Caltech Home > HSS Home > Academics > Undergraduate Studies > Allowance of Credit in HSS
open search form

Allowance of Credit in HSS

1. General

Caltech students should ordinarily fulfill their course requirements by taking courses at Caltech. Students are expected to have a well-reasoned educational goal for taking courses elsewhere. The only regular exceptions are transfer students admitted to advanced standing. Credit for comparable work done at other institutions with similar academic standards is not granted automatically and must be approved by the appropriate executive officer.

2. Procedure

Students who wish to take courses elsewhere (whether on leave, during the summer, through a study abroad program, or during the school year) should consult, in advance, the appropriate executive officer to minimize any misunderstanding regarding the nature of credit they may receive. Upon completion of the course, students must have a copy of the transcript of their work at the other institution sent to the Registrar's Office, obtain an allowance of credit form from the Registrar's Office, obtain the signed approval of the appropriate executive officer, and return the completed form to the Registrar's Office.

The executive officer for the humanities and the executive officer for the social sciences are the final authorities for allowance of credit.

3. Guidelines

Credit is not given for courses taken in high school (including advanced placement courses).

Credit is not given for courses taken at junior or community colleges.

Credit is only given for courses that are, in the judgment of the executive officer, comparable to courses at Caltech. In the social sciences, courses must have a substantial analytical content; descriptions of social, economic, and political situations (e.g., "The U.S. Constitution," "Money in Inca America") are insufficient if not accompanied with a thorough analysis of why.

Freshman or advanced humanities credit is not given for courses that require little or no writing.

Freshman or advanced humanities credit is not given for any courses unless the student passes the diagnostic writing examination.

Courses taken at schools with which Caltech has a reciprocal registration agreement are presumed to be comparable to Caltech courses. Credit will be granted provided that the subject is appropriateā€”check with the appropriate executive officer.

Credit will not be given for courses taken elsewhere that Caltech offers and could have been taken at Caltech. Attending such courses elsewhere during the summer to hasten graduation is not acceptable.

4.Ā Further Suggestions for the Student

The student is responsible for taking care of any and all paperwork and keeping track of his/her credits throughout his/her time at Caltech. Waiting until the final term of one's senior year to obtain credit for coursework done earlier can create significant and avoidable difficulties.