Within the United States, courses must be taken at a four year, accredited college/university. For non-US programs, consultation with the Off-Campus Study Office is required to confirm transfer credit eligibility. Beginning with courses taken in the Summer 2014 term forward, students may apply for transfer credit approval for online or hybrid courses (excluding study abroad courses). Credit is only awarded for courses analogous to those in the Bowdoin curriculum. No credit is transferred for courses with a professional focus such as business, marketing, communications or journalism; bridge or winter session courses. Courses may not be taken Credit/Fail.
Students may transfer a cumulative total of no more than four credits from study in any type of summer school program and eight credits (four credits per term) from study abroad. Students may apply a maximum of four* pre-matriculation course credits toward their Bowdoin degree from the following sources: Advanced Placement Program, International Baccalaureate Program, other approved International exams, and college credits for courses that were completed on a college campus, taught by college faculty, completed in a class with matriculated college students, and were not used to satisfy any high school graduation requirements. (*Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2013 are grandfathered under the rules they matriculated under and may apply eight pre-matriculation credits toward their Bowdoin degree.)
Students must register at the host institution full time, in the appropriate amount of courses that will equate to 4.00 Bowdoin credits. In some cases, this will require a student to register in more than four courses. Students should consult with the Office of Off-Campus Study to confirm their final course schedule is the equivalent of 4.00 Bowdoin credits per term during a study abroad experience. Should a student's originally approved study away course change, the student is required to notify the Office of Off-Campus Study at the start of term and in some cases may be required to obtain pre-approval from a department and/or advisor.
Summer courses or courses taken while on a Medical Leave or Suspension
One Bowdoin course is considered equal to four semester hours or six quarter hours. Therefore, courses taken elsewhere which are worth less than four semester hours or six quarter hours will transfer as less than 1.00 credit. See the Application for Transfer of Credit form for more details and examples. While some exceptions may occur, no course taken elsewhere will be worth more than 1.00 Bowdoin credit. Thus, students will not receive 'extra' credit for courses that have accompanying laboratory credits. Students are required to obtain pre-approval for credit intended to transfer back to Bowdoin on the Application for Transfer of Credit form. If a student does not obtain pre-approval for a course they will be required to petition the Recording Committee, including the signed Application for Transfer of Credit form with the petition.
The Office of the Registrar, Department Chair, or Recording Committee may decline to grant credit if a course or the student's work in the course does not satisfy Bowdoin academic standards.
There are three types of transfer credit which a student can seek approval for: General, Major/Minor, or Bowdoin Equivalent.
General Credit: In most cases, courses taken elsewhere will appear as "General Credit" on the official Bowdoin transcript and the Degree Progress page of Polaris. This means that the rigor and content of the coursework is equitable to a course at Bowdoin and the credits earned (not the grade) will be counted towards the Bowdoin degree. Transfer Credit approved for General Credit will appear as GENL XXXX on Degree Progress in Polaris.
Major/Minor Credit: In some cases, a course(s) taken elsewhere may be approved to count towards a student's major/minor requirements at Bowdoin. This means that the course content aligns closely with the materials in a student's major/minor department and regardless of the amount of credit earned, the student can count that course taken elsewhere as part of X requirements for Y major/minor. As with General Credit, non-Bowdoin grades are not factored into the GPA. Note that courses approved for Major/Minor Credit will still appear in Degree Progress as GENL XXXX. Students interested in having courses taken off campus count towards a major/minor requirement should meet with the department chair/program director after the general credit has been applied to their record to discuss the possibility of earning major/minor credit. If the department/program approves, the chair/director submits an exception form to The Office of the Registrar to have Degree Progress display where in the requirements the transfer credit is counting.
Bowdoin Equivalent Credit: In rare cases, a course taken elsewhere may be approved as a Bowdoin Equivalent and it will function during registration and degree audits as if it had been taken here. The transferred course will calculate as a pre-requisite for upper level courses. The difference between a Bowdoin Equivalent Credit and a class taken at Bowdoin is that only the credits and not the grade will factor into the Bowdoin degree for the course taken elsewhere. Transfer Credit approved as a Bowdoin Equivalent will appear in Degree Progress with the Subject and Number of the Bowdoin Equivalent Course for which it was approved. Non-Bowdoin courses will not earn distribution/division credit if it is approved as a course equivalent. All distribution/division requirements must be met with courses taken at Bowdoin.
Regardless of the type of credit being sought, a student must obtain pre-approval and often the Academic Advisor, Chair, or Department Faculty (depending on who is required to grant pre-approval) will want to evaluate coursework BEFORE final credit is awarded. Please contact those Faculty Members directly to determine the format they would prefer to receive coursework.
No credit will be awarded by Bowdoin's Office of the Registrar until an official transcript showing the number of credits or credit-hours and the grade(s) earned has been received from the host institution. A transcript is considered official only if it arrives at the Office of the Registrar in its original, sealed envelope. Beginning with courses taken in the Summer 2014 term forward, official e-transcripts will be accepted if they are sent directly from the host institution's Registrar's Office with appropriate security measures, e.g. password in separate email or encryption. No transcripts (e-version or hard copy) from courses taken elsewhere will be accepted from students unless they are in a sealed envelope. Bowdoin College cannot request a transcript on a student's behalf from another institution; it is the student's responsibility to make certain that an official transcript is sent directly to: Office of the Registrar, Bowdoin College, 4500 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011-8436.
Please see below for examples of how courses taken elsewhere, at both International and Domestic Institutions, appear on the official Bowdoin transcript as well as in Degree Progress on Polaris.
Courses taken at Bowdoin on the official transcript:
Courses taken at a Domestic Institution (e.g. During the Summer or while on Medical Leave or Suspension) on the official transcript:
Courses taken abroad through the Office of Off-Campus Study, One Semester (4 credits) on the official transcript:
Courses taken abroad through the Office of Off-Campus Study, Full Year (8 credits) on the official transcript:
Courses taken at a Domestic Institution (e.g. during the Summer or while on Medical Leave or Suspension) in Degree Progress on Polaris:
Courses taken abroad through the Office of Off-Campus Study in Degree Progress on Polaris:
No course titles or grades are listed on an official Bowdoin transcript for courses earned off campus. After transfer credit is processed, students will receive an email indicating credits will appear under the Degree Progress link of Polaris within 24 hours. Courses are indicated in Degree Progress for advising purposes only. The official transcript will only reflect the term, institution attended, and total credits received (see above for examples.)
|1. Consult with your Academic Advisor and the Office of Off-Campus Study to inquire about Study Abroad opportunties.|
|2. Complete the Study Abroad Application form in consultation with your Advisor and final approval by the Office of Off-Campus Study.|
|3. Upon arrival at host institution, confirm final course schedule with the Office of Off-Campus Study.|
|4. Successfully complete all courses at the host institution with the equivalent of a C- or better.|
|5. Request an official transcript be sent directly from the host institution to: Office of the Registrar, Bowdoin College, 4500 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011.|
|6. If applicable, send evidence of coursework to the Chair or Department Faculty who signed your form for final approval.|
|7. Faculty should verify their final approva/denial in writing or via an email to email@example.com|
|8. Allow 2-4 weeks from Bowdoin's receipt of official transcript for transfer credit to be applied to your Bowdoin record.|
|9. Students will receive email notification from the Office of the Registrar that credit is applied and viewable in Polaris.|
|10. After the general credit is applied, students should follow-up directly with Major/Minor Departments with questions regarding courses counting toward Major/Minor requirements.|
|11. Department Chair/Program Director submits an Exception Form to the Office of the Registrar if any transfer credit is approved to count towards a Major/Minor requirement.|
|12. The Office of the Registrar enters the exception into the system and the student confirms the change in Degree Progress after receiving notification that it has been updated.|
|Summer courses taken while on a Medical Leave or Suspension|
|1. Complete the Application for Transfer of Credit form.|
|2. Meet with the appropriate Department Chair (in the subject area of the course you wish to take), to obtain approval on the Application of Transfer of Credit form. You will be required to provide as much information about the course you wish to take, when approaching the Chair for approval. This could include: a course description, syllabus, or additional information.|
|3. Additional review is required by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs if the course is an online course.|
|4. If your course is approved, submit the completed Application for Transfer of Credit form to the appropriate office noted on the form: Domestic Institutions- return to the Office of the Registrar; International Institutions- return to the Office of Off-Campus Study.|
|5. Successfully complete all courses at the host institution with the equivalent of a C- or better.|
|6. Request an official transcript be sent directly from the host institution to: Office of the Registrar, Bowdoin College, 4500 College Station, Brunswick, ME 04011.|
|7. If applicable, send evidence of coursework to the Department Chair who signed your form for final approval.|
|8. Faculty should verify their final approval/denial in writing or via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|9. Allow 2-4 weeks from Bowdoin's receipt of official transcript for transfer credit to be applied to your Bowdoin record.|
|10. Students will receive email notification from the Office of the Registrar that credit is applied and viewable in Polaris.|
|11. After the general credit is applied, students should follow-up directly with Major/Minor Departments with questions regarding courses counting toward Major/Minor requirements.|
|12. Department Chair/Program Director submits an Exception Form to the Office of the Registrar if any transfer credit is approved to count towards a Major/Minor requirement.|
|13. The Office of the Registrar enters the exception into the system and the student confirms the change in Degree Progress after receiving notification that it has been updated.|