Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Transfer of Credit to St. Olaf College


Pre-college credit includes:
PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Option): Courses taken by high school students that are taught on the campus of a regionally accredited college or university under the instruction of a university faculty member.
CIS (College in the Schools): Courses taken by high school students that are offered in conjunction with a university but are most often taught by a high school teacher at the high school. In some cases, these courses may make use of distance education methods.
AP (Advanced Placement) Exams: College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) national exams normally taken in conjunction with a high school AP course.
IB (High School International Baccaleaurate) Higher Exams: Exams taken in conjunction with an IB high school curriculum.

General Policy on Pre-College Transfer Credit:
St. Olaf College awards a maximum of 6.00 (six) St. Olaf-equivalent credits from among all pre-college (PSEO/CIS/AP/IB) credits presented by matriculating first-year students. The registrar first awards credit for the AP exams that qualify. If the six pre-college credits allowed are not fulfilled by AP alone, then the registrar can award up to a maximum of four of the six allowable pre-college credits through approved PSEO/CIS courses. In extraordinary circumstances, students may submit a request for an exception to the four-course limit on PSEO credits. For guidelines and procedures, consult the registrar.

An official transcript, requested by the student and sent directly to the Registrar’s Office from the college or university certifying the credit (PSEO, CIS), or an official report (AP/IB), is required for consideration of awarding St. Olaf credit.

PSEO or CIS courses do not reduce the 24 graded-course-credit requirement for all degree-seeking students.

Pre-college courses may each, when appropriate as determined by the registrar, count toward only one general education credit except for the MCD, MCG, or WRI attributes, which may be awarded in conjunction with a second general education attribute. Students may fulfill a maximum of one of the two requirements in each of HBS and HWC. Only one of the two natural science requirements, SED and IST, may be fulfilled by pre-college courses (PSEO/CIS). A maximum of six (6.00) GE requirements may be fulfilled via pre-college course credits. See additional degree information regarding general education requirements.

Double credit is not given for equivalent PSEO courses and AP credits.

In all cases, final judgment on the awarding of credit is made by the registrar.

Post-Secondary Education Option (PSEO) / College in the Schools (CIS)
Only PSEO courses taught by a college/university faculty member on the campus of an accredited college or university under an established post-secondary program, of a liberal arts nature, and of at least three (3.00) semester or four (4.00) quarter credits, and in which the student has received a grade of “C” or higher, are considered for St. Olaf credit.

Only CIS courses that are taught in the high school through an accredited college or university are accepted for credit. The college or university either trains the high school teacher and reviews the program or provides a college instructor for the class. (In many cases coursework is reviewed and graded by a college instructor even if that instructor is not the teacher of record for the class.) CIS courses must appear on the transcript of an accredited college or university under an established post-secondary program, be of a liberal arts nature, and receive at least three (3.00) semester or four (4.00) quarter credits, and the student must receive a grade of “C” or higher, to be considered for St. Olaf credit.

No online or distance learning courses will be accepted to fulfill PSEO or CIS.

Advanced Placement (AP)
Department/program policies concerning AP exams are set once each year, in February, for the following academic year’s application pool and may, therefore, change from year to year. Normally, students who receive scores of “4” or “5” from the CEEB Advanced Placement Program receive placement and/or credit (including general education credit) according to policies set by the college’s departments and programs. Some departments require a score of “5” on some tests. Departmental/program policies and guidelines for awarding advanced placement credit are available only at the Registrar’s Office.

International Baccalaureate (IB)
Upon receipt of official documentation, and with certain departmental restrictions, St. Olaf awards credit only for scores of “5” through “7” on the Higher Level Exams of the High School International Baccalaureate Program. Departmental/program policies and guidelines for awarding international baccalaureate credit are available at the Registrar’s Office; questions should be directed to the registrar. 

gENERAL Policies Governing All Transfer of Credit To St. Olaf College:

  1. Credit for work done at other regionally accredited colleges or universities, if satisfactory in grade and applicable toward a liberal arts degree, is generally allowed to count toward a bachelor’s degree at St. Olaf, with some restrictions; see #6 below. A “regionally accredited college or university” means a liberal arts institution accredited by an approved regional accrediting commission. St. Olaf excludes vocational, technical, business, and on-line/correspondence institutions, even if regionally accredited.
  2. The following are not transferable as St. Olaf credit: courses that are essentially workshops, camps, summer theater, guides, summer jobs, assistantships, and travel programs; music ensemble participation credits (band, choir, orchestra, etc.); intercollegiate athletic participation; internships and/or independent study courses taken through another regionally accredited college or university. Courses of fewer than four weeks in length (regardless of the number of class contact hours) are not transferable as St. Olaf credit. Students considering “Extension School” courses at the University of Minnesota or elsewhere must check with the registrar.
  3. One St. Olaf course credit is equivalent to 4.00 semester or 5.50 quarter credits (hours). A course must meet the normal requirements of a minimum of 36 class contact hours to qualify for St. Olaf credit. If a St. Olaf student has previously taken work on a semester and/or quarter system, semester credits are counted separately from quarter credits and all are converted, using the transfer course scale, to St. Olaf course credits. Once the conversion has been made, the course credits are added together to determine the total number of course credits transferred.

    Transfer Course Scale: Semester and Quarter Credits Converted to St. Olaf Courses

    0-3 qtr. crs. or 0-2 sem. crs. = 0 St. Olaf course
    4-7 qtr. crs. or 3-5 sem. crs. = 1 St. Olaf course
    8-12 qtr. crs. or 6-8 sem. crs. = 2 St. Olaf courses
    13-18 qtr. crs. or 9-12 sem. crs. = 3 St. Olaf courses
    19-23 qtr. crs. or 13-16 sem. crs. = 4 St. Olaf courses
    24-29 qtr. crs. or 17-19 sem. crs. = 5 St. Olaf courses
    30-34 qtr. crs. or 20-23 sem. crs. = 6 St. Olaf courses
    35-40 qtr. crs. or 24-27 sem. crs. = 7 St. Olaf courses
    41-45 qtr. crs. or 28-30 sem. crs. = 8 St. Olaf courses
    46-50 qtr. crs. or 31-34 sem. crs. = 9 St. Olaf courses

  4. Only courses graded C or higher at the original institution are given credit for appropriate courses through transfer. The actual grades earned at other institutions are entered on the student’s St. Olaf record but are not considered graded courses that count toward the St. Olaf grade point average. The college does not accept courses awarded pass (P) or satisfactory (S) grades from other institutions.
  5. Non-St. Olaf off-campus work during summer school or a term or more of an academic year through another college/university must be evaluated and approved by the registrar in advance. Students must submit a transfer of credit form for pre-approval. The student is given a copy of the approved form as a receipt; the registrar retains the original. An official transcript reflecting the completed course work at the host college/university must be sent by that institution directly to the St. Olaf registrar before credit transfer can be considered. The registrar may also request a photocopy or printed copy of the Web pages of the relevant portion of the host college’s catalog and the class schedule, course outlines, or syllabi.
  6. Current students should be aware of restrictions on the number of courses that can be transferred from other institutions. After students have matriculated at St. Olaf, unless they are transfer students, they may subsequently transfer a maximum of 4.00 equivalent St. Olaf courses from other colleges or universities to St. Olaf for degree credit; only two (2) general education requirements may be awarded. This applies, as well, to students who take a leave of absence from St. Olaf. A transfer student may be allowed fewer than four equivalent St. Olaf credits after matriculation, depending upon the total credits initially transferred. The specific number allowed is found on the student’s degree audit.

    Course credits earned on St. Olaf-sponsored off-campus programs or through inter-registration with Carleton College or an approved Interim exchange program are excluded from these restrictions.
  7. Transfer courses may reduce a student’s requirements under the 24-graded-course rule under GENERAL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. Consult the reduced graded course scale under GRADED AND UNGRADED COURSES in this catalog.
  8. Juniors and seniors planning transfer work from other institutions must be aware of the St. Olaf senior residency requirement. New transfer students must complete a minimum of 17.00 credits at St. Olaf or through St. Olaf programs. Current students must enroll full-time both semesters of their senior year or complete 9 of their last 12 credits at St. Olaf.
  9. General Education (GE) Accreditation: If transfer work is accepted for St. Olaf credit, the Registrar’s Office may authorize GE credit for such work in accordance with the GENERAL EDUCATION ACCREDITATION OF ST. OLAF-APPROVED TRANSFER COURSES AND OFF-CAMPUS COURSEWORK . New entering transfer students receive a written evaluation of credits accepted by St. Olaf from the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising.

    At least three (3.00) semester or four (4.00) quarter credits (hours) are required for a transfer course to fulfill a particular general education requirement. A course worth fewer than three semester or four quarter credits cannot by itself satisfy a St. Olaf general education requirement or be applied to a major.

    The following GE requirements are waived for transferred students under certain circumstances:

    The First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is waived for students entering with fifteen (15) or more transfer credits (junior standing).
    Writing in Context: One Writing in Context requirement (WRI) is waived for students entering with six to fourteen (6-14) transfer credits (sophomore standing); two Writing in Context requirements (WRI) are waived for students entering with fifteen to eighteen (15-18) transfer credits (junior standing).
    The Biblical Studies requirement (BTS-B) is waived for students entering with fifteen (15) or more transfer credits (junior standing).

  10. Students wishing to apply a transfer course toward a major or a concentration should consult with the department chair or program director. Courses not granted preliminary approval for transfer by the registrar are not allowed for transfer credit, regardless of the judgment of a department or program about their suitability for a major.
  11. Consult the policy on FOREIGN LANGUAGE (FOL) and ENTERING ST. OLAF.

Transfer Students (students currently enrolled at other institutions wishing to transfer to St. Olaf): Additional Policies

  1. Transfer students should seek admission to St. Olaf by contacting the director of admissions. During the admissions process, the registrar is asked by the Office of Admissions to provide the applicant with an evaluation of transfer credit, based on official transcripts. For additional information, see .
  2. All students transferring to St. Olaf from other colleges or universities must be aware of restrictions on the number of transfer credits allowed after matriculation to St. Olaf. The number of additional transfer credits allowed is printed on the degree audit.
  3. Transfer students should become familiar with the college’s S/U policy. Students who are transferring more than six courses to St. Olaf from another institution may have the allowable number of permitted S/U courses reduced by scale. This scale is recorded by the registrar on the evaluation of transfer credit form returned to the transfer applicant during the admission process and is posted on the student’s degree audit.
  4. Transfer students who have previously received college credit for courses taken in high school or college courses taken while in high school should be aware of the college’s policies. See PRE-COLLEGE CREDITS APPLIED TO ST. OLAF COLLEGE. College Board Advanced Placement credit is considered if the transfer student provides St. Olaf with the original scores.


  1. Courses taken by St. Olaf students at colleges and universities within the United States and on St. Olaf-approved off-campus programs, at the appropriate level and worth the equivalent of three semester credits or four quarter credits, may earn general education (GE) credit if they meet the criteria listed under the General Education Requirements. The amount of GE credit a student may earn will depend on the source of the work being accredited, that is, whether it was earned through work completed prior to enrollment at St. Olaf, work completed on a faculty-led international program, work completed at another university, etc. Non-St. Olaf abroad program courses do not fulfill any General Education requirements.
  2. At least one of the two courses in each of the following general education requirement categories must be taken from a St. Olaf faculty instructor.

    Historical Studies in Western Culture (HWC)
    Studies in Human Behavior and Society (HBS)
    Scientific Exploration and Discovery (SED) / Integrated Scientific Topics (IST)

    Exception: If a student has received credit for one of the above general education requirements through pre-college credit, s/he may receive credit for the other one via a St. Olaf-approved off-campus program.

  3. Double-counting for off-campus courses instructed by non-St. Olaf faculty is permitted only for the following types of courses:

    Courses appropriate to the Writing in Context requirement (WRI)
    Courses appropriate to the Multicultural Studies Domestic Component requirement (MCD) or Multicultural Studies Global Course requirement (MCG). Such courses may meet one additional GE requirement if they meet the relevant guidelines described under the General Education Requirements

  4. With the approval of the relevant department chair or program advisor, off-campus advisor, off-campus courses may meet a major or concentration requirement in addition to meeting a GE requirement.