External Credit


On this page you will find information on getting credit toward the political science major or minor for the following:

Please see the Department Representative (DR) about requesting transfer credit or any other type of course approval.

Advanced Placement Credit

Barnard awards Advanced Placement (AP) credits toward the 120-credit requirement for the B.A. degree. The Department does not credit an AP course toward the nine-course requirement for the major or the five-course requirement for the minor.

Students who have passed the AP in American national government with a grade of 5 are exempted from the requirement to take an introductory course in American politics, provided they take an upper-level course in American national government listed in the Barnard catalogue. Where W1201 "Introduction to American Politics" is listed as a course prerequisite, an AP score of 5 in American national government counts as an equivalent.

Students who have passed the AP in comparative politics with a grade of 5 are exempted from the requirement to take an introductory course in comparative politics, provided they take an upper-level course in comparative politics listed in the Barnard catalogue. Where UN 1501 "Comparative Politics" is listed as a course prerequisite, an AP score of 5 in comparative politics counts as an equivalent.

If a student wants to take the introductory American Politics or Comparative Politics course, she may do so, but she then will forfeit her corresponding AP credit.

Policy on No Exemption from General Education Requirements through Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate Credits: 

Students entering Barnard in fall 2016 and thereafter will receive points of credit for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit, but these credits will not exempt students from General Education Requirements requirements. 

Further information may be found on the Registrar's website

Internship Credit via Independent Study

Barnard does not award academic credit for internships per sé. However, you may use an internship experience in an independent study project (ISP) sponsored by the department and receive credit toward the major for the academic work involved in the project. To learn how to set up an independent study, visit our ISP page.
Please note that the co-curricular credit offered by the Career Development Office does not count toward the political science major. Refer to the Career Development Internships page for a description of co-curricular credit as well as for other useful information.

Transfer Credit

Six of the nine courses for the major must be taken from courses listed in the political science section of the Barnard Course Catalogue. Within the three-course limit of courses taken elsewhere, the following caps traditionally apply: three transfer courses; two study-abroad courses from one semester away or three study-abroad courses from a full year away; two Reid Hall courses; one summer session course. On rare occasions the Department Representative may grant an exception. At the discretion of the department, courses that do not meet Barnard standards for workload or intellectual rigor will not be granted major or minor credit. Please complete the Course Approval Request Form to apply for any of the transfer credits below, one form for each course. Return the signed form to the Department Administrator, in 417-A Lehman Hall.

Credit for College Work Prior to Barnard

You can receive major or minor credit for a maximum of three courses transferred from another college. Please see the Department Representative with the syllabus or an equivalent description of the requirements for each of the courses.

Credit from Another Barnard or Columbia Department

With pre-approval, first from the Political Science Major Advisor and then from the Department Representative, a student may substitute one course in another Barnard or Columbia department for one of the three elective courses. This course cannot be an introductory course and it must have significant political science content. Approval after the fact will not be granted. Please complete the Course Approval Request and return the signed form to the Department Administrator, in 205 Lefrak.

Credit from Summer Study

You can receive major or minor credit for one course taken in a summer school session.

  1. BEFORE ENROLLING you must complete the Registrar's application for summer course approval, identifying the course you plan to take. You cannot get summer credit for a political science course unless you meet with the Department Representative and provide the course description and reading list from the summer session program prior to taking the course. This pre-approval does *not* guarantee you course credit in the College or the department. This applies also to Columbia University's summer courses.
  2. UPON YOUR RETURN, you request departmental credit from the Department Representative by filling out the Course Approval Request and providing a copy of the actual syllabus or an equivalent description of the course requirements. Please return the signed form to the Department Administrator, in 205 Lefrak.

Credit from Study Abroad

While the Department of Political Science encourages its majors to study abroad, care must be taken to assure that major and minor requirements are filled in an appropriate and timely way. The Department and the College allow a Political Science major to receive departmental credit for a maximum of two courses taken while abroad for one semester, or three courses from a year abroad, out of the total of nine courses required. The three colloquia must be taken in our department. A minor may receive credit for only one course taken abroad out of five required courses. Obtaining this credit is a two-stage process.

Use the Major Audit (Class of 2020 or laterClass of 2019 or earlier) to track your political science courses.


Rafael: School of Athens
The School of Athens, 1510–1511
Raphael (Italian, 1483–1520)
Fresco, detail
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Italy

Updated 8 April 2015 by Anne Wolff-Lawson.