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

You may satisfy introductory physics requirements for Washington University or for medical school requirements by taking comparable physics courses at another institution.

To satisfy your WashU major requirement for any major, including Biology and Chemistry: All WashU majors require calculus-based physics. Be sure the course you are requesting explicitly states that it is calculus-based and/or has Calculus I as a pre- or co-requisite.

To satisfy medical school requirements: Many medical schools accept both algebra-based and calculus-based physics courses. If you are unsure of the physics requirements or preferences for the schools to which you are applying, be sure to talk with a pre-health advisor. 

To request credit, you must: 

  1. Identify a school that with the appropriate calculus- or algebra-based physics course sequence with a lab (preferably a two semester sequence). See above for requirements.
  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 191 + 191L or 192 + 192L] that you wish to take elsewhere. Requests for lecture and lab should be listed together on the same approval form.
  • A link to the course description of the course(s) 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 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.