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. 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.

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6 Responses to Transferring Course Credit from Abroad

  1. Dips July 13, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    Thank you! This blog is very helpful to me, recently i made contact to one of a nyc college. They told me about transcript and evaluation process. I did my Bachelor of science (3year)and Bachelor in Education(1year)from india and i’m a green card holder. They consider me as a graduate or not.How they evaluate my credential i’m eligible for masters?
    I wanna know about what is tranfer student? What do you mean by matriculated and non matriculated? Is transfer student and international student admission processes are same or different?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 18, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

      Hi Dips,

      For many of these questions, you should directly contact the university! They will be able to give you more specific information on what to do and how they evaluate these sorts of things. The school should also be able to tell you if they consider you a university graduate.

      A transfer student is a student that transfers from one university to another, usually in the middle of their studies. They start to study in one school, and finish in another school. Transfer credits, on the other hand, are the classes that ‘count’ towards their degree in the new school. If you can transfer credits, then you don’t have to re-take classes, and classes from your previous school will count towards your degree. The processes for transfer students and international students will probably be different–again, you should directly contact the school 🙂

      Matriculated means enrolled in school.

  2. Chork Hieng May 8, 2019 at 10:07 pm #

    Hello, I am a green card holder. I want to go to college for two year degree. I also have high school and foundation year from my country, but I don’t clearly understand the process to transfer my transcripts. I only have my certificates ( original and translated). What do I need to do before I can start my college?

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 9, 2019 at 2:11 pm #

      For community colleges, you’ll likely go through the same process described i this post: using a credential evaluation service approved by the school you’re applying to. Contact your prospective community college and ask them for details on getting your credits translated and analyzed for application. (If your transcripts are already in English, you can skip the translation part, of course! 🙂 )

      Also, since you’re a Green Card holder, you likely won’t need to take the IELTS or TOEFL, and you definitely won’t need to apply as an international student. 🙂

  3. Seren February 27, 2021 at 4:04 am #

    I am waiting for green card and my dad has a green card. I am sophomore in Turkey and i am going to transfer to university in US. Am i need SAT or TOEFL if i have a green card?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 5, 2021 at 10:31 am #

      Hi Seren, you’ll have to check the requirements for your target schools. I recommend contacting them directly.

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