Transferring Course Credit
Requests for courses to be transferred for credit toward a graduate degree are reviewed by The Graduate School upon recommendation by the student's academic program. Such work must represent graduate-level courses relevant to the degree being sought, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of currently enrolled students as determined by the academic program. Students seeking transfer credit must provide the following to their academic program:
- Published course description;
- Course reading list;
- Course requirements, including assignments and grading criteria;
- Information on the types of tools and methods that were used to engage students in learning; and
- Official transcripts noting earned credit for the course. Note: Transcripts received from other universities cannot be released to students or third parties.
Students should then submit the Transfer Credit Recommendation Form to The Graduate School for processing.
In addition, the following guidelines apply:
- Transferred credit will not be included in the program residence credit calculation.
- Grades earned on transferred work must be equivalent to B or better (B- is not equivalent to B).
- Courses taken on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis may not be included in transfer credit.
- Credit hours earned on transferred work will not be greater than the earned credit hours reflected on the official transcript. If necessary, earned credit hours will be converted to semester hours before posting as transferred credit hours. The academic program has discretion to allow fewer hours.
- Transfer of thesis or dissertation credit hours is permitted if the academic program agrees the project complies with the general standards of their own requirements. In most cases, this applies to doctoral students given permission to bypass a master's degree or to students who are transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill following faculty. Under no circumstances may a completed dissertation project or a completed thesis project (for a terminal/stand-alone master's degree) serve in lieu of these requirements as part of awarding a Chapel Hill degree.
- A student who wishes to take one or more courses at another institution (other than by inter-institutional registration) must first consult his or her academic program if s/he wishes to receive credit for such courses. Once such course credit is earned, the procedure for transferring the credits earned is the same as that described above.
- The Graduate School does not accept transfer credit for non-credit courses, including lifetime learning seminars and programs, or courses taken for Continuing Education Units.
The 20 Percent Rule
Upon recommendation of the academic program and approval by The Graduate School, up to 20 percent of the total hours required for the master's degree may be graduate-level courses transferred from another approved institution, or from this institution for courses taken before admission to an academic program in The Graduate School (e.g., courses taken as a Continuing Studies student, an undergraduate, or as a non-degree student).
Credit received for graduate-level courses taken as an undergraduate may be transferred into an academic program with the program's approval provided the course did not count toward the requirements of the undergraduate degree.
Doctoral Degree Guidelines
Upon recommendation of the academic program and approval by The Graduate School, a doctoral student may transfer into his or her degree program relevant graduate courses from approved institutions or from other graduate programs within this institution.
The doctoral student may be examined on all transferred courses at the time of the doctoral oral examination.
There is no limit to the number of hours that can be transferred into a doctoral program to meet course requirements—with the academic program's approval.
Transferred credits will not be included in the program residence credit calculation.
Requests for prior milestone examinations to be transferred for credit toward a UNC graduate degree are permissible only for comprehensive exams. An oral prospectus of the dissertation/thesis project must be conducted and approved by the UNC faculty committee. Students seeking transfer credit for exams must petition their academic program and seek approval from The Graduate School.
No graduate-only level courses (at UNC-Chapel Hill, those numbered 700 and above) may be established as pass/fail courses. All required coursework intended to count toward degree credits or requirements, including those taken on this campus or elsewhere via inter-institutional registration, study abroad, etc., may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. Students who wish to take a non-required or undergraduate level course pass/fail should contact The Graduate School.
Courses approved for undergraduate credit only (at UNC-Chapel Hill, those numbered below 400), including required prerequisite courses, will not be counted toward academic program requirements, do not count toward full-time enrollment status, will not carry either course or residence credit, and will not be entered into the student's Graduate School academic eligibility calculation.
Degree-seeking students must register for all courses through The Graduate School (not Continuing Studies or Summer School).
To audit a course, students must obtain the written permission of the course instructor and the academic program chair. Students can request this permission only after the end of the official registration period.
Students may later enroll in and receive academic credit for a previously audited course; however, retroactive academic credit for an audited course is not permitted.
Full-time students cannot audit courses in the Friday Center for Continuing Education or a course preparing a student for “Credit-by-Examination.” Students officially registered for other courses during a semester or summer session may audit a course without paying a fee.
For more information, please refer to the University Registrar's Policy Memo No. 9.