Credit for External Courses

Students seeking University of Pennsylvania credit for economic courses taken at other institutions, whether during the academic year or during the summer, must obtain prior approval from the Economics Department.

The University distinguishes between three types of external courses. Transfer credit is used for courses taken before matriculation at Penn. Study abroad credit includes courses taken at a Penn Abroad program. Credit away courses are courses taken outside of a Penn-approved program after matriculation at Penn.

To receive credit for an external course, a student has to submit a request through the External Course Approval Tool (XCAT).

For study abroad credit and credit away, a student must secure approval before taking the external course, ideally before departing to the host institution. Failure to do so may result in not receiving credit at Penn for the external course.

A student must secure approval for study abroad credit and transfer credit through the External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) before taking them.

In addition to the College's policies governing credit away, the Department of Economics has the following rules regarding credit for external courses:

1. Credit will be given for sufficiently comprehensible courses that are comparable to a one-semester economics course taught at Penn.

2. It is the firm policy of the Department of Economics that students must obtain transfer credit approval BEFORE departing for their study abroad.

3. All courses submitted for credit will be evaluated by a member of the Department of Economics, who determines whether the external course is comparable in quality and scope to an economics course at Penn. To facilitate the evaluation, a student should submit a detailed syllabus (stating the prerequisites, the number and duration of lectures and recitations, topics, assignments, exams, grading policies, etc.) and possibly copies of homework assignments and exams. A student should also provide a translation of any submitted materials that are not in English. If the course is found to be of equal quality to a Penn course, the student will receive the appropriate credit. 

4. Starting Jan 1, 2015, if a matriculated student wishes to take ECON 0100 (formerly 001) or 0200 (formerly 002) at another institution and the course meets the department's requirements for approval, the student will receive the appropriate credit. A waiver exam is no longer required.

5. We have special rules for approved single semester courses that cover both microeconomics and macroeconomics:

  • A student enrolled in a Wharton degree program can receive BEPP 1000 (formerly ECON 010) credit for an approved single semester introductory micro/macro course.
  • All other students can receive ECON 0100 (formerly 001) credit for an approved single semester introductory micro/macro course and have the option of either taking ECON 0200 (formerly 002) or receiving a waiver for ECON 0200. Students who choose to receive an ECON 0200 waiver and would like to pursue an ECON or EPOL minor need to take an additional 0xxx (or higher) level ECON course to complete the minor. Students who choose to receive an ECON 0200 waiver and would like to pursue an ECON or MAEC major need to take an additional 4xxx (formerly 2xx) or higher level ECON course to complete the major.

6. You will not receive credit for courses of the following types:

  • Courses without 2 c.u. of introductory economics as a prerequisite.
  • Business courses (e.g., banking). You must get credit for these courses from Wharton.
  • Purely descriptive courses (e.g., "Business and Society in Japan").
  • Geography courses (e.g., "The Spanish Economy").
  • Online courses.

7. Courses that receive credit as ECON 0982 (formerly 297) will not count as electives for the ECON and MAEC majors. They are regarded as ECON 0xxx equivalent and can be counted toward the ECON and EPOL minor.

Courses that receive credit as ECON 4982: Study Abroad Major Credit or 4992: Transfer Course Major Credit (both formerly 298) will count as electives for the ECON major. Special permission from the Undergraduate Chair is required to count them as electives for the MAEC major. 

8. Remember! If you are an Economics major, you must take at least 6 of your economics courses at the University of Pennsylvania.