Transfer Credit

Policy

After matriculation, Duke undergraduates may receive a limited amount of transfer credit for courses taken at other approved degree-granting institutions.  Credit may be earned in two ways: 

(1)  On a Duke-approved study abroad program sponsored by another university.

(2) Through institutional enrollment, where you are not engaged in a Duke-approved study abroad program and instead enroll on your own at another four-year college or university in or outside of the United States.

​You may receive up to 10 transfer credits (8.0 course credits for a full year abroad and 2.0 credits for a summer session) while on a Duke-approved study abroad program.  You may receive 2.0 institutional transfer credits taken on your own, not as part of a Duke-approved study abroad program.  However, in no instance may you transfer more than 10.0 total course credits when combining study abroad and institutional transfer credits.    

1.  Duke-Approved Study Abroad Transfer Credit

You will need to work closely with and follow the procedures employed by the Global Education Office to secure transfer credit for study abroad courses.   For further information, see Study Abroad Credit.    Courses completed on non-Duke-approved study abroad programs are not eligible for study abroad transfer credit.

2.  Institutional Transfer Credit

For this type of transfer credit, you choose the university and course(s) which you intend to study and then have the courses pre-approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department in which a course would transfer and by your Academic Dean.  There is a form below for obtaining approvals.   After completing your course(s), you should have a transcript sent to the Duke Registrar's office.  There are credit limitations you should be aware of for institutional transfer credit:

  • Departments are responsible for approving courses that count toward a major, minor or certificate and they may have limitations on the number of non-Duke courses that will apply.   If you are uncertain whether a course will apply to major, minor or certificate requirements, you should check the information on the departmental/program website or confer with the DUS or program director. 
  • If the institution attended or to be attended is outside the United States, the Global Education Office must approve the accreditation of the international institution before transfer credit will be approved.  There is a place for this approval on the form below.
  • You may not receive transfer credit for a course taken online.
  • You may not receive transfer credit for a course taken at a junior or community college, or for independent study course work completed elsewhere.   
  • You may not receive transfer credit for a course if you took the course earlier at Duke and received a grade of D-, D, or D+.  You can repeat a course for credit only at Duke and then only if authorized by your academic dean (see the information on repeating courses). 
  • A 3 or 4 semester-hour course taken elsewhere is equivalent to 1.0 course credit at Duke.  A course taken at a university on the quarter system—such institutions are especially numerous in California— must be 5 or 6 quarter-hours of credit to transfer as a 1.0 credit course. Courses that are less than 3 or 4 semester hours or 5 or 6 quarter hours may on occasion be transferred as partial credit (0.5 credit) courses. 
  • You should have prospective transfer courses pre-approved, so that you know they will transfer before you invest time and expense.  However, if needed, you may have courses approved after completion, but be aware that approval is not guaranteed.
  • A course taken in the summer must meet for a period of at least four full weeks (at least 17 class meetings, excluding holidays, reading periods, and final exams).  (See the note below about summer courses at the London School of Economics.)  The Trinity College limitation to one course enrollment in an intensive summer term also applies to course work taken at another institution, i.e., you can receive no more than one course credit for enrollment in an intensive term (under 6 weeks in length) at another institution.    
  • Courses that transfer to Duke as a specific Duke course will carry the Area of Knowledge code(s) that the Duke course carries.  Transfer courses that are approved as generic courses (e.g. 100 for lower-level, 300 for upper-level) for which there is no exact Duke equivalent course can be given an Area of Knowledge code by the Director of Undergraduate Studies who approves the content of the course for transfer.   Final approval of the Area of Knowledge is given by the Academic Dean.  Transfer courses cannot be given Mode of Inquiry codes, with the exception of an "FL" code under certain circumstances.  See step 6 below.
  • Courses described as seminars or tutorials will not automatically satisfy the Small Group Learning Experience requirements in Trinity College. If you wish for a course to be considered as a seminar or tutorial (SGLE), you should provide information as to the course format, description and class size to your Academic Dean.  If approved, your Academic Dean will then note such approval of a SGLE on the transfer credit form 
  • No more than 2.0 institutional transfer credits are allowed, whether in the summer while you are an active Duke student or while you are on a personal or medical leave of absence.    Once the limit of transferred credit has been reached, no additional transferred work will be added to your academic record or used as a substitute for a previously transferred course.
  • Students who have been suspended or dismissed may not transfer courses taken during the period of a suspension or dismissal.  
  • You are expected to present a transcript from the four-year college or university at which the course work was completed. Trinity College does not award transfer credit for so-called “third-party” transfer situations, i.e., when the school attended is not the same as the accredited four-year degree-granting institution that issues the transcript. The Undergraduate Teaching, Academic Standards, and Honors (UTASH) Committee of the Arts & Sciences Council reviewed and affirmed this policy in 2008.  They also recognized the existence of highly reputable academic institutes, field study laboratories, and other independent research programs of study that Duke students might benefit from attending, even though they cannot yield Duke transfer credit.  In such cases, a student might work with the appropriate department at Duke to establish a supervised independent study course based on the experience at such an institution, for which they could receive Duke course credit.  Such an independent study should preferably be arranged prior to enrollment in the program at the other institution, and the independent study would take place after their attendance of the school in question.
  • Inter-institutional courses taken at neighboring universities are not considered as work taken at another institution, and are exempt from these transfer credit policies.

Important update regarding summer school at the London School of Economics:    Effective summer 2018, Deans in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences will no longer approve summer school courses at the London School of Economics for "Institutional Transfer Credit" for transfer back to Duke, as these courses do not meet our requirements for transfer.  This change applies to courses taken in summer 2018 and thereafter.  Courses taken up to or in the summer of 2017 will continue to be approved.  If you still wish to study at the London School of Economics in summer 2018 or thereafter, please check the program's status at the Duke Global Education Office (https://globaled/duke.edu/programs).  If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact Dean Alyssa Perz (akperz@duke.edu).  

Procedure for Approval of Institutional Transfer Credit

     FORM:  Transfer Credit Form

STEP 1:  Print a copy of the Transfer Credit Form. 

Fill out the top part indicating which university or college you will attend, the beginning and ending dates of the class, and if the university is on a semester or quarter/trimester system.

STEP 2:  Request GEO approval if you will be attending a university outside of the United States.  Take the form to the Global Education Office in Smith Warehouse.  GEO must confirm the accreditation of the international institutional you wish to attend.  If you are taking a course in the United States, you should skip this step.

STEP 3:  Request departmental approval and identification of an equivalent course. 

Take the form and a printed course description or syllabus to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the department that represents the discipline to be studied.   If the DUS approves the content of the course and determines its equivalency to a specified Duke University course, the DUS will sign the form, identify the Duke equivalent course (and Area of Knowledge, if appropriate), and then return the form to you.   

STEP 4:  Request your Academic Dean's approval.

After you receive departmental approval, submit the form to the office of your Academic Dean along with a printed schedule, showing the beginning and ending dates of when the class is taught.  If the class is a 3- or 4-hour semester course or a 5- or 6-quarter hour course taught over a period of at least 3 weeks, your dean will approve the course as a 1.0 credit course and will give final approval.  He/she will send the form to the Duke Registrar's Office and a copy will be placed in your student record.  If your dean does not approve, he/she will notify you.  

STEP 5:  Complete the course and have a transcript sent.

Once you know the course has been fully approved, register for the course on a graded basis (do not enroll in pass/fail grading or for a course offered only on a pass/fail basis).   Complete the course.  Then ask the institution to send an official copy of your transcript directly to the Duke Registrar's Office.  The Registrar's Office will then add the course to your Duke record.  You must earn a C- or better to receive Duke credit.  Your grade will not be recorded and will not be included in your Duke GPA; instead the notation "TR" will be recorded on your Duke transcript in place of a grade.

STEP 6:  (optional) Request a Foreign Language (FL) Mode of Inquiry code

Transfer courses may be given an FL (Foreign Language) Mode of Inquiry code under two circumstances.  You can apply for an FL code if you (1) have taken a foreign language course abroad in a country in which the language is spoken (i.e., an immersion setting), or (2) if the foreign language is less commonly taught and is not offered at Duke, and you have a compelling reason to study the language and have received permission from your Academic Dean to use this language to satisfy the foreign language requirement.  Note that in this case, since only 2.0 credits are allowed to transfer, one of the transfer courses must be approved at the advanced (300) level in order to fulfill the FL requirement.  The FL-requirement may not be met by taking two courses at the 100- or 200- level. 

If you wish to apply for a FL Mode of Inquiry code, you can do so only after the course has been approved for transfer credit and by the last day of drop/add in the semester in which you return to Duke following your study away.  To apply, print a copy of the Transfer Course FL Coding Request Form. Submit the completed form together with the required support materials to the Transfer Course Coding Committee, 011 Allen Building, by the deadline noted on the form.  Completion of the form and provision of documentation does not guarantee that the request will be approved.  If you have questions about whether an FL code could be appropriate for a course, consult with the DUS of the relevant department at Duke.  

These restrictions do not apply to courses taken at inter-institutional partner schools, for which students may continue to apply for Modes of Inquiry.

            FORM:  Transfer Course FL Coding Request Form

See also: