Transferring credit from another university

Since courses change frequently and innumerable institutions and courses are available to students, there is no comprehensive list of qualified universities or courses that we accept for transfer. Each course is evaluated on an individual basis. Engineering courses are generally NOT transferable, unless from an approved study abroad program such as ITESM or EPFL, or explicitly accepted by the Engineering department.

For any course to be reviewed for possible transfer credit, students should use the Transfer Credit Form to submit your request (except for Study Abroad—students should then use the SATC form available in the Study Abroad Office, Warner Hall 3rd Floor).

Note: The College of Engineering uses a self-signed security certificate. Your browser may warn you about this when attempting to access the site. Rest assured that your transactions with the site are secure (i.e. you must authenticate to use the online form).

After you take the course: If approved, after you take the course, request an official e-transcript to be sent to to the attention of Kourtney Bandish.

If an e-transcript is not an option, please have a physical copy of the official transcript mailed to: Carnegie Mellon University, University Registrar’s Office, 5000 Forbes Ave, Warner Hall A19, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Please note that ALL courses taken at other institutions must be taken for a letter grade. We will not accept courses taken as Pass/Fail. A grade of “TR” will appear for earned transfer credit (similar to AP for Advanced Placement). This information can be viewed on your SIO account. Although these credits can work toward degree requirements, they will not affect grade point averages.

Transfer credit from college in high school courses

The university’s practice is that they do not grant credit for college in high school, taught by high school teachers. Transfer credit needs to be offered on an accredited college campus by college faculty to be applied.


For All Requests:

To determine if the course is indeed equivalent, we need a detailed course description such as a syllabus or an outline of course topics. In the case of Biochemistry, it is sometimes helpful to list the prerequisites for the course as well. It can also be helpful to provide the textbook used for the course.

Biology DOES NOT accept online courses for transfer.

Guidelines for 03-121 Modern Biology

One of the most difficult aspects of finding a comparable course to substitute for Modern Biology is its focus on the micro side of biology (i.e. molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry).

The CMU course description states: This is an introductory course that provides the basis for further studies in biochemistry, cell biology, genetics and molecular biology. This course emphasizes the chemical principles underlying biological processes and cell structures as well as the analysis of genetics and heredity from a molecular perspective.

General characteristics that should be addressed regarding a possible transfer credit course:

  1. Is it a course for science majors?
  2. Is it part of a two-course sequence in intro bio?
  3. Are the topics presented in the course EXACTLY the same topics that are covered mod bio course? For example, some intro bio courses cover botany and ecology and evolution rather than the emphasis we have on cell and molecular biology.

Guidelines for 03-231/232 Biochemistry

Biochemistry at Carnegie Mellon learns more heavily on the chemistry side, rather than the biology. Organic chemistry is a co-requisite, so the substitution should also require the course.

Central Concepts: The following is a brief list of the central concepts associated with this course.

  1. Constituent parts: Higher order structures (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids)
  2. Protein-ligand interactions:
    • Direct function (e.g. oxygen binding, immunoglobulins)
    • Regulation (Gene regulation)
    • Enzymology (Regulation of metabolism)
  3. Regulation:
    • Energy production (glycolysis, TCA cycle, Oxidative Phosphorylation)
    • Energy consumption (biosynthetic pathways)
    • Template-directed synthesis (DNA, RNA, protein)
    • Recombinant DNA methods

The course description of the course you are looking to substitute should match the course description for the course here at CMU:

"This course provides an introduction to the application of biochemistry to biotechnology. The functional properties of amino acids, nucleotides, lipids, and sugars are presented. This is followed by a discussion of the structural and thermodynamic aspects of the organization of these molecules into higher-order structures, such as proteins, nucleic acids, and membranes. The kinetics and thermodynamics of protein-ligand interactions are discussed for non-cooperative, cooperative, and allosteric binding events. The use of mechanistic and kinetic information in enzyme characterization and drug discovery are discussed. Topics pertinent to biotechnology include: antibody production and use, energy production in biochemical systems, expression of recombinant proteins, and methods of protein purification and characterization." 

Business courses

  • All business transfer courses require a "B" grade or better in order to transfer.
  • NOTE: 70-340, Business Communications, CANNOT be transferred in from another institution.


  • Name of Chemistry textbook
  • Syllabus
  • Indication that the course is required for Chemistry majors

Effective in spring 2022, the Chemistry department will no longer accept online courses for transfer credit. They are returning to pre-COVID guidelines.

Requests for 09-111 Nanolegos: Chemical Building Blocks

09-111 has components of both 09-105 and 09-106, but has more of an applications/systems emphasis. It should be considered by Mechanical Engineering students instead of 09-105 and can be used as an alternative for 105. Transfer requests for 09-111 have to prove that it uses an applications or systems-based approach, which can include applications in engineering. 

Requests for 09-217

Course requests for 09-217 must include NMR and IR spectroscopy.

Computer Science

  • Courses must be approved for transfer credit BEFORE you take them. SCS reserves the right to reject applications for transfer credit for courses taken without pre-approval.
  • SCS requires detailed information about course content before reviewing the course

Economics courses

  • Please note that students may transfer a total of two courses (including AP, IB, summer study abroad, etc.) towards any degree in Economics
  • Undergraduate Economics DOES NOT accept courses taken at Community Colleges

Mathematical Sciences

  • The math department does not accept courses that were taught in high school by high school instructors. Courses must be taught on a college campus and taught by accredited college faculty.
  • The math department does not accept online courses for transfer. Once the transfer credit form is submitted, the Department of Mathematical Sciences may also request additional information, such as the textbook name or course syllabus, in order to complete the evaluation process.
  • Any course considered for transfer as 21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus must be taught from an “Early Transcendentals” textbook. This means that topics such as differentiation of exponential, logarithmic, and inverse trigonometric functions must be covered in the course.
  • Any course considered for transfer as 21-122 Integration and Approximation must cover topics in separable differential equations and parametric and polar coordinates.
  • Any course considered for transfer as 21-259 Calculus in Three Dimensions must cover the vector calculus topics of Curl and Divergence, Parametric Surfaces, Surface Integrals, Stokes’ Theorem, and the Divergence Theorem/Gauss’s Theorem. These topics are always presented at the end of the course, and some courses do not cover all of these. There needs to be evidence that those topics were not omitted from the course.
  • Any course considered for transfer as 21-260 Differential Equations must cover the topics of Fourier series and partial differential equations. These topics are not present in almost all ordinary differential equations courses at other institutions, so over 95% of ordinary differential equations courses offered elsewhere will not transfer in as 21-260. These topics are a required part of 21-260 by request of CIT, and are crucial prerequisite knowledge for further engineering courses.
  • 21-254 Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus for Engineers is a CMU-specific course that will generally not have an equivalent elsewhere.  Any candidate transfer course for 21-254 must cover topics in linear algebra up to and including eigenvalues and eigenvectors, as well as most topics in multivariable calculus including Green’s Theorem, Stokes’ Theorem, and the Divergence Theorem.

Physics for engineers I & II

  • The Physics course you wish to transfer in must be 4 credits (4 credits = 12 Carnegie Mellon units). If the course is 3 credits, you are required to take the lab (1 credit) that corresponds directly to the lecture you plan to take. If there is no associated lab, the 3 credit course is ineligible for transfer.
  • Must be part of a 2-course sequence (no 3-course sequences are permitted)
  • Must have detailed SYLLABUS of the physics topics and calculus content for both courses involved in the 2-course sequence
  • Physics II MUST have a pre-requisite of Physics I
  • A course description for each prerequisite and/or co-requisite in calculus
  • Courses meant for biology or pre-med students are NOT applicable
  • Requests for Physics 1 (33-141) MUST include Thermodynamics.
  • Physics DOES NOT accept online courses for transfer.

It is difficult finding a physics sequence at another school that is the equivalent of ours. We present physics in a two-course sequence, while most other schools teach it in a three-course sequence. If you are seeking approval to substitute a physics course that you intend to take elsewhere, we will need to understand the following characteristics of the course before we can judge whether or not the course is the equivalent of our physics course.

  1. Is the course calculus-based?
  2. Is it a physics course for engineering or physics majors?
  3. Is the course one of a two-course physics sequence?
  4. Are the topics presented in the course EXACTLY the same topics that are covered in the Carnegie Mellon physics course for which you are seeking a substitute?
In order for us to resolve these questions, you will need to present not only a complete in-depth description (preferably a syllabus) of the particular course that you would like to take, but also descriptions of all of the physics courses in the physics sequence that the course is a part of. Also, pre or co-requisites for the course need to be clearly identified by course name as well as by course number. For example, if MATH 343 is listed as a pre or co-requisite for a physics 2 course offered at a particular college, we will need to know what MATH 343 is.


  • Course description and detailed syllabus
  • Course descriptions of all the prerequisite courses

Online courses

The College of Engineering will review online courses for transfer. All online course require a "B" grade or better to transfer. However, the following departments DO NOT accept online transfer courses:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Any science course w/a lab component

Community college courses

All transfer courses taken at community colleges require a "B" grade or better in order to transfer (unless otherwise specified by the department).

College courses taken in high school

If you've taken college courses while still in high school, we will consider these for transfer credit following the process outlined below.  Please note that we do not accept college courses that were used to fulfill high school degree requirements. All students wishing to transfer in college courses taken in high school must submit a verification letter from their high school that confirms they were not used toward graduation requirements. That letter can be faxed or emailed to Kourtney Bandish in the College of Engineering Dean's Office (fax#: 412.268.6421).

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Complete the transfer credit form completely. The form is submitted directly to the College of Engineering Dean's Office. There it is reviewed and then sent on to the department in which the course in question is housed for evaluation by faculty. We will respond within about a week regarding your request (including what credit you could get and what grade you'd need).

    NOTE: The maximum number of courses you can take outside of CMU during your four years is dictated by the university's Residency Requirement in the catalog and your particular degree requirements. Our submission limit is three requests per summer. So please think carefully about what courses you submit and will be able to enroll in given registration deadlines, etc.

    The College of Engineering does not have standing transfer credit articulation agreements with any other institutions.