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Graduate Residency Transfer Credit

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On this page: OverviewCriteria for AssessmentPosting of CreditMinimum Residency Requirement Changes •  Work Completed Outside of the US


After one quarter of enrollment, you may apply for transfer credit for graduate work done at another institution if you are pursuing an Engineer, D.M.A., or Ph.D.

Note: if you also earned your master's degree at Stanford, you are not eligible for transfer residency credit.

The application for Graduate Residency Transfer Credit is available in Axess: My Academics > Petitions & Forms > Student eForms. Once complete, it is reviewed by your department and the Registrar’s Office. Any approved transfer credit is converted into quarter units and then posted to your student record. Once awarded, Graduate Residency Transfer Credit is reflected on your unofficial transcript.

See the complete Transfer Work policy.

Criteria for Assessment

To award Graduate Residency Transfer Credit for graduate level work done at another institution, the following criteria must be met:

  • Courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or at an officially recognized institution in a foreign country. 
  • Courses taken at foreign universities must be at the level of study comparable to a U.S. graduate program.
  • Courses should have comparable Stanford counterparts approved by your department. 
    • A maximum of 12 units of courses with no Stanford counterparts and/or research units may be granted transfer credit.
  • Your enrollment at the other institution must have been in a student category which yields graduate credit.
    • Partially or fully-online coursework is acceptable for transfer credit; correspondence coursework is not.
    • The maximum amount of credit given for extension and non-matriculated (non-degree) courses is 12 units.
  • Courses must have been taken after the conferral of your bachelor's degree. 
    • The only exception is for work taken through programs structured similarly to Stanford’s coterminal bachelor's/master's program. Any work taken through such programs must be at the graduate level and applied toward the completion of the graduate degree.
  • Courses must have been minimally completed with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (‘B’).
    • Pass grades are accepted only for courses that do not offer letter grades and the standard of passing is 'B' quality work. (Thesis/research/dissertation coursework does not fall under this category and can be taken for Pass/Satisfactory/Credit grades.)
  • In order for Graduate Residency Transfer Credit to be awarded, you must submit your official transcript. Your official transcript must clearly identify all of the below information for each course:
    • Course codes or numbers
    • Course titles or descriptions
    • Final grades (credit can only be awarded if a final grade is posted on the transcript and must have a GPA of 3.0 or better)
    • Credits earned 

Posting of Credit

Approved Graduate Transfer Residency Credit is converted into quarter units and then posted to your student record. 

The formula for this credit conversion (used to calculate both domestic and international credit) is the number of units required for Stanford master's degree divided by the number of units required for the external institution's equivalent degree. For example, if the external institution requires 90 units to complete a master's degree, then the conversion rate would be 45 divided by 90. Once awarded, Graduate Residency Transfer Credit is reflected on your unofficial transcript.

Residency Requirement Changes

If you are pursuing more than one graduate degree at Stanford while receiving Graduate Residency Credit, your minimum residency unit requirement increases regardless of how many graduate residency units are awarded. 

For example, if you have an active or completed master's degree at Stanford in addition to a Ph.D. (where the residency requirement would normally be 135 units), once your external credit is posted to the record, the residency requirement will jump to 180 units. 

While pursuing a joint degree program that includes a Ph.D., you may not count transfer units toward residency for the Ph.D. degree.

International/Abroad Institutions

To request Graduate Transfer Residency Credit for courses taken outside of the U.S., the following must be submitted along with your application. 

Note: all documentation must be in the English language or have a certified English translation. Forwarded communication/documentation is considered unofficial, therefore cannot be accepted. All transcripts and/or diplomas must be sent directly from the home (international) institution to Stanford.

You must provide official (sealed) documentation that clearly states:

  • The home institution's accreditation (must be officially recognized)
  • The home institution's grading scale or system (Note: if a course has a 'P' or 'Pass' grade listed, the grading scale must explicitly state what the minimum grade is to pass. Pass grades are accepted only for courses without a letter grading option and for which the standard of passing is 'B' quality work).
  • The home institution's credit system (quarter, ECTS, semester)
  • The minimum number of credits to complete the master's program at the home institution (this must be from an official source, such as a course catalog)
  • The level of coursework (Graduate Residency Transfer Credit can only be awarded for graduate level work)

Purchasing a third-party, course-by-course international transcript translation and evaluation service is encouraged. Typically, these services include all of the aforementioned information. Check out a few of the recognized services: