Undergraduate Education

Course Work Taken Elsewhere

Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit Report

A transfer credit report is prepared prior to enrollment for every new undergraduate transfer student admitted to regular standing. To ensure complete evaluation of transfer courses, it is the student’s responsibility to submit complete, official transcripts from all post-secondary schools in which course work was completed as soon as final grades are posted. All post-secondary transcripts must be submitted regardless of the type of course(s) or the quality of the work. The purpose of the credit report is to acknowledge officially all transferable work toward the USC degree sought by the student. The university expects undergraduate transfer students to assist in completing a final review of all prior transfer courses by the end of their first semester of study.

Students should review their transfer credit reports for accuracy and report any missing courses or incorrect information to Degree Progress, Hubbard Hall 010. To request a change in the way a transfer credit report has been evaluated, students may initiate articulation petitions at usc.edu/OASIS. All articulation petitions regarding courses taken before entering USC should be initiated as soon as possible after matriculation, and no later than the end of the first semester of study.

Total transferable units attempted and total transferable units accepted toward the degree are posted on the credit report. For the purposes of making an admissions decision, all grades (including grades of D and below) are calculated into the grade point average and are used in calculating a total grade point average for graduation. Neither subject nor unit credit will be granted for courses that have been graded with less than a C- (1.7).

For limitations on use of transfer courses to fulfill general education and writing requirements see General Education Program.

Subject Credit and Degree Credit

Subject credit does not carry unit value toward units required for a degree but may fulfill a required or elective subject area. Degree credit is defined as units that may be applied toward the units required for a USC degree.

Transfer Unit Limitations

A student may earn a maximum of 64 units of credit toward a bachelor’s degree from other accredited institutions. The B.Arch. degree and the Engineering “3-2” Program allow a maximum of 80 units of transfer credit, of which a maximum of 70 may be from two-year colleges. Students will receive only subject credit for work completed in excess of the unit limitations.

After completion of 64 college-level units applicable to the undergraduate degree, no more than 8 additional units may be allowed for transfer credit. In the case of the B.Arch. degree, no more than 8 additional units may be allowed for transfer credit after completion of 84 college-level units.

Transfer Credit for Repeated Course Work

Degree credit will not be given for a transferred undergraduate course that a student has previously taken at USC. (This regulation does not apply to a USC course that a student withdraws from and then takes at another institution.)

Subject credit only will be given for a transferred undergraduate course previously taken at USC, under the following conditions: (1) When the student took the course at USC, he or she received a grade or mark which fails to meet departmental or university requirements. (2) The student obtained prior approval from the department offering the USC course on the USC transfer course work pre-approval form at usc.edu/transfercredit.

Permission to Register at Another Institution

Undergraduate Transfer Credit Limitations

As defined in the Residence Requirement, once students enroll at USC, only courses taken during a summer semester will be considered for transfer credit. No transfer work may be used to satisfy any general education requirements or the writing requirement if those courses are taken after a student has enrolled at USC. In addition, transfer courses taken after enrollment at USC cannot be used to fulfill upper division requirements in the major without prior approval, using the request for exception to residence form available from the student’s major adviser or, for undeclared students, from the Office of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences associate dean for academic programs. Transfer courses may not fulfill upper division requirements in the minor under any circumstances.

Students are advised to consult their major department or College Academic Services before taking college course work at another institution. Students should also consult the Degree Progress Department to ensure that the work will transfer.


If students wish to take summer course work elsewhere after admission to USC, they must first obtain appropriate pre-approval. Even if there is an articulation agreement, pre-approval is necessary to assure the student’s eligibility. Most students can use the online pre-approval process available on OASIS. In some cases, the paper pre-approval form must be used. It is available at usc.edu/transfercredit.

Once the course work has been completed elsewhere, students must request the other institution to send an official transcript to USC so that the course work can be evaluated and transferred.

Students are required to provide transcripts of all course work attempted at any post-secondary institution, regardless of the type of course(s) or the quality of the work. A student’s failure to provide transcripts for all course work attempted while away from USC may result in denial of transferred course work and a charge of a violation of the university’s academic integrity policies.

Students should request that a transcript be sent to the Degree Progress Department, Hubbard Hall 010, 700 Child’s Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0912. All transcripts must arrive in a sealed envelope from the issuing institution.

To avoid a possible delay in graduation, official transcripts from post-secondary institutions should be submitted as soon as the course work is completed and graded by the transfer institution. It is advisable to complete all transfer work prior to the final semester of enrollment at USC. If transcripts for transfer course work are not available during the final USC semester, it will likely delay degree posting and result in a later degree date.

Students who have questions concerning the transfer credit shown on the transfer credit report should inquire at the Degree Progress Department. Any questions regarding the applicability of previous course work toward major requirements should be referred to the student’s academic adviser.

Leave of Absence

Interruptions of enrollment can cause problems in the continuity of course work within a student’s program. Therefore, leaves of absence are generally discouraged. A student who must interrupt studies for compelling reasons may request a leave for a stated period. Students who find it necessary to be excused from registration in fall or spring semesters should request a leave of absence and withdraw from their classes by the last day to drop or add courses. Students should contact their academic adviser, ask for a Leave of Absence Student Handbook and complete the Leave of Absence form in the back of the handbook (also available at usc.edu/loa). Completed forms should be submitted to the student’s academic adviser for review and approval. If, as a result of the leave, the student exceeds the time limits for completion of degree or general education requirements, he or she may not be allowed automatically to continue to follow the original catalogue of enrollment. Students who fail to apply for a leave of absence may encounter difficulties with residence requirements and financial aid when returning to USC. A leave of absence does not exempt students from the residence requirement described below.

Financial aid recipients considering a leave of absence should be aware of the financial aid implications. For more information, refer to the Withdrawal Implications for Recipients of Financial Aid section.

Program Reactivation

Students who have failed to attempt course work for at least one semester within an academic year without filing a Leave of Absence form will have their POST (Program of Study) expired. Returning undergraduates will be required to meet with their department adviser and complete and sign a POST Reactivation form before registration will be permitted. Graduate students who wish to return will be governed by applicable university policies, including the continuous enrollment requirement.

Residence Requirement

A minimum of 64 units toward the bachelor’s degree must be earned in residence at USC, with the following exceptions: Students earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture must earn 80 units in residence; students in engineering’s “3-2” Program must earn at least 48 units in residence.

Once students matriculate at USC, all courses taken for subject or unit credit in the fall and spring semesters must be taken in residence. Only transfer work that appears on the transfer institution’s transcript for a summer term will be accepted. In addition, all upper-division units required for the major and minor must be earned in residence. However, a student’s department may apply upper-division courses taken elsewhere prior to matriculation to major requirements on a case-by-case basis.

In rare circumstances, permission may be granted in advance to take a course out of residence. This permission is documented on the Request for Exception to Residence form. The form, which is available from the student’s major adviser or, for undeclared students, from the Office of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences associate dean for academic programs, is used to record major department approval to use the course toward the major. Questions about the residency policy may be addressed to the Degree Progress Department, JHH 010, (213)740-1328. Questions regarding exceptions to this policy may be directed to the Academic Review Department, TRO 101, (213) 749-7741.

Academically disqualified students must meet with an academic review counselor for advisement and forms for departmental preapproval rather than using the request for exception to residency form.

After completion of 64 college-level units applicable to the undergraduate degree, no more than eight additional units may be allowed for transfer credit. In the case of the B.Arch. degree, no more than eight additional units may be allowed for transfer credit after completion of 84 college-level units.

Units earned in overseas studies programs approved by USC’s University Committee on Curriculum and in courses approved by consortial or other institutional agreements are considered to be taken in residence.

Residence Requirement for a Second Bachelor’s Degree

For students with their first bachelor’s degree from USC, 32 units applicable to the degree beyond the number of units required for the first USC bachelor’s degree must be completed in residence.

For students with their first bachelor’s degree from another institution, the second bachelor’s degree requires 64 units applicable to the degree completed in residence, except for the B.Arch. degree, which when earned concurrently with the M.Arch. degree requires 32 units applicable to the degree completed in residence.