Transfer FAQs

  1. What does transfer mean?
  2. What is articulation?
  3. What is the difference between the California State University and the University of California?
  4. How many units do I need to transfer?
  5. Which SDCCD courses transfer to a university?
  6. If I earn an Associate degree (AA or AS), will I be prepared to transfer? Do I need an AA/AS degree to transfer?
  7. Is there a maximum number of units that I can transfer?
  8. What if I take more than 70 transferable units?
  9. What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for transfer admission?
  10. What is a competitive GPA for transfer?
  11. What is General Education (GE)?
  12. What is CSU-GE?
  13. What courses do I need to complete before I transfer to a CSU?
  14. What is IGETC?
  15. What courses do I need to complete before I transfer to a UC?
  16. What is an impacted or selective major?
  17. Do I have to declare a major and can I change it after I transfer?
  18. How do I choose a major?
  19. How do I find out what classes to take to prepare for my major?
  20. What is a minor?
  21. How do I find out about the transfer requirements of any particular school?
  22. Will my high school grades and SAT scores count when I transfer?
  23. What is the best school for my major? How can I find the best schools?
  24. What is a Transfer Admission Agreement (TAG)?
  25. What are my chances of being admitted to a UC? How do I increase my chances?
  26. When do I apply to transfer and what if I missed a deadline?
  27. Do credit/no credit grades transfer? Do "D" grades or "W's"?
  28. I have attended another college, how do I know if these courses transfer?

1. What does transfer mean?

The term "transfer" refers to a student’s academic advancement from a community college to a university. Transfer means that you started your bachelor's degree at a community college and then transferred to a university to complete it.

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2. What is articulation?

Articulation is the process of evaluating courses to determine whether coursework completed at one institution (e.g. a community college) will meet the requirements at another institution (e.g. a university) for the purposes of admission, transferable units, general education or major preparation. It is this process that ensures that the classes you take at SDCCD will be credited toward your bachelor's degree requirements when you enter a university. Articulation agreements are formal documents that describe which coursework is accepted.

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3. What is the difference between the California State University and the University of California?

Both the California State University (CSU) system of higher education and the University of California (UC) are public higher education system in California. The both offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. There are 23 CSU campuses, and ten UC campuses. The main difference between UC schools and State schools is the price. UC schools are more expensive than State schools. The UC system was designed to produce graduates with bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees with an emphasis on research and theory; the CSU system was designed to produce graduates principally with bachelors with a few masters programs.

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4. How many units do I need to transfer?

To transfer as an upper division transfer to either of the public university systems in California UC and CSU, a student needs at least 60 transferable semester units. Any lesser amount is considered a lower division transfer. Currently Both the UC and CSU systems are not accepting students as lower division transfers. Independent and out-of-state universities often accept students with fewer than 60 semester units. Please check the online catalog for the specific university to which you want to transfer for their requirements.

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5. Which SDCCD courses transfer to a university?

Students can check if a course is transferable by referring to the any one of the three campuses: City, Mesa and Miramar catalogs.

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6. If I earn an Associate degree (AA or AS), will I be prepared to transfer? Do I need an AA/AS degree to transfer?

Currently a student in the state of California a student does not need an Associate degree to transfer to a California university. Not all courses that are counted toward an Associate degree are accepted for transfer, and General Education requirements differ as well. (See question 13, "What is General Education (GE)" below.) However, it is possible to earn an Associate degree by completing 60 Associate degree units and fulfilling all of the GE requirements for transfer. Many students choose to obtain an A.A./A.S. degree prior to transferring for personal or professional reasons. The program of study for the A.A./A.S. degree can overlap with the lower division preparation for transfer. Privates, out-of-state and international schools vary. If your objective is to transfer, be sure to seek the advice of a counselor.

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7. Is there a maximum number of units that I can transfer?

California public universities will count a maximum of 70 community college units toward the total number of units you need to complete for a bachelor's degree. Independent and out-of-state institutions vary in their limits and you should check their catalog or web site for information. Different limits may apply if you have already attended a "four-year" institution and you should meet with a counselor right away.

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8. What if I take more than 70 transferable units?

The 70-unit limit applies only to the number of units that will be counted toward graduation and does not apply to courses. The university will grant subject credit for course content needed to satisfy requirements for general education or major preparation, even if they do not count the units for all of your courses toward graduation.

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9. What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for transfer admission?

The minimum GPA accepted for transfer to the CSU is 2.0 for California residents, 2.4 for non-residents. The CSU has designated some highly popular majors or campuses as impacted or high demand, for which higher GPAs and/or minimum course completion are required. The minimum GPA accepted for transfer to the UC is 2.4 for California residents, 2.8 for non-residents. UC campuses have designated some highly popular majors as selective, for which students have to meet competitive selection criteria (higher GPAs and minimum course completion requirements) to be admitted. Grade point averages necessary for transfer to independent and out-of-state universities vary. Consult the institution's printed or online catalog.

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10. What is a competitive GPA for transfer?

Grade point averages necessary to compete for admission to impacted or selective programs vary from year to year, depending on the pool of applicants for any given academic year. Generally, a GPA of 3.0 is considered competitive, though even higher GPAs may be required to gain admission to majors and campuses for which the most students apply. An SCCD counselor can tell you whether that is the case for the major or campus of your choice. Click here to calculate your GPA online.

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11. What is General Education (GE)?

General Education is a set of courses through which you will become broadly educated by taking classes that cover a wide range of disciplines. GE courses are usually introductory in nature and provide you with fundamental knowledge in English, mathematics, the arts and humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences. You will complete the majority of GE coursework needed to receive a bachelor's degree while you are lower division (freshman/sophomore) student at a community college. After transferring to a university with upper division (junior/senior) status, you will be required to take only a few GE courses, so you can focus on your major. For example, you will be required to complete at least 48 units of GE to graduate from a CSU, 39 of which are completed at the lower division level. The GE unit requirements for independent and out-of-state institutions vary, but the ratio of lower division to upper division is similar. GE courses are divided into subject areas and GE patterns and describe the number of courses that you must take in each subject area to meet total GE requirements. Each institution has its own GE (sometimes called breadth or core) pattern. There are also GE patterns that are accepted by the entire CSU and/or UC systems for transfer to any campus in that system.

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12. What is CSU-GE?

The CSU-GE is the pattern of coursework accepted to meet the GE requirements for a bachelor's degree at any CSU campus. An advising guide that shows the subject areas and the CCSF courses that count to fulfill area requirements is available. CSU-GE is one way for you to complete the lower division GE requirements for a bachelor's degree from the CSU at SDCCD prior to transfer. Completing the entire CSU-GE pattern is not a requirement for admission. However, the CSU requires that students complete most of their lower division GE before transfer. There is an upper division GE requirement of at least 9 units to graduate from a CSU. It is not possible to complete all of the GE needed to receive a bachelor's degree from a CSU at a community college.

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13. What courses do I need to complete before I transfer to a CSU?

In order to transfer to a CSU at an upper-division level the following minimum requirements must be done for admission purposes only: have completed 60 transferable units, have a minimum 2.0 (2.4 for non-residents)* transferable GPA. Also have at least 30 units of G.E. (these are part of the total 60 units) completed with grades of "C" or better. The 30 units of G.E must include one from each area: A1: Oral Communication, A2: Written Communication, A3: Critical Thinking and B4: Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning on the CSU GE Requirements sheet. * Certain CSUs may require complete completion of the CSUGEC pattern, and impacted/selective majors may require a higher GPA .

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14. What is IGETC?

IGETC stands for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. It is a course pattern that community college students can use to satisfy lower division GE requirements for either the CSU or the UC. Completion of IGETC may not be a requirement for admission to the CSU or UC. IGETC is one option for students preparing to transfer. CSU students can use each campus' GE pattern or the CSU-GE pattern (see above). UC students can use the GE pattern for their campus, or complete an IGETC. A few independent California universities also accept IGETC as fulfillment of their lower division GE. If you have questions about which GE pattern to use, see your a counselor. For some high unit majors, the IGETC is not recommended.

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15. What courses do I need to complete before I transfer to a UC?

In order to transfer to an UC at an upper-division level the following minimum requirements must be done for admission purposes only: have completed 60 transferable units, have a minimum transferable GPA of 2.4 (2.8 for non- residents); have completed 2 transferable English Composition courses with a "C" or better, one transferable math with a "C" or better, and 4 classes from 2 of the following areas, Arts & Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Physical & Biological Sciences. Certain UCs may require complete completion of the IGETCU pattern, and impacted/selective majors may require a higher GPA .

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16. What is an impacted or selective major?

When a particular major at a university receive many more applications for admission than the campus can accommodate. It is considered an impacted or selective major. Impacted is also an official designation by the CSU system that allows the department that offers a major to require a higher GPA or specific major preparation as a way to reduce the pool of applicants to those who are best prepared to enter the major. Selective is a term used by the UC to describe majors for which the same conditions exist and for which the university imposes the same kind of selection criteria (GPA and major preparation) to screen for the most qualified applicants.

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17. Do I have to declare a major and can I change it after I transfer? question

You will need to indicate a major when you apply to the university. Some majors that are selective or impacted will have you apply as a pre-major. Upon completion of prerequisites, you would petition the department for admission. Some majors require very little such preparation, while other majors require many courses. It is important to choose a major early and find out about the preparation that you will need to be admitted to your major. For example, the UC requires that students complete most, if not all, of their major preparation before transfer.

The ability to change a major completely depends on the rules governing major changes at the college or university that you will be attending. Don't assume this is easy to do. In some majors that are impacted, changing your major is discouraged once you arrive at the university.

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18. How do I choose a major?

The very best way to choose your major is by participating in a career exploration process. You are probably becoming educated in order to enjoy a prosperous and interesting life and your work will a big part of that life. Along the way to discovering what you want to do with your time and energy, you will get information about the education you need to have in order to do it. That is your major. Some students also use a sampling method that involves taking GE courses in a number of disciplines to determine which one interests them most. One disadvantage of this method is that it can take a long time for such a process of elimination. Certainly, if you use this method, it is important to learn what you might do with your major and decide whether any of the possibilities appeal to you. Use the What can I do with this major? link on the Transfer Services site for assistance.

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19. How do I find out what classes to take to prepare for my major?

Nearly all CSU and UC campuses provide information about articulation by major at www.assist.org. In addition, SDCCD has articulation agreements with many private universities within California and selected private and public colleges and universities nationwide.

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20. What is a minor?

A minor is a secondary focus of study that you may choose to augment your major for career purposes, for graduate education, or simply out of interest. Most minors require 18-24 units to complete. Minors are only available for some majors and not all schools offer minors.

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21. How do I find out about the transfer requirements of any particular school?

Information for transfer students is published in the catalog (either printed or online) of any institution. The Transfer Center has an extensive library of catalogs and supplementary material that is sent to us from universities all over the country. Transfer Center staff is available to assist you in locating and using these resources. In addition, a number of universities send representatives to the annual Transfer Fair event that is held in October. Some of those representatives also visit San Diego City College on a regular basis.

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22. Will my high school grades and SAT scores count when I transfer?

The UC and CSU system do not require high school grades and test scores when a student transfers as a junior, 60 or more transferable units. However, independent/private schools may consider these as factors in their admissions process.

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23. What is the best school for my major? How can I find the best schools?

A common resource is this website - US News & World Report. Note: going to the “best” school or the “highest ranking” relates more to students going into graduate studies or professional studies programs. However, if ranking is important to you, be sure to know the particular factors used in generating the rankings because they define "best" and their definition may not be yours. Talk with faculty here who teach courses related to your selected major to get their ideas about the best schools. Visit universities and talk with the faculty and teaching assistants from the department offering your major of choice.

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24. What is a Transfer Admission Agreement (TAG)?

A TAG is a contract written prior to the application filing date. A TAG guarantees your admission to a participating UC campus. CCSF has Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) agreements with UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Cal State East Bay, Santa Clara University, University of the Pacific, and Saint Mary’s College of Moraga. While criteria vary for each campus, this is a great opportunity for SDCCD students to ensure transfer to the one of these great universities.

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25. What are my chances of being admitted to a UC? How do I increase my chances?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, there is a place for you at one of the UC campuses. California community college transfer students receive first priority over other transfer applicants to UC, including applicants from four-year institutions and the University's own inter-campus transfers.

Your chances for admissions to the University of California increase significantly when you apply to several campuses. Completing major preparation coursework while at SDCCD can also make you a more competitive applicant.

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26. When do I apply to transfer and what if I missed a deadline?

This depends on the deadlines given by the institution you are applying to, and the term for which you are applying. But, find out this information early so you can be ready to apply when the time comes. Generally, you apply one full academic year before you are ready to enroll. You will be applying to transfer well before you have all your requirements completed. The Transfer Center offers CSU and UC application workshops to help with the application process. Applications past the filing deadline are accepted on a campus-by-campus basis. Universities determine a specific number of transfer admissions and when that number is reached, admission is closed. The more popular universities easily fill their admissions quota with applicants filing on time. Other universities continue to take applicants past the filing period/deadline.

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27. Do credit/no credit grades transfer? Do "D" grades or "W's"?

In some classes you can choose the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) grading option rather than a letter grade. The deadline to notify your instructor that you prefer the CR/NC grade option is on the semester calendar in the schedule of classes. Grades of CR and NC are not factored into your GPA. A CR is a passing grade indicating satisfactory completion of course requirements. A NC grade is not a passing grade but will not hurt your GPA. This grading option is not intended for courses required by your major. "D" grades received in transferable coursework are included in a student’s transferable GPA. In most cases, W's are not a focus of admission decisions unless there is an excessive number of W's over a longer course of time.

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28. I have attended another college, how do I know if these courses transfer?

A Transfer Center counselor can help with the evaluation of external transcripts for transfer credit. Students need to make an appointment and bring in all transcripts (unofficial copies are okay).

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