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International Students

The university invites applications from qualified international students. International applicants are those who already have, or will be applying for, a temporary U.S. visa such as F-1 and J-1. Applicants who are United States citizens, permanent residents, asylees, or refugees are not considered international. These students should follow application and admission procedures for undergraduates or graduates as described elsewhere in this catalog.

Over 1,000 international students from more than 100 countries study at CU-Boulder. Applications for admission are processed by the Office of Admissions. Assistance after admission is provided by International Student and Scholar Services, located in the Office of International Education. Boulder offers a full range of services to international students, including a host family program, orientation, special programs and activities for international students, and personal attention to individual needs. 

Intensive English instruction is also offered by the International English Center. For information, go to www.colorado.edu/iec or write or call the International English Center, University of Colorado Boulder, 63 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0063, 303-492-5547.

International students who wish to pursue a full-time program of study at the undergraduate or graduate level should go to the international student website at www.colorado.edu/prospective/international for admission information and online application forms.

Prospective graduate students should go to the website at www.colorado.edu/prospective/graduate for information and application forms specific to the academic department in which they are interested. Prospective graduate students can also call the campus telephone operator at 303-492-1411 and ask to have the call transferred to the department of interest or write to the specific department, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309.

International Nondegree Students

The University of Colorado Boulder welcomes visiting (nondegree) students from around the world. International students who are requesting a form I-20 (for an F-1 visa) are required to enroll full time (6 credits in the summer and 12 in the fall and spring semesters). Students are not allowed to drop below that limit and maintain their visa status. Students on a tourist visa may be eligible to take one class. An individual who holds a temporary nonimmigrant visa or temporary immigration status may register as a nondegree student after demonstrating English proficiency through the approval to register process administered by the International English Center, and only if the individual also meets academic prerequisites.

E-mail ceadvisor@colorado.edu or ssdean@colorado.edu for additional information. 

Readmit Students

Former CU-Boulder undergraduate degree students who have not attended the Boulder campus for three semesters must submit the Application for Readmission for undergraduate degree students. No application fee is required. Students who have attended any college or university since their last at-tendance at CU-Boulder will need to submit official transcripts directly from the issuing institution(s) to the Office of Admissions.

If the student is changing from a previous college or school, the change should be noted on the application. Otherwise, it is assumed that the student is returning to the same field of study, if eligible to do so. If a college or school change is requested for which the student is not eligible, the student will need to request reconsideration for his or her previous program.

Former arts and sciences students wishing to return to arts and sciences must apply to their previous major. Students who wish to pursue a second undergraduate degree must apply to a major different from the one in which they received their degree. Students may not apply for a second bachelor’s degree in the Leeds School of Business or the Journalism and Mass Communication Program.

Beginning with the fall 2010 semester, continuing undergraduate degree-seeking students who temporarily withdraw will be automatically eligible to return within a given time period without having to readmit. Review the "Return Chart" located at registrar.colorado.edu/students/withdrawal.html. (Degree-seeking students who are taking classes only through the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies are considered enrolled students.)

During the semesters of non-enrollment, students' CU-Boulder e-mail and portal accounts remain open. To return, students need to register for classes during the regular enrollment period for the returning term. If the student's confirmation deposit was refunded, they must repay it when returning.

The above policy is not applicable to graduate students but these students may be eligible for the Time Off Program if they wish to take a leave of absence. Graduate students not eligible for the Time Off Program will need to reapply for admission. This policy also is not applicable for new degree students (or transfer students) who enroll and then withdraw prior to the census date. For more information, see registrar.colorado.edu. Degree students who withdraw from CU-Boulder during summer session may not need to reapply to continue into the fall semester unless they are changing schools, colleges, or degree programs.

Nondegree Students

Students who wish to take University of Colorado Boulder courses but are not currently admitted to a degree program at the university are classified as “nondegree students.” Students apply as nondegree students through the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies (303-492-5148 or conted.colorado.edu). Nondegree students may enroll in credit classes through the ACCESS (Available Credit Courses for Eligible Special Students) Program, the Boulder Evening Program, CAETE (Center for Advanced Engineering and Technology Education), the Independent Learning Program, Applied Music Program, and Summer Session. 

If students have been denied admission to an undergraduate degree program, they may not enroll as nondegree students in the ACCESS Program for the semester for which they sought degree program admission. Nondegree student admission does not guarantee future admission to any degree program. 

Nondegree students may also enroll for courses on a pass/fail basis. These courses are counted toward hours of pass/fail course work permitted according to the rules of the college or school to which students are admitted once they achieve degree status.

Nondegree students must maintain a 2.000 cumulative GPA. Failure to maintain the required GPA will result in academic suspension.

High school students interested in taking courses at CU-Boulder apply as nondegree students through the High School Concurrent Program administered by the division.

For more information, contact the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies at 303-492-5148 or visit conted.colorado.edu.

International students who want to apply to the university as nondegree students should read the International Students section above. Students interested in teacher licensure should refer to the School of Education section.

Nondegree Students Transferring to a Degree Program

Students who are currently enrolled or have been enrolled at any CU campus as non-degree students may apply for admission to an undergraduate degree program.

Students wishing to transfer to a graduate degree program should refer to the Graduate School section and individual college and school sections.

A degree-seeking applicant may transfer an unlimited number of credits taken as a nondegree student on any University of Colorado campus. However, applicability of these hours toward degree requirements is established by the colleges and schools. It is suggested that a student apply to a degree program as soon as admission requirements, including MAPS deficiencies, have been met. It is essential that former nondegree students actively seek academic advising from the appropriate dean’s office once they have been accepted into a degree program.

Second Undergraduate Degree Applicants

Students may apply for a second undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder, but should explore the various options in graduate study available at the university before doing so. Students applying for a second undergraduate degree must follow transfer admission guidelines, and those students who are admitted must keep in mind that all college and major requirements must be met in order to complete degree programs satisfactorily. Restrictions mandated by general university policies, as well as specific college and school policies, include the following:

  1. Applicants may not apply to the major in which they received their first undergraduate degree.
  2. Applicants must apply to a specific major; applications for an open option or undetermined major cannot be considered.
  3. Second undergraduate degree applicants in the College of Architecture and Planning are encouraged to investigate graduate programs.
  4. The Leeds School of Business and the Journalism and Mass Communication Program do not consider students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. These students are strongly encouraged to investigate graduate study.
  5. Students who already have an undergraduate degree from the College of Engineering and Applied Science and who desire a second undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to investigate graduate study as an option.
  6. The School of Education offers graduate and teacher certification programs only.
  7. Credit hours earned as a nondegree student at the University of Colorado may not be used toward major degree requirements for a second degree in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students from Other CU Campuses

Students who wish to transfer to Boulder from another University of Colorado campus (Colorado Springs or Denver), from CU Study Abroad, or from CU Continuing Education and Professional Studies should refer to the Transfer Applicants section. These students must send a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores, and an official transcript from each college or university attended (outside the University of Colorado system) to the Office of Admissions. Currently enrolled degree students are not required to pay the application fee. Special consideration is given to applicants transferring from degree programs at other campuses of the University of Colorado. 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 toward 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.

Transfer of College-Level Credit

The Office of Admissions performs an initial evaluation of transfer credit after applicants have been admitted. A complete evaluation of transfer credit cannot be made until all official credentials have been received.

The evaluation is made using the official transcripts sent directly to the university from each one of the applicant’s previous colleges. Official transcripts exhibit the official seal and signature of the registrar. Transcripts that are marked “student copy,” “issued to student,” or “unofficial” are not accepted as official. Faxed transcripts are not accepted.

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, the student may specifically request that their course work be considered for transfer. CU-Bouder 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:

  • Educational quality of the sending institution
  • Comparability of credit to be transferred to CU-Boulder
  • Applicability of the credit in relation to the programs being offered at CU-Boulder 
  • Additional documentation that students may be required to provide regarding the course work for transferability

Exceptions to Recognition of Regional Accreditation

Transferability is based on the practices of the leading university, as reported to AACRAO, in the state where the institution is located. CU-Boulder will make the decision on transferability based on the above criteria for institutions within the state of Colorado. 

For Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College Level Examination Program, or military credit, refer to the detailed criteria in the corresponding sections.

Evaluation of Credit

Only courses taken at a college or university of recognized standing with grades of C- (1.700) 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.

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

Course Work 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- (1.700) 
  • 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 

Appeals 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 Admissions Office will re-evaluate the course(s) for which the student is requesting reconsideration in consultation with the appropriate dean or 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.

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. 

Number of Credit Hours Required for Graduation

Transfer students are held to the same residency and degree requirements as students who begin their undergraduate degree program on the Boulder campus. This assumes that transfer credit hours are in courses comparable in level and content to those required for graduation from an undergraduate degree program at the Boulder campus. College or school residency requirements, meaning the number of hours required to be taken  as a degree student once admitted on the Boulder campus, are the same for transferring and nontransferring students.

Credit for Correspondence and Online Work

Each college and school determines the maximum number of credits taken through correspondence and online programs that are accepted toward a baccalaureate degree. 

College-Level Work Taken during High School 

College-level work taken during high school is evaluated in accordance with general guidelines for transfer credit at CU-Boulder. College-level work taken concurrently with a high school program may be used to satisfy MAPS requirements. Official college transcripts of work taken must be received for transfer credit to be awarded.

Advanced Placement Examinations

Credit for College Board 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 more information, and a guide to equivalencies, refer to Freshman Applicants and the chart in this section or download the PDF at admissions.colorado.edu/undergraduate/admissions/freshman/credit.

College-Level Examination Program

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, and calculus may be granted for a score at 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.

International Baccalaureate Examinations (IB)

In general, credit is granted for approved IB examinations at the higher level with a score of 4 or better. Credit for IB examinations cannot be evaluated from college or high school transcripts. An IB certificate or diploma must be submitted to the Office of Admissions from the IB organization for evaluation. For more information and a guide to equivalencies, refer to Freshman Applicants.

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.

Credit by Examination

This option 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, Regent Administrative Center 105, University of Colorado Boulder, 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.

Transfer Credit Conversion

Many campuses operate on the quarter system, with the academic year divided into three terms. Other campuses, including CU-Boulder, operate on a two-term or semester system. Course credits from quarter system institutions must be converted from quarter hours to semester hours or credits. One quarter credit is equivalent to two-thirds of a semester credit. To convert quarter  hours to semester hours, multiply the number of quarter hours by two-thirds and round off the total to the nearest tenth. For example, 4 quarter hours x 2/3 = 2.67 or 2.7 semester hours of credit, or 3 quarter hours x 2/3 = 2 semester hours of credit.

Intrauniversity Transfer Students

Students wishing to change colleges or schools within the CU-Boulder campus must obtain an Intrauniversity Transfer (IUT) application from the college or school to which they wish to transfer.

For more information on recommended course work in preparation for an IUT and other criteria, students need to consult college and school sections of this catalog or talk with an academic advisor in the program to which they plan to transfer. Some colleges and schools do not accept intrauniversity transfer students during the summer. It is important to note that admission to a college through the IUT process is competitive, and not all students who apply are admitted. Decisions are based on course preparation, hours completed, grade point average, and other criteria required by the specific college or school.

Denied Admission as a Freshman

Students who were not admissible to the University of Colorado Boulder based on high school academic records are encouraged to apply for transfer admission after at least 24 semester hours of transferable college-level course work are completed or in progress. This includes any minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) requirements not met in high school.