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Prospective Student Resources

Transfer Credit

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Can anyone evaluate my courses ahead of time?

The Office of the Registrar evaluates credit for incoming transfer students, typically at or after the point of admission. They do not pre-equate courses for prospective students, but course equivalents for many schools including UW-System schools, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, Wisconsin tribal colleges, and select two-year Illinois and Minnesota schools are available via Transferology.

If you are at a school for which UW-Madison has equivalents but you cannot find an equivalent for a specific course, it does not necessarily mean it will not transfer; it just means it has not yet been evaluated. You can continue to check back – Transferology is updated on a weekly basis with any new equivalents that have been created.

For help in understanding how to use Transferology to find and interpret UW-Madison’s equivalencies, check out our Understanding Transferology: Transfer Course Equivalencies Guide.

Transfer Agreements

UW-Madison has several different guaranteed transfer agreements with partner institutions within the state. There are very specific requirements for each partner institution. It is very important to do your research of these programs early, to meet with a transfer advisor on your campus regularly, and connect with admissions to ensure you are receive the correct information for your intended agreement.

How do I know if my credits are transferrable?

UW-Madison will transfer most undergraduate courses from nationally or regionally accredited U.S. institutions and foreign institutions recognized by their respective country’s Ministry of Education.  There are three exceptions, listed below:

  • Remedial courses – Courses considered to be below the level of collegiate study (e.g. basic algebra, reading skills)
  • Vocational or technical courses – Courses at a two-year institution that are part of an applied associates degree or not designed as pre-requisites for further collegiate study (e.g. office management, welding, automotive technology)
  • Doctrinal courses – Courses at any institution that advance a particular political or religious doctrine.

The full, official transfer credit policy used by the Office of the Registrar’s Credit Evaluation Services team is available on their website.

How will my credits transfer and count towards my degree?

Your transferable credits can transfer in 3 ways:

  1. Direct equivalent: You’ll receive credit for a UW-Madison course, which will automatically add to the number of credits towards degree and can satisfy general education and/or breadth requirements as well as major requirements.
  2. Departmental elective: You’ll receive credit for electives within a particular department.  These types of credits can satisfy general education and/or breadth requirements as well as add to your number of credits towards degree.  They do not automatically satisfy major requirements, however.
  3. General elective: This type of credit automatically adds to your number of credits towards degree, but does not carry any breadth or general education designators.  These courses do not satisfy major requirements.

I have specific questions about degree requirements and transfer credit.

  • Interested in learning more about requirements for a specific major or one of our Schools and Colleges? The Undergraduate Guide contains information about the many academic programs available here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Cross-College Advising Service works with undecided students on our campus and may be able to answer questions about degree programs you are interested in. You can reach out to them via phone at 608-265-5460.
  • Some School and College advising offices have the capacity to work with prospective students. You can find contact information for each at the bottom of this page under the “Additional Resources” section.

What is the limit on the number of credits I can transfer?

A maximum of 72 credits towards your degree can be transferred from two-year schools.  There is no limit to the number of credits you can transfer from a four-year institution as long as you have not previously received a bachelors’ degree.

How do quarter credits convert?

If you have taken courses at an institution that uses quarter credit or units other than semester credits, we will convert your quarter credits/units to semester credits. If you have attended an institution that uses quarter credits, you will not lose credits in the conversion. For example, if you have 40 quarter credits (40 x .666 = 26.64), you will receive 27 semester credits.

Credits completed at an international institution will be converted to UW–Madison credits using the average number of credits taken by a UW–Madison student (15 credits per semester). Total degree credits granted may not equal total course credits due to rounding in the conversion of fractional credits to semester hours.

What if I did dual-enrollment coursework in high school?

You will need to submit all transcripts from high school and any other institutions you’ve attended, which would include your dual-enrollment courses. They will be evaluated similarly to other transfer credit. However, please note that your high school dual-enrollment does not count towards the minimum 24 transferable credits that you need for applying to UW-Madison.

Will I get credit for the work on my Joint Services Transcript?

The Joint Services Transcript can be evaluated for credit if you like, although Admissions does not require the JST to be submitted as part of your application. Please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s website for more information on how military credit is evaluated.

When will my transfer credit evaluation be available?

The transfer credit evaluation is completed after the point of admission.  The credit evaluation is posted to your Student Center, and you should receive an email from the Credit Evaluation Services team notifying you how to access it.  Credit evaluations can be complex; use this Reading your Credit Evaluation Guide to gain a better understanding of how your credits transferred.  Your credit evaluation will be complete before you attend SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration).

I was admitted but I don't understand my credit evaluation.

You are able to use the Reading your Credit Evaluation Guide; otherwise, you will learn how your credits will apply to your degree at SOAR  (Student Orientation, Advising, & Registration) before registering for courses.

While the Credit Evaluation Service produces the credit evaluation itself, they do not offer academic advising and are not able to answer questions about how your credits apply to your UW-Madison degree. With that fact in mind, they offer the following recommendations for next steps:

  1. Confirm your enrollment in your Applicant Homepage and sign up for the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program if you haven’t already. SOAR is where you will receive academic advising, get help understanding how your credits apply to a degree here, and register for your first semester’s courses.
  2. Learn about our general education and breadth requirements even before you come to SOAR!  Our Undergraduate Guide contains information on all of our degree requirements.
  3. If a course has transferred differently than you hoped, submit a course reevaluation request form to the Office of the Registrar. You’ll need to give us your name, wisc.edu email, campus ID number, and your academic advisor’s name. You will provide some information about the course and upload a .pdf of a detailed syllabus from the semester in which you took your course. You’ll receive a decision within 4 to 6 weeks.

TIP: Collect and save your syllabi!

The Office of the Registrar’s Credit Evaluation Services team may ask you for a specific course syllabus when they’re doing your credit evaluation, or you might wish to appeal an evaluation decision. You’ll need to present a detailed syllabus from the semester you took the course in either of these cases.