Skip to main content

Undergraduate Program

Transfer and AP Credit

Good grades on AP examinations can be used to obtain transfer credit for high school courses. Students who have taken AP courses in high school should therefore take their AP exams. If these are not offered at your local high school, you can arrange to take them elsewhere.

Guidelines for Advanced Placement

Depending on your scores, you can receive the following credit:

  • 5 on test C-I (Mechanics)
    Credit granted for PHY 113 or PHY 121, and students can be placed into PHY 114, PHY 122 or PHY 1421.
  • 5 on test C-II (Electromagnetism)
    Credit for PHY 114, conditional credit2 for PHY 122, and students can be placed into PHY 123 or PHY 1431.
  • 5 on test B (General)
    Conditional credit2 granted for PHY 113 or PHY 121. Can be placed into PHY 114 or PHY 122.
  • 5 on Physics I (Mechanics)
    Four general college hour credits; these credits cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements for the PHY/PAS major or minor.
  • 5 on Physics II (Electromagnetism)
    Four general college hour credits; these credits cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements for the PHY/PAS major or minor.
  • 4 on test C-I (Mechanics)
    Conditional credit2 granted for PHY 113 or PHY 121. Can be placed into PHY 114, PHY 122 or PHY 142.
  • 4 on test C-II (Electromagnetism)
    Conditional credit2 granted for PHY 122. Can be placed into PHY 123 or PHY 1431.

Note: Students can take PHY 123 prior to PHY 122, provided that PHY 122 is taken the following semester.

Note: Students who will be pursuing a physics or physics and astronomy degree, and who receive AP credit for PHY 121, are still strongly encouraged to take PHY 141 regardless of their AP score. Students who wish to skip PHY 141 are requested to meet with an undergraduate physics advisor or the Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss their decision.

Policy on Transfer Credit from India and London "A" Level Exam

  • National CBSE exam score >85%
    Student can receive credit for PHY 121 and PHY 122, or PHY 113 and PHY 114 (if requested).
  • National ISC exam score >85%
    Student can receive credit for PHY 113 or PHY 121.
  • National CBSE, ISC, or State HSC exam score >75%
    Student can be placed into PHY 122 or PHY 114. Conditional credit2 granted for PHY 113 or PHY 121.
  • London "A" level exam, with grade of A
    Student can receive credit for PHY 121 or PHY 113 and PHY 114. Student can be placed into PHY 122.
  • London "A" level exam, with grade of B
    Student Student can be placed into PHY 122 or PHY 114. Conditional credit2 granted for PHY 113 or PHY 121.
  • No credit for exam scores <75% and/or grades below a B. Transcripts must be provided as proof of the grade received.

International Baccalaureate (IB) in Physics

IB courses are not calculus based and generally do not receive physics department credit. However, if a student receives a grade of 7 on the advanced physics IB test, it will be considered as equivalent to receiving a grade of 5 of the test B (General Physics) AP exam in the USA. This means that one receives credit for PHY 113 or PHY 121 conditionally2. No credit can be received for lower scores. Instead of conditional credit (which requires taking PHY 122, PHY 123 or PHY 114), a student can choose to take the final exam in PHY 113, PHY 121 or PHY 141, and receive credit upon receiving a minimum grade of B-.

IB in Physical Science is not relevant for Physics—no credit is given.

Transfer Credit from Other Schools

Requests for transfer credits are handled by the Department's Office of Undergraduate Studies, Bausch & Lomb 211. When possible, students should obtain approval of transfer credit before taking a course elsewhere, in order to be certain that transfer credit will be awarded. Cases will be considered according to the following guidelines and required documentation.

  • A Course Approval Form must be completed. Forms are available at the Center for Academic Support, Lattimore 312.
  • The Course Approval Form must give the title of the course at the other school, and indicate which corresponding course at the University of Rochester transfer credit is being sought for.
  • A description of the course contents must be provided. This should be obtained from either the course catalog or website of the other school.
  • The course must be calculus based. This must be indicated in the description of the course contents.
  • The course must include required laboratories. These must be described in the course contents.
  • Department policy requires that transfer credit be awarded only for courses taken at a four-year college or university. Any exception to this policy must be specifically approved by the Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • When possible, a website address for the course should be provided.
1Placement into honors sequence courses PHY 141, PHY 142 and PHY 143 requires permission of the instructor.
2Conditional credit means that credit will be granted if at least a grade of B- is received in the course into which the student is placed.