Transfer Credit for Courses Taken Elsewhere by Current College Students | Residency Requirements and Enrollment Limits | Minimum Requirements for Transfer Eligibility | Process for Petitioning for Transfer Credit 

Transfer Credit for Courses Taken Elsewhere by Current College Students

The information below is for current College students who wish to take courses elsewhere and transfer the credit back to their University of Chicago degree program. Information for students wanting to transfer from another college or university to the University of Chicago can be found on the Transfer Students page of this catalog.

Transfer credit for courses taken at another institution by current College students 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 University of Chicago transcript. Students participating in University of Chicago–sponsored direct enrollment programs will have their credits vetted by the Study Abroad office instead of the Office of the Dean of Students in the College.

On this page, you will find guidelines for what credit may and may not be accepted by the College, as well as additional restrictions on coursework in certain fields. You will also find directions for submitting transfer coursework for approval and additional restrictions on coursework taken prior to matriculation.

Residency Requirements and Enrollment Limits

A student must be in residence as a degree-seeking student in the College for at least six quarters (excluding summer quarters and University of Chicago–sponsored summer abroad programs) and successfully complete a minimum of 18 courses (1800 units) 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. Faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by the College may be used to meet both the residency and course requirements.

The Dean of Students in the College expects all students to complete their degrees in a timely fashion, ordinarily within 12 quarters. Students may not register beyond 12 quarters without the permission of the Dean of Students in the College.

Minimum Requirements for Transfer Eligibility

  • Courses taken prior to matriculation, including courses taught at the University of Chicago, are not eligible for College credit. Students should contact College Admissions for clarification of their entry status.

Note: During the summer immediately prior to matriculation, incoming students are permitted to take University of Chicago courses. These will confer College credit. Interested students should see Summer Session for more information.

  • Beginning in Autumn Quarter 2020, courses taken at U.S. institutions, if they are similar to courses offered at the University of Chicago, are ordinarily not eligible for transfer credit. To be eligible, the course should offer a special opportunity that cannot be pursued at the University of Chicago. Such courses must follow the eligibility guidelines listed below, as applicable. A “special opportunity” is an exceptional circumstance; accordingly, only a small number of such petitions will be approved.
  • Courses taken at non-U.S. institutions that are otherwise similar to courses offered at the University of Chicago are eligible for transfer credit and will follow the eligibility guidelines for such courses listed below.
  • Courses taken in a language not offered at the University of Chicago must follow the guidelines for language courses listed below.

To be eligible for transfer, courses MUST:

  • 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 will earn or have already earned for college-level coursework. (For instance, a student could not take PLSC 28701 Introduction to Political Theory and also transfer credit for an Introduction to Political Theory course taken at an international institution.)

Science coursework 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 coursework must be taken at an institution accredited by the American Chemical Society.
  • Incoming students may seek to earn credit for organic chemistry via an accreditation exam offered in the Autumn Quarter.
  • Depending on the student’s major and on the level of work to be evaluated, credit for some courses in other sciences may also be subject to examination.

Courses petitioned to count for general education credit in the civilization studies requirement must follow this additional guideline:

  • For the civilization studies requirement, area studies courses in history with an emphasis on primary sources will be favored over courses that focus on political science, anthropology, sociology, etc.

Language coursework must follow these additional guidelines:

  • Only language courses taken in languages that are not available at the University of Chicago, or language courses taken at a non-U.S. institution that are otherwise similar to courses offered at the University of Chicago, are eligible for transfer credit.
  • For courses taken at U.S. institutions that are eligible to transfer, only courses taken in Autumn Quarter 2017 or later are considered. Courses completed earlier (including Summer Quarter 2017) do not qualify.
  • Completion of an approved intermediate- or advanced-level course with a grade of B or above satisfies the language competency requirement.
  • Satisfactory completion (grade of C or above) of approved courses equivalent to one year of introductory language study qualifies the student for the on-campus language competency examination offered in Winter Quarter.
  • Students planning or considering additional language study on campus should take the language placement test to confirm placement.
  • Courses are subject to all other restrictions and guidelines on this page.
Courses in the following categories are NOT eligible for transfer credit:
  • Courses taken at a U.S. institution that are equivalent to courses taught at the University of Chicago. Students are expected to complete coursework in residence unless there are special circumstances, or unique or extraordinary opportunities to study at another U.S. institution, and the course is not ordinarily available at the College.
  • Coursework taken during a period of suspension from the University of Chicago.
  • Credit for calculus and pre-calculus is not accepted. Credit for calculus will be granted only by College accreditation or AP exam, or on the basis of completion of a higher-level course.
  • Any kind of online/distance, tutorial, or independent study coursework, including internship credit or prior learning experiences (including work experience, trainings, certifications, etc.).
  • Professional or technical courses. This includes such areas as: business, law, civil/mechanical engineering, speech, education, leadership, and first-year writing. A course in media production will transfer if there is no equivalent course in the College, as verified by the relevant department.
  • Foreign language courses taken before Autumn Quarter 2017. Advanced literature or topics courses taught in a foreign language that are not available in the College may qualify.

Process for Petitioning for Transfer Credit 

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 adviser. To have non–University of Chicago courses considered for transfer credit, students must follow these steps:

  1. 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 contact College Advising ( for a PDF version of the petition form.)
  2. If approved by the College, the student may seek additional approval for use of that pre-evaluated 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.
  3. Have an official transcript sent to their College adviser upon completion of the coursework.

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 courses toward a particular requirement.

For students participating in a University of Chicago–sponsored direct enrollment program:

These students do not need to petition the Office of the Dean of Students in the College and should instead speak to their program director in Study Abroad about the appropriate next steps.

It is expected that students not independently enroll in a university with which the College has a direct enrollment program during a term in which that program is active. Any coursework completed in this independent manner will not ordinarily be eligible for transfer credit.