Credit and Evaluation

Credit and Transfer Credit

Course Credit

The unit of credit is a course credit. Normally a one-semester course is one course credit. However, some courses range from one-quarter course credit to three course credits. Four course credits constitute a normal load; three course credits constitute a minimal full-time load. For purpose of comparison, one course credit is considered equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours.

Many classes at Bucknell University meet for three scheduled hours of instruction per week. A number of classes also have scheduled contact hours beyond three per week. Courses are equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours because they include scheduled, faculty-supervised activities (such as labs, service learning, common hours, etc.) and/or intensive, iterative faculty involvement in student performance and achievement with independent or small-group student work (such as writing assignments, problem sets and problem-solving activities, student performances in the arts, student creative work, etc.). Courses at Bucknell that receive one unit of academic credit have a minimum expectation of 12 hours per week of student academic engagement. Student academic engagement includes both the hours of direct faculty instruction (or its equivalent) and the hours spent on out-of-class student work. Half and quarter unit courses at Bucknell should have proportionate expectations for student engagement.

Advanced Placement and Credit

Bucknell University recognizes advanced scholastic achievement in secondary schools by granting to qualified students University credit, advanced placement, a reduction of general education requirements, or a combination of these. Students receiving such recognition may enroll, as first-year students, in advanced courses in the subjects in which they have received the advanced placement, or they may elect courses in other subjects. This plan of advanced placement creates the opportunity to begin college work at a higher level, and it may shorten the time required to complete one’s undergraduate work.

Course credits granted through the advanced placement program may be used to fulfill appropriate degree requirements. These normally include the disciplinary breadth requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences, minimum course credits required for graduation, and, if approved by the registrar and the department involved, specific major or minor requirements. (Physics credits may be considered as a laboratory science for the natural science divisional disciplinary breadth requirement only if approved by the department. Chemistry credits are not considered as a laboratory credit.)

A student’s performance on the Advanced Placement Tests of the College Entrance Examination Board will determine whether advanced placement and credit will be granted. Most departments give credit for scores of 4 or 5. Credit is not given for scores of 1 or 2. In all instances, the credit will be given only for work equivalent to courses in the academic departments of the University. There is a limit to the amount of credit that may be granted in most subject areas. In addition, there is an eight-course maximum on the total credit that may be granted for advanced placement tests and for college work taken while in secondary school.

For more information pertaining to advanced placement and credit, see Advanced Standing for First-year and Transfer Students.

International Baccalaureate and Credit

IB Diploma recipients, with a minimum score of 5 on each of the six subject examinations, will be awarded six course credits toward their degree requirements at Bucknell. Diploma recipients not meeting the minimum score requirements will receive course credit for only those higher level courses passed with a score of 5 or higher. IB Certificate students (non-diploma) will receive course credit for each higher level course passed with an examination score of 5 or higher. No credit is awarded for standard level courses except as noted for IB Diploma recipients above.

Credit by Examination

Full-time undergraduate students in residence may earn undergraduate credit by examination, with a letter grade assigned, in courses approved by a department and by the dean of the college concerned. Credit by examination is not available to graduate students; special students; students who have previously audited, withdrawn, or failed the course; students on exchange from other universities; and persons who have never attended Bucknell University.

A list of courses available for credit by examination is available from the registrar. Application for such examinations must be made at specific times on a form available from the registrar. Approval must be obtained from the department chair and dean of the college concerned. If approval is given, the nonrefundable credit by examination fee is to be paid to the cashier for each examination, and the examination is to be taken at the appointed time.

A maximum of six course credits may be earned from credit by examination, credit granted for achievement on comparable subject tests of the College Level Examination Program, and nontraditional study courses. (Note that these six course credits are in addition to the eight-course maximum permitted under “Advanced Placement and Credit.”)

Students in residence are expected to carry the minimum of three academic courses in each semester, not including possible credit by examination. Credit by examination grades of F are not recorded on the permanent record. The faculty is not expected to assist students in preparing for these special examinations.

Coursework Elsewhere and Transfer Credits

Following admission, coursework elsewhere is permitted only during the summer when approved in advance by the registrar and during the academic year when approved in advance by the registrar and the director of global and off-campus education. Study elsewhere during the academic year is approved only for authorized programs abroad and a limited number of previously approved domestic programs. Credit for courses taken elsewhere, including courses taken previously by incoming first-year and transfer students, must be approved by the registrar.

The specific amount of credit that is posted to the student’s Bucknell University academic record is based on the formula noted above (See “Course credits”). That is, one Bucknell University course credit is equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours. As a one-time exception to this formula, a student may receive a maximum of 2.0 Bucknell course credits for six semester hours or 2.0 Bucknell University course credits for nine quarter hours; thereafter, the usual formula is applied.