Summer Course Information
Thinking about taking a summer course at another institution? Read on!
The process of getting summer courses approved is fairly simple, but it does require that you pay attention to details. Please read the FAQ’s below, download and read the approval form, and contact Dean Graves-Bayazitoglu if you still have questions. If you are planning to take a summer course outside the United States, all of the materials below need to be submitted to Dean Nancy Kanach in the Office of International Programs, not to the Whitman College Office.
What’s the process?
1) Do some web research and find a class that looks promising (see below for details about this, and read the approval form very carefully before you start looking). Then print out all of the course information, the syllabus, and the summer session calendar stating the first and last days of class. Fill out PART ONE of the approval form fully: be sure to note the purpose of the course.
2) Take the form and supporting information to the Department Representative of the relevant department (for example, the history “dep rep” for a history course). He or she will decide if the course may be approved, and will sign your form. If the course will be a prerequisite in a different department, you must also get a signature there (e.g. if you’re trying to use that physics course for Mol Bio). BSE students, you also need a signature from Dean Bogucki.
3) After the approval form is signed, bring the form and supporting materials to the Whitman College Office.
When is the deadline?
The deadline is the Dean’s Date before the course begins. That means spring Dean's Date for a summer course. Give yourself plenty of time to get the course approved by the department; remember that faculty often leave Princeton to do research during the summer, so get in touch with them during the semester!
What kinds of courses may be approved for credit?
A course you take elsewhere must “fit generally within the range of course offerings in a Princeton department or program.” This means that a course on sub-Saharan filmmakers might well be approved; a course on Accounting would not. Journalism, business school, and communications courses are unlikely to be approved—you may well want to go ahead and take them for your own enrichment, however!
Courses must be offered by a four-year accredited university, and must meet for a minimum of four weeks, and 30 hours of in-class time.
Will I get distribution credit for my summer course?
A maximum of two outside courses may be used to fill AB distribution requirements. You may use only one course each in two of the three following areas: LA, ST, SA. Members of the class of 2015 and beyond will be able to seek transfer credit only for STN, not STL. BSE students may take a maximum of four courses at another institution that count toward graduation.
Can I use a summer course for a prerequisite or department requirement?
If you are planning to take a class as a prerequisite or required course in your department, be very sure to make this clear when you ask for departmental approval. Most departments require that the content of outside courses be “substantially similar” in order for them to qualify as prerequisites or requirements. You may have to get a signature from the department you intend to major in along with the signature of the department approving the course (i.e., you are majoring in Comparative Literature and taking a summer course in Spanish Lit; you’ll need the COM departmental representative to approve the course as a departmental as well as the SPO departmental representative to approve the course as “substantially similar” to a course they would teach).
What about language courses? Can I fill my language requirement with a summer course?
Credit for language courses is not conferred until after you return to campus and take the placement exam; to receive one course credit, you must place out of all 100-level courses in the language. So you could take a summer course hoping to do better on the placement test, or to pass out altogether, but everything depends on the Princeton language placement test that you take when you return to campus. In other words, it’s a risk if you need the credit for graduation.
Will my summer grade show up on my transcript?
No. In order to get any credit, you must get a grade of C or higher (a C- is not acceptable for credit). After we receive your summer transcript, your summer grade will be turned into a “T” for transfer credit when it appears on your Princeton transcript, and it will not go into your GPA. *Note that many grad schools and scholarship applications require transcripts from every school you attend, so these summer grades won’t really disappear!
Where can I get a summer course approval form?