Course Credit

Transferring Course Credit

General Guidelines

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:

Students should then submit the Transfer Credit Recommendation Formpdf icon to The Graduate School for processing.

In addition, the following guidelines apply:

Master's Degree Guidelines

The 30 Percent Rule
Upon recommendation of the academic program and approval by The Graduate School, up to 30 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 the academic program in The Graduate School (e.g., courses taken as a non-degree or Continuing Studies student, an undergraduate, or a degree student in another program).

Transferred credits will not be included in the program residence credit calculation.

Doctoral Degree Guidelines

Upon recommendation of the academic program and approval by The Graduate School, a doctoral student may transfer into the 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.

Transferring Exam Credit

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.

Pass/Fail Courses

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. Note: exceptions are allowable based on University guidelines related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Students who wish to take a non-required or undergraduate level course pass/fail should contact The Graduate School.

Undergraduate Courses

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.

Continuing Studies and Summer Sessions

Degree-seeking students must register for all courses through The Graduate School (not Continuing Studies or Summer School).

Auditing Courses

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.

Degree-seeking students cannot audit courses through Digital and Lifelong Learning 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. 9new window icon.