Transfer credit must be evaluated and approved by the Office of the Dean of Students in the College. If approved, transfer credit is listed on the student’s University of Chicago transcript only as the number of credits approved to transfer. Transfer credit does not count toward the University of Chicago GPA, nor do the grades appear on the UChicago transcript. Students participating in University of Chicago–sponsored direct enrollment programs will have their credits vetted by the Study Abroad office instead of the College Dean of Students office.
In this section, you will find guidelines for what credit may and may not be accepted by the College, as well as additional restrictions on course work in the sciences, arts, and civilization studies. In the subsequent sections are directions for submitting transfer course work for approval, specific rules related to transfer students, and additional restrictions on course work taken prior to matriculation. Course credit approved to transfer will count toward the 3800-unit credit minimum students are required to earn via course enrollment.
Minimum Requirements for Transfer Eligibility
- Be taken at an accredited institution that grants bachelor’s degrees, subject to review by the Office of the Dean of Students in the College.
- Confer at least three semester hours or four quarter hours of credit. For institutions without standard credit hours, contact hours (normally a minimum of 30) may be used.
- Be completed with a grade of C or above (not C- or P). Students in science majors must earn at least a B in science courses.
- Not duplicate credit that students earn or have already earned for college-level course work. (For instance, a student could not take PLSC 28701 Introduction to Political Theory and also transfer in credit for an Introduction to Political Theory course taken elsewhere.)
- Be in liberal arts subjects similar to those offered at the University of Chicago.
Courses in the following categories are NOT eligible for transfer credit:
- Calculus and pre-calculus. (Credit may only be earned via accreditation or AP test.)
- Foreign language study. Placement level is determined by exam. Advanced literature or topics courses taught in a foreign language may qualify.
- Any kind of online/distance, tutorial, or independent study course work, including internship credit.
- Professional or technical courses, or course work otherwise unlike University of Chicago liberal arts courses. This includes such areas as: law, civil/mechanical engineering, speech, education, leadership, first-year writing, and undergraduate courses in business. Courses in media production will only transfer if there is an equivalent course listed in the University of Chicago catalog.
Science course work must follow these additional guidelines:
- Students in any science major must earn at least a B in science courses.
- Courses must have a lab to be considered for the physical sciences general education requirement. At least one course in the biological sciences general education requirement must have a lab component.
- Chemistry course work must be taken at an institution accredited by the American Chemical Society.
- Chemistry majors may only transfer credit for general chemistry. Incoming transfer students may seek to earn credit for organic chemistry via an accreditation exam offered during Orientation Week.
- Physics courses must be calculus-based and include a lab component to be considered as a substitute for General Physics (PHYS 12100-12200-12300 General Physics I-II-III, PHYS 13100-13200-13300 Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Waves, Optics, and Heat, PHYS 14100-14200-14300 Honors Mechanics; Honors Electricity and Magnetism; Honors Waves, Optics, and Heat
Courses petitioned to count for general education credit in the civilization studies or arts requirement:
- Should fulfill the spirit of the requirement and have similarities to eligible courses offered on campus.
- For the civilization studies requirement, area studies courses in history will be favored over courses that focus on political science, anthropology, sociology, etc.
Process for Petitioning for Transfer Credit
For students taking courses elsewhere while enrolled in a degree program at UChicago: Students who wish to take courses at other institutions after they enter the College should carefully read the regulations for transfer credit listed above and discuss their plans in advance with their College advisers. To have non–University of Chicago courses considered for transfer credit, students must follow these steps:
- Submit a petition to the Office of the Dean of Students in the College, including course descriptions and/or syllabi, units of credit, and the name of the institution where courses will be taken. This information should be submitted online well in advance of taking the course. (Students with inactive logins should use the PDF version of the petition form.)
- If approved by the College, you may seek additional approval for use of that pre-approved credit toward major/minor/general education requirements. Instructions will be provided if/when the initial petition is approved. Note that approval is not guaranteed and should be sought as early as possible.
- Have an official transcript sent to their College adviser upon completion of the course work.
Note: Students should petition for approval well in advance of the start date of the desired courses. Students submitting petitions without a sufficient window should not expect to receive a final decision before the courses begin, especially if they hope to use the course toward a particular requirement.
For students participating in a UChicago-sponsored direct enrollment program: These students do not need to petition the College Dean of Students office and should instead speak to their program director in Study Abroad about the appropriate next steps.
College Courses Taken Prior to Matriculation
Courses taken during high school:
Students should not petition until they determine (in their second year or later) that they will need the credit. Students may petition earlier if previous course work may serve as a prerequisite for an University of Chicago course. The petition must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students in the College, including course descriptions and/or syllabi, units of credit, and the name of the institution where courses were taken. These restrictions also apply to courses completed at the University of Chicago prior to matriculation.
To be considered for credit, petitions must comply with the preceding regulations and the following restrictions:
- Courses may not have counted toward high school graduation requirements.
- Credit for science and calculus courses is not accepted; students should take the appropriate placement or accreditation exams at the time of matriculation.
- Approved credit may only be used as general elective credit. Credit will not be awarded for general education requirements or foreign language courses. This restriction also applies to courses taken at the University of Chicago prior to matriculation.
- Courses must have been offered to a cohort that included undergraduate students. Courses taught specifically for high school student programs will not transfer.
Courses taken in the summer prior to matriculation:
Admitted students are not allowed to register for University of Chicago courses in the summer prior to matriculation. It is important that admitted students first learn about curricular issues and academic expectations alongside their classmates during Orientation Week.
Admitted students who take college-level courses at another institution may submit a petition for transfer credit after matriculation. They should discuss the process with their College adviser during first-year advising meetings. The transfer credit petition will be evaluated based on all of the above criteria. Credit will not be awarded for general education requirements.
After admitted transfer students have committed to attending University of Chicago, they receive information from the Admissions Office about how to submit the materials necessary for an evaluation of their previous college course work. Students must also have their previous institution send a final, official transcript to the Admissions Office. These materials should be submitted in early- to mid-June. More course information (i.e., syllabi) may be solicited over the summer prior to matriculation. Transfer evaluations cannot be completed before a student has accepted an offer of admission. Note that transfer credit does not count toward the University of Chicago GPA, nor do the grades appear on the UChicago transcript.
The evaluation of transfer credit is based on the guidelines and restrictions listed in the previous section. Note the following restrictions in particular:
- Language study will not transfer. Incoming students should take the placement exam and complete the appropriate course. Students who place into and complete a higher-level course (20200 or higher) may be able to petition for credit for the language courses between 20100 and the University of Chicago course completed.
- Credit for calculus and pre-calculus is not accepted. Credit for calculus will be granted only by College accreditation or AP exam.
- Depending on the student’s major and on the level of work to be evaluated, credit for some courses in chemistry, physics, and biology may also be subject to examination.
- The restrictions on college course work taken during high school (outlined in the previous section) apply to all undergraduate students.
Residency Requirements and Enrollment Limits for Transfer Students
Transfer students must be in residence at the University of Chicago for at least six quarters and successfully complete a minimum of 18 courses while in residence. More than half of the requirements for a major and/or minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers. Course credit approved to transfer will count toward the 3800-unit credit minimum students are required to earn via course enrollment.
The Dean of Students in the College expects all students to complete their degrees in a timely fashion, ordinarily within 12 quarters. This expectation will be tailored for transfer students who enter the College with a substantial number of credits. Based on the transfer evaluation, transfer students will be assigned a time frame in which they are expected to complete their requirements—typically six or nine quarters. Transfer students may petition the Dean of Students in the College for one additional quarter of study if academically necessary for the undergraduate degree. Transfer students may not register beyond their assigned quarters without the permission of the Dean of Students in the College.
After matriculation in the College, transfer students may not earn additional credits from schools other than the University of Chicago. Faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by the College may be used to meet both the residency and course requirements. Transfer students will be allowed to participate in direct enrollment study abroad programs affiliated with the College, but these courses cannot be used to satisfy the residency requirement.