Transfer Credit

Students may wish to apply courses they've earned at other institutions towards their major or concentration. The process for doing so is outlined below. 

Requirements for Transfer Courses

For a course taken outside of Columbia or Barnard to be able to count toward the Psychology Major or the Neuroscience & Behavior Major, the following must be true:

  • The course should be substantially similar in content and/or learning objectives to one offered at Columbia.
  • The course must have been approved for at least 3 points of credit by GS or CC.
  • The grade received must be a B- or better.
  • The course must have been taken within the past 7 years.
  • The course must have been taken fully in person and synchronously (with the exception of the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters: courses taken partly or entirely online during those semesters may be eligible to count toward the major).

If a course taken at another institution overlaps with a course taken at Columbia, only one will be applied towards the major. Please consult your Program Advisor if you are considering registering for a Columbia or Barnard course that is similar to a transfer course you plan to count toward your major.

Psychology Major

Up to 3 transfer courses may be counted toward the Psychology Major. Approval of transfer credits on a student's Entrance Credit Report toward general requirements for the bachelor's degree does not grant approval of these credits toward the psychology major. Once your school has approved your transfer courses, you then need to confirm whether they can fulfill psychology requirements using the Major Requirement Substitution Form.

Students who have completed an introductory psychology course at another institution should submit a Major Requirement Substitution Request (see procedure, below) to verify whether or not this course meets departmental standards to count towards the major. If transfer credit toward the major is not approved, the student must enroll in PSYC UN1001 or PSYC BC1001 to complete this major requirement.

The Psychology Department allows students to meet the Science of Psychology requirement with a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam, or a score of 7 on the Higher Level IB Psychology exam. The AP/IB Psychology exam does not count as a course or toward a student’s points total for their program; students placing out of the Science of Psychology requirement in this way will need to take an additional course to fulfill the required number for their major.

College Board Advanced Placement (AP) statistics exam scores may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement of the Psychology Major.

Statistics courses taken anywhere other than Columbia or Barnard may not count toward the major. The majority of our majors benefit from taking statistics here no matter how well they did in previous intro stats courses. If you are entering Columbia with extensive statistics coursework, your Program Advisor will help you find an appropriate advanced statistics course that can meet the Statistics Requirement of your major.  

Psychology Concentration 

The same guidelines for transferring courses to count toward the Psychology Major apply to the concentration, except that the maximum number of transfer courses that may count toward the concentration is 2.

Neuroscience & Behavior Major

The Neuroscience & Behavior major is co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology and the Department of Biological Sciences. In addition to one year of college general chemistry, eleven courses are required to complete the Neuroscience & Behavior major: seven from the Department of Biological Sciences and five from the Department of Psychology (commonly referred to as P1-P5). Please, consult this page for additional information on the major requirements for the Neuroscience and Behavior Major. 

Students should consult their Program Advisor in the Psychology department before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department. With the Advisor’s approval, a maximum of one psychology course from another institution, including Barnard, may be applied toward the psychology portion of the Neuroscience & Behavior major. Students who wish to obtain credit for a course taken at Barnard or at another institution should complete the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major, the course should be substantially similar to one offered by this department and approved for this major, and the grade received must be a C- or better if from Barnard, or B- or better if from another institution. 

The Psychology Department allows students to meet the Science of Psychology requirement with a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam, or a score of 7 on the Higher Level IB Psychology exam. The AP/IB Psychology exam does not count as a course or toward a student’s points total for their program; students placing out of the Science of Psychology requirement in this way will need to take an additional course to fulfill the required number for their major.

Statistics courses taken anywhere other than Columbia or Barnard may not be counted toward the N&B major; AP Statistics also is not able to count toward the Statistics (i,e., P3) requirement. Students who have completed a statistics course elsewhere are encouraged to fulfill the P3 requirement either with an intermediate/advanced stats course offered at Columbia, or by taking a PSYC UN1400-level research methods course.

Transfer Credit Request Procedure:

  1. If you are a transfer student and you are seeking to apply a psychology course taken elsewhere toward a requirement of the Psychology or N&B Major, you must first obtain transfer credit through CC or GS. If you have not already received approval from CC or GS to apply the course(s) in question toward your total number of credits needed to graduate, you will need to visit your Dean first to obtain the relevant forms and complete that process.
     
  2. If you will be studying abroad, consult with your Program Advisor prior to registering for classes at another institution. Provide your Program Advisor with the syllabus for any psychology course you would like to have (conditionally) approved towards the major. They can then advise you regarding the eligibility of the course. If a syllabus is not available, provide as much information about the course’s content and requirements as you can. You may need to contact your study-abroad institution and/or your prospective instructor to get this information.
     
  3. If you are a Columbia College student taking a course at another institution in the United States over the summer, you will need (conditional) advance approval. You should obtain a copy of Columbia College's Pre-Approval for a Course Taken at Another U.S. Institution form, available in the Center for Student Advising, 403 Lerner and discuss your plans with your advising dean.

Assemble all required materials for each course you want us to consider, and submit it to the UCA ([email protected]) via the Major Requirement Substitution Form:

  • Please fill out a separate form for each course you would like considered.
  • You will need to include a course syllabus that clearly indicates weekly topics and reading assignments as well as course requirements from the semester when you took the course.
    • If the syllabus is not sufficiently detailed you may be asked to submit copies of the textbook Table of Contents, quizzes and tests, and/or term papers.
    • We cannot review a course based on a generic (“departmental”) syllabus, or a syllabus from a different semester than when you took the course.
  • Your transcript showing grade received*
  • The appropriate Dean's form (typically, a transfer credit report for courses completed elsewhere)*

*If you are submitting multiple courses and the same transcript and entrance credit form apply to all of them, it’s okay to submit these starred documents just once, with the first course you submit; the additional courses may include just the syllabus and course info.

If you have any questions as you gather the materials for your submission, please email [email protected]. You may also request to meet with your Program Advisor at this point if you have an unusual transfer situation or any other issues you’d like to discuss (e.g., if you have taken several courses you could potentially transfer, and need help deciding which 3 of those courses would be most advantageous to apply toward your major).

IMPORTANT: If you are a GS Student, you must submit all required paperwork no later than the semester in which you declare a major; failure to meet this deadline may result in the loss of eligibility for transfer credit toward the major or concentration

Our Undergraduate Curriculum Assistant will check materials for completeness and then pass your submission on to the appropriate Program Advisor for review. That advisor will contact you if he or she has any questions or requires additional materials in order to review your request.

Once a Program Advisor has reviewed your request, the UCA will let you know whether or not permission has been granted. If it has, the UCA will confirm with you via email and enter an exception into your file.

The UCA will also contact the registrar to inform them that your transfer credit has been approved for the major. You will likely not see the approved transfer credit on your Degree Audit Report (DAR) on SSOL, but the UCA’s email confirmation will serve as a record of the details of the course(s) approved.

You can find the Major Requirement Substitution Form here.