Office of the Registrar

Transfer Student FAQ

Answers to the most common questions asked by students transferring to Reed College.

Credits
What is a Reed unit?
Why didn't some of my classes transfer?
Why did some classes transfer at a reduced unit value?
Where are my Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits?
Is my evaluation of transfer credit cast in stone?

Requirements
What are all the requirements at Reed?
What are distribution requirements?
What if I only have 1.75 units towards a distribution requirement?
What are the requirements for a specific major?
Why isn't a transfer class applied towards a distribution requirement?
What is the Physical Education requirement?
Can I transfer credit to meet the PE requirement?
How do I register for PE?

Class Standing
Why am I not listed as a junior if I have 13 transfer units?
When do I take the Junior Qualifying Examination?

Registration
Is Humanities 110 required for transfer students?
When do I register for classes?
I forgot my PIN.  How do I find out what it is?
Can I register for a class if I don't have the prerequisite?

The Academic Program
What is the senior thesis?
Can I do a double major?
Will I be able to study abroad?

Grades and Transcripts
Does Reed have grades?
How do I see my grades?
What is on the official transcript?
How is my grade point average calculated?
How are year-long classes graded?

Questions
Whom should I contact with any questions about transfer credit?



Credits

What is a Reed unit?

A Reed unit is equivalent to four semester hours or six quarter hours.  Because schools offer courses for various credit hours, fractions often result.  For example, a three semester hour course is equivalent to 0.75 of a Reed unit, and a four quarter hour course is equivalent to 0.67 of a Reed unit.  This conversion ratio of semester/quarter hours to units is cast in stone, and no exceptions are made.  The amount of credit needed for a requirement may, however, sometimes be open to petition (with the notable exception of the 30 Reed units that are necessary for graduation).

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Why didn't some of my classes transfer?

Reed does not transfer work that is experiential or vocational in nature, or work that is not compatible with the Reed curriculum.  In general, Reed does not transfer non-creative English writing (grammar and composition, expository writing, research writing, rhetoric), pre-calculus mathematics (algebra, trigonometry, pre-calculus), speech and communication courses, remedial science classes, business classes, and language conversation classes.

If a whole term of work is missing from your evaluation of transfer credit, it is likely that Reed has not received an official transcript documenting the work.

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Why did some classes transfer at a reduced unit value?

Some departments do not wish to have courses transfer to Reed at a credit value that is greater than what a student would earn for the equivalent course at Reed.  For example, a 10 semester credit (15 quarter credit) year-long introductory lab science course may only transfer as two units, instead of the literal two-and-a-half unit conversion.  This is also reflected on the term level— a 5 semester credit class may transfer as one unit (instead of 1.25), or a 5 quarter credit class may only transfer as 0.67 units (instead of 0.83).

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Where are my Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits?

Reed must receive AP and IB scores directly from the official source.  In the case of AP Exams, a college grade report must be sent to Reed from the College Board.  In the case of IB, a transcript of scores must be sent from IB North America.  Reed cannot consider scores listed on a high school transcript as official.  Students who took IB exams overseas can have the scores sent to Reed though IB North America.

If Reed has received your AP or IB scores, they should be on your credit evaluation before Orientation Week.  If your scores are missing and you believe they were sent, please contact the Recorder in the Office of the Registrar.  If the Recorder does not have the scores, you will need to have them sent.

Policies about AP and IB credits may be found at http://www.reed.edu/apply/guide-to-applying/first-year/ap-guide.html.

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Is my evaluation of transfer credit cast in stone?

Not necessarily.  If you have questions about the evaluation, or believe there may have been an error, please contact the Recorder in the Registrar's Office (contact information below) to discuss your concern.

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Requirements

What are all the requirements at Reed?

A student must fulfill up to three sets of requirements to graduate from Reed.  Of course there are departmental or major requirements.  Every standard major belongs to a “division,” which is a grouping of departments.  Some divisions have requirements for graduation.  Finally, there are the general college or distribution requirements, which must be met by all students for graduation.

When it comes time to review a student’s record for graduation, the requirements are evaluated in two stages.  The department reviews the major requirements, the Office of the Registrar reviews any applicable divisional requirements and the general college (distribution) requirements.  Some courses may fulfill more than one requirement.  For example, an art major must take two years of a foreign language to fulfill the Division of the Arts' requirement; two of those four units may also be used to complete the Group D (Mathematics/Foreign Language/Linguistics) requirement.  The requirements necessary for graduation may not be as daunting as they initially appear.

The evaluation of transfer credit you receive will indicate how your previous work may be applied toward the general college requirements.  To determine how the credits might be applied towards departmental and/or divisional requirements you will need to speak with your faculty adviser.

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What are the distribution requirements? Are there other College requirements?

The distribution requirements are the general college requirements that all students must meet.  These include Humanities, and five group requirements (Groups A, B, C, D, and X). 

Other college requirements include: quantity, PE (6 credits), and the senior year residency requirement. A student must complete 30 Reed units to graduate, of which at least 15 must be in residence at Reed.  A student may transfer more than 15 units, but regardless of the number of units transferred, 15 units of work must be completed at Reed to be eligible for a Reed degree. During the senior year, a student must pass a minimum of six units, which includes one unit of thesis per semester.

Information about the distribution requirements may be found at http://www.reed.edu/catalog/edu_program.html.

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What if I only have 1.75 units towards a distribution requirement?

Reed will consider a distribution requirement (other than Humanities) satisfied with a minimum of 1.75 units.  If you have a three semester credit transfer course and take a course at Reed for a total of 1.75 units, you do not need to take additional coursework for that distribution requirement.  The credit is not rounded up to two units, but you will not be required to take coursework for that last quarter unit.

A four quarter credit class and a unit at Reed totals 1.67 units.  This does not meet the 1.75 unit minimum, so additional coursework would be required.

This quarter unit “waiver” does not apply to total units, the residency requirement, or the senior year requirement.  A student must complete a minimum of 30 units in the degree program, a minimum of 15 units at Reed, and a minimum of six units in residence during the senior year.

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What are the requirements for a specific major?

Major planners, listing the requirements for every major and established interdisciplinary program, may be found at http://www.reed.edu/registrar/planner.html.

This information may also be found in the catalog at http://www.reed.edu/catalog/

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Why isn't a transfer class applied towards a distribution requirement?

For the most part, courses that may be applied to distribution requirements have been applied to the relevant requirement.  This may not be the case for courses in some Group B departments (anthropology, economics, political science, sociology), as they have certain courses that are necessary for the requirement, and the registrar’s office is not authorized to substitute transfer courses for or in conjunction with the required courses.  Consultation with the relevant department chair may be necessary to determine if transfer courses may be used for Group B.

A science class may not be applied to Group C if there is no laboratory component to the class.

Please note that because Reed has no 100-level History courses, transferred 100-level History courses may be used for Group B, but may not be used for division or major requirements.

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What is the physical education requirement?

To graduate from Reed, a student must complete six "quarters" of PE.  Each PE class is seven weeks (half a semester) long, so it is possible to receive credit for two PE classes per semester.  PE courses do not carry a credit value; a tally is kept of how many PE classes a student has completed successfully.  PE courses are not documented on a student's official transcript; the transcript indicates how many quarters have been completed.  A student may take more than one PE class at a time, but credit will only be granted for one class per quarter.

PE classes may be repeated.  The main idea is to encourage students to do something other than academics.  Some PE classes are offered on an independent basis.  There is a maximum of two such PE classes permitted.

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Can I transfer credit to meet the PE requirement?

PE courses may be transferred from your previous school if they are documented on the official transcript.  A semester of PE will transfer as two PE credits at Reed, and a quarter of PE will transfer to Reed as one PE credit.  Once you have matriculated at Reed, you are expected to complete the PE requirement at Reed.

Students who transfer to Reed as a four-semester junior may have two of the required six PE classes waived.  If students take a fifth semester, they must complete all six PE courses.  This waiver of PE classes will be determined when you declare your major, outlining a four-semester plan for graduation.

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How do I register for PE?

Registration for PE is on SOLAR, with academic classes. One difference is that the number of the PE course corresponds with the quarter in which it is offered.  PE 101 is the first half of the fall semester, PE 102 is the second half of the fall semester, PE 103 is the first half of the spring semester, and PE 104 is the second half of the spring semester.

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Class Standing

Why am I not listed as a junior if I have 13 transfer units?

To be a junior at Reed, students must file a Declaration of Major form once they have completed thirteen units.  These forms are available at the Office of the Registrar, or online at http://www.reed.edu/registrar/form_downloads/declaration-of-major-form.pdf.  Once the completed and approved form has been submitted to the Registrar's Office and been approved, a student will be classified as a junior.

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When do I take the junior qualifying examination?

The junior qualifying examination (or "qual") must be passed to advance to senior standing.  It is typically taken during the semester immediately preceding a student's senior year.  The format of the qual varies by department.

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Registration

Is Humanities 110 required for transfer students?

One of the college Distribution requirements is that all students must complete three units of humanities.

Students who transfer to Reed with fewer than six units of transfer credit, or students without transfer credit in humanities, are required to take HUM 110.

Students who transfer to Reed with sophomore or junior standing, and who have successfully completed some coursework in the humanities, may elect to take one of the 200-level humanities courses (211/212, 220, 231/232) for two units, and complete the third unit with a course from either Group A or Group B that is not being applied to that requirement.  This decision is made in consultation with the student's adviser.

In unusual cases a student's background in humanities coursework may satisfy the humanities requirement.  This substitution must be approved by the chair of the humanities program.

It is highly recommended that a student take HUM 110, as it required of all first-year students and is considered a foundation of the Reed academic experience.

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When do I register for classes?

All new students (first-year and transfer) meet with their advisers on Thursday of Orientation Week.  There is no summer registration for  new students.  During the meeting the adviser passes along a PIN, which then allows the student to register.  Students should register for both fall and spring semesters that day.

Times for advising appointments are assigned randomly.  Advising appointments are a little longer for transfer students than they are for first-year students.

It is helpful for transfer students to have credit-related questions answered prior to the advising appointment.

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I forgot my PIN.  How do I find out what it is?

If you have not used your PIN to register for classes, you must contact your faculty adviser for your PIN.  If you have registered for classes using the current PIN, you can find your pin in IRIS on your unofficial transcript in IRIS.

PINs change during the year.

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How do I register for a class if I don't have the prerequisite?

There is a short-term answer and a long-term answer.

If it is for just one class, you should seek instructor permission to add the class.  If you are using Solar, the faculty member can set a registration override in IRIS that will allow you to register for the class.  If you are using an add/drop form, the instructor's signature constitutes permission to add the class without the prerequisite.

If there exists a course that is a prerequisite for a number of courses that you may add in a single department, perhaps your major (say, BIOL 101 and 102 for upper-level Biology classes), you should talk to the relevant department chair about transfer courses that might be coded as equivalent to the needed Reed course(s).  Then have the department chair notify the Recorder to change the way the coursework has been entered in the student information system. That way you do not need to seek overrides every time you want to add an upper level course in the particular department.

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The Academic Program

What is the senior thesis?

The senior thesis is a year-long independent research project all students must complete to graduate from Reed.  The project can be experimental, critical, or creative in nature.  It counts for one unit per semester, for a total of two units.  At the conclusion of the project, the student must undergo a two-hour thesis defense ("orals").

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Can I do a double major?

Double majors at Reed are difficult to undertake due to the thesis requirement.  In order to complete a double major a student must write a thesis for each major.  If a student is interested in combining two disciplines, there are numerous established interdisciplinary programs, or a student may, with consultation with members of two departments, construct an ad hoc interdisciplinary major.  An interdisciplinary major may have to take two junior qualifying exams, but is only required to write one thesis.

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Will I be able to study abroad?

It depends on what you have taken at your previous institution, what you major is, and how long you plan to be at Reed.  Off-campus study programs do not count towards the fifteen-unit residency requirement, so it is not possible to transfer to Reed as a four-semester junior and spend time away from Reed, unless you add more semesters to your program.

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Grades and Transcripts

Does Reed have grades?

Yes, Reed has traditional (A-F) grades. Reed emphasizes learning rather than grades, so while you will receive academic progress reports at the end of every semester, the grades will not appear unless you receive a C- or lower grade, or an Incomplete.

Students are evaluated three times per semester. At four weeks an instructor is asked to submit a comment for students who are 1) not making satisfactory progress in class, 2) taking an overload or 3) on academic probation. They also submit comments for other reasons. These comments are for college use only, and are not part of a student's official transcript. Faculty record grades at eight weeks, and comments if relevant. 8-week grades do not appear on the official transcript, as they are for college use only. At the end of the semester, all courses are graded and final grades appear on the official transcript.

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How do I see my grades?

To find out your grades, speak with your adviser or your instructors. The Registrar's Office is authorized to release grades only in the form of an official transcript. Reed does not release unofficial transcripts.

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What is on the official transcript?

The Reed transcript lists the course numbers, titles, and grades for courses taken at Reed or at official Reed off-campus study programs. Courses are grouped by academic year. Courses in progress are listed. The transcript indicates if you are on a leave of absence or have withdrawn from the college. The official transcript does not indicate academic actions (e.g., probation or warning), but does include commendations for excellence in scholarship at the end of the year or election to Phi Beta Kappa at graduation.

The Reed transcript does not list transfer classes or grades. It lists the institutions from which transfer credit was accepted and the total number of units. When you apply to graduate school (and for some employers), you will be asked to submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.

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How is my grade point average calculated?

Information about how to calculate your GPA may be found at http://www.reed.edu/registrar/pdfs/request-and-calculate-gpa.pdf (.pdf file). The GPA that is reported on the official Reed transcript is just for courses taken at Reed. It does not include courses taken on approved off-campus programs or transfer credits. To calculate a composite undergraduate GPA see the calculation guide. If you are going to include grades from other schools, make sure that the credits have been converted to Reed units, and multiply the grade points by that number.

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How are year-long classes graded?

In year-long classes (classes that have the same number in fall and spring), the final grade reflects the work of the entire year, so the final grade is only shown once on the official transcript (HUM 110, FREN 110, thesis, etc.) Classes like CHEM 101 and 102, while a year-long sequence, are not considered year-long classes and receive final grades at the end of each semester.

Year-long classes have different drop and withdrawal dates from semester classes, so check the academic calendar. If you only take one semester of a year-long class, you will not receive credit for that semester unless you either finish the class in a later semester or submit a completed Credit for One Semester of a Year Course form.

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Questions

Whom should I contact with any questions about transfer credit?

If you have missing coursework, or have a question about how or why a course has been evaluated in a particular way, contact the Recorder in the Office of the Registrar.  The name and contact information are listed below.

We welcome your suggestions for this FAQ.

Ben Bradley
Office of the Registrar, Eliot 311
503-777-7295
bradley@reed.edu.

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Last updated August 19, 2016

Contact the Registrar’s Office

Eliot Hall 311
503/777-7793
Fax: 503/777-7795
registrar@reed.edu

Hours

Monday–Friday
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.

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