International Transfer Credit Evaluation Process

As a transfer student, you may have questions about how international transfer credit is awarded at Iowa State. This page is intended to help you understand that process and inform you of what steps you can take to make it as easy as possible.

Transfer credit evaluation is a two-step process. The first step is done by the Office of Admissions where we determine how many transfer credits can be awarded for each course. When this step is done, we post your Transfer Credit Evaluation on the AccessPlus webpage where you can view it.

The second step is done by the college in which your major resides. This usually occurs after you arrive at Iowa State. Your college must determine which classes accepted for transfer will fulfill requirements for the major you have chosen. To assist them in this process, please do the following:

  1. If you are still attending your previous university, remember to have your final official academic record/transcript sent to the Office of Admissions as soon as it is available so those courses can be added to your transfer credit evaluation.
  2. When you arrive at Iowa State, follow the International Orientation schedule and attend all of the sessions. Meetings during Orientation will provide you with important information about selecting and registering for classes. During Orientation, you will meet with your academic adviser to discuss your college's process for reviewing your transfer credits.
  3. Please bring to the above meeting an official syllabus of your previous coursework from all previous universities. An official syllabus is one that bears the original stamp or seal of the university. If an official syllabus in English is not provided by the school, you must provide both the official syllabus in the original language and a copy in English. The English translation must be done either by your university or a professional translator.
  4. Each course is evaluated individually and the process may require two or three weeks to complete. You may be required to meet with faculty members in various disciplines to discuss the content of your previous courses and to provide additional materials, such as reading lists, textbooks used, term reports, or examination results.

International Transfer Credits Guidelines

  1. Determine Credits
    • ISU requires 120 credits to graduate. We use this number to help determine the number of transfer credits we award a student.
      • Example: If a university requires 150 hours for a four-year degree, we would take 120/150=.80. We would take the credits on the transcript and multiply them by .80.
    • We round the result to determine the number of credits awarded.
      • Example: 3 x .8=2.4 we would award 2.5. 4 x .8=3.2 we would award 3 credits.
    • For courses that list hours instead of credits, we take the number of hours and divide by 15.
      • Example: A 45-hour course would be awarded 3 credits.
    • For most Chinese schools we multiply the number of credits by .70 and round up.
    • We normally do not award credit for a course awarded less than 1 credit (exception- labs).
  2. Determine Course Level
    • We award credit for course work at the level it was taught at the institution.
      • Example: A second-year course would receive 200 level credit, even if the Iowa State course is 300 level.
    • The U.K. has a three-year university program. Therefore, first-year courses would be awarded 200 level credit, a second-year course 300 level, etc.
  3. Determine the Department
    • The department is determined by using some or all of the following information: the course name, course description, syllabus, and the Iowa State course catalog.
  4. Determine Grading Scale
    • We use a variety of research and reference guides to determine the grading scale for each university.
    • Examples include: AACRO Edge, the reverse side of official transcripts, universities websites.
  5. Other Guidelines
    • We do not accept credits from universities that are not accredited by the educational authorities of the foreign country.
    • We do not award credit for:
      • Military credit
      • Moral courses
      • PE and Specific Sports
      • English as a Second Language
      • English composition from universities in countries where English is not the only official language (we will award credit for speech or English literature)
      • Developmental, remedial, vocational, or technical nature
      • Courses or programs in which the institution granting the credit is not directly involved
      • International Chinese Summer Schools