Credit and Placement Exams


For prospective transfer students, refer to SMU’s Transfer Student Services.  For prospective students from high school with college-level physics credits, refer to SMU’s Credit by Examination policies for the year of your application.

Once matriculated at SMU, Dedman College transfer policy requires that you obtain transfer approval prior to taking an external course. The policy states that "courses required for majors or for admission to majors normally will not be allowed by transfer after matriculation."

To request that the Physics Department evaluate an external course for transfer credit, you will need to provide the standard petition form signed by your advisor, along with a course description with course pre-requirements (especially math requirements), and a full syllabus (including the lab, if relevant). Any additional information you can provide, such as course text, exams, assignments, and a course web address, would be helpful. Please provide the relevant materials before the end of the course registration period during the preceding semester. You may leave these materials with the Administrative Assistant in the Physics Office, Rm 102 Fondren Science, and check back after two weeks. [Please DO NOT email forms; hardcopy only. Also note, during June and July processing may be limited by faculty availability.]

Common Curriculum Credit: Many courses will be approved for limited transfer only (PHYS 10XX) because they do not specifically match a course we offer. In this case you will need to petition separately to the Office of the Common Curriculum for CC credit.


The department offers placement exams to receive PASS/FAIL credit for PHYS 1303 and 1304 only. Without exception, the placement exam must be taken prior to enrolling in the course and not later than the end of the student's first semester of enrollment at SMU. The placement exams are modeled from the final exam in the PHYS 1303 and 1304 courses. Students wishing to take a placement exam should, as soon as possible, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Physics explaining why they wish to take it (for example, you have college-level qualifications not automatically recognized for transfer to SMU). An exam will be organized with one of the instructors teaching PHYS 1303/4 in the semester you wish to take the credit.


"Testing out" of physics labs (for example, PHYS 1105, 1106, 4311) is not allowed. A student who has completed equivalent courses elsewhere should petition the department according to the procedure described above; such lab courses should be calculus-based and contain error analysis.