Contact Us:

Dr. Allan Greer
Professor and Chair

Office: Herak 314
Phone:(509) 313-6757
Fax:(509) 313-5718

Gonzaga University
Physics Department
AD Box 51
502 E. Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99258-0051

(Effective Summer 2014)

When determining whether a course at another institution qualifies to transfer to Gonzaga and satisfy specific course graduation requirements, the physics department considers several factors depending on the type of course credit is being sought after. Examples of these factors are:
  1. Does the content for the proposed class sufficiently match the content of the corresponding GU course?
  2. Is the proposed course structured such that material coverage and student assessment method ensure students succeeding in the course will have experienced course rigor and mastery sufficient to prepare them for success in the courses the GU course may be a prerequisite for?
  3. Does the proposed course meet any specific course goals and objectives of the corresponding GU course in addition to general content coverage?
  4. Further, is any required lab component for courses sufficiently satisfied by an in-class, supervised lab experience?  Please note that online lab components will not be considered for transfer as satisfying specific Gonzaga degree requirements.

The physics department sees four categories of transfer courses;
  1. Non Lab Based Core Science classes primarily for non-science majors,
  2. Lab Based Cores Science classes primarily for non-science majors,
  3. Introductory Algebra or Calculus Based Physics classes (with corresponding required labs) requiredfor specific science degree programs at GU, and
  4. Upper Division Physics Courses required for physics majors and/or minors.

The prioritization and relative importance of these factors varies depending on the type of GU course
being considered for equivalent transfer credit as described below.
  1. Non Lab Based Core science classes: The department has long held that these classes are distinctly different than classes taken by STEM majors who, by virtue of their major, take manyscience classes and therefore have ample opportunity to be exposed to the ways of science.  These core science classes are likely the single college-level science class many students willever take. So, in these classes we stress basic science principles and practices that informed citizens who are not practicing STEM professionals should know. To that end, when evaluating whether a class from some other institution satisfies the requirements to be considered equivalent to a GU core science class a primary concern is whether such course meets the general course goals and objectives of a GU non lab based core science class. In addition to ensuring there is sufficient science content for the proposed course, on whether or not those general goals and outcomes are addressed as a part of the class. If the proposed course has sufficient science content and addresses the general goals and outcomes of a Non Lab Based Core Science Class at GU, the authorizer must be confident the rigor and expectations of the course are consistent with those of our GU offerings. If there is equivalent matching in these areas, then the class will be approved for transfer as being equivalent to the GU course and satisfying those specific degree requirements.
  2. Core Lab Based Science Classes: This category of courses is similar to the above, but in addition to satisfying the above criteria, a proposed class must also include a real, in-person, supervised laboratory component that complements the class and meets the additional goal objectives for a GU Lab Based Science Core Class. The physics department does not grant credit for these courses if they are administered in the on-line delivery method due to the lack of a sufficient lab experience for such courses. Unsupervised laboratory experiences done at home, lab experiences rooted in computer simulations or other “outside of the lab” experiences do not meet the goals and intent of a Core Lab Based Science Class at Gonzaga. Proposed courses that meet the criteria of category one above and which have an included “in lab” lab component will be approved for transfer as being equivalent to the GU course and satisfying those specific degree requirements. Since the lab and lecture portions of a Core Lab Based Science course go together, we will not approve the lecture portion without a corresponding satisfactory lab component. To be clear, proposed courses with online lab components will not be approved as satisfying a GU Core Lab Based Science graduation requirement.
  3. Introductory (STEM major) lab classes: All of these courses at GU have separate lecture and lab components. The primary purpose of these classes is to prepare students for success in subsequent courses taken in their major area of STEM study. As such, an even greater level of review is given towards ensuring the entire content of the corresponding GU course is covered and that such coverage is at a level of rigor and student expectation such that the student is prepared for the next courses to come. If a proposed course is at an institution on a quarter system rather than the semester system, it is likely that two or more courses will be needed to cover the same content in the semester long GU course. A separate analysis and decision is required for the lecture and lab components of these courses. If the full content is covered and the level of rigor and student assessment is sufficient to prepare students for future success, we will accept the proposed lecture component for equivalent transfer at GU. As for the corecourses, lab credit will not be given for online lab experiences.
  4. Upper Division Physics Courses for majors and minors: For these courses, the primary concern when considering for course equivalence is a sufficient matching of course content and level of rigor and student expectations. If an upper division course is a prerequisite for other GU upper division physics courses, the required matching of content may be greater than for an upper division course not listed as a prerequisite.

We have further developed a policy that we will call conditional acceptance. There may be cases where a course is identified as covering the required course content and or covering specific course learning goals and outcomes, however, there are concerns about the rigor of the proposed course, the level of student expectations or the assessment methods that yield concerns about whether the course will sufficiently prepare students for success at GU or meet the intent of the corresponding GU course.  In such a situation, the physics department will not approve the transfer of such course based only on the course description and will encourage students to find an alternative course that does not exhibit such concerns. In cases where a student is unable to find a more suitable course, the physics
department is willing to offer a conditional acceptance whereby we would stipulate that should a student choose to proceed and take such a class, then they would only be given transfer credit for that class, meeting specific degree requirements, if they were to also pass the course challenge exam for the specific GU course. This exam would be administered upon their return to GU. If the student, after
having taken the proposed class, also passes this test (a final exam from our course for which thestudent wants credit) with a grade of C- or higher, we would then approve the transfer of the credit for that class from the other institution as being equivalent to the GU course. A grade on the test lower than C- would not be enough for the equivalent transfer credit to be given. We could still approve the course for general science credit, but not as credit satisfying the specific degree requirements the student had initially sought. In this manner, the physics department can offer students an option for taking courses where there are questions regarding rigor and level of expectation and have the resulting student performance be the final arbiter of whether the course was actually equivalent to the specific GU course or not. While there is risk for student’s proceeding with this option (in the event they do not pass the course challenge exam) there is upside in it allows students the opportunity to receive transfer credit based on their performance in situations where credit would not have been otherwise approved for transfer as satisfying specific degree course requirements.