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Summer Courses in Physics and Astronomy

Learn more about how you can use your time over the summer to further your course of study in physics and astronomy.
Student adjusting an experiment while Professor Kiko Galvez observes

Summer Courses Overview


Colgate does not offer any summer courses, though many students remain on campus throughout the summer to conduct high-level research with faculty members.

If you are interested in supplementing your course of study at Colgate with courses taken over the summer, it is possible to do so with courses at other institutions, subject to some very strict guidelines and requirements. The quality of instruction in summer courses at other institutions can vary tremendously: to grant Colgate credit, we must be sure that the summer course is equivalent to the corresponding Colgate course incontentworkload and standards of achievement.

Please be aware that our standards are high. You should consult the guidelines here, your faculty adviser, and the registrar to ensure that you are on the right path when enrolling for summer courses.

Guidelines for Summer Courses

Please refer first to the university's transfer of course credit policies. Also, submit the acceptance of procedures form. Then, review the following guidelines:
  1. Permission to take a Physics summer course at an accredited 4-year college or university for Colgate credit must be obtained from the Physics and Astronomy Department before you take the course. Printed information must be provided by the student for the department to evaluate the summer course: the summer catalogue showing the course number, title and short description; hours of class and lab meetings; syllabus; and name of the textbook. The syllabus may be from a previous summer.
  2. In order for the student to receive credit for a course plus a lab (1.0 + 0.25 credits), the course must meet for a minimum of 5 weeks and 40 classroom hours, and the lab must meet at least 10 times, for at least 3 hours per meeting.
  3. In order for the student to receive 1.0 credits for the course with a designation “with laboratory” on the transcript but with no additional course credit, the course must meet for a minimum of 4 weeks and 40 classroom hours, and the lab must meet for at least 20 hours. Courses that do not meet both of these criteria cannot receive transfer credit.
  4. Students who demonstrate competence by scoring a “B” or better in the summer course will automatically be granted Colgate transfer credit by the Registrar’s Office. Students who receive a summer course grade below “B” will not receive transfer credit. However, students who received a course grade between “B-” and “C” may request to take a two-hour equivalency exam given at Colgate during the first week of the fall semester. (Students who will be off-campus during the fall semester can either arrange in advance to take the exam at Colgate within three weeks of completing the summer course or during the first week of the subsequent spring semester.) Students must receive a grade of “C” or better on the equivalency exam in order to receive transfer credit. The exam will be equivalent in level and coverage to the final exam of the corresponding Colgate course. 
The above guidelines are meant to apply to the courses Physics 111 and Physics 112 that are not required for majoring or minoring in Physics or Astronomy. Major/minor credit is considered on an individual basis.