USC Price School of Public Policy

Transfer Credit: USC’s Policies

The following specifies USC’s general policies with respect to transfer credit. Please note that in some circumstances USC Price’s policies are more restrictive than USC’s policies. In those circumstances, USC Price’s policies take precedence.

» Graduate Students
» Master’s Students
» Doctoral Students
» Undergraduate Students

Graduate Students

The Degree Progress Department in the Office of Academic Records and Registrar determines whether coursework taken elsewhere is available for transfer credit. The faculty of the student’s degree program determine whether such credit is applicable toward a specific graduate degree, subject to approval by the dean of the degree conferring unit. The faculty’s decision should be made no later than the end of the first year in a master’s program.

Master’s Students

The maximum number of transfer credits which may be applied toward a master’s degree, subject to departmental approval is:

  • Four units in programs requiring 24-32 units
  • Eight units in programs requiring 33-40 units
  • Twelve units in programs requiring 41 or more units.
  • A maximum of four units of transfer credit may be applied toward an approved dual degree program

The same limits apply if a student wishes to transfer credits from any advanced degree previously completed at USC toward a master’s degree.

Transfer work must have been completed within seven years of admission or readmission to a USC master’s degree program to be applied toward that degree. Students wishing to transfer coursework that is more than seven years old may request to do so, but they will need to demonstrate that the content is current.

For additional information, please go to the Course Work Taken Elsewhere page in the USC Catalogue.

Doctoral Students

Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree, from an accredited institution, in public management/administration, public policy, planning, or urban development or related field may be admitted with Advanced Standing to the Ph.D. in Policy, Planning, and Development. All students must complete a minimum of 42 units of doctoral classes beyond that graduate degree, exclusive of Doctoral Dissertation (794) units, for a minimum of 46 semester units. Additional course work may be required if deemed necessary by the student’s faculty following the screening examination. A maximum of six units of transfer credit may be applied toward a doctoral degree with Advanced Standing. Admission with Advanced Standing is based upon a competed graduate degree. The only coursework available for transfer credit is coursework after completion of that degree.

Transfer work must have been completed within 10 years of admission or readmission to a USC doctoral program to be applied toward that degree. Students wishing to transfer coursework that is more than 10 years old may request to do so, but they will need to demonstrate that the content is current.

Transfer Coursework
Credit will only be allowed for courses:

  • From an accredited graduate school
  • Of a quality of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale
  • Constituting a fair and reasonable equivalent to current USC coursework at the graduate level
  • Logically fitting into the program for the degree

Transfer coursework is applied as credit (“CR”) toward the degree and is not included in the calculation of a minimum grade point average for graduation.

Graduate transfer credit will not be granted for:

  • life experience
  • credit by examination
  • non-credit extension courses
  • correspondence courses
  • thesis supervision
  • coursework taken elsewhere after a student has been admitted and enrolled at USC unless the student receives prior written approval from the department

Students may not take courses elsewhere as a substitute for courses in which they have received grades which fail to meet departmental or university requirements.

This policy is subject to departmental approval. The faculty of a degree program may establish limits on the number of transfer credits stricter than those of the university.

For additional information, please go to the Course Work Taken Elsewhere page in the USC Catalogue.

Undergraduate Students

Permission to Register at Another Institution
Only courses taken during a summer semester will be considered for transfer credit. For students following the new general education requirements, 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 or minor without prior approval, using the Request for Exception to Residence Form.

Transfer Credit Evaluation
A transfer credit evaluation 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 official transcripts from all post-secondary schools in which coursework was completed. The purpose of the credit evaluation is to acknowledge officially all transferable work toward the USC degree sought by the student. Total transferable units attempted and total transferable units accepted toward the degree are posted on the credit evaluation. Neither subject nor unit credit will be granted for courses that have been graded with a grade less than a “C.”

Students are advised to consult with their Student Services Advisor as well as the Degree Progress Department to ensure the work will transfer.

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. Students will receive only subject credit for work completed in excess of the unit limitations.

Students may satisfy the requirements for GE Categories I, II, III or V with transfer coursework completed before the student has enrolled at USC, but no transfer credit will satisfy the requirements for Categories IV or VI. The first semester of the writing requirement may also be satisfied with transfer coursework, if it is completed before the student has transferred to USC.

Degree credit will not be given for a transferred undergraduate course that a student has previously taken at USC. Subject credit only will be given for a transferred undergraduate course previously taken at USC, under the following conditions:

  • When the student took the course at USC, he or she received a grade or mark which fails to meet the departmental or university requirements.
  • If the student obtained prior approval from the department offering the USC course on the USC Transfer Course Work Pre-Approval Form (PDF).

For additional information, please go to the Course Work Taken Elsewhere page in the USC Catalogue.