Information for Non-Majors

Transfer Credits

  1. Courses Already Taken

    A. Transfer credit review for courses already taken will be reviewed at any time during the year. Students should visit the Registrar's web page for official policies regarding transfer credit.

    B. Courses already pre-approved by the department are listed in the GT Equivalency Catalog on the Registrar's website. Note that a course is listed here as "NOGT" has already been reviewed and determined to be unsuitable for transfer to Tech.

    C. A course not listed in the Equivalency Catalog, or listed as "ET DEPT Appropriate Dept Must Evaluate" may transfer, if a review by the School of Physics finds the course to be appropriate. An application for such a review, along with instructions and required materials necessary for review can be obtained from the Registrar. The completed materials should then be sent to Dr. Andrew Scherbakov, W-108 Howey, for evaluation.

    D. Although we ask that you include references to any web pages describing the content of an external course, a request for credit review must be accompanied by hard-copies of: (i) the syllabus for the course during the term you took it (i.e. no "generic" syllabi from prior terms); and (ii) a class schedule (again, for the term you took it), listing both lecture topics and lab activities. Please do not simply append a reference URL to your request; we would like to see printed versions of all the relevant materials.

  2. Pre-review for Courses Not Yet Taken

    A. The School of Physics only accepts pre-review requests for for students enrolled in a Coop program during the requested semester or for those students participating in a GT sanctioned study abroad program. Applications for pre-review should be received before the end of GT Phase I Registration in the term prior to taking the external course. All such requests should be forwarded to the School of Physics through a suitable student advisor--either an academic advisor from the student's major school or a co-op advisor from the Division of Professional Practice.

    B. Required materials for pre-review applications are the same as those listed above, in items C & D under "Courses Already Taken". (In this case, the course syllabus and class schedule should be from the most recent term in which the course was offered.)

  3. Guidelines for Taking Physics Courses Outside GT

    While the School of Physics does not pre-review physics course at other universities (outside the exceptions listed above), there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in another university physics course. Since most transfer credit application are for Physics 2211, 2212 and 2213, the outline of requirements are intended for courses deemed to be equivalent to these courses.

    A. Check the Equivalency Catalog to see if a course is already pre-approved. We suggest that students who find a course accepted for transfer credit on the Registrar's website make a copy of the site since the page changes frequently.

    B. Content must be the same as the School of Physics courses. See our general course syllabi for comparison.

    C. Courses must be calculus-based with a calculus prerequisite similar to the prerequisite for the corresponding GT physics course. (It may be helpful to note that courses titled "College Physics" are typically algebra-based, and won't transfer; while courses titled "University Physics" or "Physics for Science & Engineering Students" are typically calculus-based, and are likely--but not guaranteed--to transfer.)

    D. Lecture courses taken without a corresponding lab will not generally transfer. However, if the School deems that the lecture material is sufficiently similar in content and rigor with GT's courses, the School may allow a student to make up the missing lab work at GT, earning credit for the full course upon completion of the lab.

    E. Courses taken under the Quarter System will not transfer unless the following conditions are met: (i) the course in question must cover the full content of the equivalent GT course; and (ii) the course must be worth six Quarters Hours, if it is to transfer as a four Semester Hour course.

    F. Often other university physics courses cover more material than at GT and therefore do not cover the material at the same level of rigor as the GT courses. In those cases where the School believes the content deviates excessively, transfer credit will not be given. If the added material is not a large part of the course, the School will either transfer credit in full or allow the student to take an Advanced Standing Exam for the course in question. Passing the exam will allow the course to transfer for full credit.

Advanced Standing

Students who offer satisfactory evidence that they are qualified to do so may receive credit for a course by examination. Institute regulations regarding Advanced Standing examinations can be found on the Registrar's web page. In addition, before making any request to obtain Physics credit via the Advanced Standing process, please review the following Approval Guidelines and Examination Procedures established by the School of Physics.

Approval Guidelines

The majority of Advanced Standing requests in the School of Physics are made for the Introductory courses (PHYS 2211 and 2212), and these guidelines are focussed accordingly.

  • Performance in high school courses will not be accepted as sufficient justification for Advanced Standing in the introductory courses.
  • Algebra-based college courses taken elsewhere will not be accepted as sufficient justification for Advanced Standing in the introductory courses.
  • "Independent Study" by itself will not generally be accepted as sufficient justification for an Advanced Standing examination, in any course.
  • Applications for Advanced Standing examinations should be made within one calendar year of a student's first enrollment at Georgia Tech. Requests made after this period will not be considered.

Examination Procedures


The preliminary request for an Advanced Standing examination in a given term should be submitted to the School of Physics no later than Drop Day, as listed on the Official School Calendar maintained by the Registrar. Requests submitted after this deadline will generally be considered only for the following term. To make your preliminary request, simply download the application form, read the instructions and complete the student information, then make an appointment to meet with Dr. Andrew Scherbakov (andrew.scherbakov[at] and discuss your application.


After receiving approval from the School of Physics, the application should be taken to the Bursar's Office, where the $25 examination fee is paid. After receiving the Bursar's stamp, the completed for should be submitted to the Registrar's Office for final authorization.


As soon as the Registrar has accepted your application, re-contact the School of Physics in order to schedule the date for your examination. Contact martin.jarrio[at], being sure to provide your nine-digit student ID number, and clearly identifying the course for which you've obtained approval. Ordinarily, the test will be administered during Final Exams; every effort will be made to fit the Advanced Standing test into your exam schedule without undue burden. The deadline for scheduling the examination is Monday two weeks prior to the beginning of Exam Week.

Examination & Results:

Typically, the Advanced Standing test is taken along with the students actually registered for the course in question. Your test will be graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis, using the performance of the regular students who took the same test as a baseline for comparison. In the case of a borderline outcome, it may be necessary to review the quality of your work, so show all steps in your reasoning process!

Advanced Standing results will generally be held until all examinees have taken their tests. At that point, grades will be sent to the Registrar, and an email notification will be sent to each examinee. If there is any reason why you might need us to expedite your results, please let us know in advance.

Lab Makeups for Transfer Courses

Students who transfer to Georgia Tech may occasionally need to make up one or both of the introductory labs in order for a non-resident lecture-basedcourse to be accepted as a substitute for PHYS 2211 and/or PHYS 2212. (See Transfer Credits.) In addition, there are rare instances when a Tech student may need to make up the lab sequence, without retaking the entire course. The courses PHYS 2901 and 2902 are provided in order to fulfill this need.

Authorization to make up a lab in this manner will be granted by the Academic Office in the School of Physics. For transfer students, this permission will usually be granted as part of the Transfer Credit evaluation process.

Once the test is authorized, you will be granted the requisite permits to take PHYS 2901 or 2902. If the permits should fail to "materialize", please contact martin.jarrio[at] to request them. Be sure to include your nine-digit GTID in your request.

You should receive two permits: (a) a Permit allowing you to register for PHYS 2901 or 2902; and (b) a Link Override allowing you to schedule one of the introductory lab sections without scheduling the attached lecture. You must register for both 2901/2 and an appropriate lab section. If you have any questions about which lab sections are "appropriate", contact Dr. Jarrio at the email address above.

Once properly registered, you should show up for (and participate in) the scheduled lab section just as any other student. Please take note of thelab policies and attendance requirements. You do not need to "show up" for PHYS 2901/2; the course merely acts as a placeholder for your final lab grade. (In a nutshell: you register for a lab section so that you have a place to put your self, in a lab room; you register for 2901/2 so that we have a place to put your grade, on your transcript.)

After completing the lab and receiving a satisfactory grade, the School of Physics will notify the Registrar's Office, and request that the transfer course be combined with 2901/2, to count as PHYS 2211/2. Note that there may be some delay in processing this request. Should this delay cause registration problems (due to prerequisite issues), the School of Physics will assist you in obtaining any necessary overrides. Contact Dr. Jarrio for further information.

Registration Overrides

In most cases, requests for an override (such as an overload or an override of class-, major-, or prerequisite-restrictions) should be made via the web, using the automated request system found in the Registration menu of OSCAR. When considering such a request, please keep the following information in mind:

Major Restrictions

With the exception of the Honors Physics sequence (see below), the School of Physics does not generally place major restrictions on any courses offered; students are free to register for any Physics course, provided the relevant prerequisites have been met.

Honors Physics

PHYS 2231 and 2232 (and occasionally a section of PHYS 2213) are set aside as "honors" courses, intended primarily for Physics majors. However, outstanding students in other fields who are interested in establishing a more rigorous physics foundation are welcome (and in fact,encouraged) to request a permit for the Honors courses. Please address this request to the instructor teaching the course in question, who will have the relevant permit issued.


Space in the introductory physics laboratories is strictly limited; each lab section is capable of seating only a fixed number of students. Consequently, it is not possible to receive an overload into any lab. Note that it is not uncommon to have a lecture section which seats more students than the total number of lab spaces linked to it. Please keep in mind that the number of seats available in lecture is irrelevant to the issue of lab overloads.

Students who are Lab Exempt may request an overload into a lecture section, subject to the seating capacity of the lecture hall.

Prerequisite Overrides

Students wishing prerequisite overrides for the introductory physics sequence (PHYS 2211, 2212, and 2213) should be aware of the following guidelines:

(a) Calculus skills are crucial to success in these courses; consequently, MATH prerequisite overrides will not generally be granted. (Exception: transfer students with "non-standard" calculus credits may be considered for such overrides, if the content of those courses merit consideration.)

(b) Students enrolled at Georgia Tech who intend to take an introductory course at another school (during a summer or Co-op term) will not be given a prerequisite override during early registration for the next course in the sequence. (In other words, you cannot request an override to take PHYS II in the Fall, based on the fact that you plan to take a PHYS I course over the Summer.) Courses taken elsewhere must be completed, and a grade issued by the other institution, before any relevant overrides will be considered.

PHYS 2802 Permits

PHYS 2802 - Special Topics (Problem Solving) is an exception to the general rule regarding web-based permit requests. This course is intended as a "remedial" course for students repeating 2211, and for first-time 2211 students who are deemed to be "at risk". Invitations to enroll in this course will be sent out by the instructor during late registration; students will be asked to reply via email, and permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. (Note that space in this course is limited.)