How to Get Permission for Exceptions to the
GS Science and Social Science Requirements

Psychology Courses

You need the signature of a Psychology Dept. Program Advisor for all exceptions to the science and social science requirements that involve psychology courses. For courses taken at another institution prior to your admission to General Studies, the fact that you were awarded transfer credit by GS does not imply that the course is approved for the science or social science requirement. To obtain approval for such a course you must complete the GS Science Requirement Substitution form, following the instructions below.

Criteria for granting exceptions. A course taken outside the Columbia Psychology Department will only be allowed to substitute for a psychology course in the Department if:

  1. you are a transfer student to Columbia and had already taken the psychology course before you transferred; or
  2. you have a very compelling reason for taking a course elsewhere, and you obtain advance approval.

In either case, the course taken elsewhere should be very similar to the course for which it is substituting, and you must be able to demonstrate this similarity with supporting documents (see below). In addition, you must have received a B- or better and have completed the course no more than 8 years prior to applying for substitute credit.

IMPORTANT! Well before your final semester, you should verify that any exception you are counting on has been authorized and is on record in the appropriate offices. Failure to do so may delay your graduation date.

How to apply for an exception

1. Before you apply. If you are seeking transfer credit for a psychology course taken elsewhere you must first obtain permission from the relevant Dean to transfer those credits to your CU transcript. You also need (conditional) advance approval if you plan on taking a course elsewhere during the summer. See your Dean first and complete the relevant forms for obtaining transfer credit before starting the GS Science Requirement Substitution Form.

2. Assemble all required materials for each course you want us to consider:

  • The GS Science Requirement Substitution Form with Sections 1-4 completed
  • A course syllabus that clearly indicates weekly topics and reading assignments as well as course requirements
    • If the syllabus is not sufficiently detailed you may be asked to bring in the textbook, quizzes and tests, course notes, and/or term papers.
  • Course description from school bulletin
  • Your transcript showing grade received for this course
  • A transfer credit report showing the number of credits GS has awarded for this course

Note that the form asks you to indicate why you think the exception is justified. The justifications listed are generally required for any course taken outside the Columbia Psychology Department, and you must provide material that describes the outside course quite completely. Blurbs from course catalogs are helpful but not sufficient.

3. Take assembled materials to 406 Schermerhorn where the Undergraduate Curriculum Assistant will check them for completeness. IMPORTANT: As a GS Student, you must submit all required paperwork in the same semester in which you declare a major; failure to meet this deadline may result in the loss of eligibility for transfer credit toward the major or concentration.

4. Answer any questions from the Program Advisor. The UCA will pass your submission on to a Psychology Program Advisor, who will contact you if he or she has any questions or requires additional materials in order to review your request.

5. If permission is granted. Once the Program Advisor has reviewed your request, the UCA will let you know whether or not permission has been granted. If it has, you will need to visit the Psychology Department Office to pick up a copy of the signed form. You are responsible for bringing a copy of the signed form to your GS advisor in order to complete this process.


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This page is maintained by lep1 and kjt2111. It was last modified by kjt2111 on November 18, 2015