Transferring courses from other higher education institutions (CSUs, private, out-of-state schools, non-UC study abroad programs) is possible, but involves additional steps (and time) to assess the credit. Because very few courses from these institutions have been pre-reviewed, it can take additional time to get assurance that you have chosen a course that will transfer. Additionally, some institutions may not have courses that meet UC standards, so while a course may sound similar to one found at UC Berkeley, it may not be transferable. If you do not get your course pre-reviewed before taking it, bear in mind that there are no guarantees that the credit will transfer.
Taking Coursework at Other Higher Education Institutions
Assessing coursework from other higher education institutions is a multi-step process.
- First, the credit must be determined to be transferable to your undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. If a course is determined as transferable, this means that you can receive units for the course and that the course meets standards of the UC system, allowing it to potentially apply to degree requirements.
- Second, the course must be assessed for any specific degree requirements beyond units, such as general education or major requirements.
It is ideal to get your coursework reviewed before taking the course. This gives you a guarantee that a course will count in the way you are planning. However, you may have found this information after taking the course, or may not be able to get a syllabus for review before taking the course. The procedure for review is the same whether it is before you have taken the course or after the course has been posted to your record.
Basics about transfer credit from other higher education institutions
Some basics about transfer credit from other higher education institutions (CSUs, private, out of state schools, non-UC study abroad programs):
- Will not count in UC GPA.
- Will not show on transcript outside of "transfer credit" unit summaries.
- Will not count for residence requirements, including upper division in residence, senior residence, or major residence.
- Not guaranteed to transfer. See (Pre-)Review for Requirements below to understand how to get this type of transfer coursework evaluated. If you do not have the information needed to have a Pre-Review of your coursework, you will need to decide whether taking this coursework is worth it even without assurances that it will transfer.
It is also important to review the yellow alert box at the top of the page for any additional information you may need.
Step 1: Check the Database of Pre-Approved Courses
You can consult the database of pre-approved domestic courses, the database of pre-approved international courses, or the Admissions’ list of pre-approved Reading and Composition courses to see if the coursework you plan to take has already been pre-approved to satisfy L&S General Education requirements.
Step 2: Assess for Transferability
This guidance is for continuing (not incoming/new) students planning to take a course(s) at another higher education institution.
If you are planning to take a course: Review Central Evaluation Unit's Transfer Credit: Course Evaluation page to review criteria for transferability. If you believe your coursework may be transferable, open a case with Cal Student Central to have the coursework assessed before enrolling. Review the L&S Advising Transfer Credit page as well to better understand limitations on transfer credit. Please note that quarter units will be converted to semester units upon transfer.
If you have already taken the coursework: Contact the institution at which you took the course to request your transcript be submitted to UC Berkeley. See the Central Evaluation Unit’s website for Submitting Transcripts.
See additional instructions below to have coursework assessed for major requirements and L&S requirements like Essential Skills and Seven-Course breadth.
Step 3a: (Pre-)Review for Major Requirements
(You can skip this step if you do not need to assess a course for major requirements.)
Bring your syllabus to your major department for review. If the course is in a different department from your major (i.e. a math course that will apply toward your Psychology major), your major department may have you go to the matching department on campus for review (in this example, the Math Department) and then submit the results of that review to your major department. Ultimately it is up to your major department whether they will accept a transfer course toward a particular requirement.
Step 3b: (Pre-)Review for Essential Skills or Seven-Course Breadth
A course must be a minimum of 3 semester units (4 quarter units) in order to be eligible to satisfy a Seven-Course Breadth requirement.
If your course is not a UC Berkeley Study Abroad course, or a California Community College course, and is not on one of the pre-approved lists, complete the Breadth and Essential Skills Transfer Review Google Form and attach a PDF of the course syllabus.
All syllabi must be dated within one year of the term in which you took the course. For example, if you took the course in Summer 2019, the syllabus must be dated for that term or no earlier than Summer 2018.
A course description is not an acceptable substitution for a course syllabus and will not be reviewed.
It is recommended to review the Degree Requirements page for the requirement you are petitioning for to make sure your syllabus aligns with the goals of that requirement.
Please allow 6-8 weeks to receive a response from the Transfer Credit Review Committee. Failure to provide all required information will delay the review of your request.
After completing the course(s)
Request that your official transcript be sent to UC Berkeley. See the Central Evaluation Unit’s website for Submitting Transcripts.
If you did not have your coursework pre-reviewed, wait for the credit to post to your Academic Progress Report, then follow Step 2 above to have your credit assessed for degree requirements.
How long does the review process take?
The review process can take 6-8 weeks. Because of this, it can be a good strategy to submit more than one course for review if you have any doubts the course you have selected will be approved.
Entry Level Writing and Reading & Composition Requirements
If you have already started at UC Berkeley, Entry Level Writing must be completed before Reading and Composition can be taken at another institution.
If you use Financial Aid, discuss your plan with the Financial Aid and Scholarships office.