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How to Transfer in Grad School

Ana-Marcela Lopez / Abound: Grad School »

It’s quite normal for people to want to transfer grad coursework from one institution to another. Perhaps you started working towards a master’s degree but a major life event happened, thus halting your progress. It’s common to get back on track at a different school that might fit your needs better.

There are other reasons one might want to transfer grad schools. Perhaps you have found a chance to complete your master’s degree at a school closer to home. Or maybe you feel a disconnect between your goals and the learning style at the institution you are currently attending. Whatever the reason for wanting to transfer, you can do it without having to start afresh and losing all those hours you had put in.

How Easily Can You Transfer Grad School Credits?

Transferring at the grad school level is different from the undergraduate level. In undergraduate programs, many schools have partnerships that make transferring between them easy, and general education requirements tend to be comparable. 

Because the primary goal at the undergraduate level is to prove knowledge, schools are quite accepting of your credits from other institutions. At grad school, however, the focus is on the application of knowledge, leadership, and problem-solving. Each institution may have their own way of evaluating these things and therefore less leniency in the amount of credits they accept from another institution. 

In most cases, a committee will be assigned to evaluate your previously earned credits and determine whether they can transfer over and fulfill an equal degree requirement. A few of their considerations include:

  • Whether your previous program has proper accreditation
  • How much time has passed since you took the course(s).
  • The content of the course(s) and whether it matches anything offered at their school.
  • The quality of your transfer application and your adherence to the transfer policies.

It’s important to note that your previous GPA will not be carried over to the new school. You’ll just begin with credit hours.

The Process of Transferring

Your process of transferring grad school credits will be easier with The more information you have about your previous coursework, the easier it will be to transfer your grad school credits.The most important tip when applying for grad school credits transfer is to have as much information about your previous coursework as possible. The process can take time but if you follow all the steps, you should get the credits transferred.

  1. Check the School’s Transfer Requirements

    The first step is always to visit the website of the school to which you wish to transfer. Read up on the requirements for your program of choice as well as the procedural guidelines for applying to transfer. If you’re ever unsure about anything at all, call the transfer office and discuss it with them. Do not start the application process until you are sure you meet all their requirements. This will save you time and possible disappointment down the road. Don’t get discouraged! You may have to check several schools to find the one that accepts most or all of your credits.

  2. Get Your Official Transcripts

    The next step is to organize your transcripts from your previous grad school as evidence of the coursework you’ve already completed. The institution you are moving to may have a cap on the number of credit hours they can give you. In other cases, they may not accept transcripts that are more than 10 years old. Credits are more likely to transfer if you’re going into the same field of study; things will only get more complicated (but not impossible!) if you’re pivoting to an entirely different discipline.

  3. Write Your Statement

    When applying to a new school, you may be asked to write a personal statement in which you explore your goals for your degree and why you wish to attend the school in question. Put a lot of time and care into this, as it really gives you the opportunity to stand out as an individual. Highlight your work experience, why you are passionate about your area of study, etc.
    Be honest about your reason for transferring. The transparency will always be appreciated, and it will give you the chance to state your expectations and desires of what the new school could bring you. If you have the chance to meet the evaluation committee in person, take time to prepare for an interview that goes over the same kinds of questions.

  4. Get Recommendation Letters

    The new school may require that you submit recommendations from your previous professors or academic advisors. Therefore, during the process, you should get in touch with professors or people in the school department where you were doing your coursework with regard to getting a good recommendation letter. Even when the new school doesn’t request one, attach at least two as evidence of your hard work in the previous institution.

  5. Submit the Application!

    When you have all your documents ready, the school will provide you with a transfer credit request form. In the form, you will indicate which credits you’d like the school to consider for transfer. Normally, you’ll write a brief description of why a particular credit should be transferred. Detail the coursework you did for each and what makes it meet this new school’s requirements.

Other Ways to Receive Grad School Credits

Besides the coursework from your previous school, there may be other ways to receive grad school credits. This will vary from one school to the next. For instance, some schools may be willing to give you credits for any professional certifications you may have earned in your career. They may also consider professional on-the-job training if such training is wide in scope and measurable. You could also receive credits for your work experience if you have worked in environments where you can demonstrate significant responsibility and proficiency.

Information is Power

Having the right information about the credit transfer process will make transferring grad schools much easier. Start early so that you can gather everything you need with some wiggle room should some challenges arise along the way.To ready yourself for the grad school transfer process, visit our website for informative articles and reliable advice on academic transfer, financing your education, and choosing the right schools.

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