David Recine

Transferring Course Credit from Abroad

Many students come to countries like the USA for a graduate college degree, not an initial one. And it’s also not uncommon to want to apply previously earned credits to your new degree abroad.

If you’re in a situation like this, you’ll need to apply your previously earned credits to your new degree if possible….or simply prove that you already have a bachelor’s degree and are eligible for grad school. But how can you do this? How can your school know which credits you’ve already taken, and which degrees you’ve already completed? How can they interpret past transcripts that aren’t in English, from foreign school systems that probably measure college credits in a different way?

Using credential evaluation to transfer credits from abroad

This is where something called credential evaluation comes in. What is credential evaluation? Glad you asked. Or if you didn’t ask because you already know, good for you! But read on either way—this post contains some important tips on how to get credential evaluation done.

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Credential evaluation is the assessment of foreign academic classes, to see if they can count as transfer credits into universities in North America, Australia, the U.K., and so on.

In some rare cases, the school you apply to may evaluate your credentials for you. But more often than not, school admission offices aren’t able to evaluate credentials on their own. It’s just not possible for most schools to have expert translators and evaluators for every language and country of their international transfer students.

So for the most part, schools use professional credential evaluation companies to look at the transcripts from your home country. These evaluation services help universities figure out what your past studies are equivalent to in their system—the exact degree you’ve completed, how many classroom hours you’ve already completed, and how many transfer credits can be applied to your new degree path.

Generally, the university you apply to will recommend a specific credential evaluator to you—a company they have a formal partnership with and trust. WES and ECE are the major university partner agencies in the USA—most universities know these credential evaluation services, accept them, and officially recommend them. However, there are usually other options too. And there are plenty of universities that accept or even prefer lesser known agencies.

Maybe you’re not sure which university you’ll apply to yet, and you want a credential evaluation that could potentially be accepted by a lot of different schools. In that case, you should carefully consider which agency (or agencies) you’ll hire to evaluate your home country academic transcripts. InternatioanlStudent.com offers a good checklist for choosing a good credential evaluator on your own. Personally though, I recommend working with specific schools to see what they’ll accept. Credential evaluation fees can range from around $100 to $300, depending on what you need. So it’s best to be absolutely certain you’re with a company that will work for you.


  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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