Transfer Rules

Portland State University accepts college-level credit earned in academic degree programs at colleges and universities accredited by regional accrediting associations as recommended in Transfer Credit Practices of Designated Educational Institutions.

PSU operates on a quarter system. If you transfer credit from a semester system, we will multiply the credit amount by 1.5. For example, if you earned 4 credits of Biology 101 at a semester school you will receive 6 PSU credits for the course. Courses are evaluated to be either equivalent to an exact course at PSU or parallel to a discipline offered at PSU. Some credit limits apply.

Credit Type Transfer Maximum
Cooperative Education Credits 12 credits
Correspondence Credits 60 credits
ESL (English as a Second Language) Credits 24 credits
Pass/No Pass Credits 45 credits
PE Credits 12 credits
Remedial/Developmental Credits 0 credits/nontransferable
Vocational/Technical Credits 12 credits
2-year School Credits 124 credits

AP/IB/CLEP Exams and Credit

Admitted students who complete Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams, and earn acceptable exam scores, may be awarded college level credit for their efforts.

College Credit Prior to High School Completion

College courses taken before high school completion are accepted in transfer provided the grade earned is equivalent to D- or above and the grade is posted on a college transcript.

College Level Coursework

The majority of courses offered at regionally accredited colleges and universities are considered college level. However, many institutions offer remedial, developmental or para-professional courses that are not considered college level.

Community and Junior College Credit Limit

The number of credits transferred from regionally accredited junior colleges is limited to 124. If you have earned over 124, credits that apply specifically toward your degree will be accepted within the 124 limit.

English as a Second/New Language

The Intensive English Language Program (IELP) is part of Portland State University, a community-oriented urban university with a diverse student and teacher population. IELP offers you full immersion and integration into PSU while you improve your English skills.

Military Credit

Admitted students who have completed military coursework and training, including basic training, may be eligible to receive college credit. Transfer credits for military work are based on recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) and are reviewed on a case by case basis. Military credits from Joint Services Transcripts (JST) do not count toward the 30 minimum credits required for admission as a transfer student, and are not used when calculating a transfer GPA for admission to Portland State.

Quarter vs. Semester Credits

Credits taken in quarter systems will bear the same credits in transfer to PSU. Credits taken in semester systems will be multiplied by 1.5. For example if you earned 4 credits in a semester system, it will transfer as 6 credits to PSU. Credits earned at institutions using a unit credit system may vary depending on the institution’s conversion ratio.

Regional Accreditation

Regional Accreditation refers to the regional bodies recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit public and private, mainly nonprofit and degree-granting two- and four-year institutions in the US. The regional bodies are listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation directory. Regional accreditation differs from national or trade accreditation, which encompass predominantly for-profit institutions offering vocational, career or technical programs. If you are unsure about the accreditation of a former institution you attended you may contact your prior institution or check with an admission representative at PSU.

Remedial/Developmental Coursework

Although the majority of courses offered at colleges and universities are considered college level, most institutions offer remedial courses that are considered pre-college level. These courses are often designated in the course number or title.  For institutions using undergraduate 100-400 course numbering systems pre-college level courses are usually designated by numbers less than 100, (i.e. Math 105 = college level, Math 060=pre-college level.)

Repeat Policy

How PSU evaluates repeated courses from other accredited colleges and universities:

  • Credit is awarded on the first passing grade of C- or higher.
  • The first (and only the first) grade of D+, D, D-, or F is excluded in calculating G.P.A. if the course is then repeated for a letter grade (i.e., not Pass/No-Pass). Even if the course is repeated more than once, each subsequent grade will be counted in the GPA.  (Repeats  using a P/NP option do  not remove the graded course from the GPA calculation)

This calculation method may mean that classes you took before coming to PSU will be used in your transfer GPA even though your current or former school did not count them in your GPA at that time. 

  • First Attempt 4.0 units Failing grade
  • Second Attempt 4.0 units Failing grade
  • Third Attempt 4.0 units Passing grade of D-
  • Fourth Attempt 4.0 units Passing grade of C

From this example, the first attempt would be excluded and the second through fourth attempts all counted in the GPA. Course credit will only be awarded once, for the passed repeat (grade of C), but all subsequent graded repeats after the initial F will affect the GPA.  

Unaccredited or Non-regionally Accredited Institutions

Transfer credit is not usually awarded for work from unaccredited or non-regionally accredited institutions. In certain instances, credit may be considered for admitted students on a case-by-case basis. Such consideration will require documents certifying course content such as catalog descriptions and course syllabi. Credit is subject to academic department approval.

Vocational/Technical Credits

PSU grants up to 12 quarter credits for courses which are deemed vocational-technical by a 2-year school. Typically, these credits are part of an Associates of Applied Science degree program. These credits are transferred to PSU as general elective credits. Your GPA for these courses will not transfer and will be excluded when calculating your transfer GPA for admission to Portland State.