Transfer credit practices

Few things are as frustrating or demoralizing to students than discovering that some of their credits won't be counted toward their UC degree. That's why it's imperative that prospective transfer students take college courses that are acceptable to UC for transfer credit.

How UC determines transfer credit

The UC awards unit credit for college courses completed at U.S. regionally accredited colleges and universities; or at a university recognized by the Ministry of Education (or higher-education authority/appropriate government agency) in another country that offers university-level academic degree program courses comparable to a U.S. associate's or bachelor's degree.

Courses determined to be essentially the same as courses offered for an undergraduate degree at any UC campus will be awarded credit if the course:

  • is listed in the original institution's catalog/website of official courses offered for the year in which the course was completed; and,
  • includes the same or similar content; and,
  • requires the same or similar prerequisite coursework; and,
  • is offered at the same level of instruction.

Courses that further the student's knowledge and understanding in fundamental liberal arts disciplines such as mathematics, natural science, literature, social sciences, fine arts and philosophy, are acceptable for transfer if comparable in scope and depth to those offered at UC.

UC does not award credit for: work or volunteer experience, vocational or technical training, and personal enrichment courses; remedial academic or pre-baccalaureate courses, especially in English and math; or College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams. Additionally, coursework from an international junior/community college program that is technical or vocational, or which does not lead to further academic study at a university in the international country, will not receive transfer credit at UC.

Courses accepted for transfer must be reported on an official transcript (academic record) which must be provided to the UC campus in a sealed envelope (or electronically submitted from a UC campus-acceptable vendor) from the original college/university of enrollment, bearing the institution's official seal and registrar's signature.

Courses completed at unaccredited/non-regionally accredited institutions may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Pass-along credit

UC does not award credit posted to a third-party institution's transcript. Credit is only considered from the original institution's official academic record.

Limits on transfer credits

Students will be granted up to 70 semester/105 quarter 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.
  • Note: if all courses are completed at one or more 2-year (community) colleges, a student would never be in danger of having too many (excessive) units.

In addition, UC places limitations on the number of units/credits or courses awarded in the following areas:

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

Examination scores/grades

UC awards credit for examinations as follows:

Repeated courses

A student is allowed to repeat each course in which a C-, D+, D, F or NP grade was originally earned, as many times as necessary, until the first time he or she earns a letter grade of C or better. The following rules apply:

  • The replacement (repeat) course must have curriculum similar to the original course (the same content but not necessarily the same title).
  • The new grade earned will replace the deficient grade in the GPA calculation. UC does not average the grades.
  • All coursework (original and repeats) must be reported on the admission application.
  • A non-honors course can be used as a repeat of an honors-level course.
  • An honors-level course may be used as a repeat of a non-honors course.
  • Repeat of C (2.0) grades is not allowed.
  • Repeat of courses out of sequence is not allowed.
  • Students may not repeat a lower-level course if a grade of D- or higher has already been earned in a higher-level course.
  • UC courses must be repeated at UC, but not necessarily at the original campus.

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.

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. No similar restriction exists on earning college credit for literature in the native language at either the lower- or upper-division level.


Final determination on the transferability of coursework for credit will be made by the admissions office based on UC's review (not that of another institution).


Transferable course agreements  

UC has transferable course agreements (TCAs) with all California community colleges (CCCs). These agreements specify the courses that will receive baccalaureate degree credit from us. All CCCs 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.

How UC determines transferability for CCC courses

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

  • The course should be comparable to one offered at the lower-division level at a UC campus.
  • 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 CCC 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.

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.

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.

CCC transfer articulation officers

For information on developing and submitting TCAs, visit UC's transfer articulation site.

UC does not have preapproved formal agreements on transferable coursework outside of the California community college system. 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 and follow these steps:

  • Select any community college in the search for transferable courses section.
  • Click on the UC Transferable Courses button then look for similar course names as those the student has completed elsewhere.

All courses completed and grades and units earned at a UC main campus (not UC Extension) during fall, winter, spring and summer are transferable to another UC campus.

Courses from enrollment at any UC Extension division are transferable if the course is numbered X1-X199. Courses numbered 1-199 which include a campus designation (e.g. XB, XLA) are equivalent to the same course offered to undergraduates on that campus.

Information on how to advise students who were previously enrolled at a UC campus, but have not yet completed a bachelor's degree, can be found on the transfer requirements page under "UC-to-UC transfer" or in the Quick Reference [PDF] under "Other Types of Transfer Students."

Type of credit Documentation required Additional information
AP, IB, A levels UC requires official/original score report/transcript/statement of results* No credit for CLEP or DANTES exams
Credit from another institution UC requires official/original transcript/academic record*
Military credit UC requires official/original Joint Services Transcript (JST)* UC will consult the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations for information regarding course content and as a guide to awarding credit; credit for military courses is determined after matriculation at UC
Dual enrollment credit UC requires official/original college transcript Courses must be UC-transferable and posted on the college transcript to be considered for credit
"Credit by exam" equivalency to a college course UC requires official/original transcript showing credit for a particular UC-transferable course and posted to a specific term with credits and a grade P/CR grade is acceptable, but course must be listed under a specific term to determine if any coursework has been taken out of sequence
*If your college posts this credit on your institutional transcript, UC prefers this information be included at the top or bottom of the transcript so it is clear it is external (3rd party/pass-along) credit.