Transfer Credits for Non-Yale Courses

Transferring a Chemistry Credit to Yale

Many Yale students want to transfer a chemistry course credit. Most of the time, this is straightforward. However, you should know that transfer credit is not automatically granted. There are a few guidelines the Chemistry Department follows in granting transfer credits, and it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with them before taking a chemistry course outside Yale. These guidelines are written for students intending to transfer a course equivalent to First Year Chemistry (Chem 161, 163, 165, 167) or Organic Chemistry (Chem 220, Chem 221). If you are interested in transferring another chemistry course, please see the chemistry DUS for any further requirements.

Check Yale College regulations for transfer of credit here before reading Chemistry specific guidelines below.

What qualifies as a university course for transfer credit?

How do I know if the course has the proper content?

What about transferring both lecture and lab credits?

O.K., so my course passes the test. What’s next?

Any other advice?

What qualifies a University’s courses for transfer credit?

Before enrolling in a chemistry course outside Yale or requesting credit for one, students should check to be sure that the course is potentially transferable. Courses cannot be pre-approved. However, it is usually easy to tell which universities offer courses that will transfer. The guidelines we follow are:

1) The course must be taken at a four-year university (Yale College rule).

2) The chemistry department at the transferring university should have a bachelors degree program in Chemistry.

3) Most transfers are accepted from universities judged to be comparable to Yale by meeting one of the following requirements:

a) By having a graduate degree program in chemistry. North American universities fulfilling this requirement are listed in the ACS Directory of Graduate Research. Course work earning a grade of C or better at such schools is typically transferable if it meets content requirements.

b) By offering an American Chemical Society accredited bachelors degree. Course work earning a grade of C or better at such schools is typically transferable if it meets content requirements.

c) Credit from 4-year schools that neither have graduate programs in chemistry, nor offer an ACS accredited degree are often transferable, but usually only if a grade of B or better is earned and the course meets content requirements.

4) College credit obtained during high school is not admissible as transfer credit, though it may prepare you for our placement exam that qualifies you for advanced courses.

5) Transfer students and Eli Whitney students often qualify for transfer credit of prior coursework at four-year or two-year institutions. Student in this situation should consult with the DUS (

If your course and grade do not meet these guidelines, you may still request the DUS to consider your case in more detail. However, you should be prepared to provide copies of exams, coursework, and other supporting documentation that the DUS may request (see the back of the Yale College transfer credit form for a complete list of the documentation the DUS may require).

In order to determine whether the school meets these guidelines, consult the school’s course catalog. You will also need to provide this documentation to the DUS in the Chemistry Department when you ask for approval of the transfer credit in the event that the DUS is not familiar with the university you choose to attend for the summer. You will also need to provide documentation from the course catalog indicating whether the school is on a semester or quarter system if this does not appear on the transcript.

How do I know if the course has the proper content?

If the university meets our standards, you will next need to determine whether the course itself is acceptable. Sometimes it is possible to tell from the course catalog description, but usually, the DUS will need to see the course syllabus and textbook. The department does not give pre-approval of courses per se. However, the DUS can advise you as to the likelihood a course will be approved pending successful completion if you are able to provide copies of the course catalog, course syllabus, and textbook. Since syllabi and texts often change, the DUS cannot offer approval without the actual syllabus and text for the course taken in the term that you enroll for it. Content guidelines for the equivalents of Chemistry 112 or 114, Chemistry 161 or 163, and Chemistry 220 or 221 are as follows:

First Year Chemistry 

(Chem 112/113, 114/115 or Chem 161, 163, 165, 167) - A typical approved transfer course will be required for the chemistry majors at the transferring university and use a text at the level of those adopted at Yale. Examples of the latter include university chemistry texts by Masterton and Hurley; Mortimer; Masterton, Slowinski and Stanitski; Kotz and Purcell; Oxtoby and Nachtrieb; or that by Zumdahl (Beware. Some of these authors have also written secondary school texts which are not acceptable.). Courses that do not satisfy the chemistry major requirements at the transferring university probably do not meet the department’s standards, and transfer credit will be denied.

organic chemistry 

(Chem 220/221) - A typical approved transfer course will a) be required for the majors at the transferring university, b) have a prerequisite of 1 year of university-level general chemistry, and c) use a text at the level of those adopted at Yale. Examples of the latter include university chemistry texts by Morrison and Boyd; Streitweiser and Heathcock; or Solomon. Courses that do not satisfy the chemistry major requirements at the transferring university or do not have a year of university chemistry as a prerequisite will not qualify for transfer credit.

chemistry labs 

(Chem 116La/117Lb or Chem 134La/136Lb Chem 222La/223Lb) – Sometimes, students desire to transfer only laboratory requirements. The same guidelines apply to the lecture courses. First-year and Organic labs will only be approved if they are designated to accompany a course at the transferring university that would also meet the standards for credit transfer.

In addition to these requirements, the contents of courses must be judged as similar to those offered at Yale on the basis of the course syllabus. Lecture courses that cover significantly less material or laboratories that perform far fewer lab exercises than those offered at Yale may not be deemed transferable.

what about transferring both lecture and lab credit?

Yale College only permits the transfer of 2 credits that apply toward the 36-credit graduation requirement. If you choose to transfer an entire year of Freshman or Organic chemistry, separate lab credits cannot also be transferred to apply toward the 36-credit degree requirement. However, you can transfer additional lab credits for the sole purpose of satisfying a departmental degree requirement. Many universities grade the laboratory and lecture as a single course. In this case, you can receive up to 2 credits for the course work and also satisfy laboratory course requirements, as long as both the lecture and laboratory portions satisfy our standards for content.

my course passes the test. what’s next?

After you complete your summer school course (hopefully with a grade of B or better), collect the following materials:

  1. Course syllabus.
  2. Course text (if not one of the ones mentioned above).
  3. Official transcript showing grades of transfer courses.
  4. Copy of pages from the transferring university’s course catalog indicating the requirements for the chemistry major and providing course descriptions. Also provide documentation that indicates whether the school you attended runs on semesters or quarters.

When you return to Yale, have the transcript sent to your Dean’s office. Bring a copy of this transcript and the transfer credit form along with the other materials above to the Chemistry Department main office in SCL 248, or email to The DUS assistant or graduate registrar will pass them on to the DUS for approval. This is usually done within a week, and you can then pick up your approved transfer credit form and supporting materials in person. Since the Chemistry department approves many transfer credit requests it is not possible for us to call you or mail your materials back.

any other advice?

Yes. Plan ahead if you are going to count on transferring chemistry course credits. Consult the DUS in the spring before you go to summer school, and make sure you collect and keep all the relevant materials. Once you complete the course, apply for the transfer credit right away. Students who wait until their senior year to transfer a course they took between their first and second years have often lost their documentation. We will be sympathetic, but approving a transfer credit the week before graduation without proper documentation is not possible.

Perhaps the best advice we can give you is to take your chemistry courses at Yale! It might be convenient to satisfy your pre-med requirements over the summer, but you won’t find a wider selection of introductory offerings elsewhere. Our faculty are committed to giving you the best chemistry instruction possible, and we hope you can find a way to fit your chemistry course requirements into your schedule.