Transfer credit issues for undergraduates arise under two circumstances:

  • students who are transferring to Rice University;
  • Rice students who have taken (or will take) courses at another institution.

Transferring to Rice

The Political Science Department is not involved in admitting transfer students to Rice. Members of the department are willing to talk about political science at Rice, but questions about the admissions process should be directed to the Admissions Office (; phone: 713-348-RICE).

Transfer Credit for Rice Students

Transfer credit for political science courses taken by students enrolled at Rice is handled by the Political Science Department. Students may seek transfer credit either before or after they take courses at another institution. We strongly recommend that students seek transfer credit before taking outside courses so they know what credit they will receive before investing time in courses at other institutions. While each case is considered individually, the following guidelines may help you:

  • Introductory courses are generally transferred as the equivalent course number at Rice (i.e., an introduction to comparative politics course would be transferred as Poli 212).

  • Intermediate level courses are generally transferred as Poli 3xx. Poli 3xx counts as upper level credit, but Poli 3xx does not count for distribution. Also, a close look at the major requirements will show that of the 10 political science courses needed to complete the major, 8 must be of a specific type (for example, to major in political science you must take 4 courses in a concentration in American, comparative, or international relations). Poli 3xx is not classified as a specific type of political science course. This means that in most cases, no more than 6 hours of Poli 3xx can be counted towards the political science major.

  • The department does not award transfer credit at the 400, 500, or 600 level. Students can transfer in advanced courses, but these courses will receive credit at the 300 level.

  • If a student wishes to receive credit for a specific course at the 300 level (for example, a student wants credit for Poli 317, Congress, rather than have the course transferred as Poli 3xx), the student must petition the department. The petition consists of a short written request and the syllabus for the course the student is presenting as the equivalent (note: the department may ask for additional information about the course). The petition should be given to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The key issue in evaluating such a petition is whether the course is an extremely close equivalent to the Rice course. There are many ways in which courses can be taught, but the department will only award credit with the Rice course number if the course is the same as the Rice offering. Consequently, the department rarely awards credit for a specific Rice course at the 300 level.

  • The department does not award transfer credit unless the course is taken at a four year school that grants Bachelors degrees. This means, for example, that the department does not award credit for courses taken at community college.

  • The department will not accept credit for an online or distance learning course.