Summer Course Approvals

How to Obtain Your Summer Course Approval

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 Andres or Dr. Schwalm if you still have questions. If you are planning to take a summer course abroad (including Canada!), all of the materials below need to be submitted to Dean Nancy Kanach in the Office of International Programs (36 University Place), 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 (e.g. 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’d like that history to fulfill a requirement in Comp Lit). If you’d like to the course to count towards a certificate program, then you must also secure the signature of the program director. 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, or to the Office of International Programs for courses abroad.


When is the deadline?
You must submit your signed approval to the Whitman College Office by Dean’s Date of the term before you intend to take the course (e.g. by spring term Dean’s Date for a course taken over the summer).

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 the sociology of gender might well be approved; a course on auto repair would not. Journalism, business school, and communications courses are unlikely to be approved for Princeton credit—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.  The course must meet for a minimum of four weeks, and include 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.

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.

What about language courses? Can I fill my language requirement with a summer course?
Credit for language courses is approved on a provisional basis. One course credit for beginning language may be granted if the department determines after the class that you have progressed beyond the 102 level in the language. Credit for other language classes (e.g. 107, 108, etc.) is also dependent on departmental assessment after you complete the summer class. Note that language classes must have a minimum of 60 hours and meet for at least 4 weeks. So if you want to take a language class, remember that everything depends on the Princeton test that you take when you return to campus.

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?
You may stop by the Whitman College Office or download the form here:  Preapproval Form for Transfer Credit