General Requirements for Credit Transfer

The following rules apply for getting credit for work done on off-campus programs:

  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student to receive credit for off-campus study.
  • You may transfer up to 54 non-Carleton credits to your Carleton transcript. Credits from non-Carleton programs will transfer to your transcript upon receipt and evaluation of your official program transcript.
  • Total number of credits awarded for a non-Carleton program may not exceed 22 credits for a 10-week term, 28 credits for a 15-week semester, 14 credits for a summer, and 54 credits for a full academic year. Programs of other lengths may be awarded other credits by the Registrar. Students considering a spring semester non-Carleton program must meet with their academic adviser, Student Financial Aid, and an OCS adviser to discuss the credit and financial aid implications of spring semester programs. A minimum of 24 Carleton credits must be taken on spring semester programs.
  • Transfer students must earn at least 108 credits toward their degree at Carleton and be in residence for at least six terms. Carleton seminars count as “in residence.”
  • Credit is given only for academic work, including independent study, research, lectures, seminars, writing, musical practice, art, foreign language, etc. Credit will not be transferred to your transcript for travel, cultural events, work/internships, or living experiences. Approval of a maximum number of credits is not a promise that the College will grant credit for everything you do on your program.
  • All extensions and/or incompletes must be approved by the Dean of Students at Carleton.

The following circumstances within an approved program could result in credits not transferring to your Carleton transcript:

  • Courses that do not resemble courses taught at Carleton (liberal arts in nature, more theoretical than applied); for example, sociology but not social work, economics but not business administration. Applied music and art courses are accepted under conditions similar to those on campus.
  • Off-campus courses that are similar to a Carleton course you studied on campus. You should also consider whether an off-campus course may affect later enrollment in a Carleton course with similar content.

Sophomore Year Requirements

Declaring Your Major

Sophomores declare their major in spring using the online form as on campus. If internet access is not available, students should confer with the Registrar’s office about alternative arrangements.

Writing Portfolio Requirement

All Carleton students must submit a writing portfolio after the third term, and no later than the sixth term at Carleton.  If you have not yet submitted your portfolio and plan to study off-campus in your 6th term, you must complete your writing portfolio before you leave campus.


Students must discuss registration plans with an academic adviser prior to registering. Students can find all registration instructions on the Registrar’s Office website. Students on Carleton programs should register as they would on campus. Students on non-Carleton programs do not register in the Carleton system.

If you do not have internet access during your registration period, you can elect to have the Registrar’s Office to act as a proxy and register you via the electronic Proxy Registration Form.

Your adviser must also grant approval to signify that a conversation has taken place regarding course selection for the upcoming term. Once you and your adviser sign off on the form, it will reach the Registrar’s Office.

The Registrar’s Office will process the forms during the normal business hours (8:00am-5:00pm) following the student’s registration priority time. The Registrar’s Office will also accept proxy registration forms submitted after the student’s priority time through 4:00pm of the last day of classes of the term preceding the term of registration.

Grade Point Average

All grades earned on non-Carleton off-campus study programs are entered on your transcript, but are not computed into your GPA. However, graduate schools or employers may use all your grades, including those earned off-campus, to determine your GPA for their own purposes. Grades are sent from the sponsoring institution and the Registrar posts them on your transcript.

Credit Approval toward Major, Minor, and Distribution Requirements for non-Carleton Programs

You must complete an Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form if you want off-campus credits to apply to your distribution or major/minor requirements. You do not need to complete the approval form if you simply want the credits to apply to the 210-credit graduation requirements. The Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form is available in the OCS office and the Registrar’s office.

For major and minor credit, the approval form must be signed by the appropriate department chair. Discuss approval of these credits with the department chair. Policies vary by department.

The Registrar’s Office approves distribution credit. Consult with the Associate Registrar for details.

Courses applied to teaching certification should be cleared with the Educational Studies department, using the Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form.

Dropping or Adding Courses

Carleton seminars are considered a package. No single course may be dropped from the program, and no overloads are accepted. For non-Carleton programs, courses may be dropped or added according to the sponsoring program’s policies. However, you must remain registered for the equivalent of at least 12 Carleton credits for fall, winter, or spring term programs. For spring semester programs, you must be registered for a minimum of 24 credits. You cannot exceed the number of credits approved. All extensions and/or incompletes on off-campus study programs must be approved by the Dean of Students at Carleton.


S/Cr/NC policies apply to off-campus studies. At the beginning of the program, the program director will inform students that the S/Cr/NC request form is available on the Registrar’s Office website. The program director will sign off as the instructor for forms received by the S/Cr/NC deadline, which is 5:00pm central time on the 7th Friday of the term (check the academic calendar for specific dates).

To enroll for S/Cr/NC credits in a NON-Carleton program, students will need to submit a S/Cr/NC request form, which is available on the Registrar’s Office website. Director of Off Campus Studies will sign off as the instructor for forms received no later than 7th Friday of the NON-Carleton program term. Non-Carleton OCS courses taken on a student-opted S/Cr/NC basis will count towards the student’s 30-credit S/Cr/NC maximum.

If an off-campus course is offered only satisfactory/no credit, you must provide documentation to the Registrar. The Registrar will not accept S/Cr/NC grades from an off-campus study for credit unless you have filed the S/Cr/NC form or have proof that the sponsoring institution does not offer the course for grades.


You are responsible for making sure that an official transcript of your off-campus studies is sent to Carleton upon completion of the program. Make sure that you have requested your transcript in writing before you leave the program/country. Please note that it usually takes several weeks for Carleton to receive transcripts and post grades. Whether or not a student needs these OCS credits to complete course requirements, the Registrar must receive official transcripts documenting completion of all non-Carleton OCS programs in order to clear a senior for graduation. If these are not received in time for commencement, the student will not receive their degree at that time.

Institutional Review Board

As students at Carleton College, you are not permitted to do any research on human subjects without first getting Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Human subjects research includes conducting interviews, administering surveys, or observing public behavior. Importantly, not everything is research. And not all research is research on human subjects, however, if you have any questions about whether or not you need approval, you should consult with a member of the IRB board BEFORE beginning your research.

In some cases, the program (e.g. SIT) has an IRB process which Carleton honors. In other cases, students need to apply through Carleton’s IRB. You should inquire with your program about their IRB procedures.

Failure to obtain IRB approval prior to beginning your research can result in a number of outcomes including, but not limited to: the requirement that you inform all subjects of your study that you conducted research on them without IRB approval, the determination that you cannot present or publish your work in any public or scholarly forum, or the determination that you will not receive course credit.

Visit the IRB website to apply for approval from Carleton for potential research work on your OCS program.

REQUIRED Leave of Absence for Carleton Summer Programs

Carleton summer programs (Economics in Cambridge and Ireland) function as a term of the Carleton academic year. Participants are required to take a leave of absence during the following winter term.

Students unable to take their leave during winter term (due to required courses or participation in varsity athletics, etc.) may petition the Academic Standing Committee to request a change to fall or spring term.

The deadline for submitting the petition is the Friday of seventh week, winter term, e.g. for Summer 2023 programs, the designated required leave of absence term is Winter 2024. Petitions to change to Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 are due on February 17, 2023.

Students who participate in non-Carleton summer programs are NOT required to take a Leave of Absence.