In addition to providing the highest-quality classroom education, the Social Science & Policy Studies Department offers many resources to help ensure a rewarding and positive experience for every student.

Course Credit Transfer Authorization


This policy is effective at the start of A term 2018.

General Guidelines

  • WPI requires students to complete 2 social science courses. In satisfying the 2-course social science requirement, students are free to take courses in any of social sciences offered by the Department of Social Science & Policy Studies (SSPS). Courses with the following prefixes may be counted toward the social science requirement:
    • ECON – Economics
    • ENV – Environmental & Sustainability Studies
    • GOV – Society, Technology, & Policy / Political Science / Government
    • PSY – Psychology
    • SD – System Dynamics
    • SOC – Sociology
    • SS – General Social Science
    • STS – Science, Technology, & Society
  • Courses in social science are normally eligible for credit transfer if an equivalent course is offered by SSPS. In exceptional cases, courses taken that are not offered in SSPS at WPI may be accepted as a social science independent study after review by the appropriate program director or transfer credit coordinator.
  • Credit may be transferred for a course taken elsewhere when a comparable course is available at WPI only when the course to be transferred is of equivalent breadth, depth, and learning outcomes to the WPI course. The student must supply adequate documentation, for example, current syllabi, course calendar, textbooks, assignments, learning outcomes, and grading policies, etc., for making an assessment.
  • As per WPI policy, if transfer credit is to be accepted, a credit transfer authorization must be requested before taking an off-campus course, except in the case of courses taken prior to joining WPI.
  • SSPS will accept 1 course or 1 Advanced Placement course for transfer credit that will count toward the 2 course social science requirement at WPI
  • Other social science courses can be evaluated for transfer credit toward a free elective
  • Online courses are typically not accepted for transfer credit.

Minimum Grades

  • The minimum grade required for transfer credit authorization of a course taken at another college/university is a B.
  • For Advanced Placement courses, students must have obtained a 4 or 5 on examinations.
  • For International Baccalaureate Higher Level (HL) examinations, students must have obtained a 5, 6, or 7.

Instructions to Obtain Transfer Credit

  • To transfer social science courses from other colleges and universities to WPI, students must first obtain and complete the WPI transfer credit authorization form from the Registrar or SSPS department’s administrative assistant.
  • Fill out the form completely above the box listing the WPI course equivalent. Students must include:
    • Name of the off-campus school
    • Name and number of the course students wish to take at the off-campus school
    • Term and year that the course will be completed at the off-campus school
  • Obtain a copy of the course syllabus and the name and author of the textbook used. Next, students should contact the following program directors/faculty for approval of the course content, determination of WPI equivalent, and transfer grade requirement. If approved, the program director will complete the appropriate paperwork, and forward the transfer credit form to the department head for her/his signature. No transfer credit will be granted without the department head's signature. The student will be informed by the Registrar's Office when credit transfer has been granted. For information about specific courses, contact the following transfer credit coordinator and faculty members.

Additional Transfer Credit Information

  • Courses of fewer than 5 weeks duration are generally not accepted for transfer credit. 
  • Courses taken at a foreign university, or taught in a language other than English, will normally not be accepted unless the level and content of the course and the accreditation status of the university can be verified and accepted by the department.

Double Majors

WPI's most ambitious and talented students often complete two majors. Any major offered by the Social Science & Policy Studies Department can be combined with any other major offered at WPI.

Completing such a demanding program of study requires careful planning, so students interested in double majors should seek the advice of faculty in both major departments as soon as possible. To obtain a double major, students must satisfy all of the degree requirements of both majors. Because all WPI students take some Social Science, and all Social Science majors take foundation courses in math and science, some double counting of courses can reduce the overall course load. Students will have to complete an MQP in both majors. However, students who double major in Social Science, and complete an MQP in Social Science are not required to complete a separate IQP as a University requirement.

Unlike other double majors, the double major in Social Science & Policy Studies does not require three qualifying projects (two MQPs and an IQP). However, the Social Science MQP must meet the goals of both the IQP and MQP. It must be interactive in nature, involving an aspect of technology as well as in application of social science knowledge and analytical techniques.

For more information on the rules governing double majors at WPI, see the Course Catalog.

Additional Resources

Program Requirements

The Social Science & Policy Studies Department has requirements for its many programs. See the Calendar and Courses for specifics.

Working Papers

Systems Thinking Metaphors for Illuminating Fundamental Policy Dilemmas
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2016-001
Author: Khalid Saeed

Policy Space and System Dynamics Modeling of Environmental Agendas: An Illustration Revisiting the "Limits to Growth" Study
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-007
Author: Khalid Saeed

Dynastic Cycle: A Resource Allocation Theme for Addressing Dissent in Universities
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-006
Authors: Raafat Zaini, Khalid Saeed, Michael Elmes, and Oleg Pavlov  

Analyzing Affective Constructs: Emotions, Attitudes and Motivation
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-005
Author: Ivon Arroyo  

Jay Forrester’s Disruptive Models of Economic Behavior
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-004
Author: Khalid Saeed  

System Dynamics: A Disruptive Science. A Conversation with Jay W. Forrester, founder of the field
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-003
Author: Khalid Saeed  

On the Dynamics of Contributions and Beliefs in Repeated Public Good Games
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-002
Author: Alexander Smith  

The Design of Educational Programs in System Dynamics at WPI
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies Working Paper No. 2014-001
Authors: Oleg V. Pavlov, James K. Doyle, Khalid Saeed, James M. Lyneis, Michael J. Radzicki