Transfer Credit Policy
Credit is awarded for college-level coursework completed at institutions accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Foreign institutions must be recognized by the Ministry of Education in that country. Courses must be similar in nature, level, and content to a course in our undergraduate curriculum and applicable to one of our academic programs. Continuing education courses, graduate-level courses, and courses that are remedial, technical, vocational, or doctrinal in nature are not transferable.
Students who take college courses prior to high school graduation (this includes dual enrollment) will receive advanced credit at UW–Madison as long as the credit is: 1) transferable, 2) earned at an accredited college, and 3) listed on an official transcript generated by the college.
To be awarded credit at UW–Madison, enrolling students must have their official college-level transcript(s) sent to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Students taking courses at a UW System school or Wisconsin Technical College may consult the Transfer Information System (TIS) to determine exactly how credit will be awarded.
- Credit Hours: The maximum number of transferable semester credits from a two-year college is 72. There is no credit limit on transferable credits from a four-year university.
- Credit Conversion: 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.
- Grades: The grades you received at your previous institution(s) will not be calculated into your UW–Madison grade point average.
- Equivalent vs. Elective Credit: Transfer courses with descriptions that closely match the descriptions of courses taught at UW–Madison will generally transfer as direct course equivalent credits. For example, an introductory macroeconomics course at your previous institution will transfer as our Econ 102 Principles of Macroeconomics. Transfer courses that don’t have direct course equivalents at UW–Madison will transfer as elective credits within the appropriate academic department. For example, a course on the geography of Hawaii would transfer as geography elective credits because UW–Madison does not offer a course with that particular content. Elective credits count toward a degree in the same way that a direct course equivalent does.
- International Language Credit: International students will not be awarded credit for any English coursework or native language coursework completed at a non-US institution, since these courses are not taught at the university level in the US.
- Degree Requirements: Specific degree requirements differ among the various UW–Madison schools and colleges. Transfer credit applies toward degree requirements appropriately, depending on which major and/or degree you intend to complete. To learn more about degree and major requirements, consult the Guide or the appropriate undergraduate major.