Transfer Credits and Study Abroad

To receive transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions, or to obtain approval for credit for courses for study abroad, you need to receive prior approval from the department chair at Reed. To do so:

  1. Determine what type of credit you are seeking for the course. Is it general or unit credit toward the 30 credit requirement; credit for Group B, X or HSS Divisional requirements (which are Introduction to Sociology and one upper division sociology course); or credit toward the major requirements?
  2. Obtain copies of the syllabus as well as the catalog description and any other course materials (e.g., assignments, handouts) that you can. We cannot evaluate a course or grant or promise approval for credit for group, HSS divisional or major requirements without a syllabus.
  3. Find out from the registrar's office at Reed how many credits you can expect to receive for the course(s) you intend to take. In order to answer this question, the Registrar needs to know whether courses to be transferred are offered on the semester system or the quarter system.
  4. Next, you need the signature of the department chair. We cannot sign blank lines with "sociology courses" written next to them, so be sure to have the form filled out in detail by the time you are at the signature stage.

Group, Divisional, Major and General Unit Requirements

There are some things you need to keep in mind when assessing courses taken elsewhere, including specific criteria that courses taken at another institution must meet to qualify for credit Group B, Group X, divisional or major requirements.

  1. You generally cannot expect to use courses taken elsewhere for credit Sociology 211, Introduction to Sociology. Sociology 211 is required for using sociology to satisfy group, divisional and major requirements. It is a unique class, is radically different from most introductory sociology classes taught elsewhere in the US and abroad, and is a prerequisite for all other sociology courses at Reed, providing preparation needed for upper division coursework in the department. Do not assume that courses taken elsewhere will satisfy the prerequisites or prepare you for other courses at Reed. Students who are considering courses for transfer credit should look carefully at our introductory syllabus to get an idea of what the department offers and expects.
  2. Upper division courses offered elsewhere may qualify for group, divisional or major requirements. However, they must be dedicated sociology courses taught by instructors with graduate degrees in sociology. Generally speaking, “Sociology of X” type classes that engage theory and methods in a subfield and that survey different sociological approaches or theories of the phenomena are good places to start. Courses that do not survey dominant sociological approaches or that self-identify as "interdisciplinary" generally cannot be credited as a "sociology" course. Courses with some sociology in them, including in cultural studies, globalization, or the culture, social life or history of specific places, regions or groups likewise do not generally qualify.
  3. To qualify for group, divisional or major credit, courses taken elsewhere must also be comparable in level and type to what the Reed sociology department offers in its courses. They should rely mainly on primary texts, sociological monographs and published journal articles or book chapters by sociologists rather than textbooks, literature or publications for popular audiences. Students who are considering courses for transfer credit should look carefully at syllabi from courses we offer to get an idea of the level and type of courses expected.
  4. We cannot evaluate a course and grant or promise approval for group, HSS divisional or major requirements for a course without a syllabus that lists topics, readings and assignments. Sociology courses taken at other universities in the US or in approved study abroad programs will generally qualify as Sociology 199 or Sociology 299 courses for general or unit credit toward the 30 credit requirement for graduation. However, without a syllabus, we can neither approve a course for group, divisional or major credit in advance, nor guarantee that any courses you have or will take will quality when you return with a syllabus. In cases where students cannot obtain a syllabus, we can sign paper work for transfer or study abroad programs with the written caveat, “approval pending an evaluation of the syllabus, with no guarantee that the course will be approved for group, divisional or major requirements.” This will facilitate the process for doing study elsewhere or abroad, but students in this situation must understand that they are accepting the risk that a course they take elsewhere may not qualify for group, divisional or major credit.