Transfer credits

It's imperative that prospective transfer students take college courses that are acceptable to UC for transfer credit.

Few things are as frustrating or demoralizing to students than discovering that some of their credits won't be counted toward their UC degree.

Learn more about transferring credits for California community college students and for students from other four-year institutions and out-of-state two-year colleges.

For California community college students

Transferable Course Agreements

UC has transferable course agreements (TCA) with all California community colleges. These agreements specify the courses that will receive baccalaureate degree credit from us. All California community colleges also have agreements with UC campuses that specify which of the transferable courses may be used to meet various general education/breadth and major preparation requirements. These agreements were developed to ensure continuity in students' academic programs.

Limitations on Transfer Credits

Students will be granted up to 70 sem/105 qtr units of credit for lower division coursework completed at any institution or any combination of institutions. For units beyond the maximum, subject credit for appropriate coursework taken in excess of this unit limitation will be granted and may be used to satisfy requirements.

  • Units earned through AP, IB, and/or A-Level examinations are not included in the limitation and do not put applicants at risk of being denied admission.
  • Units earned at any UC campus (extension, summer, cross/concurrent and regular academic year enrollment) are not included in the limitation but are added to the maximum transfer credit allowed and may put applicants at risk of being denied admission due to excessive units.

In addition, there is a limit to the number of units for which UC grants credit in the following areas:

  • English as a Second Language courses: a maximum of 8 semester (12 quarter) units
  • Physical Education activity courses: a maximum of 4 semester (6 quarter) units

Duplicative credit prohibited: UC will not grant credit for college courses in which the content duplicates material of a previously completed course or examination for which credit has already been granted, with the exception of the repeat of deficient (D/F) course grades.

How UC determines transferability

Two basic principles are involved in determining whether a community college course is transferable:

  1. The course should be comparable to one offered at the lower-division level at a UC campus.
  2. If the course is not equivalent to a particular UC course, it must be appropriate for a UC degree in terms of its purpose, scope and depth.

Courses approved for transfer are applied as advanced-standing elective credit toward an undergraduate degree at any UC campus.

Course review

Each year, we contact the articulation officer at each California community college requesting assistance in updating the TCA. We send general information related to the articulation process, a copy of the community college's most recent articulation agreement and specific instructions for reviewing and updating the agreement. Community colleges send us their most recent catalog and a listing of new courses (including course outlines) for review.

UC articulation analysts review the submitted material, and then we send an electronic notification to the community college and each UC campus. The updated TCA is posted on ASSIST.

Campus articulation

Our campuses use information in the transferable course agreements to develop various campus-specific articulation agreements with the California community colleges. These agreements, described below, allow prospective transfer students to work toward a specific UC degree while enrolled at a community college.

Individual deans of colleges and schools at the UC campuses determine the acceptability of transfer courses to satisfy degree requirements. Campus admissions or relations with schools offices serve as liaison between the community college articulation officers and the UC deans.

General education/breadth requirement agreements 
General education/breadth requirement agreements specify which community college courses may be used to satisfy general education/breadth requirements of particular colleges and schools at a particular UC campus.

Major-preparation requirement agreements 
Major-preparation requirement agreements specify which community college courses may be used to satisfy preparation requirements for particular majors or programs of study at a particular UC campus.

Course-by-course agreements 
Course-by-course agreements specify the community college courses that are comparable to or "acceptable in lieu of" corresponding courses at a particular UC campus.

Language/literature credit for students whose native language is not English

A student whose native language is not English — and who has completed at least nine years of education conducted in that native language — may receive credit for language courses in the native language only if the courses are advanced courses at the upper-division level. College credit for literature in the native language is allowed only for courses taken in native institutions of college grade or for upper division and graduate courses actually taken at UC or at another institution of approved standing where the language of instruction is English.

For students from other institutions

Although UC does not have preapproved formal agreements on transferable coursework outside of the California community college system, general units or credits from a regionally accredited college or university are transferable if a course is comparable to one offered at a UC campus. If a course in not equivalent to a particular UC course, it must be appropriate for a UC degree in terms of its purpose, scope and depth.

However, some courses are not transferable to UC. The following types of courses, for example, will not garner UC transfer credit:

  • Remedial English (composition courses below the first-term college level)
  • Mathematics below college algebra (any course for which intermediate algebra is not a prerequisite)
  • Instructional/technical how-to courses, such as how to use computer software (e.g., Word. Excel, PowerPoint)

To get an idea of likely transferable courses from four-year institutions and out-of-state two-year colleges, refer to the General Catalog for any UC campus or to a transfer course agreement (TCA) that UC has with any California community college. 

For TCAs, visit ASSIST.org and follow these steps: 

  • Select any college name without UC or CSU in the title.
  • Click on the UC Transferable Courses link then look for similar course names as those the student has completed elsewhere.

Answers at ASSIST

To view UC's transferable course agreements with California community colleges, visit www.assist.org.

Campus catalogs

Look at the campus catalogs to compare UC courses with those at other four-year institutions and out-of-state two-year colleges: