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USC Office of Articulation

Information For Spring Admits1 About Transfer Courses

To Be Taken Before Entering USC


Which courses transfer for credit to USC?
For general information about transfer policies, see Transferring to USC, pages 6-11.

Can transfer courses satisfy my general graduation requirements at USC?
Yes, transfer courses you take after graduating from high school and before entering USC may fulfill most of the "USC Core" including:

  • General Education categories I, II, III, or V;
  • Diversity;
  • The lower-division writing requirement (WRIT 150), which is usually satisfied by a second-semester writing course;
  • The language requirement needed for many majors (generally, a third-semester or fifth-quarter language course).
  • For more information about the USC Core, see the USC Catalogue or click here for brief descriptions of the USC Core requirements.

    How can I find out what transfers to USC from schools in California?
    The Articulation homepage displays articulation agreements with many California community colleges that state exactly what credit courses will receive. Please read the entire agreement carefully. USC will honor the transfer credit shown on these agreements. There are also articulation histories with several four-year schools.

    What if I’m not taking courses at one of those California colleges?
    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 a limited number of institutions, the TPG will display courses we have evaluated that satisfy USC Core and 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 Admissions Counselor page, or call Admissions at (213) 740-1111.
    Fourth, if after conferring with your Admission counselor you need specific courses confirmed and have submitted your commitment deposit, fill out a Spring Admit Pre-approval form. List the course(s) you want to take and state what credit you would like to earn for each. Please request only the courses for which you will eventually register. If you request more than 4-5 courses, your response may be considerably delayed. Fax the completed form, with signature, to Degree Progress at (213) 821-3757, email it to, or mail it to:

    University of Southern California
    Degree Progress, TRO 101
    Los Angeles, CA 90089-0912

    The evaluation of your requests will appear on your Transfer Credit Report (TCR) which can be viewed on OASIS once you have been granted access. We cannot guarantee a response within a specified time frame, but we will work on your request as quickly as possible. Please note that Spring Admit Pre-approval forms will not be processed for students requesting course work from any school with which USC has a published agreement.

    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 "USC Core" requirements and courses preparatory to the major (if relevant) before coming, and take major course work at USC.

    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 Category III GE or 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.