Evaluation of Credit

The Office of Admissions performs an initial evaluation of transfer credit after applicants have been admitted. A complete evaluation of transfer credit cannot be made until all official credentials have been received.

The evaluation is made using the official transcripts sent directly to the university from each one of the applicant's previous colleges. Official transcripts exhibit the official seal and signature of the registrar. Transcripts that are marked "student copy," "issued to student," or "unofficial" are not accepted as official. Faxed transcripts are not accepted.

Transferability is based on the practices of the leading university, as reported to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), in the state where the institution is located. CU Boulder will make the decision on transferability based on the above criteria for institutions within the state of Colorado.

Coursework of comparable content and scope to the CU Boulder curriculum will generally be transferred if it was completed at colleges or universities accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, or other regional associations at the time the work was completed. For international colleges or universities, the international equivalent of regional accreditation or Ministry of Education recognition will be considered.

If coursework was completed at a school not regionally accredited, the student may specifically request that their coursework be considered for transfer. CU Boulder will utilize the recommendations of AACRAO when making its decision. These recommendations include but are not limited to:

  • Educational quality of the sending institution.
  • Comparability of credit to be transferred to CU Boulder.
  • Applicability of the credit in relation to the programs being offered at CU Boulder.
  • Additional documentation that students may be required to provide regarding the coursework for transferability.

Criteria for Acceptance of Credit

Only courses taken at a college or university of recognized standing with grades of C- (1.70) or better are accepted for transfer. 

Each college and school at CU Boulder determines:

  • How transferred course semester credit hours are applied toward graduation requirements in accordance with the policies of the college or school.
  • The maximum number of semester credit hours that may transfer from a two-year or four-year post-secondary institution.
  • The minimum number of semester credit hours that must be completed on the Boulder campus in order to receive a degree.
  • The minimum number of semester credit hours that must be completed as a degree student in residence on the Boulder campus to receive an undergraduate degree.
  • The maximum number of semester credit hours earned through correspondence or in a similar format that are accepted toward a baccalaureate degree.

Credit hours should have been earned no more than 10 years prior to transferring into an undergraduate degree program at CU Boulder. Any determination of acceptance of semester credit hours toward the degree based on the content and the age of the credit is made in the college or school dean's office or by the student's major department.

Coursework Requiring Additional Review

The following coursework will require additional information before a decision can be made on acceptance for transfer credit:

  • Independent study courses
  • Internships
  • Workshops
  • Graduate coursework
  • Military credit
  • Professional programs

Coursework Not Accepted for Transfer Credit

The following coursework will not be accepted for transfer credit and will not count toward a degree at CU Boulder:

  • Any courses in which the grade earned is below a C- (1.70)
  • Courses identified by CU Boulder as remedial, such as remedial English, mathematics, science and developmental reading
  • Vocational-technical courses that are offered at two-year and proprietary institutions (exceptions may be granted only by the CU Boulder dean responsible for the student's curriculum—when exceptions appear to be warranted, appropriate department heads make recommendations to their respective deans regarding credit for such courses)
  • Courses in religion that constitute specialized religious training or that are doctrinal in nature
  • Credits earned for work experience or through a cooperative education program
  • Outdoor leadership education coursework
  • Credits earned in physical education activity courses
  • Courses or programs identified as college orientation

Appeals Process

Students who wish to appeal the transferability of coursework must write a letter within the first semester after the work is posted on CU Boulder record or after receiving notice from the Office of Admissions that the coursework was not accepted for transfer credit. The letter must be addressed to the Transfer Credit Department, Office of Admissions, and include:

  • The name(s) of the previous institution(s) attended, the course number and title of each course for which the student was denied transfer credit and the date(s) of enrollment in each course.
  • A copy of the catalog description (from the appropriate year) for each course in question.
  • A copy of the syllabus or course outline (from the appropriate year) for each course in question. This information can be obtained from the sending institution.
  • A statement indicating why the credit(s) should be accepted.

The Office of Admissions will re-evaluate the course(s) for which the student is requesting reconsideration in consultation with the appropriate dean or chair. A written response will be delivered to the student in a timely manner once the appropriate faculties have reviewed the course materials, past practices and the student's specific circumstances.

Transfer Credit From University of Colorado Campuses

Coursework completed at other campuses in the University of Colorado system will be a part of the student's cumulative university record and, unlike other transfer credit, will be included in calculations of the overall University of Colorado grade point average (GPA). However, the applicability of this coursework towards specific CU Boulder degree requirements will be determined solely by CU Boulder colleges and schools. External transfer credit presented by students to other University of Colorado campuses will be evaluated by CU Boulder guidelines upon the student's matriculation into a degree program at CU Boulder.

Number of Credit Hours Required for Graduation

Transfer students are held to the same residency and degree requirements as students who begin their undergraduate degree program on the Boulder campus. This assumes that transfer credit hours are in courses comparable in level and content to those required for graduation from an undergraduate degree program at the Boulder campus. College or school residency requirements, meaning the number of credit hours required to be taken as a degree student once admitted on the Boulder campus, are the same for transferring and nontransferring students.

Credit for Correspondence and Online Work

Each college and school determines the maximum number of credits taken through correspondence and online programs that are accepted toward a baccalaureate degree.

Transfer Credit Conversion

CU Boulder operates on a semester system. Other campuses, including CU Boulder, operate on a two-term or semester system. Course credits from quarter system institutions must be converted from quarter hours to semester hours or credits. One quarter credit is equivalent to two-thirds of a semester credit. To convert quarter hours to semester hours, multiply the number of quarter hours by two-thirds and round off the total to the nearest tenth. For example, 4 quarter hours x 2/3 = 2.67 or 2.7 semester hours of credit, or 3 quarter hours x 2/3 = 2 semester hours of credit.

College-Level Work Taken during High School

College-level work taken during high school is evaluated in accordance with general guidelines for transfer credit at CU Boulder. Only courses taken at a college or university of recognized standing with grades of C- or better are accepted for transfer. College-level work taken concurrently with a high school program may be used to satisfy MAPS requirements. You must have an official college transcript sent directly to the Office of Admissions in order for transfer credit to be evaluated.

If a student has earned concurrent college credit for a high school course for which the student also earned college credit via an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) score, either the concurrent college credit or the credit earned for the AP or IB score will be granted, but not both. The credit granted will be determined in accordance with state policy and the student's educational best interests.

For more information and a guide to equivalencies for exam credit, see the charts in Credit by Examination section of this catalog, and refer to the First-year Applicants or Transfer Students webpage.

Military Credit

Credit for military schooling, both for courses and for occupations, is evaluated upon receipt of Form DD 214, Service Separation Certificate, a Joint Services Transcript (JST) or a transcript from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). For military courses and occupations that have been approved for gtPathways credit by the Colorado Department of Higher Education students will be awarded gtPathways credit, which will fill General Education requirements in most, but not all, programs at CU Boulder. For qualifying scores at the American Council on Education (ACE) recommended cut scores on Defense Language Proficiency tests students will be awarded gtPathways World Language credit (GT-AH4), which will fill General Education requirements, usually as a humanities course, in most, but not all, programs at CU Boulder.

Students can also be awarded credit for other military courses and occupations listed on a JST or a transcript from the CCAF if ACE recommends that the work should be granted upper-division baccalaureate credit. This work, however, transfers to CU Boulder as lower-division elective credit. Foreign language courses taken through the State Department, Department of Defense or Defense Language Institute are assigned credit based on ACE’s recommendation, which usually results in credit for an equivalent foreign language course at CU Boulder. The applicability of military credit toward specific degree requirements beyond General Education requirements is determined by the dean’s office of the college/school to which a student has been admitted.

To receive credit for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) that are listed on a JST or a transcript from the CCAF, students must have their test scores sent directly to the CU Boulder Office of Admissions from the College Board (CLEP) or Prometric (DSST).

For more information and a guide to equivalencies, see the charts in Credit by Examination section of this catalog, and refer to the First-year Applicants or Transfer Students webpage.

Regardless of whether or not you anticipate receiving any credit, submission of a JST or a transcript from the CCAF is required if you plan to use any VA educational benefits for which you are eligible.

Reverse Transfer

The Colorado Reverse Transfer program allows students who have transferred from a Colorado community college to a Colorado university to combine and apply credits from both institutions toward an associate's degree from the community college.

For transfer students, this means an associate's degree from their previously-attended community college may be awarded at no additional cost while they work toward a bachelor's degree at CU Boulder.

CU Boulder contact students eligible for Reverse Transfer each year, with more information about opting in to the program. For more information, visit the Colorado Reverse Transfer website to learn more.