Transferring Credits to Penn State

Penn State will evaluate transfer students’ previous coursework for possible transfer credit—find out how.

Transfer Student Credit

We are excited that you are interested in transferring to Penn State! We know that a major concern for transfer students is if and how their previous coursework is going to transfer to Penn State. To understand how Penn State transfers credit and to search for the transfer evaluation of coursework at other institutions, review all of our information and transfer tools below.


More Information on Transferring Credit

Review the requirements for transferring credits to Penn State from another institution, as well as the other ways that you can earn Penn State credit.

Transferring Credit from Another Institution

The Undergraduate Admissions Office will evaluate courses from other institutions for possible transfer credit after we receive a complete application from a transfer applicant. Upon review of a student's materials during the application process, we will evaluate any official college or university transcripts that are included with the application (see our admissions requirements for more information).

Coursework successfully completed at other colleges and universities recognized by the six regional accrediting associations will be considered for transfer credit. Applicants will receive an evaluation of transferrable credits with their offer of admission.

College-level coursework completed at colleges/universities licensed by state boards of education to award associate degrees or higher, but that are not members of one of the six regional accrediting associations, may be eligible for credit by validation.

In order for a course to be eligible for review for transfer credit at Penn State, the following criteria must be met:

  • The grade received in the course must be equivalent to a C (2.0) or higher at Penn State
  • Penn State must have a similar program or course offering
  • The course should be useful in the student’s program of study at Penn State

Learn how your credits will transfer:

  • Transfer students receive an evaluation of credits with their mailed offer of admission to Penn State. This evaluation will outline the awarded credit, but the academic unit to which the student has been admitted will determine how credits will be used to fulfill degree requirements in a student's program of study.
  • Coursework from another institution transfers either as a specific Penn State course (e.g., ECON 102) or as general credits in a subject area (e.g., ECON – 3 GEN Credits).
    • Direct equivalent coursework can fulfill either degree requirements or General Education requirements.
    • General credits may be used to fulfill requirements as well. These credits may be applied to the program of study in accordance with the policies established by the college of enrollment.
    • If the Transferring Credits Tool does not provide an evaluation for your credit (prior to receiving your formal evaluation from Penn State with your offer of admission), that typically means we have not evaluated the course before and will do so when reviewing your application.
    • If a course is non-transferrable, both the Transferring Credits Tool and your formal evaluation of credits will indicate that status.
  • Penn State transfers the credits only. The grade(s) earned from transfer credits will not be used for your GPA at Penn State.
  • Penn State credits are expressed in semester hours. When transferring credit from institutions that utilize another form of academic credit (quarter hours/units/trimesters), the credits will be converted into semester hours.

To earn a Penn State degree, students transferring credit to Penn State must be aware of the following:

  • For a bachelor's degree, 36 of the last 60 credits must be completed at Penn State.
  • For an associate's degree, 18 of the last 30 credits must be completed at Penn State.

To determine how your transfer credits might help you meet the degree requirements for your program, review the recommended academic plan for that program.

Penn State awards credit from multiple sources, such as Advanced Placement tests or military experience. Please review the Academic Credit section for more information.

College-level coursework completed at colleges/universities licensed by state boards of education to award associate degrees or higher, but that are not members of one of the six regional accrediting associations, may be eligible for credit by validation.

The credit by validation process involves the following steps:

  1. After enrolling at Penn State, the student is responsible for initiating the process by requesting a credit by validation form from Undergraduate Admissions.
  2. The student must complete the form and submit it with copies of course syllabi, descriptions, or outlines to Undergraduate Admissions.
  3. Undergraduate Admissions staff will then determine if the course is eligible for credit by validation.

In order to pursue credit by validation, eligible courses must:

  • Have an equivalent course offering at Penn State, which includes comparable learning outcomes and standard of instruction.
  • Be graded at an equivalent to a C (2.0) or higher.

If the course meets the course requirements and is determined to be eligible by Undergraduate Admissions, then the following occurs:

  • Undergraduate Admissions sends the information to the academic college/department it determines should validate the course.
  • The department shares its decision with Undergraduate Admissions, who notes it in the student record and communicates the result of the evaluation with the student.

Information for Current Penn State Students

In addition to applicants wishing to transfer credit to Penn State upon acceptance, current Penn State students may enroll in classes outside of the University and transfer earned credit to Penn State.

General Transfer Credit Information

Any Penn State students that take classes at different institutions while enrolled at Penn State should send the official transcript directly from the institution in order for the coursework to be evaluated for transfer credit. Please note that:

  • Credits are transferred; grades are not.
  • Credits transferred from another school do not affect a student’s grade-point average.
  • Transfer credits are part of a student’s academic history and the college in which the student is enrolled will determine how transfer credits will be used to meet graduation requirements.
  • All transfer credits (from examinations or other institutions) placed on the Penn State transcript will count towards the total number of credits a student has accumulated. 

Please be advised that a student’s tuition will increase as soon as the Penn State transcript reflects 59.1 cumulative credits. This tuition increase will occur during the semester the credits are transferred. For more information, visit the Office of the Bursar's website.

Summer Courses in China

In order for credits to be evaluated for transfer to Penn State, the summer program transcript with credit values and grades must be issued by an institution that is recognized by the Ministry of Education.

If you take university courses in China, in order to be considered for transfer credit, you MUST arrange for a verification report of your university transcript with the China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). The report must be mailed directly to Undergraduate Admissions by the CDGDC, rather than by you or any third party. Any transcript not mailed by the CDGDC will not be considered for awarding transfer credits to Penn State.

China Academic Degree and Graduate Education Development Center
18th Floor, Tongfang Keji Building B No.1,
Wangzhuang Road Haidian District,
Beijing 100083 China
Tel: 86-10-82379480 Fax: 86-10-82379491