Office of the Dean of the College
If you have already taken courses at another institution as a visiting student while you were
registered as a degree candidate at Brown, and you are interested in requesting transfer credit you
will need to go through the Retroactive Approval Process.
If the cumulative number of credit hours for the course(s) you have taken is less than 4
credit hours (on a semester system) or less than 6 (on a quarter system), you will not be eligible
to receive any Brown credit. You should not go through the retroactive transfer credit approval
process. In other words, if you have taken 1 course worth 3 credit hours (on a semester system) or
1 course worth 5 credit hours (on a quarter system) you will not be eligible to receive transfer
credit at Brown. You may, however, meet with your concentration advisor to inquire into the
possibility of receiving concentration credit for that course.
RETROACTIVE APPROVAL PROCEDURES
STEP ONE: Confirm that the institution is a four-year accredited degree granting school.
Brown accepts transfer credit only from accredited four-year degree granting institutions. Courses
taken online or through professional, career-oriented programs, junior colleges, community
colleges or environmental programs are not eligible for transfer credit. Courses taken through
continuing or adult education are reviewed strictly on a case-by-case basis. If you intend to
transfer courses, please ensure that they were taken at accredited four-year degree granting
STEP TWO: Review our Course Transfer Policies to ensure that you are eligible for Brown
Please note that, courses will not necessarily transfer back on a 1-for-1 basis. To understand
how courses will transfer, determine if the institution of your choice is on a SEMESTER or a
QUARTER system, then determine how many credits/credit hours each course is worth. This
information should be available on the other institution’s course catalogue.
You must keep in mind the following parameters (which are not flexible):
A) 1 Brown Course = 4 Credit Hours on a Regular Semester system
B) 1 Brown Course = 6 Credit Hours on a Quarter System (schools in California often run on
quarter systems, e.g.)
To figure out many courses you need to take to transfer 1 or more credits to Brown:
Add the number of credits/credit hours each course is worth and divide by 4 (for a semester system) or 6 (for a quarter
system) and round down to the last whole number. Ex: If you take 3 courses each worth 3 credits/credit hours (on a
semester system), you are eligible to receive 9 4 = 2 courses; similarly if you take 3 courses each worth 3
credits/credit hours (on a quarter system) you are eligible to receive 9 6 = 1 course. As you can see, we consider the
cumulative total number of credits/credit hours you receive at the other institution.
C) If you bring in only 3 credit hours on a semester system or less than 6 on a quarter system, you
will not receive any Brown credit.
D) If you bring in 6 credit hours on a semester system (taking, for example, two classes at three
credit hours each), you will be able to transfer in 1 Brown credit.
E) The courses must be passed with a grade of C or better. If the course is taken S/NC or
Pass/Fail, the instructor must send Lisa Cote, in the Registrar’s Office, an email certifying that
a grade of S or Pass is equivalent to a grade of C. This email must come directly from the
instructor; we cannot accept emails forwarded by students.
F) You can only transfer 2 courses per summer, and you can only apply a total of 4 summer
courses to your Brown degree.
G) Please note that you must adhere to concentration policies, regarding the number of courses
that will count toward concentration requirements. If you plan to transfer courses that will count
Office of the Dean of the College
toward your concentration, it is your responsibility to consult with your concentration advisor, so
that you are fully aware of how many courses your concentration will accept.
H) Students returning from study elsewhere may receive up to 8 course credits for work
undertaken during 1 academic year, but normally no more than 2 credits toward your
concentration may be awarded, sometimes fewer.
STEP THREE: Obtain Approval from Faculty Members and download the Recommended
A) If you are on campus
Once you have identified a course, you must obtain approval from a faculty member in the
department in which that course would be taught if it were offered at Brown (for example from
the Economics department if it is an Economics course, or from the History department if it is a
History course). If any course is to be a part of your concentration, you must obtain the approval
of your concentration advisor as well. If you are seeking approval for a course before you have
started it, you must fill out the Undergraduate Transfer Credit Approval Form and CIRCLE
B) If you are not on campus
If you are not physically present at Brown contact Lisa Cote (Lisa_Cote@brown.edu) in the
PLEASE RETAIN A COPY OF ALL THE APPROVALS AND FORMS YOU SUBMIT
STEP FOUR: Submit your completed approval form and transcript to Lisa Cote in the
She will review your approval form to ensure that it is complete. Your petition will then be
presented to the Committee on Academic Standing. You will be notified once the CAS has
endorsed the institution.
Please note: Receiving faculty and CAS approval does NOT guarantee transfer credit. If the
cumulative number of credit hours taken elsewhere is less than 4 (on a semester system) or 6 (on
a quarter system) you will not be eligible to receive course credit at Brown. Also note that since
we consider the cumulative number of credits/credit hours, it is possible that you will not receive
Brown course credit for ALL the courses for which you have received faculty approval.
STEP FIVE: Send an official transcript to Lisa Cote in the Registrar’s Office
Once you have completed your coursework at the other institution you must send an official
transcript (sealed and signed by the Registrar’s office at the other institution) to Lisa Cote. We
use the transcript to verify that you have met the Course Transfer Policy requirements. We
cannot process transfer credits without receiving an official transcript.
Lisa Cote, Office of the Registrar
318 J. Walter Wilson
Providence, RI - 02912
STEP SIX: Other post-coursework procedures
If the course is taken S/NC or Pass/Fail, the instructor must send Lisa Cote an email
certifying that a grade of ‘S’ is equivalent to a grade of ‘C’. This email must come directly from
the instructor; we cannot accept emails forwarded by students.