Summer Versus Non-Summer (Full Semester) Courses

Before deciding to take a summer intro physics course, please appreciate that you will master physics more thoroughly if you learn physics over a full 14-week semester at Gonzaga rather than try to learn the same amount of physics in less than half the time during a 6-week summer course. For this reason, the Physics Department strongly recommends that you take physics during the school year, not during the summer.

For life-science students, the Physics Department also recommends that you consider taking a calculus-based intro physics course if available at other schools. Some of the most fundamental concepts in physics such as velocity and acceleration are defined via derivatives, and your understanding will be more satisfying and comprehensive if you try to learn physics in a calculus-based course. Fortunately, only a modest amount of calculus is required for most intro physics courses for life science students at other institutions, corresponding to about one page of formulas. For most students, it is not calculus that makes intro physics challenging but the large amount of material covered together with various abstract physical concepts (force, momentum, energy, torque, electric fields, magnetic fields, flux, etc.) that take time and practice to understand. 


Please note also the following list of restrictions from the registrar's office here:

Steps to Follow

First, please note that the transfer guide accessible on the Gonzaga University web site does NOT imply approval of any course at any institution for credit here.  That guide is for students who are currently enrolled at other institutions and who are thinking of transferring into Gonzaga from there.

Please follow these steps to obtain credit for a physics course that you wish to take at a school that is not Gonzaga:
  1. Obtain approval of your course IN ADVANCE.  The first thing to do is to contact the person who is to teach the course you wish to take at the other school and ask them for a syllabus of the course.  A syllabus from the past summer would probably be OK.  Next, you will need to obtain a Permission to Transfer Credits form (called a Transfer of Credit/Senior Year in Residence form) from the Registrar's office.  You will need to fill out the parts of this form pertaining to you, and then take it to the Physics Department Chair along with the syllabus and other supporting information.  The Chair will then evaluate the content of the course at the other school based on what information is provided.  Please appreciate that the Physics Department is under no obligation to look at your transfer request if you take a summer course first and then try to get approval.  You have been warned.

    Information looked for in the syllabus typically is:


    It is not acceptable to provide this information in the form of web addresses or as email attachments, you need to provide this information in printed form.  If the above information is not in the course syllabus, you should ask for it in addition to the syllabus.

  1. Submit the completed permission to transfer credits form signed by the Chair to the Arts & Sciences Dean's office, located in College Hall 416.

  2. Obtain a grade of C or higher in your course -- a C- will NOT transfer.

  3. After completion of the course, arrange for the institution where you took your course to send a transcript to Gonzaga's Registrar's Office.
All students who plan to take a summer intro physics course should try to take a calculus-based (as opposed to algebra-based) course. This will prepare you better for later science courses at Gonzaga and for medical school. All engineering students should try to take intro physics at Gonzaga during the academic year instead of as a summer course, because they will learn the material better (14 weeks versus 6 weeks of exposure) and Gonzaga's fall and spring courses are likely better taught than most summer courses at other institutes.

Students who want to get permission to take a core science course which would count for the core (lab) science requirement need to follow the same steps outlined above.  If the course at the other institution is essentially the same as a course currently offered at Gonzaga and if it is found to have essentially similar content, then credit for the course may be granted.  If the course at the other institution is not like a course currently offered at GU, then we cannot grant GU credit for it.  In these cases we advise students to consult with the Arts and Sciences Dean's office, in College Hall 416.

What will appear on your transcript?

If you took a calculus-based introductory physics course, if you got a C or better grade, and if the Physics Chair approves the course as being sufficiently similar to one of Gonzaga's introductory physics courses in content (lectures and labs), you will get a PHYS XXX on your transcript where XXX will be 103 or 204.  If you took an algebra-based course, then what will appear is PHYS XXX with XXX as 101 or 102.

If a student does not obtain permission for a course at another school before taking the course, then we are very unlikely to give transfer credit.

Any physics course that is determined by the Physics Chair as not being sufficiently close to a Gonzaga course will NOT show up on a transcript, even if it has already been taken.  At best, the Chair may elect to grant general elective credits which count toward graduation, but not for the specific physics course.