Transfer Credit

Courses taken at another college or university that are appropriate to the Rice curriculum may be approved for transfer credit toward a Rice undergraduate degree. Students must have taken the course at a United States academic institution accredited by a regional accrediting agency, or at a foreign institution accredited by the appropriate agency, such as the government's Ministry of Education. Studies done in one's home country constitute transfer credit through the Office of the Registrar. Official transcripts from the transfer credit institution must be sent directly from the institution's registrar to Rice's Office of the Registrar or hand-delivered in an official sealed envelope. For students participating in an official study abroad program (i.e., studying in a country that is not one's home country) this coursework must be approved by Rice's Study Abroad Office. 

All coursework must have earned a grade of at least a C- or the equivalent. Students may not transfer courses taken pass/fail or on a similar basis at other institutions. Additionally, students will not receive transfer credit for courses previously completed at Rice with a passing grade, with the exception of courses designated as repeatable for credit. In extraordinary extenuating circumstances, an exception to the repeat transfer credit rule can be granted by the Dean of Undergraduates.

Generally, grades earned for transfer credit are not entered on the Rice transcript, and transferred courses have no effect on a student's Rice grade point average. However, where coursework taken at other institutions has been approved by the faculty as an explicitly specified component to a program's curriculum, the courses will be entered on the transcript and counted in the student's Rice grade point average (including grades lower than C-). Such opportunities are listed in the program curriculum description. Students should keep in mind that if they choose to pursue an advanced degree, the transcripts from transfer credit institutions, with the actual grades earned in the transferring courses, will be requested as part of a graduate school's admission process. 

After matriculation at Rice, students are limited to 15 semester hours of summer school transfer credit. This restriction is waived for credit earned during an official summer study abroad program through the Study Abroad Office. Additionally, transfer credit taken at another institution while concurrently enrolled at Rice is subject to Rice’s course load policy. Individual departments may place additional restrictions on particular courses and/or institutions. Similarly, various majors, minors, certificates and degree programs may limit the amount of transfer credit that students may apply to them. 

All transferable credits from schools utilizing a system other than the semester hour (such as quarter hours or ECTS credits) will be converted to semester hours. In accordance with university guidelines and based on the external transcript, the Office of the Registrar will determine appropriate transferable credit hours and whether the credits are upper-level or lower-level.

Students with much transfer credit should be aware of the general graduation requirements: Students must be registered at Rice full time for at least four full fall and/or spring semesters, complete at least 60 semester hours, more than half of their upper-level degree work, and more than half of their upper-level major work at Rice. (Students also should check their specific departmental major requirements). 

Prematriculation Transfer Credit

For transfer work completed prior to matriculation, the Office of the Registrar, in conjunction with the academic departments, determines whether courses are appropriate for transfer to Rice as Rice equivalent courses or as TRAN, general elective hours. TRAN will be indicated as either upper- or lower-level and will count toward the total hours needed for graduation and for required upper-level credit if the TRAN credit is designated by the Office of the Registrar as upper-level. If courses transferred to Rice as TRAN credit are subsequently granted Rice equivalent course credit by the Office of the Registrar and academic department, the TRAN credit is reduced by the number of credit hours of the Rice equivalent course. The Rice equivalent course is then listed on the student’s transcript and satisfies the university and major requirements the Rice course satisfies.  

Postmatriculation Transfer Credit

Continuing students who plan to transfer courses are strongly advised to seek prior approval. Without such approval, students cannot be certain transfer credit will be accepted at Rice. To receive Rice equivalent credit, students are required to complete the appropriate form through the Office of the Registrar and secure approval from the designated transfer credit advisor in the department offering the Rice equivalent course. Unless approval is secured before or after completing the transfer credit, students can expect transferable courses to be granted TRAN. Transfer credit will be evaluated only after the Office of the Registrar receives an official transcript from the other college or university.   

International Transfer Credit

Students seeking transfer credit for courses taken prematriculation and postmatriculation at institutions outside the United States must present a professional course-by-course evaluation of the foreign official transcript. The professional evaluation must verify that the foreign institution is equivalent to a regionally accredited U.S. academic institution and must include an explanation of credits earned (including U.S. semester hour equivalents), grade equivalents, and course levels (lower or upper level). Two reliable services with course-by-course evaluations that include this required information are:      

All professional evaluations should be obtained from one of these two recommended credential services and submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Payment for the professional evaluation is the responsibility of the student.

Students participating in an official study abroad program through the Study Abroad Office are exempt from the requirement of having the international transcript professionally evaluated, unless the Office of the Registrar is unable to make a clear distinction of the credit earned.  Study abroad international transfer credit may be transferred back to Rice in the following situations:

Third-Party Providers

Students participating in a study abroad program with a third party provider must provide a School of Record transcript in order to transfer credit back to Rice.

Direct Enrollment

Students participating in a study abroad program with direct enrollment into a foreign university should be prepared to provide a professionally evaluated transcript if the Office of the Registrar is unable to make a clear distinction of the credit earned. 

European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

A number of European institutions use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). One ECTS credit is comparable to one-half (0.5) semester hour credit at Rice. It is suggested that students take 30 ECTS credits per semester, which will transfer to Rice as 15 semester hours. A minimum full-time load during the fall and spring semesters is 24 ECTS, which will transfer to Rice as 12 semester credit hours.

Transfer credit for study away from Rice, including international study, is governed by guidelines established by Rice's Faculty Senate, available here.