Transfer Credit, Count Toward Degree, & Reduced Hours

Transfer Credit

The transfer credit option allows master’s students to count graduate coursework completed at another institution toward their KU degree. Students can transfer up to 9 credit hours toward their master’s degrees.  Both the department and COGA must approve the transfer request. The course(s) and grade(s) will then appear on the student's KU transcript as the KU course equivalent.

Some restrictions apply to what non-KU courses can be counted toward a KU master’s degree:

  • Only courses taken for graduate credit and graded B or higher (3.0 on a 4.0 scale or higher) can be transferred.
  • The courses in question cannot have counted toward any previously completed undergraduate or graduate degrees.
  • KU does not accept transfer credit for educational institutes, workshops, or work/life experience.
  • Courses must be approved by the student’s department as fulfilling a specific, regular degree requirement (including elective coursework) and should be equal in rigor to KU's graduate coursework, as reflected in the course description and syllabus.

To begin the transfer process, students should contact their departments to submit the required transfer materials, including an official transcript reflecting the courses from the other institution to be transferred in, as well as descriptions and/or syllabi for the courses in question.  The department, usually the Director of Graduate Studies, will then determine if the course may count for KU credit, and if so, what KU course is equivalent.

No graduate coursework from another institution may be transferred to a KU graduate certificate.

Because doctoral degrees at KU do not have a KBOR-defined minimum number of hours, no coursework may be transferred to the PhD.  Departments may take prior graduate work into consideration in setting up programs of study and reduce requirements accordingly.  Such decisions are left to the discretion of the department; no petition to COGA is required.

Count Toward Degree

The count toward degree process is distinct from transfer credit, which only applies to courses taken at another institution.  In the count toward degree process, a student may be allowed to count graduate coursework taken as a graduate non-degree seeking student at KU toward a graduate degree.  No more than 9 credit hours may be counted in this way, assuming the degree-granting department endorses the request and the courses in question meet the University's criteria for graduate credit.   The student must contact the department to complete a Count Toward Degree form, which must then be submitted to COGA for review and approval.  If the form is approved, COGA and the department will include the counted courses when verifying that degree requirements have been met.  The coursework will also be included in the calculation of the student's graduate GPA.  However, the change is not otherwise reflected on the student's transcript. 

With the exception of coursework completed via a pre-approved Co-enrollment arrangement, graduate coursework completed as an undergraduate degree-seeking or undergraduate non-degree seeking student may not be counted toward a graduate degree at KU.

Graduate courses taken at KU may count toward both a graduate degree and graduate certificate(S) as long as the student is admitted and enrolled in the intended program prior to completion of the last required course. If the courses were taken as a non-degree seeking student, a Count Toward Degree form must be submitted prior to approval for graduation or approval of the certificate.

Reduced Hour Degree

Kansas Board of Regents policy defines 30 hours as the minimum for master's degrees at KU.  Departments may petition for a reduced hour degree Master's degree for individual students.  A reduction in hours is distinct from a transfer of credit and is reserved for those students especially well-prepared to complete a graduate-level degree and able to maintain a superior grade point average.  If approved, a student will be allowed to complete his or her degree by enrolling in up to 6 fewer hours of graduate credit than is typically required for that degree.  No coursework is transferred and no modifications to the transcript are made.

To find out more about reduced hour degrees, please contact your department directly.  Departments can submit reduced credit hour degree petitions on behalf of their students through the Miscellaneous Functions Progress to Degree (PTD) form.  The department must support the petition and COGA must approve it before the reduced degree requirements will be granted.

For Master's programs that require more than 30 graduate hours, a reduced credit hour degree petition need only be approved by COGA if the reduction brings the student's total graduate hours below 30.

As is the case with Transfer credit, because doctoral degrees at KU do not have a required minimum number of hours, departments may take prior graduate work into consideration in setting up programs of study and reduce requirements accordingly.  Such decisions are left to the discretion of the department; no petition to COGA is required.

Minimum KU Hours

In all cases, a minimum of 15 credits toward a master’s degree must be earned in graduate KU coursework.


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Morgan Swartzlander
Graduate Student Services Manager
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