Stained Glass of Linderman Library

Transfer Credit Evaluation: A Q&A for Admitted Transfer Students

I’ve been admitted to Lehigh as a transfer student. How does Lehigh go about reviewing my course credit to determine what will count toward a Lehigh major and/or degree?
The transfer credit evaluation process begins following admission. To evaluate your credit, Lehigh needs to send course materials to your college and appropriate academic departments for review. This process is coordinated by Registration and Academic Services, but many offices are involved. The sooner you start this process, the sooner your course credits will be evaluated.

What do I need to do to start the transfer credit process?
After admission to Lehigh, each transfer student should submit the following:

  1. An official transcript from each college or university granting you college course credit. If you are waiting to receive grades in your current courses, send your course descriptions and syllabi now, and if your application for admission did not include a transcript that reflected your in-progress coursework, please send a transcript with in-progress courses. We can start the credit evaluation process as your materials arrive, but we will wait to actually award the credit until we have received your final transcript with grades.
  2. The course descriptions for each course you wish to transfer to Lehigh. These can be found in your college’s catalog or bulletin, or on the course syllabus.
  3. In addition, many departments require your course syllabus in order to transfer the credit – and if the syllabus doesn’t have all the needed information, other supplemental documents that do have that information. This syllabus should be from the course you took, not one that is more recent. (If you cannot locate a syllabus from the term you took the course, Lehigh will review a current syllabus, but additional documentation may be needed.) Supplying the syllabus as early as possible is particularly important to transfer credit as specific Lehigh courses, rather than simply general credit.

What does Lehigh expect a syllabus (or other document) to show?
A course syllabus is a guide to the course and what is expected of students in the course. Generally, it includes basic information about the course (title, term and year taught, instructor name, meeting times), as well as course policies, rules and regulations, required texts, basic information about exams and assignments that count toward your semester grade, and a weekly reading schedule. For each course, submit the syllabus and any other documents required to provide the following information:

  1. Length of the term (e.g., 3 weeks, 14 weeks).
  2. Meeting schedule and contact hours (e.g., three hours lecture, one hour discussion section each week). If the course does not have a prescribed meeting schedule, but rather is self-paced, the student should provide this information.
  3. Learning outcomes/objectives for the course. These are generally listed on a syllabus; if no learning outcomes are listed on the syllabus, there may be information about learning outcomes/objectives or course goals on the department’s website or in the course catalog. Often these are clearly identified as a list on your syllabus; sometimes this is a more general paragraph about the goals of the course. It is possible that you cannot find clearly identified outcomes; if not, the default will be the course description in the course catalog or bulletin.
  4. The weekly reading assignments for the course; if not on a syllabus or other paper document, a printout from Blackboard or other online course website is acceptable.
  5. A listing of the course requirements that are the basis for the course grade (e.g., exams, papers).

How do I send my documents to Lehigh?
You should watch the email account you used on your application form. You will receive an email about how to submit any required materials via email. If you wish to receive a preliminary transfer credit evaluation in advance of the deposit deadline, please send these materials as soon as possible after receiving their offer of admission.

How might my credits transfer to Lehigh?
Credits might transfer in a couple of different ways. It is possible that your credits transfer as general credit. General credit will count toward the overall credit requirement for your degree, but not toward your specific major or (if you are a College of Business or Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science student) toward your college core courses.

It is also possible that your credits transfer as specific course credit—credit that can be used to fulfill prerequisites toward majors or major requirements. It is possible to get specific course credit from some departments even if the department does not offer the exact course that you took. The department granting credit must be comfortable that the course meets standards for course rigor.

What is the difference between preliminary and final course credit evaluations?
A credit evaluation is considered preliminary if it has been reviewed by the Office of Registration and Academic Services and is expected to receive at least general credit toward the degree. Preliminary credit evaluations still must be reviewed by the relevant academic department before they are finalized, and before they would be applied as credit toward a major.

Can you give me an example of how general credit works?
Say you want to transfer in an introductory economics course. If we grant general credit, we recognize that you took a legitimate course that qualifies as Lehigh elective credit toward your degree, but we have not identified it as meeting the standards of rigor and equivalency to count as Principles of Economics (ECO 001), Lehigh’s standard introductory economics course. Lehigh would transfer your economics course credit as ECO 099—a placeholder for general credit in economics. (Lehigh does not offer a course numbered ECO 099.) Your general credit would count toward your degree requirement, but if your college or major required ECO 001, your college or major department could still require you to take that course. Your ECO 099 credit would count toward an economics major only with permission from the department.

For transfer students, general credit may count toward humanities, social science and natural science college distribution requirements, but you may be required to provide documentation that the course fulfilled that general education requirement at your previous institution. Please note that while we accept AP credit, AP credit may not fulfill your college’s distribution requirements.

You should note that after you matriculate to Lehigh (begin your classes as a degree-seeking student), you will not be able to use transfer credit to meet Lehigh course requirements—including distribution requirements—without advance permission. Lehigh is more generous in granting distribution credit to incoming transfer students than to current, matriculated students.

What else should I know about transferring college course credit to Lehigh?
You should understand that your courses from other institutions, even if accepted for transfer, may not have provided complete coverage of the subject matter that the Lehigh equivalent course provides, and may not have been taught at the same level of depth as a Lehigh course. For example, if a composition course or introductory calculus is accepted for transfer as ENG 001 or MATH 021, it is possible that the transfer course covers a large majority but not all of the content of ENG 001 or MATH 021 – either because certain topics are not covered, or because the rigor of the courses are not identical. You should recognize that additional effort may be needed in subsequent courses to overcome any gaps.