Incoming Transfer Student Registration

Course Registration

Start by reviewing your Transfer Credit Assessment. The assessment will detail what requirements you've already completed through transfer coursework and what you still have outstanding. 

Next, review the Graduation Requirements (below) so you are familiar with the requirements and understand the expectations to earn your degree at Colgate before choosing your courses.

Transfer students register for 4 full-credit courses, plus accompanying labs, if applicable, for a maximum of 4.50 credits. Incoming transfer students are strongly discouraged from taking more than 4.50 credits in the first semester. If there is a critical educational reason for taking more than 4.50, the possibility should be discussed with your academic adviser during drop/add at the start of the term. 

Please review the Course Offerings to begin planning your schedule. Be sure to check the Restrictions, Prerequisites, and Notes columns before you make your course selections. Course descriptions are available by clicking on the course in the course offerings.

Choosing Courses

Begin by compiling a list of courses that interest you, then narrow those down to four preferred courses. Be sure to check the days and times (“starts” and “ends” columns) of your four preferred courses to ensure they do not conflict. The Colgate day/time schedule can assist you in mapping out your schedule. 

Alternate Choices

Choose your alternate course selections from the remaining courses on your list. Do not worry about time conflicts among alternate course selections. You must fill in all alternate choices. An alternate course should be a different course title, not the same course offered at a different time (i.e., different section).

Colgate University prides itself on being a liberal arts institution. This means that students must take a wide array of courses to earn a degree. Your first semester is the best time to explore what Colgate has to offer while fulfilling graduation requirements along the way. Think about this as you choose your courses.

Our staff has decades of experience in registering students and helping them create a balanced schedule. We’ve seen that students who load their schedule with courses from one division have less success in their first semester than those who choose courses from across the curriculum. Give your schedule some balance.

Use the guidelines below to help plan a balanced schedule:

CORE: You should refer to your Transfer Credit Assessment to see how many CORE courses you are required to take. You should plan to take one course with the subject code of "CORE" in your first semester.

Other courses: You should choose three other courses of interest. We recommend that you try to take one course from each division (Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences). If you have a particular major in mind, we encourage you to select a course in that department/program. Consult the University Catalog for degree requirements for specific majors/minors. Otherwise, choose courses that appeal to you, keeping in mind what area of inquiry they may count toward.

Students who are required to take a writing and/or a foreign language course will be informed of their status on their Transfer Credit Assessment. If you must fulfill one or both of these requirements it will be one of your four courses, not a fifth course. 

Students who are interested in the health sciences (or pre-med) are encouraged to contact Dr. Julie Chanatry, the chair of the Health Sciences Advisory Committee, to discuss how best to meet graduate school pre-requisites at Colgate.

Alternates: We make every effort to register you for your preferred courses but many factors complicate our ability to accommodate every primary choice. Therefore, the nine required alternates gives us enough information about your interests to allow us to create a balanced schedule. If you are having trouble finding enough alternates, this is the time to start exploring courses that you might not have previously considered. You can begin by reviewing course descriptions (some courses may surprise you); use the filters available on the course offerings to find courses that fit in a time slot you have available or to search by areas of inquiry; think about opportunities that may require pre-requisites that you can start now (e.g., the study group to China requires a year of language study). If you continue to struggle, you can reach out to Kristyn Russell.

You will need the CRN (5-digit course reference number - available in the course offerings) of each primary and alternate choice in order to complete the registration form. See below for more specific information about CRNs.

List your first choices on the “Preferred” lines of the registration form. Refer to the day/time schedule grid to ensure that your preferred courses (and their accompanying laboratory sections, if applicable) do not conflict.

List your alternate courses on the “Alternate” lines of the registration form. We make every effort to register you for your preferred courses but many factors complicate our ability to accommodate every primary choice. Therefore, the nine required alternates gives us enough information about your interests to allow us to create a balanced schedule.

For courses with multiple sections (e.g., CORE 151, CHEM 101, ECON 151), the registrar’s office staff will first try to register you for the section indicated on your registration form. If that section is closed or conflicts with another of your courses, or if we need to assure an even distribution of students among the sections, we may place you in another section. Please do not provide alternate courses that are different sections (same course offered on different days/times) of your preferred course.

CRN: Every course section has a unique numeric identifier called the Course Reference Number, or CRN for short. You can find the CRN for each course section in the Course Offerings. We will use the CRN to register you for your courses and that is what you will enter in the registration form. After you enter in a valid CRN, the rest of the course information will auto-fill for you. It's easy to transpose numbers when entering the CRN so it's important that you double check the auto-filled information to ensure it is the course you are expecting. Once you enter a CRN, the box will turn green. You'll be permitted to submit your form once all CRN boxes are green.

Courses with labs: A number of courses (particularly in the natural sciences) have required laboratory sections. The labs are designated by the course number followed by an L (e.g., CHEM 101L is the required lab associated with CHEM 101) and, in most cases, carry 0.25 course credits. If you want to register for a course with a lab, enter the lecture CRN first. Then select your preferred lab section from the drop down box title "Select Lab" on the same line. Labs should not be entered on their own line. The normal, required course load for first-year students is 4.00-4.50 course credits.

The registration form: You can save your registration form if you need to take a break or do more research before submitting. If you would like to give us information or guidance when we are registering you, please use the Notes box at the bottom of the form. As stated above, all CRN boxes must be green before you will be permitted to submit your form.

Once you submit your form, the registrar's office will receive your selections. If you've submitted your form and need to substantially amend your selections, you can resubmit your form with the edits. In this case, you should indicate "Revised Copy" in the Notes section so that we can ensure it is used in place of your original submission. If you have a minor change, you can email Kristyn Russell. If you aren't sure if your changes are substantial enough to require a resubmit, please email or call and Kristyn will help determine the best course of action.

Incoming transfer students will not register on the portal for their first semester (no registration time ticket needed). Please submit the registration form (submit button below) and the registrar's office will begin registering students after the deadline. 

Note: If you have already submitted your registration form and need to submit an updated copy, please indicate "Revised Copy" in the Notes section so that we can ensure it is used in place of your original submission.

Submit Registration Form

Transfer Student Graduation Requirements

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-190S 
Communities and Identities CORE 148C-199C


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 approved for GE credit 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 
  • German
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, and Spanish)
  • Theater
  • Writing (See course descriptions)

Natural Sciences and Mathematics:

(2 courses from different departments)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychological and Brain Sciences

Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents:

(2 courses from different departments)

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

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 Catalog 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 Catalog for requirements and guidelines for specific majors.

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.

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 then
    • ACT English: score of 25 or lower
      if no score then
    • Old SAT Writing: score of 599 or lower
      if no score then
    • 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.

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 Catalog 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 or on Colgate-directed program to be eligible for the Colgate bachelor’s degree. One semester of participation in an approved program will count towards the residency requirement.

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.

Need Help?

You can contact Kristyn Russell, associate registrar, for help with registration. She is available by email ( or by phone (315-228-7419) during regular business hours.
If you are having technical issues, you should contact the IT Service Desk at or 315-228-7111.