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Transfer Credit

Policies

 

Accelerated BSN Students

Transfer credit for accelerated pre-requisite courses is reviewed and approved by the Office of Enrollment Management during the admissions process.  All pre-requisite course work must be completed at an accredited institution with a grade of C or higher, and a final transcript must be sent to the School of Nursing Office of Student Information by May 31.

In addition to the required pre-requisites, accelerated students are eligible to seek transfer credit for the health care ethics and/or health policy requirement if they have previously completed course work in these areas.  See Procedures for the timeline and instructions for submitting course work for review.

 

BSN Students

Pre-College and Dual Enrollment Credit

Students entering Penn Fall 2016 or later:

Transfer credit will not be granted for college-level course work taken while enrolled at the secondary level or in the summer prior to matriculation at the University.  The only exception is students who enroll in courses at Penn during the summer prior to their matriculation into an undergraduate degree program at the University.  Such course work and credit will be recorded as Penn course work on the undergraduate transcript.

Students Entering Penn before Fall 2016:

Students who have taken courses at another college or university prior to enrollment at Penn may seek up to 4 cus of transfer credit for those courses for fulfillment of sector or free elective requirements, where applicable.  Pre-college courses will be evaluated for Penn credit if the student earned a grade of C or higher and the course was:

  • Taught at a fully accredited college or university
  • Taught on the college’s campus by a member of the regular faculty
  • Open to enrollment by, and graded in direct competition with, regularly matriculated undergraduates at the college
  • Part of the normal curriculum published in the college’s catalog
  • Taken for a grade (not pass/fail or audit)
  • Not used to fulfill any high school graduation requirement

Students seeking credit for pre-college courses must:

  • Have the college or university where the course was taken send an official transcript, along with a letter verifying the above criteria were met, to the Transfer Credit Coordinator in Penn’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions (215-898-7507).
  • Log in to the External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) and follow the instructions to receive approval from the appropriate academic department at Penn.  Be sure to check “pre-college course” when submitting the request.  See Procedures for more information on XCAT.

Acceptance of pre-college credit is at the discretion of the individual Penn department or program.

Credit Away

With pre-approval, currently enrolled Penn Nursing students may take up to four sector or free elective courses at another college or university over the summer.   Students are generally not permitted to complete required nursing courses outside of Penn, with the exception of statistics.   This exception counts toward the four course limit.

Eligible courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Taken at an accredited, four-year institution
  • Final grade of C or higher (no pass/fail or audit)
  • Approved in advance by the appropriate department at Penn (see Procedures

External Transfer Students

Upon admission, external transfer students receive a preliminary plan of study with an estimation of potential transfer credit.  This estimation does not constitute approval.  All course work must undergo a formal review process through Penn’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) to determine which credits will transfer.  Click on the guide below for more information.

XCAT Guide for External Transfer Students

Semester Study Abroad Credit

Oxford Brookes University: England

Students do not need to submit NURS 245/255 or their independent study through XCAT.  Once the school receives final transcripts from Oxford Brookes, we will work with the Registrar to have grades posted for these courses.  All other courses taken abroad must be submitted through XCAT in advance for pre-approval.

The University of Queensland: Australia

Students do not need to submit NURS 245/255 through XCAT.  Once the school receives final transcripts from the University of Queensland, we will work with the Registrar to have grades posted for these courses.  

Hebrew University: Israel

Students do not need to submit NURS 380 through XCAT.  Once the school receives final transcripts from Hebrew University, we will work with the Registrar to have the grade posted for this course.  All other courses taken abroad must be submitted through XCAT in advance for pre-approval.

See Procedures for more information on XCAT.

 

MSN and DNP Students

 A maximum of two course units (or their equivalents) may be approved for transfer credit for the MSN and DNP programs.

Eligible courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Taken at the graduate level
  • Taken at an accredited, four-year institution
  • Final grade of B or higher (no pass/fail or audit)
  • Taken prior to admission to the University of Pennsylvania MSN or DNP program

Additionally:

  • Courses with a clinical component in which the clinical hours are counted for purposes of the regulatory and credentialing bodies are not acceptable for transfer.
  • Advanced pathophysiology and advanced physical assessment courses will be considered for transfer credit only if completed within five years of matriculation.
  • Advanced pharmacology courses will be considered for transfer credit only if completed within two years of the expected date of completion of the MSN or DNP program.

All transfer credit decisions are at the discretion of the course faculty.  See Procedures for the timeline and instructions on submitting course work for review. 

Summer Courses and Credit Away
Do I really need to take a summer course?

If you think you need to take summer courses to graduate on time, check with your faculty advisor or an advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs (advisor@nursing.upenn.edu). You may not need a summer course in order to graduate on time.

If you want to take a summer course because your summer internship or job plans have changed, check with Career Services who can help identify other opportunities this summer. 

Keep in mind the cost of summer courses both here and at Penn and whether you need the credit to graduate or not. If you are interested in learning more about a subject or building your skill sets over the summer, Coursera is an option that does not grant credit but also does not cost money.

Penn Summer Courses

Can I use a Penn summer course for a BSN requirement?

You can use a Penn summer course for BSN requirements. The same designations and policies apply as during the academic year.

How much does a Penn summer course cost?

You can find the cost of Penn summer courses on the Penn Summer page. You should check with Penn Student Financial Aid to see if you are eligible for summer aid.

What if a Penn summer course is closed?

If a Penn summer course is closed, you can also try to find an alternate course at Penn or through Credit Away (see the Credit Away FAQs below).

Summer Courses Outside Penn

What is Credit Away?

Penn credit for courses taken at other schools during the summer is called credit away. Penn credit for credit away is determined through XCAT. You should submit a request for credit away before the course begins so that you know if you have Penn credit before taking that course.

View the XCAT tutorial.

A Penn department can act on an XCAT request for credit away in one of four ways:

  1. Departments may return the request to you in XCAT for more information. In that case you should include the requested information and resubmit to the department.
  2. Departments can approve the request for a Penn equivalency. This approval applies to the student making the request only. 
  3. Departments can approve the credit for the student requesting the course and set a precedent for students taking the course in the future. 
  4. Departments may deny a request if there is no equivalency in the Penn department.

Grades received from other institutions through credit away are not recorded on the Penn transcript nor are they included in the grade point average at Penn.

*Note that the review of requests is done by staff and faculty in Penn departments and requires a good deal of work on their part.  Please do not request credit away unless you are fairly certain you will take the course if the Penn equivalency is granted.

*The Psychology department does not grant credit away for any course.

What kinds of courses at other schools receive Penn credit away?

With pre-approval, currently enrolled Penn Nursing students may take up to four sector or free elective courses at another college or university over the summer.  Students are generally not permitted to complete required nursing courses outside of Penn, with the exception of statistics.  This exception counts toward the four course limit.

Eligible courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Taken at an accredited, four-year institution
  • Number of credits received are equivalent to Penn course unit
  • Can be either in-person or online courses
  • Final grade of C or higher (no pass/fail or audit) (Note: The Chemistry department requires a B-)
  • Approved in advance by the appropriate department at Penn (see Procedures
  • If you would like a particular course number for the credit, please add that to the comment section of your XCAT request. The Penn department will consider whether the course number you request is appropriate.
  • The Penn department will also determine the number of c.u. appropriate for a credit away request.

How do I submit a credit away request on XCAT?

  • Log in to Penn’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) and submit a course syllabus and other supporting materials from the external institution.
  • Select the appropriate subject area for review of the course.
    • BSN students: for sector and free elective courses, choose the subject area or department that most closely matches the subject of the course taken.
    • ABSN, MSN and DNP students: choose Nursing as the subject area.
  • Once the department reviewer has submitted a decision (approved or not approved), this will be noted in XCAT. Students are responsible for monitoring XCAT for this information, as the system does not send notifications once decisions are rendered.
  • Ensure an official transcript has been sent to the School of Nursing Office of Student Services verifying completion of the course work and achievement of the minimum grade requirement or higher.
    • Via email (preferred) to: advisor@nursing.upenn.edu
    • Via mail to: 418 Curie Boulevard, Suite M-18
                           Philadelphia, PA 19104-4217

The School of Nursing cannot post credit away until the official transcript is received and XCAT approval has been granted.  If approved, the School of Nursing Registrar will post the credit to the student’s transcript

Will the grade I receive at another institution be posted to my Penn transcript?

Grades received from other institutions through credit away are not recorded on the Penn transcript nor are they included in the grade point average at Penn.

Can I use credit away for any Nursing sector requirement?

You can use credit away courses for Nursing sector requirements if the Penn departments gives you the same number (e.g., GEOL 100) for the credit away course as the Penn course that fulfills that sector requirement on the Sector Finder Tool. If the Penn department does not give you the exact number as listed on the Sector Finder Tool, you cannot use it to fulfill a sector requirement. Note: Students can submit a sector petition request here.

How can I see if a course taken previously has been approved (precedent) for credit away in XCAT?

A precedent is a course that has pre-approval for Penn credit. Only precedents are searchable in XCAT. 

One-time approvals are not searchable in XCAT.

But remember, many Penn departments do not approve precedents but review each request on a case-by-case basis. The list of precedents is only a small fraction of what is possible and there are many more one-time approvals possible for a credit away course that are not searchable. If you do not see a precedent, you should still submit a new course request, attach a syllabus and submit to the Penn department in XCAT for review. 

If a course is a precedent, you still need to request the precedent in XCAT so it is attached to your name and record.  

You can see precedents in XCAT by clicking on “Search for Precedents (transfer credit)” on the left-hand menu. Take note of the course number at the external school. If you want to request that precedent, click on “Request a new course equivalency” in XCAT, enter the external course number and follow the next steps. Precedents have expiration dates so be sure to take note of that. 

Why can I only see precedents and not one-time approvals in XCAT?

If a course has no precedent, the Penn department wants to review requests individually.  XCAT does not show one-time approvals because a course from two years ago may not receive the same approval this year while precedents do not require case-by-case review and are guaranteed as long as they have not expired.

How do I know if a credit away course has been approved in XCAT?

You can check the status of your requests in XCAT by clicking on “List your requests” on the left-hand menu.  If the request says “Precedent approved, in division queue” or “Dept. approved, in division queue,” you are guaranteed the Penn credit provided you complete the course with a grade of “C” or better and have an official transcript sent to advisor@nursing.upenn.edu.

How long does it take for a Penn department to review a request in XCAT?

The departments outside Nursing are asked to review a request within two weeks of submission. 

Submissions to Nursing may take longer than two weeks to be reviewed.

For Nursing courses, contact Helen Xu with any questions: helenxu@nursing.upenn.edu

For courses that you did not submit to Nursing for pre-approval, you can check on the status of your request if it has not been reviewed by contacting the departmental credit evaluator.

How do I get the credit away on my Penn transcript?

After the course has been completed, you must request that an official transcript be sent to the Office of Academic Affairs from the institution at which the course was taken. The transcript should be sent to advisor@nursing.upenn.edu

Please note: While the Office of Academic Affairs is operating remotely due to COVID-19, only electronic transcripts can be accepted.

Can I receive Penn financial aid for a credit away course?

Penn financial aid can only be used for courses taken at Penn.

Can I take courses at another school for Penn credit during the academic year?

You cannot receive Penn credit for courses taken at another school during the academic year (fall and spring). 

Can students take courses for credit away while on a Leave of Absence?

Students on a leave of absence cannot receive credit for courses taken at another school during their leave of absence.

Can students in the incoming Class of 2024 receive credit away at Penn?

Incoming students cannot receive Penn credit away before matriculation at Penn. 

 

Procedures

Timeline

The transfer credit request and approval process must be completed post-admission but before the start of classes.  On average, the transfer credit review process can take four weeks or longer from the time of submission, depending on faculty availability for review.  Undergraduate students who are seeking summer credit away must have their requests reviewed and approved prior to enrollment in the summer course(s).

Steps

  • Log in to Penn’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) and submit a course syllabus and other supporting materials from the external institution.
  • Select the appropriate subject area for review of the course.
    • BSN students: for sector and free elective courses, choose the subject area or department that most closely matches the subject of the course taken.
    • ABSN, MSN and DNP students: choose Nursing as the subject area.
  • Once the department reviewer has submitted a decision (approved or not approved), this will be noted in XCAT. Students are responsible for monitoring XCAT for this information, as the system does not send notifications once decisions are rendered.
  • Ensure an official transcript has been sent to the School of Nursing Office of Student Services verifying completion of the course work and achievement of the minimum grade requirement or higher.
    • Via email (preferred) to: advisor@nursing.upenn.edu
    • Via mail to: 418 Curie Boulevard, Suite M-18
                           Philadelphia, PA 19104-4217

The School of Nursing cannot post credit away until the official transcript is received and XCAT approval has been granted.  If approved, the School of Nursing Registrar will post the credit to the student’s transcript.  The grade earned in a course approved for transfer credit will not appear on the Penn transcript and will not be factored into the Penn GPA.

No fee is charged for the transfer of credit.