How to get courses approved for transfer credit.

Occidental students are able to receive transfer credit for courses completed at another college or university, though there are several important policies and limitations that apply. Please read the information on this page carefully.

Important Note: This web page is intended to provide helpful tips and a concise summary of the relevant policies. For the official policies, please see the Transfer Credit and Core Program sections of the Catalog.

Key Policies & Limitations

In order to receive transfer credit, a course must meet the following criteria: 

  • The course must be offered by a regionally accredited college or university and be within a field of study that is broadly compatible with Occidental's liberal arts curriculum. 
  • The course should be approved in advance by the chair of the equivalent Occidental College department.
  • The course grade must be a C- or higher.


In addition, the following limitations apply:

  • A maximum of 64 semester units will be accepted toward the 128 units required to graduate.
  • Online courses are accepted for transfer credit at the discretion of each academic department. When contacting a department chair, be sure to indicate whether the course you are planning to take is in-person, hybrid, or online.
  • Online courses are not accepted for fulfillment of Core Requirements.
  • Courses graded using Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail, or similar grading modes can not be used to fulfill major, minor, or core requirements. 
  • Transfer courses taken by currently enrolled Oxy students during the fall or spring semester cannot be courses that are currently offered at Occidental and cannot be used to satisfy a Core requirement. In addition, those courses will count toward the 18 or 20 unit maximum for that semester's enrollment. 
  • Courses taken on a non-Oxy approved study abroad program during the fall or spring semester will not be approved for transfer credit.
  • A maximum of 4 units can be earned from physical activities-type courses, including both courses taken at Occidental and at other institutions. In addition, no more than 1 unit of physical activities credit will be awarded in any given semester.


Do the Following Before Enrolling in a Course
  1. Identify the course or courses you wish to take at another college or university. Be sure to save the course description and/or syllabus for each course.  
  2. Fill out the Transfer Credit & Course Substitution Form which is available to download from the Registrar's Office webpage.
  3. Do you want the course to fulfill a major or minor requirement? If so, indicate on the form which requirement you want the course to fulfill. You will need to get approval from the department chair for that major/minor (this may be the same person who needs to sign for step #4).
  4. For each course, contact the chair of the appropriate academic department at Occidental and provide them with your form, along with a course description and/or syllabus to review. For example a biology course taken at another college would be reviewed by the chair of Occidental's Biology Department. For subjects that not offered at Occidental, students should contact the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs
  5. Do you want the course to fulfill a Core requirement? If so, indicate on the form which Core requirement (e.g. Arts, Lab Science, U.S. Diversity, etc.) you wish to fulfill with the course. Send the form, along with the course description, to the Core Program ( for approval.
  6. Contact your faculty advisor to get approval. If your faculty advisor is not available, contact the Advising Center (
  7. Are you participating in study abroad program during the summer or during a January term? If so, you'll also need to contact the International Programs Office for approval. 
  8. Submit your completed form along with all signatures and statements of approval to the Registrar’s Office (
Do the Following After Completing a Course
  1. After completing the course, you should have the other school send an official transcript to Occidental's Registrars Office. Once your transcript is received and processed, your transfer units will be awarded and any approved requirements will be marked as fulfilled on Degree Works. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if a college or university is regionally accredited? 

The vast majority of degree-granting colleges and universities meet this requirement. Usually accreditation status is listed on an institutions website. If you are unsure about whether an institution is accredited, please contact the Occidental Registrar's Office ( for additional guidance.

What's the difference between quarter and semester units?

Colleges and universities use a wide variety of systems for awarding and tracking credit. The most common systems are quarter units and semester units, which typically correspond with an institutions academic calendar (e.g. 10 week quarters vs. 14 weeks semesters). 

Occidental uses semester units. Courses taken at other schools that use the semester system will transfer without any conversion. Courses taken at schools that use quarter units will be converted using a .66 multiplier. For instance, a 5 quarter unit course will be awarded 3 semester units of credit in transfer.

Can I take business or marketing courses for transfer credit? 

Business and marketing courses are typically approved by the chair of Occidental's Economics Department. The department's policy is as follows:

Economic department policy is that all students may earn credit for one pre-professional business or accounting course taken at Oxy or at another academic institution. Students who have earned credit for taking ECON 233: Accounting and Financial Analysis will not be approved to earn transfer credit for additional business or accounting courses. Likewise, a student who has received transfer credit for a business or accounting course will not be allowed to take ECON 233 without a receiving special approval via a Petition for Special Consideration. 

Can I take an anthropology course for transfer credit?

Even though Occidental doesn't have an anthropology department, courses in anthropology are typically approved for transfer credit. Students should contact the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs to request approval. 

What do I do if I took a transfer course without getting it pre-approved?

It is still possible to receive transfer credit by submitting a Transfer Credit/Course Substitution Form after completing a course at another college or university. Please note, however, that there is no guarantee that a course will be approved, so it always best to get courses approved in advance to ensure that you do not waste time and money on a course that will not earn transfer credit.

How do I check to see if my transfer credits have been processed?

You can see a list of the transfer courses that have been added to your academic record by going to myOxy → Academics → Grades & Academic Records → Transfer Courses. Courses will only be visible once the official transcript has been submitted to the Registrar's Office for processing. 


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