AP and Transfer Credit

Advanced Placement

If you have taken an AP physics test in high school and submitted the results to Washington University Admissions, your placement in physics will be made according to the current Physics Department AP Policy.

We recommend that students interested in majoring in Physical Sciences or related fields still take the two semesters of calculus-based introductory physics, Physics I & II, especially if you took the AP test in Spring 2020. We place each student in the course best suited to his or her ability and previous record. Please contact Dr. Mairin Hynes for questions regarding course placement.

Transfer Credits

Credit for calculus-based introductory physics courses taken at other universities may transfer to Washington University and satisfy course and major requirements for Physics I and II. For Summer 2020 and 2021 only, online lecture and lab classes will be considered for approval. Some departments, such as Chemistry, have explicitly approved taking online courses to fulfill major requirement, while others have not commented. If you have any questions about whether your major and/or post-graduate institutions will accept online courses, please ask an advisor in that area.  Please note:  You may only earn credit on your transcript for one of the following Physics I courses: Physics 117A, 197, and 191 + 191L. You may also only earn credit on your transcript for one of the following Physics II courses: Physics 118A, 198, and 192 + 192L. Students interested in obtaining transfer credit for other physics courses should contact Dr. Mairin Hynes.

Taking Introductory Physics Courses at Another Institution

You may satisfy introductory calculus-based physics (Physics I & II) requirements at Washington University by taking comparable physics courses at another institution. To do so you must:

  1. Identify a school that teaches an introductory calculus-based physics course sequence with a lab (preferably a two semester sequence).
  2. Obtain syllabi that includes the name of the school and a detailed list of topics covered, description of the labs, textbook name and author.
  3. Complete the Non-WUSTL Course Credit Approval form.
  4. Email the completed form and the associated syllabi to Dr. Hynes. All requests can be done via email; please DO NOT bring the forms to her office. In addition to the above, provide all of the following information:
    • Your name, major, and email address
    • The course number(s) of the Washington University course(s) [Physics 197 or 198] that you wish to take elsewhere
    • If possible, include a web address that provides detailed information about the courses you wish to take

After reviewing the material, Dr. Hynes will contact you to let you know whether or not the course is comparable to one offered at Washington University. If the course is appropriate, Dr. Hynes will email you approval, which you should then print out, attach to the Non-WUSTL Course Credit Approval form, and deliver to the A&S College Office in Cupples II, Room 104.

If you submit your material by April 1, you should receive a response within two weeks of your email. If you submit your request after April 1, you should expect longer delays and may not receive a response until after Commencement. May is a very busy month due to final exams, determination of final grades, and Commencement. Also, please note that if you do not electronically submit your request directly to Dr. Hynes, your approval may be further delayed.

Once you've completed the course, you must send an official transcript to the College Office (Campus Box 1117) to certify that you have successfully completed the course. The course equivalence will appear on your WU transcript, but the grade will not. The grade will not be used in your WU GPA calculation.

You should obtain confirmation of course equivalence from the Physics department prior to enrolling in a course at another institution. Approval may be granted after you have already taken the course, but there is no guarantee that you will receive the transfer credit unless you have the courses approved ahead of time.

If you have questions about receiving transfer credit for introductory physics taken at another institution, email Dr. Hynes.