Effective for SPRING 2022 ONLY:

Due to the system change from XCAT 1.0 to XCAT 2.0, HSOC and STSC programs will grant pre-approval for study abroad courses taken during Spring 2022. Please make sure you submit your XCAT requests by the April 15, 2022 deadline for Spring 22 credit away. 

In order to receive pre-approval, you must include the following in your XCAT requests: 

1. A course syllabus

2. For MAJORS: Please fill out and attach the course petition form to your XCAT request. For HSOC click here. For STSC click here

3. For NON-MAJORS seeking HSOC or STSC credit: Submit a 2-paragraph description of your work in the course thus far, include a rationale for why you believe the course is a good fit for our program. 


Transfer Credit Contacts:

HSOC: Dr. Projit MukharjiDr. Jessica Martucci

STSC: Dr. Elly TruittDr. Jessica Martucci




All transfer credit, study abroad, or credit away requests must be submitted through the XCAT system; see: https://apps.sas.upenn.edu/sso/xcat

1. Credit for courses taken away from Penn is not automatic. You must apply for credit only AFTER the course has been completed, we will not pre-approve courses in XCAT.

All courses are reviewed by the department on a case-by-case basis, through the XCAT system. It is each student’s responsibility to enroll only in courses that are as demanding as those taught at Penn. It is the responsibility of HSOC majors and STSC majors/minors to meet with the Undergraduate Chair or Associate Director prior to enrolling in a Study Abroad program or in courses at other domestic institutions to discuss planning.

2. For a course to be considered for credit, the following standards must be met:

• Instructors should hold an advanced degree
• The course must meet regularly (at least 30-40 hours over the term)
• The course must include a substantial reading component
• The course MUST require a significant written component, and students must be able to demonstrate completion of that work.

3. All XCAT applications must include the course syllabus, the written component of the class, and details on how you would like us to count the course (i.e. As a free-elective? As an equivalent to one of our numbered courses?).

Your syllabus must enumerate the course in full, including the lecture schedule, list of readings, exams, and all written assignments. In cases where additional documentation is necessary, students will be asked to provide copies of graded work by uploading to the XCAT request. Students should save all work completed for these courses.

When submitting a course to XCAT for approval, the application MUST include a PDF or .doc file of the course's written component (ie the paper, exam, etc.).  If this supporting material is omitted, the request will be returned to the applicant.

4. Courses that do not meet the standards listed above will not be approved; these typically include:

• Purely or predominantly laboratory-based science courses

• Courses exclusively on business methods or management practices will not count

• "Science appreciation" courses or other courses that remove science, technology, or medicine from its historical, political, and cultural context

• Courses that do not require substantial written work and substantial reading 

5. For HSOC or STSC majors, a limit of two study abroad/transfer credit courses, approved by the department, can count towards the major—these must fit within the concentration (for HSOC majors) or the sub-major (for STSC majors). For STSC or BIOE minors, a limit of two study abroad/transfer credit courses, approved by the department, can count towards the minor.

6. Classes will only be approved as a general requirements course if the content, scope, approach, and work-load is judged to be equivalent of a general requirement course (like STSC 001, for example).

7. Please check with your Advisor in your School regarding the amount of credit you will ultimately receive on your transcript. Most often, if you have fulfilled our requirements, we are pleased to grant you 1 CU as an STSC or HSOC elective credit. However, credit values can vary from School to School.