Academic Information and Credit Transfers

Individual departments determine which courses taken elsewhere can transfer for credit toward a major. The Office of the Registrar decides which courses apply toward graduation requirements.

At Colgate, one course generally carries one course credit, which is equivalent to four semester hours. Colgate requires students to complete at least half the required courses (16 of 32 courses) for graduation at Colgate or on a Colgate study group.

Credit Conversion

Colgate converts semester credits and quarter credits to Colgate course credits using the table below. Please note that this table does not apply to foreign institutions in all cases. Therefore, it is critical to have courses pre-approved by the registrar's office.

Semester Hours Quarter Hours Colgate Course Credits
4 5-6 1.00
3 4 0.75
2 3 0.50
1 1-2 0.25


Credit evaluation

Transfer credit is normally considered for liberal arts courses bearing the equivalent of three semester — or five quarter — hours’ worth of credit when the student earns grades of C or better. Grades of C- or lower are not granted credit, nor are courses taken as pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

To be considered for transfer credit, college courses must have been taken on an accredited college or university campus, in competition with degree candidates of that institution and taught by a regular member of the faculty. College-level courses taken in the high school and/or taught only to high school students are not eligible for transfer credit. No credit will be awarded for online courses. 

Determining class year/academic standing

The following defines the number of credits required to achieve the indicated class year at the time of admission:

  • Junior standing: Transferring the equivalent of 14-16 Colgate credits
  • Sophomore standing: Transferring the equivalent of 6-13 Colgate credits

Curriculum and Course Requirements

To earn your degree at Colgate, you will need to complete the curriculum outlined below, in addition to your academic major.


Colgate’s core curriculum provides common ground for wide-ranging student-faculty interactions.

Students are required to complete core requirements as indicated:

Total courses accepted upon enrollment at Colgate Core courses required at Colgate
1–4 3
5–8 3
9–12 2
13–16 1

As a condition of graduation, students must successfully complete at least one course in each Liberal Arts Practice and each Area of Inquiry. This is typically completed by taking eight unique courses, however, students may double-count their Process of Writing Practice course to also fulfill one Liberal Arts Practice or Area of Inquiry requirement, thereby completing the requirements with seven courses. Additionally, courses fulfilling these requirements must come from at least six different subject codes.

The Liberal Arts Practices 

Confronting Collective Challenges

The Process of Writing

Quantitative and Algorithmic Reasoning

Language Study

Artistic Practice and Interpretation 

Areas of Inquiry

Human Thought and Expression

Natural Science and Mathematics 

Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents 


Post-matriculation transfer courses (i.e., coursework taken as a matriculated student at another university) may count toward these requirements if the Colgate equivalent also satisfies the requirement. Pre-matriculation credit does not count toward these requirements. 

Please see the Undergraduate Program in the University Catalog for complete policy information.


All students must complete two units of physical education, taken by the end of the sophomore year. Junior transfer students must complete one unit. This requirement can be met via transfer credit as long as your previous institution records it on their official transcript.