Undergraduate Admission

Transfer Student Frequently Asked Questions

Applying as a Transfer Student

Who is a transfer student?

At Emerson, we define a transfer student as anyone with a high school diploma or GED (General Equivalency Diploma) who has matriculated full time at another college or enrolled part-time for three or more college courses (9 or more college credits). Students with college credits earned prior to high school graduation (e.g., dual enrollment) are considered first-year applicants. Transfer students may not apply for the Acting BFA or Musical Theatre BFA, but are welcome to apply for other programs in the performing arts.

A non-traditional transfer student is anyone who has been out of high school for a minimum of three years prior to beginning college and/or returning to college after an extended absence.

What are your transfer application deadlines?

Our transfer application deadlines for both fall and spring admission are available online.

Applications and supporting credentials received after the postmarked deadline will be considered only if there is available space in the program. In addition, if your application is still incomplete by the deadline, you may not receive a decision by the notification date.

What is required to apply for transfer admission?

Application requirements for transfer applicants are available online. Additional application materials are required for applicants to our Performing Arts and Film programs.

How will I know if Emerson has received all of my application materials?

Please refer to our Check Your Application Status section. 

Can I apply to transfer for the spring semester?

With the exception of Performing Arts programs, we admit a limited number of transfer students each spring. The deadline to apply is November 1, but since we mail decisions in mid-December and the spring semester begins in mid-January, the turn-around time is tight.

The sooner you apply for spring and submit all the required documents, the sooner you may receive a decision (and, if admitted, receive information on transfer credits, course registration, and orientation).

What factors are considered in the transfer application evaluation?

Transfer admission is highly competitive. Although the selection process may differ slightly from major to major, we consider similar factors in the application review, such as the relative strength of your college coursework, your performance in those courses, your high school record, standardized test scores (if applicable), personal statements, application essay, recommendation letters, and activities both in school and in your community. Any additional requirements for Performing Arts or Media Production will also be important in the review.

Successful transfer applicants typically follow a general education/liberal arts curriculum at their school for a full academic year earning “B” grades or better. Typically, the successful candidate will have completed at least a year of college credit (though some successful candidates have one semester of college coursework plus a strong high school record) and maintained higher than a 3.0 average. If you have been in college less than a year, your high school record will be an important consideration for admission.

Can I reapply?

You are welcome to reapply to Emerson, even if you applied within the past year. You will need to submit an updated transcript showing your most recent college grades and courses in progress. You may also want to consider writing a new essay, asking different people for recommendations, and submitting new supplemental materials.

(Please note: If you were a first-year applicant who was not accepted, we encourage you to take at least one year of college coursework before applying for transfer admission.)

Are transfer students eligible for financial aid?

Yes. Each year, approximately two-thirds of our student body, including transfer students, receives some form of financial assistance. The awards typically combine grant and scholarship, loan, and college work-study, and take into consideration the cost of transportation and off-campus housing.

In order to be considered for financial aid, you must submit both the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance  (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE form, as well as copies of signed tax documents. April 1 is the deadline to file financial aid materials for September admission and for January admission, the deadline to file is December 1. More information is available from the Office of Financial Aid at 617-824-8655 or finaid@emerson.edu.

Can transfer students live on campus?

On-campus housing for transfer students is very limited and is only offered on a space-available basis. Since we cannot guarantee residence space, our Off-Campus Student Services Office offers assistance in finding roommates as well as locating apartments. More information is available from Off-Campus Student Services or by calling 617 824-7863.


Transferring Credits

What is an “accredited institution”?

The term “accredited” usually means that a college or university has met or exceeded quality standards and has the resources to achieve its stated purpose. Emerson is accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges, one of six regional organizations in the United States.

Transfer credits are accepted only from other accredited institutions. Credits from foreign colleges and universities may be transferred from schools recognized by national authorities as degree-granting institutions of higher learning.

Can I transfer credits earned somewhere else, and which of my classes will be transferable to Emerson?

Transfer credit is granted for comparable courses from accredited two- and four-year institutions that were completed in the last 10 years with grades of “C” (73% or 2.0) or better. A pass “P” or “CR” grade must equal a “C” or better. Consult our Undergraduate Catalogue to read course descriptions. The College reserves the right to award or withhold transfer credit as well as change transfer policies.

Once you have been offered admission to Emerson, we send all your college or university transcripts to our Registrar’s Office to determine the number of General Education credits that are transferable. Faculty members in each academic department evaluate major-related courses. We then post an initial Evaluation of Transfer Credit Form online that you can access with your Emerson-issued ID (usually within two weeks from the date that you receive your admission offer). The Evaluation of Transfer Credit Form indicates which courses will transfer, the number of credits awarded, and your class standing.

Read the Transfer Credit Policy for more information.

Can I find out what courses will transfer to Emerson before I apply?

The volume of transfer applications prevents us from assisting students with credit evaluations prior to admission. However, we feel many of your questions will be answered by consulting our Undergraduate Catalogue. Information regarding Emerson major or general education requirements is available at the Academic Advising Center.

You will find that general education or traditional liberal arts courses will be more readily accepted for transfer credit than specific upper division classes in a major. Keep this in mind when choosing courses at your current college/university. Keep your school’s catalogue, course descriptions, and course syllabi handy. You may be asked for additional information to evaluate your transfer credits.

What does the Registrar’s Office require to process my transfer credits?

Matriculating transfer students must supply the Registrar’s Office with final, official copies of all college/university transcripts. Faxed, unsealed, or student copies of transcripts are not considered official and will not be used to evaluate transfer credits.

What is the transfer policy for international transcripts?

If you have transcripts from a college or university outside the United States, you need to have them evaluated by World Education Services (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), or the Center for Educational Documentation before the application deadline. Processing international credentials may take up to eight weeks, so please allow sufficient time for your documents to arrive by the application deadline.

My school doesn’t grant 4 credits per class like Emerson. How do those classes transfer?

A 3-credit course completed at another institution will not transfer to Emerson as a 4-credit course. It will, however, satisfy a 4-credit (full-course) requirement. Credits awarded by other institutions in units, courses, or quarter hours, etc., will be converted to make them equivalent to Emerson’s semester-hour credits. Quarter hours will be reduced by 1/3 to make them equivalent to semester hours.

What is the maximum number of transfer credits Emerson will accept?

A maximum of 80 credits may be transferred to Emerson; no more than 64 credits may be transferred from a junior or community college (even if you have an associate’s degree with more than 64 credits). Consult our Undergraduate Catalogue regarding academic regulations.

Can I receive credit for AP, IB, or CLEP examinations?

Emerson grants transfer credit for Advanced Placement scores of 4 and 5, International Baccalaureate higher level exams with scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7 (with the exception of Language A/English, where a score of 6 or 7 is required), and CLEP exam scores of 50 or higher (for a full 4-credit course equivalent; freshman composition must be with essay).

Official test scores must be submitted to our Registrar’s Office for evaluation before any examination credit can be awarded. Please refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalogue for more information.

What classes are definitely not accepted at Emerson?

Non-academic coursework from the following subject areas is generally not accepted for transfer credit at Emerson:

  • Physical Education classes
  • Engineering, Mechanical, and Technical courses
  • Hotel, Restaurant Management, Travel and Hospitality courses
  • College Success, Orientation, and First-Year Experience programs
  • ESL classes
  • Pre-College level (Pre-100 level) courses

How many classes will I need to take at Emerson?

Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 48 credits at Emerson, of which at least 20 credits must be in their major. In addition, they are required to earn their final 16 credits at the College. Please refer to our Undergraduate Catalogue for additional academic regulations.