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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy
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Summer Physics Credit

Credit Approval Policy

Summer Course Approval forms are available in the Registrar's Office. The forms are to be returned to the Registrar, by the student, by the deadline of May 1.

Requests after the deadline should be submitted to the Committee on Student Standing and Programs (CSSP) chair.

  • Physics courses taken in summer school at other institutions must satisfy these requirements to be awarded Haverford credit:
  • The course must have a similar coverage (including at least mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and optics)
  • The course must have a regular laboratory that includes all of these components
  • The course must be at a quality institution with a strong reputation.

Advice for Biology majors and pre-medical students: You should be aware that many courses offered elsewhere for life sciences and pre-medical students are taught at a mathematical level that is unsuitable for Haverford credit, though they may meet pre-medical requirements. Others (generally intended for physical science and engineering students) are at a calculus-based level, but are often poorly matched to the needs and interests of Haverford premedical and biology students. Because this problem limits the availability of summer courses that are both educationally appropriate and creditworthy, we believe that Haverford Physics 101-102 is a superior choice if you can fit it into your schedule.

Students who plan to take the MCAT exam will be especially interested that we have studied the performance on the MCAT of Haverford students who took their required physics courses here compared to those who took them elsewhere. We noted that over the years 1998 to 2004, students taking physics at Haverford scored an average of 10.0 in their physics physical science MCAT test, while those who took it elsewhere scored an average of 9.2. Of the students taking physics at Haverford 63% received MCAT scores of 10 or higher, compared to 45% for those taking it elsewhere. (Similar distributions held in both cases. This difference is statistically significant at the 95% level. You can view the complete results online.)

To obtain our approval for physics summer courses, please email the following information to the Physics Department Chair ( with the subject "Physics Chair: summer course approval request":

  • Institution
  • Name and number of the course
  • Course Description (verbatim copy) including mathematical prerequisites
  • Brief description of the laboratory (including a list of experiments if possible)
  • Textbook author, title, and publisher, and if possible a printout of the book description from the publishers web site
  • Your e-mail address
  • The Registrar's form for Summer School Course Credit, filled out to indicate the institution, the exact name of your course, including its number, that you are taking both the lecture and laboratory components of each course for 1.0 credit total, and for NA credit. You are responsible for getting all approvals and filing this form with the Registrar if it is approved.

Please make sure that all of this information is included. After submission, we will contact you within a few days, most likely by e-mail. If you have questions, please send e-mail to the Chair.