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    Russell Sage College
  Oct 24, 2020
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Academic Policy: Credit

AP Exam Credits IB Exam Credits • Credit for Prior Learning
CLEP Exam Credits Transfer Credits  

Credit Hour Policy at Sage

A contact hour is described as interaction between faculty and students via lecture, discussion, research, project/problem, debate, etc. For lecture class formats, one credit requires a minimum of 12.5 faculty contact hours (750 minutes) and a minimum of 30 hours of out-of-class student work over the course of the 15 week semester. A three-credit course is thus equal to a minimum of 37.5 faculty contact hours (2,250 minutes) with the expectation of 90 hours of student out-of-class work time. Summarized below are the credits awarded to students enrolled in a lecture course format based upon the faculty contact hours and expected student work hours.

 Credits awarded for Lecture/Seminar based courses taught in a 15 week semester:


 Faculty direct instruction
 time (hours)

 Faculty direct instruction   
 time (minutes)

 Student out-of-class    
 work time (hours)

 1 credit




 2 credits




 3 credits




 4 credits




In addition, the following define standard practices for awarding credits for other types of class formats

Online or hybrid courses

Online and/or hybrid courses provide direct instruction time equivalent to 12.5 hours per credit awarded. Students are expected to engage in a minimum of 30 hours of additional work for every credit awarded. (Hybrid method may be listed as Reduced Seat Time).

Weekend, summer, or accelerated courses

Courses offered at an accelerated pace during the semester or during the summer must meet the same learning outcomes as an identical course offered during the 15 week semester at the standard pace. Faculty direct instruction time is a minimum of 12.5 hours per credit awarded.

Laboratory Courses

Science and clinical labs with 2 contact hours/week over the 15 week semester are awarded 1 credit. Labs with 3 contact hours/week over the 15 week semester are awarded 1 to 1.5 credits. Labs with 4 or more hours/week over the 15 week semester are awarded 2 credits.

Lab-based courses offered through a combination of class and laboratory meeting observe the credit hour standards using the appropriate combination of lecture and lab guidelines (e.g. a 4-credit lecture/lab with 2.5 hours of lecture per week would have a 2-3 hour weekly lab).

Studio Courses: Art, Music, and Dance

Studio art courses: 3 credits are awarded for NASAD accredited studio art courses (with prefixes such as AEM, ART, GMD, and ISD) that have 5 contact hours per week for 15 weeks. Non accredited studio art courses (AFA prefix) have 4.3 contact hours per week for 15 weeks and are awarded 3 credits.

  • Studio music courses (including Applied Voice, applied instrument, and Chorus): for every 1.5 credits awarded, students receive a minimum of 50 minutes of direct instruction/week for 10 weeks and are expected to practice for a minimum of 1 hour each day.
  • Studio dance courses: 3 credits are awarded for studio dance courses that have a minimum of 2.5 hours of direct instruction per week for 15 weeks. Students have additional course requirements and assignments that require a minimum of 2 hours of additional work for every credit earned.

Undergraduate or Graduate Internship, Practicum, Student Teaching, Clinical Placement

The specific number of required hours per credit awarded varies depending on the discipline and/or the requirements set by the program’s accrediting body. All require a minimum of 40 supervised clock hours per 1 credit awarded.

Thesis/Dissertation, Honors Project

Courses in which students are working on independent projects such as a thesis/dissertation or honors project conform to the standard minimum of 3 hours of student work per credit hour, per week, throughout the course of the semester, or the equivalent amount of work distributed over a different period of time.

Independent Study

Courses offered through independent study are awarded a varying number of credits depending on the agreement between the student and faculty member. The student meets periodically with the professor at a schedule or frequency agreed upon at the start of the course. Assignments and evaluation methods are communicated to the student in the course approval form and at the start of the course. Students are expected to engage in a minimum of 3 hours of work per week for 15 weeks for every credit hour of independent study awarded.

Credit for Prior Learning

The Credit for Prior Learning Program (CPL) is open to any undergraduate student matriculated in a bachelor’s degree program at Sage, provided they have completed at least one 3-credit course at Sage, have a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or higher and a major GPA of 2.200 or higher. CPL cannot be requested in a student’s final semester at Sage.

The CPL program has a maximum credit limit of 30 credits. Credits earned from the CPL portfolio program are considered external or non-institutional credits, and the number of CPL credits is considered as part of the total allowable transfer credits. CPL credits do not affect GPA. Each course request can be for no more than four credits.

The CPL program is based on college-level learning from life experiences, not on position titles held or the experiences per se. The student produces a written portfolio in which they describe in detailed narrative form, what learning was gained and how learning was gained, based on appropriate course objectives.

In preparation for discussion with the department chairs, students should review course descriptions to determine courses their portfolios may address. The portfolio will focus on skills and experiences supporting a college-level learning experience. Students may request credits for courses that could be offered but are not offered at Sage. (Example: special topics courses, e.g., MUS 248: Introduction to Opera). For courses not offered at Sage, students are expected to follow an approved course syllabus from a four year accredited institution.

Sage Ahead Courses

All Sage Ahead courses are consistent with the Credit Hour Policy of Russell Sage College.

Course Scheduling

At Sage, the semester is 15 weeks, including a final examination week. The academic calendar is set by the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the Provost’s Office. The semester start and end dates are selected to insure the minimum number of days for every course offered. Most undergraduate lecture classes meet two days per week, (Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday) for 80 minutes for a total of 160 minutes/week. The 2-hour final exam period is counted as part of the contact-hour requirement. The policy for the final exam period requires that the session be utilized whether or not an examination is given. This final exam time period can be used for student presentations, critiques, writing, or other forms of scholarly practice. The schedule of graduate courses varies, but all are in compliance with the credit hour policy. For every contact hour in class, there is an expectation of a minimum of two hours of student work in preparing for the class through reading, studying, completing scholarly research, etc.

Classification of Students

A student’s academic classification (class standing or class level) is determined by the number of credits earned (completed) toward the bachelor’s degree:

Standing Completed Credits
First Year/Freshman 0-23
Sophomore 24-53
Junior 54-86
Senior 87 or more

Substitution/Waiver Policy

The Department Chairperson/Program Director may approve the waiver of a major requirement for a student. For course substitions, the Department Chairperson/Program Coordinator for the course that is being substituted must give their approval. For example, substitution of a Biology course requires the approval of the Biology Department. For general education core requirements, the decision rests with the Dean of the College. This approval may be secured in writing or via e-mail from the Chairperson/Directoror Dean and must be attached to the Substitution/Waiver Form before it is returned to the Office of Student Services.

In lieu of the Substitution/Waiver Form, Substitution/Waivers may be done via e-mail, but must contain the following:

  • Chairperson/Program Director must be copied
  • Student must be copied
  • Required course
  • Course being waived
  • Course being substituted
  • Whether or not the course is a transfer course and from what institution
  • Reason/Justification
  • Statement indicating, “Copying the student indicates the student’s awareness of the substitution/waiver.”

Fresh Start Program

An undergraduate student who is seeking readmission to Sage and has not attended Sage in four or more years may choose to have all Sage undergraduate coursework (from the prior attendance) be treated as transfer credits and therefore exempt from the calculation of the grade point average. In choosing this option, such a student would receive credit for courses in which a grade of “C-” or better was earned; the grades however, would not be included in the computation of the grade point average. In effect, students electing the Fresh Start policy will have old course work treated as transfer credit in the calculation of credit for courses, grade point average and the determination of eligibility for honors in the respective colleges. It is up to the student to weigh the benefits of this option against possible additional coursework that would be required for graduation. The decision to declare a Fresh Start must be made to the Registrar upon recommendation of the Office of Academic Advising by the end of the student’s first semester of re-enrollment and can be claimed no more than once in a student’s career at Sage. [Advisement Note: Per the federal financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy, original grades and credits will be used to determine financial aid eligibility.]

Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions

The Office of Student Services/Registrar evaluates credit earned at regionally accredited institutions and per departmental guidelines. To be eligible for credit consideration, final official sealed transcripts from all post-secondary institutions (college, university, technical, proprietary school, etc.) previously attended must be submitted. Awarding of transfer credit is on a course-by-course equivalence basis for all coursework in which grades of “C-” or above have been earned. Credit for non-equivalent professional courses may be awarded at the Registrar’s discretion. Note: transfer credit is only granted for credits that will apply to the student’s current degree program. If a student changes his/her major after initial matriculation, he/she should contact the Advising Office to determine if there needs to be a change in the amount of transfer credit that applies toward the degree. Course grades from other institutions do not transfer, only credits do.

Sage has established transfer agreements and transfer course equivalencies with many colleges. New schools, programs and additional courses are always being added.  Contact the Registrar’s Office or Advising Office for a more comprehensive list of all transfer courses accepted to date.

A maximum of 75 transfer credits are applicable toward the RSC baccalaureate (day) degree at Sage, with these conditions:

  • Final transcripts from accredited institutions (official and sealed) are required
  • Course grades of “C-” or above is required
  • Of the total 75 transfer credits permitted, a maximum of 66 credits may be from 2-year level colleges or by examinations (CLEP, AP, IB)
  • Students must complete at least half their major credits at Sage
  • Students must complete at at least 45 credit hours in residence at Sage
  • 30 of the last 45 credit hours must be completed in residence

A maximum of 90 transfer credits are applicable toward the SPCE baccalaureate degree at Sage, with these conditions:

  • Final transcripts from accredited institutions (official and sealed) are required
  • Course grades of “C-” or above is required
  • Of the total 90 transfer credits permitted, a maximum of 66 credits may be from 2-year level colleges or by examinations (CLEP, AP, IB)
  • Students must complete at least half their major credits at Sage
  • Students must complete at at least 45 credit hours in residence at Sage
  • 30 of the last 45 credit hours must be completed in residence

Program directors and department chairs have final authority on the awarding of transfer credits for coursework transferring in through their departments. Transfer credits from subject areas that are not offered at Sage may be evaluated by the appropriate College Dean’s office. In some cases students may be asked to submit a course description and/or course syllabus to evaluate the Sage equivalency for the credit.

Transfer of Credit after Matriculation

An undergraduate student who intends to transfer credit from another institution after matriculation at Sage must file with the Registrar a statement of approval for the course to be taken, signed by the major advisor. No credit will be transferred without prior approval, nor will credit transfer for coursework with a grade below a “C-”. Please note that course grades from other institutions do not transfer; only credits do. Transfer credit approval forms are available in the Office of Student Services\Registrar.

Before registering elsewhere to take a required course normally offered at Sage, the student must obtain consent of his or her academic advisor(s) (or Director(s) of Advising) and verification of course equivalence (for courses not previously transferred to Sage) from the director of the program in which the course would be offered at Sage.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

A maximum of 75 credit hours is applicable toward the baccalaureate degree at Russell Sage College. Second degree students must complete a minimum of 45 additional credit hours, including at least one-half the major field requirement. Second degree students possessing an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in the United States are exempt from all general education requirements at Russell Sage College. Students may appeal to the Dean of the College for a waiver of this requirement based on evidence of prior service learning experience. Those holding bachelor’s degree from international institutions may appeal to the Academic Dean for a waiver of all or a portion of general education requirements. 

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Credit and/or placement is possible for qualifying scores from the College Level Examination Program. Up to 66 credit hours of exam and 2 year college credits may be earned. Normally, when credit is awarded it is applied to general education and elective requirements. For information about the CLEP program go to  

The following table specifies approved exams and credit available.

Exam Score Course Equivalent Cr.
American Literature 50 ENG ELCT 3
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 50 ENG 154 3
English Literature 50 ENG ELCT 3
Algebra 50 MAT 112 3
Algebra/Trigonometry 50 MAT 113 3
Biology 50 BIO 101 & BIO 102 8
Chemistry 50 CHM 111 & CHM 112 8
Calculus with Elementary Functions 50 MAT 201 4
College Mathematics 50 MAT 110 3
Trigonometry 50 MAT ELCT 3
French, Level 1 & 2 50 FRE 101, FRE 102 6
French, Level 1 & 2 59 FRE 101, FRE 102, FRE 201 9
German, Level 1 & 2 50 GER 101, GER 102 6
German, Level 1 & 2 60 GER 101, GER 102, GER 201 9
Spanish, Level 1 & 2 50 SPA 101, SPA 102 6
Spanish, Level 1 & 2 63 SPA 101, SPA 102, SPA 201 9
American Government 50 POL 101 3
Educational Psychology 50 EDU 206 3
Intro to History of the US I 50 HST 105 3
Intro to History of the US II 50 HST 106 3
Human Growth and Development 50 PSY 202 3
Macroeconomics, Principles of 50 ECO 201 3
Microeconomics, Principles of 50 ECO 202 3
Psychology, Introductory 50 PSY 101 3
Sociology, Introductory 50 SOC 101 3
West Civ I: Ancient Near East to 1648 50 HST 109 3
West Civ II: 1648 to the Present 50 HST 110 3
Financial Accounting 50 ACC 201 3
Business Law, Introductory 50 BUS 212 3
Management, Principles of 50 BUS 205 3
Marketing, Principles of 50 BUS 204 3
Information Sys & Comp Applic 50 CSI 215 3

Advanced Placement Program (AP Credit)

Russell Sage College recognizes achievements of secondary students who participate in the Advanced Placement Program (AP Credit) of The College Board. The following table defines the credit awarded for each of the exams.

Exam Score (minimum)
Course Equivalent Cr.
Art History 3 ARH 206 3
Art: Studio Art - Drawing 3 AEM 101 3
Art: Studio Art - 2D 3 AEM 105 3
Art: Studio Art - 3D 3 AEM 106 3
Biology 4 BIO 101 4
Biology 5 BIO 101, BIO 102 8
Calculus AB or Subscore AB 3 Quantitative reasoning elective credit/MAT ELCT 3
Calculus AB or Subscore AB 4 MAT 201 4
Calculus BC 3 Quantitative reasoning elective credit/MAT ELCT 3
Calculus BC 4 MAT 202 4
Chemistry 3 CHM 111 & CHM 112 8
Computer Science A 3 CSI ELCT 3
Computer Science AB 3 CSI ELCT 3
Economics: Macro 3 ECO 201 3
Economics: Micro 3 ECO 202 3
English Language & Composition 3 HUM 112 (SCA) 3
English Language & Composition 4 ENG 101 (RSC) 3
English Literature & Composition 3 ENG 154 (SCA) 3
English Literature & Composition 4 ENG 101 (RSC) 3
Environmental Science 3 BIO ELCT (SCA) 4
Environmental Science 4 BIO ELCT (SCA) 8
Environmental Science 4 BIO 110 (RSC) 3
French Language 3 FRE 201 3
French Language 4 FRE 202 3
French Language 5 FRE 211 3
French Literature 3 FRE ELCT 3
French Literature 5 FRE 315 3
German Language 3 GER 201 3
Government & Politics: US 3 POL 101 3
Government & Politics: Comparative 3 POL 103 3
History: US 3 HST 105, HST 106 6
History: European 3 History elective credit/HST ELCT 3
History: World 3 History elective credit/HST ELCT 3
Human Geography 3 Elective credit in Social Science/SOC ELCT 3
International English Language [APIEL] 3 May substitute for TOEFL requirement 0
Latin: Virgule 3 Humanities elective credit/HUM ELCT 3
Latin: Literature 3 Humanities elective credit/HUM ELCT 3
Music Literature 3 Music elective/HUM ELCT 3
Music Theory 3 Music elective/HUM ELCT 3
Physics 1 3 PHY ELCT 3
Physics 1 4 PHY 101/PHY 101L 4
Physics 2 3 PHY ELCT 3
Physics 2 4 PHY 102/PHY 102L 4
Physics C: Mechanics 3 PHY 101/PHY 101L 4
Physics C: Elec & Magnetism 3 PHY ELCT 3
Psychology 3 PSY 101 3
Spanish Language 3 SPA 201 3
Spanish Language 4 SPA 202 3
Spanish Language 5 SPA 211 3
Spanish Literature 3 SPA 201 3
Spanish Literature 5 SPA 315 3
Statistics 3 MAT 220 3

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Russell Sage College welcomes students who have participated in an International Baccalaureate program. Students who have completed IB coursework not represented below should consult the Dean of the College. An official sealed completion certificate with IB exam scores is required.

Subject Score Course Equivalent Cr.
Biology HL 5 BIO 101 and 101L 4
  HL 7 BIO 101/102 + labs 8
Business/Management HL 5 MGT 235 3
Chemistry* HL 5 CHM 103 or 111 4
  HL 7 CHM 111 and CHM 112 8
Economics HL 5 ECO 201 and 202 6
English HL 5 ENG 101 3
  HL 7 ENG 101 and 220 6
French HL 5 FRE 101 and 102 6
  HL 7 FRE 201 and 202 6
History HL 5 Equivalent RSC course or HST elective 3-6
Math SL 5 Gen. Ed Quantatative Reasoning requirement waived 0
  HL 5 MAT 113 3
Psychology HL 7 Equivalent RSC course or PSY elective 3
Spanish HL 5 SPA 101 and 102 6
  HL 7 SPA 201 and 202 6

*The Chemistry Department will evaluate each case for appropriate lab experience before granting credit; if the laboratory experience of a student is deemed not equivalent, CHM elective credit is given instead (3 or 6 credits, respectively).

Excelsior College Exams

Credits from this program sponsored by the Excelsior College (UExcel) are available in the same manner as for CLEP. The maximum of 66 credits hours toward baccalaureate degrees are aggregates for a combination of UExcel, AP, CLEP, IB and any other credit from a 2-year school. A grade of C (2.00) or higher is required for transfer. Note: some Excelsior exams classified as upper level exams may transfer as 4-year level credit. Contact the Academic Advising Office for more information.

Non-Accredited Institutions

Students transferring from non-accredited schools may petition for credit evaluation after they have attended Sage for two consecutive semesters and earned a minimum 2.000 cumulative grade point average (2.200 in the major field). Students who have achieved a minimum 2.500 cumulative grade point average (4.000 system) for work done at a proprietary school including schools accredited by the former Association of Independent Colleges and Schools may petition for transfer credit according to two-year college guidelines. Most credit awarded will be applicable to electives and general education requirements, with decisions on major field credit resting with the academic department.

Armed Services Training

Training on military installations may lead to credit awarded on the basis of guidelines from the “Guide to Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.”  An official sealed Joint Services Transcript is required. See for more information.

Non-Collegiate Programs

Credit may be available for courses & training programs sponsored by organizations which are recommended in the “Guide to Educational Programs in Non-Collegiate Organizations”. See for more information. Or via the American Council on Education (ACE),