Course Credit and Course Load

All courses are calculated on the basis of semester credits. Credits are tracked automatically through the registration system. Students should register for full-time credit and course loads in consultation with their advisors. Billing is based on student registration. A typical full-time student enrolls for twelve to eighteen credits.

  • Enrollment in twelve credits is considered full-time status, less than twelve credits reduces a student to part-time status.
  • All courses need to meet the Federal definition of a credit hour.
  • Students taking six credits are considered half-time students and are eligible for partial federal financial aid

Auditing Courses

Auditing a course is a way to prepare for a course taken in the future or to simply take a course that you are interested in but do not wish to receive credit. A student wishing to audit a course must complete a permission form, which is located on myRegistrar.

  • A full-time student may request to audit courses at no additional charge.
  • A fee for auditing a course is charged to part-time students.
  • Students may audit only when space is available and with the faculty member’s permission.
  • The faculty member will determine whether the student’s work will be evaluated, however a grade of AU is awarded, which carries no credits.
  • A change from audit to credit may be made at any time prior to the final date for adding courses. A fee adjustment will be made where applicable.
  • No changes in audit/credit status are permitted after the add/drop period. (See the Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Off-Campus Coursework for Current Students

A matriculated Colby-Sawyer College student may receive Colby-Sawyer College transfer credit for courses taken at other accredited institutions. To request prior approval to take courses at another institution a student must fill out the appropriate form on myRegistrar.

  • The registrar must approve all courses prior to enrollment at another institution.
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C (2.00) to receive transfer credit.
  • For nursing majors, the Registrar must approve all courses prior to enrollment.
  • Credits and grades will be recorded on the student’s transcript and calculated into the student’s GPA.

Transfer Credits for Incoming Students

Entering matriculated students who have completed work at other accredited post-secondary institutions may be eligible to receive transfer credit. The determination about specific courses for transfer will be made by the registrar in consultation with the relevant schools.

Students must request that an official transcript be sent from the institution they attended to the registrar. Transcripts must come directly from the sending institution or, if delivered by the student, the transcript must be in a sealed and stamped envelope. Once received by the registrar, the registrar may ask the student to provide course descriptions for all work completed. Students will be notified when credits are applied to their transcript.

  • A maximum of 90 credit hours will be allowed for transfer to a baccalaureate degree program at Colby-Sawyer College. The final 30 credit hours must be Colby-Sawyer College sponsored whether taken on or off campus.
  • A maximum of 45 credits will be allowed for transfer to the associate degree program at Colby-Sawyer. The final 15 credit hours must be Colby-Sawyer College sponsored whether taken on or off campus.
  • A maximum of nine credit hours will be allowed for transfer to a certificate program at Colby-Sawyer. The remaining credit hours must be Colby-Sawyer College sponsored whether taken on or off campus.
  • A maximum of nine credit hours will be allowed for transfer to the Master of Science in Nursing program at Colby-Sawyer. The remaining credit hours must be Colby-Sawyer College sponsored whether taken on or off campus. MSN students will not be able to exceed 9 credits as a non-degree student.
  • Students with an associate degree from the New Hampshire Community College system and a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher will receive full credit for all courses taken and passed at the other college, provided that the degree has liberal education requirements similar to those at Colby-Sawyer.
  • The work of students who have an associate degree with dissimilar or no liberal education requirements, do not have an associate degree, or do not have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher, will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis. In such cases, credit is given for courses that have been completed with grades of C or above which are pertinent to the educational mission of Colby-Sawyer and thus have course equivalents here.
  • The registrar has the responsibility of making the final determination regarding transferability of individual courses.
  • Grades earned in courses taken before matriculation at Colby-Sawyer will not be included when computing the cumulative grade point average.
  • Continuing education credits (CEUs) are not accepted.
  • Please see information on Professional Learning Credits

Colby-Sawyer College Credit and National Examinations

Students who have accumulated sufficient prior knowledge of a course’s content and wish to earn credit for specific courses in the curriculum may take credit examinations. Students should take a national exam when available; however, when there is no equivalent national examination, a student may be able to take a Colby-Sawyer College program examination. National exams include the College-Level Examination Program and Excelsior.

  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    Students may take the general and subject examinations developed by the College Entrance Examination Board. Credit is given as follows:
    • General examinations: Students will receive from four to eight credits (depending on the particular test taken) for each examination on which they score a C or better. In the case of a non-letter grade a score in the 50th percentile or higher is required. The minimum score for English composition is the 61st percentile, and the test must include the essay section.
    • Subject examinations: Successfully completed subject examinations will apply toward appropriate graduation requirements.
    • For further information about CLEP, please contact the College-Level Examination Program, Box 6600, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6600 or
  • Excelsior College Examination Program
    • Credit will be granted to students who score at the 50th percentile or higher.
    • For further information about Excelsior College exams, please contact Excelsior College, 7 Columbia Circle, Albany, NY, 12203-5159 or
  • Colby-Sawyer College Credit Examination
    • The decision to allow the student to take the examination is the prerogative of the program faculty.
    • Group examinations may be scheduled when practical.
    • A Pass/Fail grade may be used only when the course does not satisfy a requirement.
    • The method of evaluation must be determined by the program faculty and communicated to the student prior to the administration of the examination.
    • Students must accept the grade assigned, which, along with the credit earned, will be recorded on their permanent transcript.
    • The maximum number of credits that may be earned by credit examination is sixteen.
    • A flat fee is required for credit examinations.
    • Credit examinations must be evaluated with a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) if they are to be used as a substitute for a requirement in the major, minor, or in the Liberal Education Program.
    • If the student receives a passing grade on the examination they will be awarded the grades of ‘CR’ on their transcript.
    •  For program exams students may petition in writing to the appropriate school dean for the course they wish to take the exam in.

Colby-Sawyer College Exemption Examinations

Exemption examinations enable students to waive a prerequisite by demonstrating an appropriate level of proficiency, which allows them to move to a higher level of study.

  • The appropriate level of proficiency is determined by the faculty member who administers the examination. No credit or grade is earned.
  • Students wishing to take an exemption exam may talk to their advisor and the dean of the school associated with the course they wish to be exempted from.