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Transfer Credit in Physics

The College of Arts & Science only awards transfer credit for courses taken at accredited four-year institutions

Consistent with this policy, the Department of Physics & Astronomy will only award transfer credit for Physics and for Astronomy courses to current Vanderbilt students for courses taken at accredited four-year institutions.  This policy applies to students in all four undergraduate colleges and schools at Vanderbilt, since the credit earned would be awarded by the College of Arts & Science. 

Lecture Courses

Physics 1601 – to earn three credit hours of equivalent credit for this course, students seeking transfer credit must provide evidence that the content and level of mathematical rigor used in the the course they wish to take matches the content and level of the course at Vanderbilt. Specifically, the course materials must state that the level of mathematics includes calculus. If the catalog description says ‘prerequisite Math ###, it is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence that Math ### is a calculus course. In addition, the course description must state that the content covered includes mechanics, heat, and sound. If the course does not cover all three topics, it is not equivalent to Physics 1601 and cannot earn full transfer credit.  If the course only covers 'mechanics,' for example, it might earn partial credit but not full credit for Physics 1601. (3)

Physics 1602 – to earn three credit hours of equivalent credit for this course, students seeking transfer credit must provide evidence that the content and level of mathematical rigor of the course they wish to take matches the content and level of the course at Vanderbilt. Specifically, the course materials must state that the level of mathematics includes calculus. If the catalog description says ‘prerequisite Math ###, it is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence that Math ### is a calculus course. In addition, the course description must state that the content covered includes electricity & magnetism, optics, and modern physics. If the course does not cover all three topics, it is not equivalent to Physics 1602 and cannot earn full transfer credit. If the course only covers E&M, for example, it might earn partial credit but not full credit for Physics 1602. (3)

Physics 1501 and 1502 - transfer credit for these courses may be awarded if the courses covers the same content as 1601 and 1602, use calculus, and are specifically designed for pre-health-professions students. (3,3)

Physics 2000 and 2050 - Non-equivalent credit.  If a transferred course is not equivalent to any Vanderbilt course, credit is awarded for either 2000 or 2050.  PHYS 2000 credits do not count toward the major or minor in physics. Physics 2050 carries elective credit toward the major or minor in physics. Variable credit.

Physics 2051. First semester algebra-trigonometry i.e., non-calculus) based physics, normally covering mechanics, heat and sound.  This course number is used because we do not teach this course at Vanderbilt. (3)

Physics 2053. Second semester algebra-trigonometry (non-calculus) based physics, normally covering electricity & magnetism, optics and modern physics.  Not taught at Vanderbilt. (3)

Physics 1010 - transfer credit for this course awarded for a one-semester, conceptual physics course. (3)

Physics 1911 and 1912 - transfer credit awarded for these courses if they cover the same content as 1601 and 1602, respectively, but assume a full year of calculus as a pre-requisite rather than a co-requisite. (3, 3)

Special note to Engineers: Students taking an algebra-trigonometry based physics course will be awarded transfer credit for Physics 2051 or 2053. These courses are not acceptable for credit in the College of Engineering at Vanderbilt.

Special note to pre-medical students: Students taking an algebra-trigonometry-based physic course will be awarded transfer credit for Physics 2051/2053. If you need physics courses for your major requirements at Vanderbilt, you should check with your major department to learn whether these courses will be acceptable.  You are also advised to take both semesters of such a course sequence elsewhere, since neither is taught at Vanderbilt and since neither is adequate preparation for taking a second-semester calculus-based course at Vanderbilt.

Laboratory Courses

Physics 1601L-1602L - Students taking laboratory courses that accompany calculus-based physics lecture courses will be awarded credit for the appropriate laboratory course at Vanderbilt. Students are strongly urged to take the lecture and laboratory components at the same time, as they likely will learn better in both courses that way; however, a student may choose to take only the lecture or only the laboratory course(s) in the summer and pick up the other course at Vanderbilt.

Physics 2052. First semester non-calculus based physics laboratory (1).  Not taught at Vanderbilt.

Physics 2054. Second semester non-calculus based physics laboratory (1).  Not taught at Vanderbilt.

Policy for Transfer Credit for On-line Courses

Students may earn transfer credit for introductory-level course work equivalent to PHYS 1010, 1501, 1601, 1901, 1502, 1602, 1902, 2051 and 2053.

Students may not earn transfer credit in Physics for on-line laboratory classes.