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Credit Acquisition

Credit acquisition at Smeal

Credit acquisition is contingent upon the policies set forth by the Smeal College of Business and the University for earning credits toward degree completion. Guidelines below highlight various credits acquisition methods.

The Undergraduate Admissions Office determines which credits will transfer to the University, whereas the academic unit to which the student has been admitted determines how credits will be used to fulfill degree requirements in a student's program of study.

Repeating Courses

Starting Summer 2021, policy C-7 is being enforced where a student may repeat a course only if they earned a grade below a "C".  The University has set the number of repeats on a particular course to two attempts.  Students who need to take a course for a 3rd time should contact their academic adviser. 

Courses Requiring a Grade of "C" or Higher

To graduate, a candidate must earn at least a "C" grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course (University Senate Policy 82-44). The set of C-required courses for each major is chosen by the faculty of the department offering the major. 

Credits with Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and Pass/Fail Grades Do Not Count

The Smeal College of Business does not accept credits with satisfactory/unsatisfactory (SA/UN) grades or pass/fail grades. Students enrolled at Smeal must enroll in all courses for a letter grade and may never enroll in courses for satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. Credits taken on a pass/fail basis are automatically disqualified on the student's degree audit and not counted towards degree completion.  https://senate.psu.edu/policies-and-rules-for-undergraduate-students/47-00-48-00-and-49-00-grades/#49-60

Courses That Do Not Count Toward a Smeal Degree

Business courses numbered 100 through 199 may not be used to satisfy Smeal or departmental baccalaureate degree requirements. Other business courses not acceptable for meeting the requirements of the bachelor of science degree include:

ACCTG 151, ACCTG 152, BA 195, BA 199, BA 241, BA 242, BA 243, BA 301, BA 302, BA 303, BA 304, BLAW 243, ECON 14, FIN 100, FIN 108, IB 199, MGMT 100, MGMT 100W, MIS 103 and MKTG 221.

Additionally, in order to promote student academic success, the Smeal faculty has designated the successful completion of specific "entrance-to-major" courses prior to the beginning of “major field” course work. In order to ensure all students are equally prepared for success, the Smeal College of Business requires that the following “entrance-to-major” courses must be completed at a Penn State campus: ACCTG 211, MGMT 301, MKTG 301, and FIN 301.  Therefore, transfer courses or those designated as direct equivalent courses for the four courses listed above will not be credited toward Smeal entrance-to-major progress.

Credit Acquisition and Grading 2020 - 2021 during COVID

AP Courses

There are several avenues of credit acquisition available that do not entail enrolling in college courses. Credit is granted based on performance in various placement exams offered to students prior to enrolling in the University.

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams - With appropriate scores, advanced placement scores may apply as general credit, credit for a particular course, or may allow you to advance to the next in a series of courses. For detailed information on AP credit acquisition, visit the Undergraduate Admission's Advanced Placement Exam Web site.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams - Penn State will award transfer credit for exams taken at the Higher Level and graded 5 or above. For more information on IB exam credit acquisition, visit the Undergraduate Admission's International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam Web site.

College-Level Exam Program (CLEP) Exams - Score must be equivalent to the American Council on Education (ACE) recommended score to receive credit as indicated in the schedule below. For more information on CLEP exam credit acquisition, visit the Undergraduate Admission's College-Level Exam Program (CLEP) Exam Web site.

Transfer Credits

Course work successfully completed at other colleges and universities that are recognized by the six regional accrediting associations will be considered for transfer credit. To be eligible for review:

  • The grade received in the course must be equivalent to a “C” (2.0) or higher at Penn State. A grade of "C-" will not transfer to Penn State.
  • Penn State must have a similar program or course offering and the course should be useful in the student’s program of study at Penn State.
  • College level course work completed at colleges or universities that are licensed by state boards of education to award associate degrees (or higher) but that are not members of one of the six regional accrediting associations may be eligible for credit by validation.


To see if specific courses from other colleges and/or universities will transfer to Penn State, please visit the Undergraduate Admission's Transfer Course Evaluation Guide.

General transfer credits may not be used for any entrance-to-major courses. Courses taken at other institutions must transfer as equivalent to the entrance-to-major courses for which transfer credit is accepted (see above "Courses That Do Not Count Toward a Smeal Degree).  Furthermore, any transfer credits for entrance-to-major courses must appear on the student’s Penn State record prior to the student being able to apply for a Smeal major in LionPath.

Transfer credits for graduating seniors

In order to be included on the Smeal College graduation list and program, all credits from courses taken at institutions other than Penn State (transfer credits) must be taken prior to the semester of graduation. In addition, the credits must appear on the student’s Penn State record prior to the first day of the month preceding the month of graduation. For Spring graduation, transfer credits must post to the student’s record by no later than April 1st, The deadline is July 1st for summer graduation and November 1st for Fall graduation. Note that many courses transfer in to Penn State as “general credits” and require additional approval to be counted towards a student’s non-major field degree requirements. It is important for students who plan to fulfill degree requirements using transfer credits to meet with their academic adviser well in advance of graduation to discuss their plans.