Transfer grad requirements Skip Navigation

Transfer Student Graduation Requirements

Listed below is an outline of the general graduation requirements. Read each section carefully. You will be expected to complete all of these requirements prior to graduation. Additionally, this information may help guide you when completing your registration form. Refer to the welcome letter from the registrar's office for personalized information about your remaining degree requirements. The University Catalogue also has complete policy information, as well as additional academic opportunities.
Liberal Arts Curriculum
Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum is structured so that students take advantage of the diversity of a liberal arts institution. It has three components, the Common Core, Global Engagements, and Areas of Inquiry.

The Common Core

(4 courses)
The Common Core requirement consists of a set of four course areas. Students may take these courses in any order. Check your Transfer Credit Assessment to see if you have any variations to this requirement.

Common Core Course Areas:
 Legacies of the Ancient World   
CORE 151
 Challenges of Modernity CORE 152
 Scientific Perspectives CORE 100S-173S
 Communities and Identities CORE 160C-194C

Global Engagements

(1 course)
Global Engagements (GE) courses provide students with an opportunity to analyze and debate the conditions and consequences of intercultural interaction, both in the United States and in the broader world, so they will be prepared to responsibly confront the challenges of the 21st century. Courses are approved for GE credit by term and instructor so the offerings will vary each term. GE courses may also fulfill area of inquiry, major, or minor requirements (i.e. one course may fulfill the GE requirement and a major requirement). Please note that AP/IB course credit, pre-matriculation courses, and transfer courses cannot be used to fulfill the GE requirement.

Courses that fulfill the GE requirement each term are searchable in the Course Offerings.

Areas of Inquiry

(6 courses)
Students must successfully complete at least two courses in each of the Areas of Inquiry for a total of six courses. Within each area of inquiry, the two courses selected must represent different departments. Students must complete the areas of inquiry requirement prior to graduation. While your fall- or spring-term transfer credit may be applied to this requirement, please note that AP/IB course credit, pre-matriculation courses, and summer transfer courses cannot be used to fulfill the areas of inquiry requirement.

Human Thought and Expression:
(2 courses from different departments)
Art and Art History
Classics (Greek and Latin)
East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese and Japanese)
English and Theater
Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, and Spanish)
Writing (See course descriptions)

Natural Sciences and Mathematics:
(2 courses from different departments)
Computer Science
Physics and Astronomy
Psychology and Neuroscience

Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents:
(2 courses from different departments)
Educational Studies
Political Science

In general, courses from the departments listed above count toward the area of inquiry specified. Exceptions will be noted in the individual course description (found in the University Catalogue and the course offerings).

Courses within the Division of University Studies also count toward the areas of inquiry requirement when crosslisted with a department. For instance, PCON 218 AX, Practices of Peace and Conflict, is crosslisted as ANTH 218 AX and therefore counts toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry.  If a non-crosslisted course within the Division of University Studies counts toward an area of inquiry requirement, it will be noted in the course description. For instance, FMST 200/200L, Introduction to Film and Media Studies, counts toward the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry.
Students are required to complete a major in an academic department or program. Requirements for majors vary widely from one department or program to another but consist of between 8 and 13 courses. There are 56 majors from which you may choose. It is even possible to develop your own interdisciplinary or topical major in consultation with academic advisers and division directors. Please refer to the University Catalogue for requirements and guidelines for specific majors.
Language Requirement
Students who have not demonstrated competence in a foreign or classical language will be informed of their status on the Transfer Credit Assessment.

Competence may be demonstrated in one of three ways:
  • By successfully completing at least three years of study (i.e., through the third level) in secondary school or from transfer credit through the intermediate level.
  • By demonstrating basic language skills as measured by tested proficiency—for example, a score of 580 or better on the SAT II subject tests in the foreign or classical language.
  • By successfully completing the study of a foreign or classical language at Colgate through at least one semester at the intermediate (201) level.
Writing Requirement
Transfer students granted writing priority status will be informed on the Transfer Credit Assessment. Such students are identified using the following criteria:

~New SAT Writing & Language: score of 30 or lower
        if no score than
      ~ACT English: score of 25 or lower
        if no score than
      ~Old SAT Writing: score of 599 or lower
        if no score than
      ~New SAT Reading & Writing: score of 629 or lower​  

 ~ Or applicable transfer credit  

Students who are determined to have writing priority status are required to complete an approved writing and rhetoric (WRIT) course with a grade of C or better during their first year at Colgate. If you have been granted this status, please select an approved writing course for the term. Please note that we will make every effort to place you in your preferred WRIT course, however, if your first choice is filled, you will be placed in a section that is open and fits your schedule.
Course Credits
Colgate uses a course credit system (rather than semester or quarter hours). Most courses are 1.0 course credit, however, there are some courses that award fractional credit (0.50 or 0.25). In addition, some courses have required co-requisites that carry fractional credit. An example is General Chemistry I. If a student registers for CHEM 101 (1.0 credit) they will also register for CHEM 101L (0.25 credits).

All students must successfully complete a minimum of 32.00 course credits (including pre-matriculation and transfer credits) to be eligible to graduate. See the University Catalogue for the complete policy on academic credit.
Transfer students are required to spend a minimum of four terms in academic residence and must earn credit for at least 16 course credits taken at Colgate, on Colgate-directed programs, or from one semester on an approved program to be eligible for the Colgate bachelor’s degree.
Physical Education
Transfer students must complete two units of physical education, either at Colgate or through experience at your prior school. Refer to your Transfer Credit Assessment to determine how many physical education units you'll need to complete at Colgate.

Physical education units do not bear academic credit. Please visit the Physical Education web page ( for detailed information regarding course units and sign-up options.