As noted on the Degree Requirements page, GSAS degree requirements consist of a) the academic requirements enumerated by the department or program, and b) the requirement of residence at the University, which students fulfill by completing a stated number of Residence Units.
At GSAS, transfer credit denotes relevant coursework completed before a student’s enrollment in a GSAS degree program that the student submits in partial fulfillment of specific academic requirements for the degree. This determination is made by the student’s department, approved by GSAS, and entered on the student’s transcript as formal acknowledgement of previously completed, approved work. During the first semester in which they register, students requesting transfer credit should submit the Application for Transfer Credit form as well as any relevant materials to their department’s director of graduate studies or program director. Departments and programs use this chart to determine the number of points of transfer credit to award, and forward their recommendation to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Please note that all courses submitted for transfer credit must be at the graduate level (at Columbia, this means courses at the 4000 level and above) and worth three or more points each.
Students should be aware of the following policies:
- Transfer credit is granted solely by the faculty and the dean of the Graduate School.
- Requests for transfer credit must be made by the student and endorsed by the director of graduate studies/program director.
- Under no circumstances will undergraduate courses (for Columbia courses, those at the 3000 level and below) be accepted as transfer credit toward a master's or doctoral degree.
- Once granted, transfer credit cannot be revoked.
- Departments and programs reserve the right to determine the number of points of transfer credit awarded to each student.
- No amount of transfer credit (whether credits or RUs) will affect the number of years of funding guaranteed in the offer of admission.
- Students who receive two Residence Units of transfer credit for an MA completed at Columbia or elsewhere must complete the MPhil and the prospectus defense within three years from initial registration in the PhD program, and the PhD within eight years from initial registration in the PhD program.
- Anyone coming in with two RUs of advanced standing will have funding eligibility for six (6) years.
- Transfer credit courses must be taken for a letter grade, and the grade received must be B or better.
- Credit must have been earned within seven years of matriculation to be eligible for transfer.
Policies for awarding transfer credit differ depending on the type of degree program (doctoral or master's). Please see the appropriate section below.