Graduate Transfer Credit


Students pursuing an Engineer, D.M.A., or Ph.D. may apply for transfer credit for graduate work done at another institution after at least one quarter of enrollment, with certain limitations.

Policy Statement

After at least one quarter of enrollment, students pursuing an Engineer, D.M.A. or Ph.D. may request transfer credit for graduate work done at another institution.  Engineer candidates who also earned their master's at Stanford are not eligible for transfer residency credit, nor are any master's degree students.  Ph.D. or D.M.A. students may only apply a total of 45 units of transfer credit and credit earned for a Stanford master’s degree toward the Ph.D. residency total. Ph.D. or D.M.A. students who are awarded graduate residency credit, who then add another graduate degree to their academic plan, may be required to earn a higher number of units in order to confer their degrees. Students should visit the Minimum Residency Requirements for Graduate Degrees page for more information. Students who are going to study elsewhere during their degree program at Stanford should obtain prior approval of any transfer credit sought before their departure.

Approval or denial of graduate residency credit is at the discretion of academic departments. The following criteria are used by the departments in determining whether or not transfer credit for graduate-level work will be approved for a student in their program:

  1. Transfer of units earned for graduate work completed at another institution including coursework completed partially or fully online must be approved by the student’s degree program.

  2. The graduate work must have been completed after conferral of the bachelor’s degree; exceptions may only be considered for graduate work taken through program structured like the Stanford coterminal bachelor’s/master’s program.

  3. A maximum of 12 graduate units (out of the 45 maximum) from the following categories may be eligible for transfer with degree program approval:

    1. Coursework completed while not enrolled in a graduate degree-granting program (i.e. extension courses or non-matriculated enrollment)

    2. Classes with out a 1:1 Stanford course equivalent

    3. General research or Thesis units

  4. Graduate work must have been completed with a grade of B or better in each course. Degree programs may accept a course with a lower grade provided the graduate work accepted for transfer received an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better. Pass grades may be accepted at the discretion of the degree program.

  5. Graduate work must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or at an officially recognized institution in a foreign country. Graduate work completed at foreign universities must be at the level of study comparable to a U.S. graduate program.

  6. Units of graduate work accepted for transfer do not automatically exempt a student from completing Stanford course requirements for their degree.

The Application for Graduate Residency Credit is reviewed and approved by the department. Policy compliance approval and final posting of credit to the Stanford transcript is carried out by the Office of the University Registrar.

Units of graduate transfer credit are calculated at an appropriate ratio of equivalence based on the sending school's credit policy, as follows:


Equivalence (Stanford / Sending School)

US institutions following the Quarter calendar


US institutions following the Semester calendar


International Institutions and US institutions without a stated credit hour policy*

45 / X; where X represents the number of units required to complete the graduate program declared on the student's transcript from the sending school.

* Only a maximum of 45 units will be posted to the student transcript, even if final calculation of an eligible graduate student's transfer credit exceeds this amount.

Implementation Information

Graduate students interesting in submitting a Graduate Residency Transfer Credit request should visit

Contact Information

Degree Progress, Office of the University Registrar