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Frequently Asked Questions for Transfer Students

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Some Helpful Definitions

A.A. and A.S. Degrees: Associate in Science or Associate in Arts degrees. These are typically transfer degrees and have the same general education requirements as bachelor’s degrees.

A.A.S. Degree: Associate in Applied Science degree. These are typically degrees designed to prepare students for specific jobs. These generally require fewer general education courses than AA or AS degrees.

Articulation: The process of equating courses from one institution to courses of another institution in order for students to earn a degree.

Course Equivalency Matrix: The website maintained by the State Regents for students to determine if the courses they have taken will transfer as equivalent to a course at the receiving institution.

Lower-Division Courses: Typically, 1000 and 2000 numbered courses taken in the first two years of college work.

Native Student: A student who began college at the institution and has not transferred to another institution since his/her initial enrollment.

Receiving Institution: The institution where the course will be transferred and accepted.

Sending Institution: The institution where a course was taken.

Transfer Student: A student who has earned at least six hours of college credit at another institution.

Upper-Division Courses: Typically, 3000 and 4000 numbered courses taken in the last two years of college work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps I need to take before transferring?

  • Decide where you want to transfer.
  • Consult an academic adviser at the receiving institution.
  • Attend information sessions for transfer students conducted by the institution.
  • Research the institution’s transfer admission policies.
  • Find equivalent courses using the Course Equivalency Matrix.
  • Search the institution’s website for transfer information, such as admission requirements, transfer guides, deadlines, and transfer agreements.
  • Request all transcripts from previous institutions.
  • Contact the financial aid office at the receiving institution.
  • Submit your application for admission.

What are the admission standards for transfer students?
Students transferring from an Oklahoma public institution to another Oklahoma public institution must meet certain requirements. Click the Admission Standards link on the right for information on those requirements. 

How do I know if my courses will transfer?
There are several ways to determine this:

  1. If you’ve earned an A.A. or A.S. degree from a public institution in Oklahoma, the system guarantees that your 37 hours of lower-division general education requirements will be met at any other public institution in Oklahoma. Some institutions, however, require more hours and some may require some upper-division general education. Be aware that this does not apply to the A.A.S. degree, since fewer general education hours are typically required.
  2. The State Regents maintain a Course Equivalency Matrix that you can use to check to see if your courses will transfer. Courses listed on the matrix are guaranteed to transfer as equivalent.
  3. Check the receiving institution’s website. Some institutions publish transfer guides to help students know what courses and programs transfer.
  4. Check with the receiving institution. They will have the final say on the acceptance of courses.

How do I use the Course Equivalency Matrix?
First, you have to know the year you took the course and the institution to which you will transfer.

Course equivalency information is available in database, PDF or HTML format, depending on the year.

The courses are organized by discipline: biology, history, etc. Within each discipline, several equivalency groups appear, each containing a collection of courses from sponsoring institutions. A generic course title and State Regents’ equivalency number (a two-letter prefix and three-digit number) located at the top of columns identify each equivalency group. Credit for a course within a group can be transferred to any system institution which sponsors a course in that group.

When you select an academic discipline, such as mathematics, all established course equivalencies for that discipline will appear along with a list of system institutions that offer equivalent courses in that discipline. The equivalency information is in a matrix format with institutions listed vertically to the left and equivalency group headings and numbers listed horizontally along the top. All courses appearing in a column are considered equivalent at “only” the course-offering institutions.

For more detailed information about a particular course (course content, credit hours awarded, relationship to degree requirements and specified prerequisites) select an institution’s home page by visiting the Colleges and Universities section. If available, search the institution’s home page for its course catalog or course offerings.

For an explanation of the notes, common course descriptions and institution acronyms, see the Appendix (PDF, 1m).

What if my course or school is missing from the list?
Not all disciplines have a place on the Course Equivalency Matrix and not all courses at all institutions are listed in the groupings that do exist. Contact the receiving institution for information about specific courses that are not listed on the matrix.

I took my course five years ago. Where can I find equivalency information?
Every year, faculty representing all system institutions meet to update and add courses to the course equivalency matrices. There is a different CEP version for each academic year beginning with 1996-97. Institutions keep a record of previous CEPs so that students can transfer to other system institutions without losing the established equivalencies for completed course work. 

Is it better to get the associate degree or to transfer early?
In general, it is preferable to have a completed degree program on your academic record and on your résumé. Also, your lower-division general education will be guaranteed to transfer in whole if you earn the associate in arts or associate in science degree.

How many credits will transfer?
It depends. Oklahoma bachelor’s degrees require the following:

  • At least 120 hours total.
  • 40 hours general education.
  • 30 hours in residence at the awarding institution.
  • 15 of the last 30 hours or 50% of the major in residence at the institution.
  • 60 hours from a bachelor’s degree granting institution.
  • 40 hours of upper-division course work from a bachelor’s degree granting institution.
  • 30 hours in a specialization (major).
  • 50% of the major at the upper-division level.

Some institutions may require more hours in some categories. The receiving institution will help you determine how many additional hours you will need for a bachelor’s degree. 

How long will it take to complete a degree after I transfer?
It depends on your personal circumstances. The number of hours you need, whether you will be a part-time or full-time student, and your major will determine the amount of time it takes. If you change majors, it might take longer than if you do not change. 

What class standing will I have?
This is based on the number of credit hours the receiving institution accepts in transfer. Generally if you have 0-30 hours you are a freshman, 31-60 hours a sophomore, 61-90 hours a junior and over 90 hours a senior. 

Can I transfer my financial aid?
Many financial aid awards can follow students who transfer to other eligible institutions. If you are receiving state or federal financial aid, it should transfer to another institution. You should add the new institution to your FAFSA data and contact the institution’s financial aid office for more specific information and guidance about the procedures to make sure you can use your aid at that institution. Questions regarding the transfer of financial aid awards can also be directed to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Student Information Hotline at 800.858.1840 or studentinfo@osrhe.edu. For information about transferring your Oklahoma’s Promise award, see the Oklahoma’s Promise FAQ for College Students. 

Why is my adviser telling me I need more hours?
It is possible that you need to have more hours at a baccalaureate degree-granting university or more hours in residence at that university. State Regents’ policy requires that all bachelor’s degrees consist of the following:

  • At least 120 hours total.
  • 40 hours general education.
  • 30 hours in residence at the awarding institution.
  • 15 of the last 30 hours or 50% of the major in residence at the institution.
  • 60 hours from a bachelor’s degree-granting institution.
  • 40 hours of upper-division course work from a bachelor’s degree granting institution.
  • 30 hours in a specialization (major).
  • 50% of the major at the upper-division level.

Keep in mind that some institutions require more in some categories. 

How do I get a transcript sent from one institution to another?
Most institutions require a request in writing, and some may require that you pay a fee. Check with the registrar’s office at the sending institution to find out how to get a transcript, and also check with the admissions office at the receiving institution to verify where you need to send the transcript(s).

How do courses get on the Course Equivalency Matrix?
Faculty at the public institutions meet on a regular basis and develop common course descriptions for courses within their discipline. These are reviewed by the academic officers at each institution and updated annually for inclusion on the matrix. 

Why do I need an adviser?
Incomplete educational planning can lengthen the time it takes students to complete a degree and add unnecessary costs. Visit with your academic adviser to develop a comprehensive and accurate educational plan. advisers can identify those courses listed in the Course Equivalency Matrix that require prerequisites and can help outline institutions’ program degree requirements. advisers can also inform students about those courses that individual institutions consider equivalent in separate articulation agreements but are not included in the statewide matrix. Finally, academic advisers inform students of support services and other valuable campus information that can give students a competitive edge. 

What if the course I took is lower-division and the course that is listed as equivalent is upper-division?
Lower-division course work cannot substitute for upper-division credit-hour requirements. However, the content is transferable. For example, if a student completes Smart Course 2000 at two-year college A, it will transfer in content to four-year college B for its Smart Course 3000. The student will not need to repeat the content or learning competencies acquired in Smart Course 2000. But, the student must still complete the full amount of 3000- and 4000-level semester hours that college B requires for a baccalaureate degree. 

Other helpful hints
Keep copies of everything you submit; you may need to reproduce them again. Also, keep records of phone calls and conversations so that you know who you’ve talked to and what you talked about. Keep your course syllabi and outlines for the courses you have taken before you transfer. These may be helpful if there are questions about equivalency. Finally, talk to your adviser early and often, and check your degree plan frequently.