Second Time Around: What’s the Deal with Transfer Credits?


“She doesn’t even go here!” Join me as I transition to life at Brown, and learn more about our fantastic campus through the ramblings of a recent transfer student. I’m Veronica Fletcher, a junior concentrating in Psychology & Hispanic Studies, and this is my Second Time Around.

Here’s how to make those credits count.

According to the Student Handbook, these are the preliminary requirements for receiving transfer credit for a course taken outside of Brown:

In order to be considered for transfer credit, courses must be completed with a grade of C or better, and an official transcript must be received by Brown University from the host institution, which must be an accredited, degree-granting, four-year institution.

Once you’ve gotten past those first two requirements, the process of actually transferring credits can look a little tricky. It’s actually not nearly as complicated as it seems, and the best news is: you (the student) barely have to do anything!


To give you an example, here’s a sample transcript from my previous school. I submitted my full transcript along with my transfer application, so it’s already in Brown’s possession. Here’s the original transcript:

gw transcript

Aaaand here’s how those same courses appear on my Brown transcript:

brown transcript

Notice that although I took a total of 10 courses at my previous school, only 8 credits show up on my Brown transcript. Brown will accept a maximum of 4 transfer credits for each semester spent at a previous institution — this is because 4 classes is considered to be a “normal” or “full” semester courseload.

What if I took more than 4 classes per semester?
If you took a heavier-than-average courseload, the transfer deans will look at all your eligible credits and use their own discretion to determine which credits should be transferred over. They do this based on your academic interests and intended concentration. My credits that didn’t make the cut are circled above in orange. First up is Single-Variable Calculus I — calculus is helpful, but it isn’t something I’m necessarily going to need for my Psychology and Hispanic Studies concentrations. Knowing this, the deans decided not to transfer that credit. They also decided not to transfer one of my dance classes, probably because it’s not an explicitly academic course.

What does “UASGN/Unassigned Credit” mean?
This is how all transfer credits automatically enter the system. An unassigned credit will count toward your total number of course credits (Brown requires at least 30 for graduation), but it may not fulfill specific requirements or prerequisites.

How do I reassign an “Unassigned Credit”?
If you want to receive Departmental Credit for a course (i.e. have the course appear as its Brown equivalent on your transcript), you’ll have to contact each department individually and have them fill out the Transfer Credit Revision Form. Not all outside courses will necessarily have a Brown equivalent, and IT’S NOT NECESSARY TO RECEIVE DEPARTMENTAL CREDIT FOR EVERY SINGLE COURSE YOU’VE TAKEN. The only courses that you should definitely reassign are concentration requirements and any other important prerequisites. In my case, I only needed Departmental Credit for two concentration-related courses, both of which are circled above in pink. “General Psychology” turned into Elementary Psychology (CLPS 0010) and “Spanish & Latin American Literature” became Transatlantic Crossings (HISP 0760).

Why aren’t my grades showing up on my transcript?
Finally, you can see clearly that I have no grades for any of my transfer courses. All incoming transfer credits are marked with a T, and they’ll stay that way for the rest of your Brown career. If you’re applying to grad schools/jobs/internships/etc. who want a transcript of your grades, you may have to submit your previous school’s transcript in addition to your Brown one.

Thanks for reading! If you have thoughts or questions about this blog post, or any other aspect of the transfer experience, please feel free to email me at, or leave a comment in the box below!


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