in the case of other off-campus programs, final approval of foreign study programs and transfer of foreign study credit is granted by the Committee on Academic Standing.

Upon returning to Hamilton, the student must have an official transcript sent to the Office of the Registrar documenting completion of the approved program. No credit will be approved for courses taken credit/no credit. Students must receive letter grades or equivalents from off-campus programs.

To earn credit toward a Hamilton degree for study abroad, a student must:

  1. earn a grade point average of 82 or higher during the two consecutive semesters at Hamilton immediately preceding the student's last semester at Hamilton before leaving for the study abroad.
  2. receive no final grades of F or FF in the semester immediately preceding the proposed period of study abroad.

Students applying to the Hamilton programs in China, France or Spain, or the Hamilton-affiliated program in India may, with the support of the appropriate program director and the concentration advisor, apply to the Committee on Academic Standing for a waiver of the 82 average rule.

To earn credit toward a Hamilton degree by work transferred from study abroad in a country whose language is not English, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. prior to studying abroad, pass a course (or otherwise demonstrate proficiency) in the language of that country at:
    1. the fourth-semester level for French, German, Russian and Spanish;
    2. the second-semester level for Italian, Chinese and Japanese;
    3. the second-semester level, if the Critical Language Program at Hamilton offers instruction in that language regularly.
  2. 2. while studying abroad, undertake for credit work that is either conducted in the language of that country or that increases the student's proficiency in that language. The student must earn a grade of C or higher, and the work must be worth at least one-fifth of the total work presented for transferred credit from that study abroad.

The Committee on Academic Standing may, upon the recommendation of an academic department at Hamilton, modify these requirements for specific students or programs of study abroad.