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Transfer Credit Policy and Guidelines

Guidelines for Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit Evaluation

Once you've been admitted, the Office of Admissions will perform an initial evaluation of your transfer credit. The final determination of how your transfer credits are applied toward degree requirements will be made at orientation by the dean's office in the college or school to which you've been admitted.

Only courses taken at a college or university of recognized standing with grades of C- (1.7) or better are accepted for transfer. All transferred courses are recorded on the student’s academic record. Each college and school at CU-Boulder determines:

  • How transferred course semester credit hours are applied toward graduation requirements in accordance with the policies of the college or school.
  • The maximum number of semester credit hours that may transfer from a two-year or four-year postsecondary institution.
  • The minimum number of semester credit hours that must be completed on the Boulder campus in order to receive a degree.
  • The minimum number of semester credit hours that must be completed as a degree student in residence on the Boulder campus to receive an undergraduate degree.
  • The maximum number of semester credit hours earned through correspondence or in a similar format that are accepted toward a baccalaureate degree.

Credit hours should have been earned no more than 10 years prior to transferring into an undergraduate degree program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Any determination of acceptance of semester credit hours toward the degree based on the content and the age of the credit is made in the college or school dean’s office or by the student’s major department.

College-level work taken during high school is evaluated in accordance with general guidelines for transfer credit at CU-Boulder. Official college transcripts of work taken must be received in order for transfer credit to be awarded.

Transfer Credit by Examination

Credit for Advanced Placement examinations cannot be evaluated from college or high school transcripts; score reports from the College Board must be submitted directly to the university for evaluation. For specific equivalencies, refer to the AP/IB credit chart.

Credit is granted for approved International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations at the higher level with a score of 4 or better. An IB certificate or diploma must be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions by the International Baccalaureate Organization for evaluation examinations cannot be evaluated from high school transcripts. For specific equivalencies, see the AP/IB credit chart.

Credit for College Board subject examinations of the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) in:

  • general biology
  • general chemistry
  • general psychology
  • introductory macroeconomics
  • introductory microeconomics
  • introductory sociology
  • calculus

may be granted for a score of 54 or higher or above the 67th percentile. This credit is applied toward degree requirements at the discretion of the student's dean. Refer to the appropriate dean's office for the policy of that college or school. Credit for CLEP subject examinations cannot be evaluated from college or high school transcripts; score reports must be submitted directly from the College Board. CLEP general examinations are not accepted for credit at CU-Boulder.

Credit by Examination provides limited opportunities for students to take an examination and earn credit for a course without registering for or taking the course. Specific courses must be approved for credit by examination. Students may want to exercise this option if they do not receive transfer credit for a course they have taken at a previous college. Information on participating colleges and schools, requirements, and an application for credit by examination are available at the Office of the Registrar, University of Colorado Boulder, Regent Administrative Center 105, 20 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0020, 303-492-6970. Permission of the instructor, the department chair, the dean of the college or school in which the course is offered, and the student's dean (if different) is required for approval. An examination fee is charged.


Military Credit

Credit for military schooling is evaluated upon receipt of Form DD 214, Service Separation Certificate or the Sailor/Marine American Council on Edwardian Registry Transcript (SMART). Only work that has received an upper-division baccalaureate recommendation by the American Council on Education (ACE) can be awarded credit. This work, however, is transferred and recorded at the lower-division level. Foreign language credit taken through the State Department, Department of Defense, or Defense Language Institute is assigned the recommended ACE credit. Applicability toward degree requirements is determined by the dean’s office in the college/school to which you have been admitted.

Transfer Credit from International Schools

Transfer credit is generally only considered from international tertiary institutions that are recognized by the Ministry of Education, or a similar accrediting body, in the home country. In order to qualify for transfer credit, courses completed at recognized international tertiary institutions must be applicable to the student's degree and comparable to the nature and quality of CU-Boulder courses.

International courses with the same or similar course titles as University of Colorado Boulder courses may satisfy course requirements. Prospective students may initially self assess the applicability of their transfer courses using the University of Colorado Boulder Catalog. An official or certified copy of the transcript must be presented to the Office of Admissions for work to be officially evaluated for transfer credit. A certified translation must accompany transcripts not issued in English. The translation should be literal and not interpretive. If course content is not evident from course titles on the transcript, students should be prepared to provide official catalog course descriptions from their schools or faculties.

Rarely is international secondary level work considered for transfer credit. The completion of rigorous secondary school subjects is expected of all admission candidates-international and domestic alike. Transfer credit is not awarded for secondary school subjects unless an additional 13th year of secondary school was completed and/or a standardized examination was administered. Examples might include the British Advanced Level (A-Level) examinations, German Abitur examinations, or Italian Maturita examinations.

In many cases, international credits will have to be converted into the U.S. semester system. In these cases, no more than 30-36 semester hours may transfer in any academic year. All courses considered for transfer must be completed with a "C-" or better grade. The Office of Admissions will determine the international grade equivalencies.

Course Work Requiring Additional Review
The following course work will require additional information before a decision can be made on acceptance for transfer credit:

  • Independent study courses
  • Internships
  • Workshops
  • Graduate course work
  • Military credit
  • Professional programs

Transfer Credit from other University of Colorado Campuses

Course work completed at other campuses in the University of Colorado system will be a part of the student’s cumulative university record and will not be considered as transfer credit. However, the applicability of this course work towards specific CU-Boulder degree requirements will be determined solely by CU-Boulder colleges and schools. External transfer credit presented by students to other University of Colorado campuses will be evaluated by CU-Boulder guidelines upon the student’s matriculation into a degree program at CU-Boulder.

Coursework Not Accepted for Transfer Credit

The following course work will not be accepted for transfer credit and will not count toward a degree at Boulder:

  • any courses in which the grade earned is below a C- (1.7),
  • courses identified by CU-Boulder as remedial, such as remedial English, mathematics, science, and developmental reading,
  • vocational-technical courses that are offered at two-year and proprietary institutions (exceptions may be granted only by the CU-Boulder dean responsible for the student's curriculum--when exceptions appear to be warranted, appropriate department heads make recommendations to their respective deans regarding credit for such courses),
  • courses in religion that constitute specialized religious training or that are doctrinal in nature,
  • credits earned for work experience or through a cooperative education program,
  • outdoor leadership education course work,
  • credits earned in physical education activity courses,
  • courses or programs identified as college orientation.

Transfer Credit Appeal Process

Students who wish to appeal the transferability of course work must write a letter within the first semester after the work is posted on the University of Colorado Boulder record or after receiving notice from the Office of Admissions that the course work was not accepted for transfer credit. The letter must be addressed to the Transfer Credit Department, Office of Admissions and include:

  • The name(s) of the previous institution(s) attended, the course number and title of each course for which the student was denied transfer credit, and the date(s) of enrollment in each course.
  • A copy of the catalog description (from the appropriate year) for each course in question.
  • A copy of the syllabus or course outline (from the appropriate year) for each course in question. This information can be obtained from the sending institution.
  • A statement indicating why the credit(s) should be accepted.

The Office Admissions will re-evaluate the course(s) for which the student is requesting reconsideration in consultation with the appropriate dean or department chair. A written response will be delivered to the student in a timely manner once the appropriate faculties have reviewed the course materials, past practices, and the student’s specific circumstances.

Transfer Credit Exceptions by College/School

Each CU-Boulder college or school with undergraduate programs is listed below with their distinctive transfer credit criteria or exception to the university’s general policy on transfer credit.

Transfer Credit Policy

The goal of the process is to recognize previous work by transfer students that meet the expectations of the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) for academic content and rigor. Accordingly, our policies and  procedures for transfer and applicability of course credits to a CU-Boulder degree incorporate these basic principles:

  1. We expect to verify whether or not the student's experience at the other institution is appropriately commensurate with the experience of students in similar courses offered by CU-Boulder with respect to content, academic level, scope and relevance.
  2. Can that experience of reasonable comparability and applicability be documented in some manner, (e.g. coming from a fully accredited college or university)
  3. Can that experience of reasonable comparability and applicability be documented by the student via other means such as textbooks, syllabi, exams, papers, projects, etc.

Course work of comparable content and scope to the CU-Boulder curriculum will generally be transferred  if it was completed at colleges or universities accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, or other regional associations at the time the work was completed.  For international colleges or universities, the international equivalent of regional accreditation or Ministry of Education recognition will be considered.

If course work was completed at a school not regionally accredited, a student may specifically request that their course work be considered for transfer. The University of Colorado Boulder will utilize the recommendations of American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) when making its decision.  These recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  1. The educational quality of the sending institution
  2. The comparability of credit to be transferred to CU-Boulder
  3. Applicability of the credit in relation to the programs being offered at CU-Boulder
  4. Additional documentation that the student may be required to provide regarding the course work for transferability. 

Exceptions to recognition of regional accreditation:

  1. Transferability is based on the practices of the leading university, as reported to AACRAO, in the state where the institution is located.
  2. CU-Boulder will make the decision on transferability based on the above criteria for institutions within the state of Colorado.
  3. For Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College Level Examination Program, or Military Credit refer to the detailed criteria stated in the corresponding sections.