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Transfer Work

Stanford accepts a small number of undergraduate transfer students each year. Requirements for admission are described as part of the undergraduate application process and are listed on the Undergraduate Admission web site. Stanford University has a designated adviser who coordinates support for transfer students.

In conjunction with appropriate review bodies, the Office of the University Registrar evaluates and records the amount of transfer credit and advanced placement test credit an undergraduate can apply toward graduation requirements. Stanford awards credit based on course work completed at U.S. colleges or universities accredited by a regional accrediting association; or course work completed at international colleges or universities of recognized standing. Credit may also be awarded for certain Advanced Placement programs, International Baccalaureate Program, GCE, French Baccalaureate, and the German Abitur examinations.

See the "Advanced Placement" section of this Bulletin for information concerning Stanford's policy on credit for Advanced Placement work. Details on how to request credit for advanced placement examinations are available at the Registrar's Advanced Placement site.

Undergraduate Transfer Work

Academic credit for work done elsewhere may be allowed toward a Stanford bachelor's degree under the following rules and conditions:

  1. Credit may be granted for work completed at institutions in the U.S. only if the institutions are regionally accredited.

  2. Study in institutions outside the U.S., when validated by examination results, tutorial reports, or other official evidence of satisfactory work, may be credited toward a Stanford bachelor's degree, subject to the approval of the credit evaluator and the appropriate departments. See the Registrar's web site for additional information regarding transfer credit requests for course work completed abroad.

  3. Credit is officially allowed only after the student has been unconditionally admitted to Stanford.

  4. Credit is allowed for work completed at institutions in the U.S. only on the basis of an official transcript received by the Registrar at Stanford directly from the institution where the credit was earned. In order for transfer credit to be awarded, students must submit an official transcript that clearly indicates all of the below information for each course:

    • Course codes/numbers

    • Course titles or descriptions

    • Final grades earned 

    • Course credits earned

  5. Credit from another institution may be transferred for courses which are substantially equivalent to those offered at Stanford University on the undergraduate level, subject to the approval of the credit evaluator. A maximum of 20 quarter units may represent courses which do not parallel specific undergraduate courses at Stanford, again, subject to the approval of the credit evaluator as to quality and suitability.

  6. Course work cannot duplicate, overlap, or regress previous work. 

  7. Transfer course work cannot count towards secondary school diploma and/or graduation requirements.

  8. For students interested in fulfilling a Ways of Thinking/Doing (Ways) breadth requirement through transfer work, a transfer course evaluation must be submitted to confirm if the course will meet the Ways criteria. Requests for fulfilling Ways requirements in transfer require pre-approval prior to course enrollment and the pre-approval requests must be submitted prior to the term in which students intend to enroll in the transfer course and as defined on the Ways transfer page. Courses must be taken for a minimum of 3 quarter units (except Creative Expression) and must be taken for a letter grade.
    For incoming transfer students, a proportion of their Ways requirement must be fulfilled at Stanford based on the number of qualified transfer units awarded at matriculation. Students must complete a number of Ways courses to fulfill the Ways requirement as outlined in the Transfer Credit for Ways section of this bulletin.

  9. Transfer work can be used to satisfy a department major or minor requirement. The transfer work must first be officially accepted into the University through the Office of the University Registrar. After the transfer credit has been approved and posted by the Office of the University Registrar, the departments determine if the approved transfer work can be used to satisfy a department major or minor requirement. Students should consult with their departments about a program's transfer credit policies/procedures.

  10. The credit allowed at Stanford for one quarter's work may not exceed the number of units that would have been permissible for one quarter if the work had been done at Stanford; for work done under a system other than the quarter system, the permissible maximum units are calculated at an appropriate ratio of equivalence (i.e. is converted into quarter units). 

  11. Credit is allowed at Stanford for work graded 'C-' (or better) or 'Pass' (where 'Pass' is equivalent to a letter grade of 'C-' or above), but not for work graded 'D' or below.

  12. No more than 45 (90 for transfer students) quarter units of credit for work done elsewhere (including external test credit) may be counted toward a bachelor's degree at Stanford.

  13. Credit earned in extension, correspondence, and online courses is transferable only if the university offering the courses allows that credit toward its own bachelor's degree. Such credit is limited to a maximum of 45 quarter units for extension courses, a maximum of 15 quarter units for correspondence and online study, and a maximum of 45 quarter units for the combination of extension, correspondence, and online courses. Online and independent study courses are not eligible for Ways credit. 

  14. Credit earned in military training and service is not transferable to Stanford, unless offered by an accredited college or university in the U.S. and evaluated as above by the credit evaluator.

See the Registrar's web site for additional information regarding transfer credit policies and procedures.

Graduate Residency Transfer Credit

After at least one quarter of enrollment, students pursuing an Engineer, D.M.A., or Ph.D. may apply for transfer credit for graduate work done at another institution.  Engineer candidates who also earned their master's at Stanford are not eligible for transfer residency credit, nor are any master's degree students.  Ph.D. or D.M.A. students may only apply a total of 45 units of transfer credit and credit earned for a Stanford master’s degree toward the PhD residency total. Ph.D. or D.M.A. students who are awarded graduate residency credit, who then add another graduate degree to their academic plan, may be required to earn a higher number of units in order to confer their degrees. Students should visit the Minimum Residency Requirements for Graduate Degrees page for more information. Students who are going to study elsewhere during their degree program at Stanford should obtain prior approval of any transfer credit sought before their departure.

The following criteria are used by the department in determining whether, in its discretion, it awards transfer credit for graduate-level work done at another institution:

  1. Courses should have comparable Stanford counterparts that are approved by the student's department. A maximum of 12 units of courses with no Stanford counterparts and/or research units may be granted transfer credit.

  2. The student must have been enrolled at the other institution in a student category which yields graduate credit. The maximum amount of credit given for extension and non-matriculated (non-degree) courses is 12 units. No transfer credit is given for online or correspondence work.

  3. Courses must have been taken after the conferral of the bachelor's degree. The only exception is for work taken through programs structured like the Stanford coterminal bachelor's/master's program. Any work taken through such programs must be at the graduate level and applied toward the completion of a graduate degree.

  4. Courses must have been completed with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better. Pass grades are accepted only for courses for which letter grades were not an option and for which the standard of passing is 'B' quality work. The only exception to this is for thesis/research/dissertation coursework, for which Pass/Satisfactory/Credit grades can be accepted.

  5. Courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or at an officially recognized institution in a foreign country. Courses taken at foreign universities must be at the level of study comparable to a U.S. graduate program. Students should visit the Graduate Residency Transfer Credit page on the Registrar's web page for more information about what information is needed for international transfer work.

The Application for Graduate Residency Credit is reviewed by the department and the Office of the University Registrar. For transfer credit done under a system other than the quarter system, the permissible maximum units are calculated at an appropriate ratio of equivalence (i.e. credit is converted into quarter units). One semester unit or hour usually equals 1.5 quarter units.