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Transfer Credit Policies

Sources of Credit

1. Regionally Accredited Institutions - Graded Courses with a C- or better.

Courses completed prior to matriculation with a "D" grade will be accepted only if a student has completed an Associate's of Science (AS), Associate's of Arts (AA), or a bachelor's degree prior to the time of first admission to Cortland. Credit for "D" grades will not be granted with an Associate's of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

All credits accepted for transfer must be earned at institutions granted regional accreditation by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), such as the Middle States Association, Southern Association, North Central Association, New England Association, Northwest Association, or Western Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges.   To verify your institution's accreditation, you can search the CHEA database.

2. Advanced Placement (AP) tests with a score of 3 or higher.

3. International Baccalaureate (IB) tests with a score of 4 or higher.

4. College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests with a score of 50 or higher. For certain foreign language tests, a higher score is required.

5. ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) - with a minimum rating of Novice High. 

6. Military Experience and Courses.  Cortland follows the American Council of Education (ACE) recommendations for granting credit. 

For specific course equivalencies from the above sources, view our Transfer Equivalency Charts.

For all sources of credit, you must request official transcripts or test scores to be sent directly to SUNY Cortland in order to receive credit.  SUNY Cortland will not grant AP or IB credit that is indicated on a high school transcript or on another college's transcript; original test scores must be sent.  

For credit by equivalency exam (i.e. CLEP or OPI), Cortland students are not eligible to receive credit when they are enrolled in or have completed a higher-level course within the same discipline. 

Cortland will not grant transfer credit for:

  • Developmental/remedial coursework or any coursework taken below a 100 level
  • Courses in which you withdrew, failed, or earned an incomplete
  • Courses in which you received a "D" grade.

Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Courses

SUNY Cortland will not initially grant credit for transfer coursework taken on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.  Grades of Pass (P) and Satisfactory (S) awarded at another institution may be accepted at the discretion of the associate dean of the school of the student's major at the initial point of matriculation.  The associate dean has the opportunity to:

  • decline to accept the course.
  • waive a requirement on the basis of a pass (P) or satisfactory (S) grade without granting credit.
  • allow the course to count as its equivalent at Cortland in the case of activity/participation credit.
  • award credit under the General Elective (GEN) or Liberal Arts (LAS) labels.

Students should make contact with their associate dean if they would like to discuss the evaluation of their pass/fail coursework.

Transfer Credit Limits

SUNY Cortland grants the maximum number of transfer credits possible for courses completed from approved sources.  Students may earn:

  • 30 credits maximum from credit-granting tests such as AP, IB, CLEP, and OPI. This maximum applies to all these sources combined, not individually.
  • 64 credits maximum from two-year colleges. This maximum credit limit includes not only coursework but also credit by exam. 
  • Transfer students from four-year colleges can receive additional credit hours: 75-83 credits maximum.  The specific number of credits in this range depends on the total number of credits required for graduation in your chosen program.  This limit also includes any courswork completed at two-year colleges or by exam. 

Residency Requirement

To earn a Cortland bachelor's degree, all students must complete in residency:

  • Minimum of 45 credits overall
  • Half of the major coursework
  • Half of the required coursework in any declared minor or concentration

Transferability of Grades

While credits are transferable, grades earned at other colleges are not calculated in the Cortland grade point average. Your Cortland GPA will be determined solely by graded coursework completed at SUNY Cortland.  As a new transfer student, your beginning GPA at Cortland will be 0.0. 

General Education (GE) Requirements

Transfer students must fulfill all Cortland General Education requirements as well as degree requirements such as writing intensive coursework and foreign language requirements.  Cortland currently requires completion of all 10 SUNY General Education categories. 

If you are transferring from another SUNY college or university, you should ensure that a SUNY GE Transcript Addendum (GETA) accompanies your official transcript.  This document will ensure that the coursework you completed at your prior SUNY institution to meet General Education requirements is reflected accurately on your Cortland degree audit. 

If you transferred with an AA or AS degree from a SUNY community college, you may still require additional coursework in general education or Cortland degree requirements to earn a bachelor's degree. 

General Education Waivers

Based on the number of transfer credits completed prior to your first semester at Cortland, transfer students are eligible for waivers of the General Education requirements in categories 11 (Prejudice and Discrimination), 12 (Science, Technology, Values and Society), or 13 (Natural Science A; one course in a two-course science requirement).  Freshmen students with transfer credit are not eligible for general education waivers.   

A maximum of three waivers may be applied based on the following scale:

  • 20-34.5 transfer credit hours = one waiver.
  • 35-49.5 transfer credit hours = two waivers.
  • 50 or more credit hours = three waivers.

Students who transfer with 50 or more credits will have the waivers automatically applied to their degree audit report by the Transfer Credit Coordinator.  Students who transfer less than 50 credits should complete a GE Waiver Form in consultation with their academic advisor to choose which course(s) to waive.  Transfer students are encouraged to complete the GE Waiver form within their first semester at Cortland.