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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A full statement of transfer credit policies is available in the Stanford Bulletin.

Jump to: Documents Needed • Evaluation Process • Satisfying Program or GER/Ways  Type of Work Accepted Posting of Credit

Documents/Information Needed for Transfer Credit

  • What information does the Registrar's Office need to award transfer credit for courses taken at a U.S. institution? In order for the Registrar's Office to be able to conduct a thorough evaluation of transfer credit, information about institutional accreditation, level of course work, grading scales, and units of credit must be available. Generally, this information is included on the transcript key of an official transcript. However, in the event that some or all of this information is not printed on the transcript, students may be contacted for additional clarification or documentation. Transfer credit can only be awarded for courses with final grades posted (no transfer credit is posted for in-progress course work) and all information on the official transcript must match the transfer credit evaluation request form. 

  • What information does the Registrar's Office need to award transfer credit for courses taken at an international institution? As required of domestic institutions, the Registrar's Office will need information about the institution (whether it is officially recognized), what level of course work was taken, level of degree pursued,  and the grading scale. International degree requirements vary, so students should also submit the information regarding the minimum number of units required to complete the degree they were pursuing (this information should come from an official source, such as an online catalog). Each course must also be listed on an official transcript with a final grade and credits listed. Lastly, in order for the Registrar's Office to determine if the coursework has content overlap with Stanford coursework, students should submit course descriptions. All documents submitted to the Registrar's Office should be submitted in the English language.

  • Do I really need to submit full course syllabi? If you are requesting a pre-approval for Ways or an approval for the Language Requirement, then full course syllabi are required. If you are requesting only transfer units, then you may submit your request with a basic course description. Your transfer credit may be denied if only a partial course description is submitted (e.g., "ENGL 102 is a continuation of ENGL 101").

  • What if I can't find my copy of the course syllabi? The records or Registrar’s office at the external institution may be able to help you acquire a course syllabi. Course syllabi must match the course code, description, and delivery mode (i.e., on-campus, hybrid, or online) of the course(s) for which you are requesting credit.

  • Does Stanford accept unofficial/unsealed transcripts for the purpose of awarding transfer credit? No; only official (sealed) transcripts and official e-transcripts are accepted. Transcripts must be sent by the external instiution to Stanford directly, no transcripts submitted directly by students will be accepted.

  • Where do I send my official transcripts? Electronic transcripts can be sent to, and hard copy official (sealed) transcripts can be brought in to, or mailed into, the Student Services Center at 459 Lagunita Dr, Suite 7 Tressider Memorial Union, 2nd Floor Stanford, CA 94305.

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Transfer Credit Evaluation Process

  • Does Stanford evaluate credit and/or post credit on a course-to-course basis, or as overall credit? Courses are evaluated on a course-to-course basis; however, once credit is approved, that credit is posted to the record as overall credit. For example, if you completed one 4 quarter-unit course and one 5 quarter-unit course, the Registrar's Office would evaluate those courses separately, but would post 9 units to your record.

  • How is transfer credit calculated and posted? Approved transfer credit is converted into quarter units (for non-quarter systems, this is calculated by taking the number of units required to compelte the Stanford degree divided by the number of units required to complete the degree at the external institution), then posted to the student's transcript. Students are only awarded transfer credit based on this conversion, and cannot be awarded more credit than what they actually completed. Additionally, approved transfer credit is posted to the student's record in whole units only (rounded down), and appears on the official transcript with the name of the institution and the total number of units that were awarded. No individual courses or grades appear on the transcript.

  • How does the Registrar's Office determine whether a course is substantially similar to a Stanford course; i.e., how is course equivalency evaluated? The transfer credit evaluator compares the course descriptions of the non-Stanford course and the Stanford course to determine whether there is sufficient content overlap to warrant transfer credit.

  • Is there a deadline? There is no deadline for submitting a transfer credit request form. However, all documentation (including official transcripts) should be submitted as soon as course work is completed to minimize the delay in processing your transfer credit. The Registrar's Office must receive your official transcripts by the last day of classes of your degree conferral quarter; otherwise, you may jeopardize your ability to graduate on time. 

  • If my Ways or Language request is denied, can I still receive transfer credit? Yes, as long as the course meets all of the eligibility requirements outlined in the Stanford Bulletin.

  • What is the difference between the Last Units Out of Residence form, the BOSP Non-Stanford Study Abroad Transfer Credit Evaluation form, and the Transfer Credit Evaluation Request form?

    • The Last Units Out of Residence form is a pre-approval request used only for students requesting to take their last 15 units to complete their undergraduate degree requirements at a non-Stanford institution. Students must be eligible for and apply for a special registration status (also done via this form). Students must apply to graduate in the quarter that the Last Units Out of Residence and Special Registration Status is being requested. All transfer credit policies apply to the course work taken.

    • The BOSP Non-Stanford Study Abroad Transfer Credit Evaluation form is similar to the Transfer Credit Evaluation Request form but should only be completed by students requesting an evaluation of course work that they plan to complete outside the United States after becoming an active Stanford student.

    • The Transfer Credit Evaluation Request form allows students to request approval of course work completed prior to enrolling at Stanford and pre-approval of course work taken within the United States. Additionally, students requesting approval for a Ways Requirement or Language Requirement may do so by using this form.

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Satisfying Program or General Education/Ways Requirements

  • Can my course work be used to satisfy program requirements or to help me place into classes? If so, how can I request that? Yes; once you have been awarded transfer credit, you may request that a copy of your annotated official transcript be sent to your department for review. This can be done on the transfer credit request form itself or via a Support Request. Departments may elect to review only transcripts for students who have declared a major.

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Type of Course Work Accepted

  • I completed some college-level courses while I was in high school (dual enrollment); can I request credit for any of those courses? In some cases, yes. If any college-level work appears on your high school transcript, then the only way our office is able to review or approve that work is if a school official (e.g., guidance counselor, registrar, principal, etc.) contacts us directly (via e-mail to, and can identify the course(s) and confirm that those courses were not used towards any of your high school graduation requirements. This course work must still meet all conditions for transfer credit at Stanford. Pre-college level work is not accepted for transfer credit.

  • I'm completing work through a program sponsored through a US institution; can I request credit for any of  those courses? If the course work appears on an official transcript with course codes/titles, then it can be evaluated as transfer credit. If the course work does not appear on an offcial transcript, it may not meet the requirements outlined in the Stanford BulletinSpecifically, it may lack the appropriate regional accreditation and may not be equivalent to any courses at Stanford. Students can submit a Help Ticket to Degree Progress for assistance with evaluation of work.

  • Does Stanford award transfer credit for life experience? No. Only course work that meets all conditions outlined in the Stanford Bulletin can be accepted for transfer credit.

  • Does Stanford award transfer credit taken through Coursera? No. Only course work that meets all conditions outlined in the Stanford Bulletin can be accepted for transfer credit.

  • Does Stanford award transfer credit taken through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth? No. Only course work that meets all conditions outlined in the Stanford Bulletin can be accepted for transfer credit.

  • Does Stanford award transfer credit for military courses? Credit earned in military training and services is not transferable to Stanford unless it is offered by an accredited college or university in the U.S. and meets all conditions outlined in the Stanford Bulletin. Please see the updated policy for AY 20-21 here. More information and additional FAQ's regarding this work can be found here.

  • Are Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (formerly Education Program for Gifted Youth) courses eligible for transfer credit towards my degree? No. SPCS courses are considered pre-college level course work, and only undergraduate level course work that meets all conditions outlined in the Stanford Bulletin can be accepted for transfer credit.

  • Are Continuing Studies courses eligible for transfer credit towards my undergraduate degree? Per the Stanford Continuing Studies websiteCredits cannot be applied toward any Stanford degree, this includes the Stanford Pre-Collegiate University Level Online Math & Physics courses. Credits will be recorded on your transcript, and you might be able to transfer the credits to another university, subject to that university's policies. Continuing Studies courses carry Continuing Studies credit, not undergraduate/graduate credits.  Generally, 10 hours in the classroom are equal to one Continuing Studies unit.

  • I completed courses through Stanford's Summer Session--do I need to apply for transfer credit? No. Per the Summer Session FAQs page: all Summer Session courses carry Stanford University academic credit and visiting students earn an official Stanford transcript. Courses completed through Stanford's Summer Session will automatically appear on the Stanford Unviersity transcript and are included in the total number of undergraduate units completed.

  • I completed some college-level courses while I was on a Gap Year; can I request credit for any of those courses? Yes. Please be advised this coursework is not eligible to be used towards Ways requirements, and will only be reviewed once you are officially matriculated as a Stanford student. Any work taken does not automatically fulfill departmental requirements, this is at the discretion of each department.  Requesting transfer credit for work completed prior to matriculation may be disadvantageous because it could significantly limit your options for transferring credit in the future. 

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Posting of Transfer Credit

  • How is transfer credit calculated? The formula for this credit conversion (used to calculate both domestic and international credit) is the number of units required for Stanford's degree divided by the number of units required for the external institution's equivalent degree. For example, if the external institution requires 120 units to complete an undergraduate degree, then the conversion rate would be 180 divided by 120, or x 1.50. 

  • How is transfer credit posted? Approved transfer credit is converted to quarter units (see above), then posted to the student record. Only the name of the institution(s) and the total number of units appears on the transcript; no individual courses are posted. Transfer credit is posted in whole units and, in cases where half-credit (e.g., 4.5 units) is calculated, only the whole units (in this example, 4 units) would actually be posted. Individual courses and grades do not appear on the record.

  • If approved, can a transfer credit course be applied towards more than one Stanford course? In some cases, yes. However, if approved, students would not receive double transfer credit units. For instance, if a student earned transfer credit from a non-Stanford Physics course for 4 quarter-units, and it was approved by the department to be applied towards two Physics courses, then the student would still only receive 4 quarter-units (not 8). Contact your department for more information.

  • Are the grades from transfer work calculated into my Grade Point Average (GPA) at Stanford? Grades from other colleges and universities are not included in the GPA and do not appear on Stanford transcripts. Only the grades for courses taken at Stanford are included in your GPA.

  • Can I request to un-post or remove any transfer credit that has already been approved or posted? Unfortunately, once transfer credit is posted, we are unable to un-post / remove it.

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