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Prospective Upper-year Students

The flexible, student-driven model of the History degree plans allows the department to  welcome several upper-year transfer students each year. If you are considering changing your major or minor degree plan to History, please contact our Academic Advising Team to help review your options and plan your course selection.

If you are a student looking to transfer to Queen’s History from another university, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office. 

Infrequently we receive requests from Queen’s students who wish to take courses at other Canadian or international universities and count these courses towards their Queen’s History degree plan. In these situations, students are encouraged to carefully review the information below and start planning early in order to allow sufficient time for your courses to be evaluated before you enroll.

History Department Policies Regarding Courses at Other Institutions

All History students in Major or Joint Honours plans are required to complete at least 50% of their total required upper-year seminar course requirements (HIST 333-499) on campus at Queen's University. Major students who take upper-year seminars elsewhere can have no more than 9 units of seminar credits apply to their Core C degree requirement, while Joint Honours students can have no more than 6 units. Seminar credits completed at other institutions will usually count toward the Option requirements of the Major/Joint Honours History degree plan or as electives (see Academic Regulation 16.1.3 and 16.2.3 for overall limits on transfer credits). 

Letters of Permission

To receive credit for courses you intend to take at another university, you will need to apply for a Letter of Permission from the Arts and Science Faculty Office. You must be an Arts and Science student in good standing, as specified on the Letter of Permission application form. This must be done prior to enrolling in any courses outside Queen’s. If the course you wish to take is offered by a Canadian (domestic) institution, this application goes to the Student Services Office. If the course is offered by an international institution, you must fill out an International Letter of Permission application form and submit it to the International Programs Office.

For your Letter of Permission, you will need to submit an application form via SOLUS, as well as a course outline that includes the learning outcomes of the course and a grade breakdown for your intended courses. There is an administrative fee associated with the Letter of Permission, which can be paid online in the SOLUS application.

More information about Letters of Permission can be found on the Faculty of Arts and Science website. 

History lecture courses offered at another Canadian university are always given credit if the course is officially designated as a History course.

If you wish to receive credit for a seminar course, please consult the History department’s Transfer Credit Advisor before enrolling in the course to ensure the course is equivalent to a Queen’s History seminar. 

Courses Taken at Canadian Universities

Some of your undergraduate History credits from another university may count to your Queen’s History degree plan. The Queen’s History Department accepts almost all History courses taken at other Canadian universities for transfer credit. Exceptions do exist, so please confirm your course selection with the History Department’s Advisor for International Exchanges & Transfer Credits prior to enrolment. 

History lecture courses offered at another Canadian university are always given credit if the course is officially designated as a History course. If you wish to receive credit for a seminar course, please consult the History department’s Transfer Credit Advisor to ensure the course is equivalent to a Queen’s History seminar. See the History Department Polices on Courses at Other Institutions above for more information.

Non-Canadian Universities

Most courses taken at other universities transfer as lecture courses (HIST 2LEC). Only courses that follow the same requirements as a Queen’s seminar course can be counted as 3SEM. Courses called “seminars” at European universities, for example, almost never translate as SEM credits at Queen’s, but rather should be transferable as unspecified credits (either 3UNS or 4UNS) and could count as your History degree plan as electives, though their evaluation will be done on a case by case basis. 

To receive seminar credit, a course should have fewer than 30 students. Class discussion is required, normally there is an essay assignment component, and evaluation is not based solely on a final exam. Lecture/tutorial classes, such as those common in British universities, could count as seminars if tutorial sessions are weekly, and usually do not count as seminars if tutorials are only fortnightly or monthly.

If a student wants seminar credit for a course taken at another university, it is their responsibility to prove that the course is in fact a seminar. Most Canadian university course calendars clearly distinguish between seminar and lecture courses, but not always. If the course calendar is unclear, you should collect and submit alternative evidence to make a case that the course is indeed a seminar: for example, designation of the course as a seminar in the course syllabus, a note from the professor attesting to the size of the class and/or the importance of participation, or some other evidence (written work, tutorial essays, etc.).

Course Equivalents

If a course at another university covers roughly the same content as a course offered at Queen’s, the equivalent Queen’s course number will appear on your transcript. For example, a course in Canadian history which resembles the basic outline of a Queen’s course in Canadian history, will receive the actual Queen’s course number (for example, HIST 260). If this is granted, you cannot take that course again at Queen’s for credit. That is, if your exchange or letter of permission course was evaluated as HIST 260, you are unable to enrol in HIST 260 at Queen’s during the remainder of your degree.

If the course is not equivalent to a specific Queen’s course, it will be assessed according to its level and content. You will receive an “Unspecified” history credit which will appear as UNS on your transcript as opposed to a regular Queen’s course code. These unspecified units will count towards your History degree plan.

HIST 1UNS = first-year course, HIST 2LEC =200 level lecture, HIST 3SEM = upper-level seminar. There is no equivalent to a Queen's History core seminar (HIST 300-330) at other institutions. 

Most courses at other universities translate as lecture courses (HIST 2LEC). Only legitimate seminar courses will be counted as 3SEM. Note that 3LEC and 4LEC do not exist in History at Queen's, so they do not exist as transfer credits, either.


Your Queen's transcript will list the credits for courses taken elsewhere but will not provide course titles or marks. Nor will your Queen's transcript figure those marks into your average. Therefore, you should obtain an official transcript directly from the other university and to keep it for your records. For those applying to jobs or graduate schools, it is usually enough to attach a photocopy of the other transcript to along with your application. You should make sure, however, that the employer or the graduate school is satisfied with a photocopy and does not require an official transcript from the other university as well.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.