Information For Spring Admits About Transfer Courses To Be Taken Before Entering USC

Which courses transfer for credit to USC?
Policies regarding transferable coursework can be found in the Course Work Taken Elsewhere section of the USC Catalogue. Most college-level courses from appropriately accredited schools will earn elective units in transfer. Some courses are also eligible for subject credit, like General Education, Writing, Foreign Language, and USC course equivalence. For more information about transfer policies, please see the Transferring to USC brochure.

*** Beginning Fall 2015, USC introduced a new set of General Education Program Requirements, or “NEW GE”. These requirements apply to students who started college as first-time Freshmen in Fall 2015 or later, or who will be first-time Freshmen this year. These students should review the information below for the NEW GE Program requirements.

Students who started at any college or university before Fall 2015 will follow the GE Program in effect prior to Fall 2015, or “PRIOR GE”. These students should review the information below for the PRIOR GE Program requirements.

If you have questions about which GE Program requirements you’ll be following, please ask your Admission Counselor.

How can I find out what transfer classes to take in the Fall?
You can find articulation agreements with many California community colleges that state exactly what credit courses will receive at the Undergraduate Transfer Credit web page. Please read the entire agreement carefully. USC will honor the transfer credit shown on these agreements. The articulation agreements currently display subject credit for the NEW GE Program. Incoming students following the NEW GE Program may use these resources to review elective credit, GE, Writing, Foreign Language, and USC course equivalence.

For schools without an Agreement, USC maintains an Articulation History for each school that we’ve received transfer work from. Articulation Histories are unofficial summaries of courses students have reported These are not comprehensive, and will vary significantly in the amount of classes available depending on the number of students who have reported transfer work from each institution. The Articulation History display is term specific, and students selecting a term of Fall 2014 or earlier will see the PRIOR GE Program credit we’ve awarded in the past. Your Admission Counselor can help you access the Articulation History for your transfer institution and use it to help you select your Fall classes.

What if I’m taking courses at a school that doesn’t appear on the Articulation homepage?
First, look at Transferring to USC, which gives guidelines for determining whether a course transfers for elective credit and fulfills a graduation requirement.
Second, click here to access the Transfer Planning Guide (TPG). For many institutions, the TPG will display courses we have evaluated that earn subject credit or satisfy lower division requirements for the selected major. The TPG does NOT contain a complete list of courses taught at these colleges. Therefore, if the school you are planning to attend is not listed or the courses you want to take do not appear, please continue to the third step.
Third, speak with your Admission Counselor, who may be able to provide information from our database of courses that have already transferred from the college you plan to attend. You can identify your counselor, with contact information, on the Admission Counselor page, or call Admission at (213) 740-1111.
Fourth, for schools that do not have an articulation agreement, or for courses or credit that are not displayed on the agreement or the TPG, please use the Spring Admit Pre-Approval Form below.

What courses should I take that would apply to my USC major?
Requirements for majors are described in the USC Catalogue. Most departments prefer that students take General Education requirements and courses preparatory to the major (if applicable) before starting at USC, then take major course work at USC.

Can I request pre-approval for my transfer courses?
USC is reviewing our process for requesting preapproval for Fall courses for Spring Admits. At this time we do not currently have a form in place for newly admitted Spring Admits to request preapproval for Fall courses. We intend to provide more information to students admitted for the Spring 2020 term very soon. Thank you for your patience.

In the meantime we encourage new Spring Admits to use our Find Your Counselor tool to identify the admissions counselor for the institution you are hoping to take courses from in transfer. Your counselor can help you understand how the transfer credit process works generally and has access to the articulation history of any courses we've accepted from your transfer institution in the past. They will also know the kind of credit we award for certain types of commonly transferred classes, and can make some educated guesses as to what you are likely to receive (or not receive) in transfer. Your counselor should be a good resource for you in predicting your transfer credit for completed classes and selecting courses for the summer or fall before you start.

We’re sorry, but due to our need to quickly process the transfer credit evaluation of the coursework for the students starting in the Fall, summer preapproval of transfer coursework for newly admitted students is not available.

For more information, please visit the askUSC portal or call the Admission and Financial Aid Contact Center at (213) 740-1111.

Can I transfer study abroad courses?
Possibly, but not all overseas programs transfer to USC. Every study abroad program is different and there are several variables that might affect transfer credit. However, USC looks for the following basic criteria to determine if a program will transfer.

Programs through U.S. Colleges and Universities
Some students study abroad through a U.S. college or university. The U.S. institution providing the transcript must be regionally accredited, and USC expects that the U.S. institution’s faculty teach the courses being transferred or retain direct, detailed curricular oversight over the program. If the program involves enrolling directly in an international institution, that university must be recognized by its own country’s Ministry of Education to grant undergraduate degrees.

Direct enroll programs at international institutions
Some students enroll directly at an international university. The foreign university must be recognized by its own country’s Ministry of Education to grant undergraduate degrees and the courses the student takes must be applicable to a degree at that institution. USC expects that faculty from this institution teach the courses being transferred or retain direct, detailed curricular oversight over the program. Transfer credit from this type of program also requires an evaluation from our foreign credit evaluation service, IERF, and cannot be completed in advance. After students complete the program, they should set up a discounted account at and provide original, authentic transcripts to IERF for review. IERF will then make credit recommendations directly to USC.

Programs taught by unaccredited/unrecognized institutions
Many students study abroad through unaccredited institutions such as language institutes, schools that are not recognized by their home government to grant university degrees, or through for-profit study abroad organizations, etc. While such programs may offer students the chance to receive a transcript from an accredited or recognized institution (often for a fee), USC will not accept these programs for transfer credit. USC expects that the transcripting institution teaches the courses and/or retains direct, detailed curricular oversight over the courses offered on such programs.

How about online courses?
In most cases online courses will receive the same credit in transfer as the classroom version at the sending institution. However, online or hybrid laboratory science classes will not satisfy GE Categories 3, D or E, nor earn equivalence to USC lab science courses. Online or hybrid foreign language courses are not equivalent to USC foreign language courses nor will they fulfill the language requirement. If you took a traditional classroom version of one of these courses at a school where the course is also available online, we cannot guarantee equivalence or subject credit in advance. You will need to provide additional documentation after you complete the course to demonstrate that you were enrolled in the classroom version of the class. Documentation typically includes a registration summary and your course syllabus; please keep copies of all related materials.

Any courses taught in non-traditional settings or time frames, including compact intersessions or open-ended distance education courses, require individual review after completion of course. In these cases no advance guarantee of credit can be made.

1This process can also be used by Fall Admits who wish to inquire about courses to be taken in the summer before entering USC.