Summer Courses The Hidden Curriculum | Class of 2024

Interested in taking courses over the summer to transfer back to RPI?

The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Summer Courses!

There is a HUGE reason why we spend a lot of time talking about transfer credits throughout The Hidden Curriculum.

Summer Classes and Graduation Requirements

Taking summer courses can keep you academically engaged and allow you to work toward your personal and professional goals outside of a typical academic year. It can help you catch up if you are a course (or two) behind, or help you get ahead if you want to lighten the load in future semesters for research or professional work experiences.

You do not need to take these courses at Rensselaer! You are welcome to attend your local community colleges or other 4-year institutions as a non-matriculated student to take engineering, math, science, HASS and/or Free Elective courses.

Please, please, please review this entire episode to ensure that you are following the correct processes to transfer a course back to Rensselaer. Everything in this guide is what you need to know on taking Summer Courses and transferring them back to Rensselaer – helpful hints and the required steps that you need to take.

It is an awful situation when students take courses over the summer that cannot be transferred back, so please be aware of the following information and ask your SoE Hub Advisor if you have any questions! There is no such thing as a dumb question when you are learning something new.

UPDATE: It is likely that summer courses all over the world will be largely available online because of COVID-19. If your preapproved course has moved online, please let your SoE Hub Advisor know. If you are taking a math or science course, you should be all set to continue with that course. For all other courses (engineering, HASS, management, etc.), we will need to re-check that the content is still acceptable for a transfer. You will work with your SoE Hub Advisor on this and collecting all required signatures.

You should meet with your SoE Hub Advisor to discuss all of the following BEFORE registering for, paying for, and taking any summer courses.

How to choose Summer Courses, and have them approved:

There is a new process to transfer credits! You may have chatted with your upper-class friends about this process, but what they have done in the past has now changed.

Please, read carefully!

You likely need additional signatures based on the courses that you are planning to take. You must get the following approvals before registering for a course over the summer. Do not take any course that has not yet been approved through the following process:

  1. HASS Courses: All HASS courses have to be reapproved regardless of the course's previous status on the Transfer Course Guide (more information on this guide below).
  2. Engineering Courses: All Engineering courses have to be reapproved, regardless of the courses previous status on the Transfer Course Guide.
  3. Science/Math Courses: If you have already applied 8 credits towards your math/science core (for example, AP Calculus 1 and AP Physics 1), you will need additional approval from the School of Science.
  4. International Courses: You may be able to take courses abroad (which can be useful as an international student), however, you will need all courses approved in advance by the appropriate departments (see above).
Planning to take Physics 2? Make sure the course you are looking to take is Calculus-based! Rensselaer will not accept the transfer of any Algebra-based Physics 2 courses.

The Undergraduate Transfer Course Guide

Use the Transfer Course Guide as a way to find colleges and courses that have previously been approved by Rensselaer. It allows you to search by location so you can find options close to where you will be spending the summer. A course being listed on the guide is not enough to guarantee that the course will now be accepted by Rensselaer’s schools/academic departments/Registrar. Truly think of this resource as a guide, not as a contract!

Keep in mind that some courses may transfer in for less credit than Rensselaer requires. For example, many math courses tend to be 3-credits at other colleges, as opposed to our 4-credit requirement. If this seems to be the case for you, come chat with your SoE Hub Advisor! There are plenty of options to make up that 1-credit gap.

UPDATE! New helpful tool to support your summer course search!

Another tip for all the people looking to transfer in credits. Many colleges are offering completely online courses this summer which means you can take courses at schools which aren't local to you.

The official course transfer guide sorts the data by school, not by course. If you are interested in looking at where you can transfer in a specific course, I created a number of csv files here for each course rpi accepts as transfer credit.

This may eventually get integrated with the QuACS website, but for now the csv files are only available on github.

Also, this link can help you download the specific csv file as I know not everyone is experienced with how github works...

- From Core Engineering, March 23rd 2020

Transfer Credit Approval Form

Before the end of the Spring 2021 semester, you must fill out and submit the Transfer Credit Approval Form for your Summer Courses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In response to COVID-19 many in-person courses have been offered as online courses across the nation. During Summer 2020, the requirement to have all online courses approved was waived. This may happen again for Summer 2021. Pay attention to all updates from your SoE Hub Advisor, or ask before registering for any summer courses.

Follow these steps before the end of the Spring Semester:

  • Read both pages of the form carefully (button below), as it provides additional information on transferring credits back to Rensselaer including what grades do you have to earn, process, and much more.
  • Once you fill out the Transfer Credit Approval form, you will need to collect the required signatures and approval (see more information below).
  • One you have collected all required signatures and have confirmed that all the information on your form is correct, make a copy!* You will want one copy for your personal file and one to submit.
  • Finally, once everything is approved, you will send the completed Transfer Credit Approval Form to registrar@rpi.edu

Who can approve courses?

  • HASS Course: Brett Fajen (fajenb@rpi.edu
  • Science Course: Lee Ligon (ligonl@rpi.edu)
  • Management Course: Clint Ballinger (ballic2@rpi.edu)
  • Engineering Course: Kurt Anderson (anderk5@rpi.edu)

What will you need to submit when you are getting a course approved?

  • An official course description from the instituton
  • And/or an official course syllabus from the institution
  • Official Course Name and Number

* Make a copy: get into the habit of making copies of all forms before you submit them! It's important that you always have a record, and a good life skill for after college. You can use a printer/scanner, take a picture with your phone, or use free apps like Adobe Scan.

This form is a required step in the process! It allows your SoE Hub Advisor and campus officials to double-check that what you plan to take over the summer will transfer back to Rensselaer. If you do not fill out this form, and still take the course, there is a real risk that the course you take will not transfer back to Rensselaer.

This could result in a waste of money and time.

Additionally, know that this approval process aims to ensure that you only take courses that cover all necessary content and will support you in understanding the more advanced courses that are headed your way at Rensselaer. It is not about checking a box in your major requirements, it is about continuous growth through your engineering curriculum in a way that sets you up for success.

If your summer class is a prereq for a course that you plan to take this fall, you will not be able to register for it during registration (March 20th to April 12th). So, what do you do?

Authorization Form

You may find that the course you are taking over the summer is a prerequisite for a course that you want to take next fall. When you register for your fall courses this spring, you will not yet have completed the prerequisite requirements, which means SIS will prevent you from registering.

In this instance, you will need to use an Authorization Form to be signed into a course. Watch the video below for instructions on how to use this form to get into the classes you need!

The Final Steps!

Transcripts to Transfer

Once you take the approved course at the other college, you will need to send your official transcript with your final grade to Rensselaer. This should be done through their Registrar’s Office. You will need to earn at least a C- in order for the course to be eligible to transfer.

The grade will not impact your Rensselaer GPA, only the credits will be applied to your transcript.

What are the steps?

  1. Connect with the Registrar's Office at the school where you have taken your summer course to request an official transcript to be sent to RPI.
  2. You will ask them to send the official transcript of your summer course to RPI'S Registrar's Office either by email or snail mail (click the button below for specifics).

Submitting the Transfer Credit Approval Form before taking the course will ensure that your credits transfer easily and they will be added to your Rensselaer transcript once our Registrar's Office receives your transcript. Our Registrar’s office cannot process your grades without the Transfer Credit Approval Form and your official transcript.

Still missing your AP Credits?

Don't forget! We provided you with videos and information on transfer credits within your Major-Specific Registration Guides over the summer. You can always revisit that content if your are still missing your AP credits or credits from other colleges that you took before you attended Rensselaer. There is a different process for those credits.

Who's got your back in the Registrar's Office?

Now that you're on campus, we would like to introduce you to our friend and colleague Robert, the transfer credit hero from the Registrar's Office. He took a moment to share his insight, advice, and best practice tips for bringing your credits over to Rensselaer back in Episode 5.

Whether you are still working on transfer credits from high school, or if you are planning on winter/summer courses, you will grateful for his guidance! (We always are!)

Watch now...

The School of Engineering First-Year Advising Hub

3306 Ansell Lounge, Jonsson Engineering Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute