Smoothly Transferring Graduate Schools

Finding your dream graduate program is a complex and time consuming process. But what if it turns out the program you chose just isn’t quite right for you?  Consider transferring graduate schools. 

Whether you arrived in your new graduate school program to find it a poor fit, or just never quite managed to finish for other reasons, the dilemma is the same: Can you transfer in graduate school from one graduate school to another?

Yes, you can! Transferring graduate schools is a possibility, if you’re prepared to do the necessary legwork.

transferring graduate schoolsGraduate Schools That Accept Transfer Credits

Graduate schools that accept transfer credits may be available at every level, offering programs in many different subject areas. The process of transferring universities is a little different from the initial application process, but by making the most of your resources, remaining diligent, and choosing carefully, you might find a school that’s a better fit, while still making the most of what credits you did complete.

How to Pick a New Graduate Program

How exactly you go about choosing your transfer universities depends heavily on your reasons for doing so. After all, you’ve already been through the selection process once. This time, you probably know a little more about what you want from a new school, and what issues you’re looking to change.

Transferring graduate schools (not to mention what school you choose) is a personal decision based on your unique situation. Somebody transferring because they can’t keep up with the coursework in their current program will likely have different needs than someone who:

  • Isn’t feeling challenged
  • Needs a different learning format
  • Is looking for a more welcoming campus culture

Whatever your motivations are for transferring graduate schools,  it may be helpful to focus on schools with generous transfer credit policies. This is sometimes called “advanced standing.”

What Is Advanced Standing?

It basically means the amount of credit a new school will give a student to honor studies completed at another institution. Sometimes it also refers to credit for professional and life experience. The more generous the policy at your new school, the less coursework you might need to repeat.

5 Grad Schools for Transfer Students

Below are schools whose graduate programs, as of this writing, have relatively generous policies in place for processing graduate transfer credits. Each of these policies may vary by specific program, and are subject to change.

Kaplan University

Kaplan University has a long history of providing people with the education and resources they need. They got their start in Davenport, IA in 1937 under the name American Institute of Commerce or AIC. They joined the Kaplan family in 2001, and became known as Kaplan University in 2004.

Their Transfer Policy

Kaplan’s transfer credit policy enables students to potentially gain learning credit from a variety of sources. These can include work and life experience, military training, professional certifications, credits earned at prior institutions, as well as testing out of certain courses. However, potential credits are evaluated on an individual basis, and compatibility may vary by source and desired program.

Kaplan's Programs

Kaplan University offers a robust online graduate program in addition to its undergraduate options. These online programs are supported by campus locations and learning centers across the country. So whether you prefer to learn fully online, in the classroom, or keep your options open, Kaplan has your back.

Kaplan offers a variety of masters programs in fields like education, health, social sciences, legal studies, business, technology, nursing, and criminal justice. Examples include:

Kaplan's Faculty

Kaplan Online students may study under faculty with experience in their fields, both in and out of the classroom. Many are even professionals currently working in their industries, meaning they could offer real-world guidance. Kaplan also strives to offer a flexible, user-friendly online experience, with the personal, career and academic support you might need.

Thomas Edison State University

Formerly known as Thomas Edison State College, TESU is a public university based in Trenton, NJ. Established in 1972, today they offer flexible undergrad and graduate programs designed to accommodate the needs of all different types of students. In fact, they were one of the first universities in the United States designed primarily to serve working adults.

TESU Programs

A few examples of the graduate programs offered by TESU include:

Program Formats

Thomas Edison State University offers students a few different formats for online learning. Specific availability may vary by course and program, but typical options offered include the following.

  • Online Learning: Similar to what you might find at other schools, online courses are administered every week through a browser based learning module, and guided by mentors.
  • Guided Study Courses: A more self-directed alternative to the more familiar online course format, guided courses are completed independently using a variety of resources. These include CD, DVD, video streaming, and more. Students are also supported by mentors, though they may have a little less mentor-student interaction than in the online course format. .
  • e-Packs: This unique option is designed for students who may not want much or any interaction with a mentor. Rather, students receive study materials surrounding a series of 12 online quizzes, and earn credit by passing a proctored exam at the culmination of the course.

Transfer Credits TESU Accepts

If you’re transferring into a graduate program, you may be in luck TESU has a few different ways for students to gain credit for learning completed elsewhere. In addition to more traditional transfer credits, students might be able to get credit for:

  • Military and professional training
  • Professional licenses and certifications
  • A portfolio assessment

The courses in your transcript eligible for transfer may vary based on the school and your program of choice, so reach out to them for more information.

Walden University

A private university based in Minneapolis, Walden University offers flexible online masters and doctoral programs in a wide range of unique fields. They strive not just to accommodate students’ schedules, but also their goals by helping them gain experience in and out of the virtual classroom.

Programs Offered by Walden

Walden’s online programs reach more than 57,000 students from 150 different countries. They offer degrees and certificates in 10 different subject areas.

Some examples include:

Other Ways Tranfer Students Qualify

Online courses are by no means the only way Walden works to accommodate the needs of adult students. Students could also take advantage of prior learning—either in the classroom or out of it—and potentially even gain credit for it.

You could transfer credits into graduate programs provided they you earned them within 10 years, earned at least a B, and that the courses align with your selected new program. In some cases, students may also be eligible for credit for professional experience, including professional certifications or credentials.

For more information on transferring into Walden University graduate programs, including program-specific requirements, reach out to the university.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University, also referred to as GCU, is a Christian research university based in Arizona. In addition to their undergraduate programs, GCU offers masters and doctoral programs in education, liberal arts, business, science, engineering, theology, and healthcare. They were founded in 1949, and today offer both online and campus-based degree and certificate programs. Many of their athletics teams also compete in NCAA Division I.

GCU Curriculum

Some examples of GCU graduate programs include:

Interested in transferring to GCU or completing your unfinished graduate degree? GCU typically accepts transfer credits into their masters, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. However, the criteria may vary by program.

Transfer Requirements

As a general rule, students need to have earned at least a B, and the coursework needs to be equivalent to what is offered in the program in question. Students may transfer up to 12 credits or a third of their total program requirements at the master’s level, and up to 9 credits for doctoral programs.

Additionally, doctoral coursework must have been completed within the past seven years.

For more information on transfer credits, credit for professional experience, and other topics, contact Grand Canyon University.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University, or SNHU, is a private nonprofit university in New England. They were founded in 1932 with a focus on business. Today, in addition to their robust campus offerings, SNHU offers an array of opportunities for fully or partially online study at the graduate level.

SNHU Students and Programs

Today, SNHU serves more than 73,000 students, nearly twenty thousand of whom are enrolled in graduate programs. What’s more, 90% of graduate students study exclusively online.

Just a few of their many programs include:

The amount of transfer credits potentially available at SNHU vary by program, so make sure you follow up for additional information when making your decision.

How SNHU Stacks Up

SNHU has also been ranked several times in US News & World Report 2018’s Best Colleges lists, in categories including Regional Universities North, Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Value Schools, and even a #1 spot for Most Innovative Schools.

Tips to Help Ease the Transferring Graduate Schools Process Along

Think you’re ready to transfer into a new graduate program? If you’re staying in the same area of study, think carefully about this process to try and make the most of your prior learning and experience.

4 Tips You Need to Know About Tranferring

  1. Identify what you’re looking for—and what you’re not. You’ve already been through this process once, so the odds are strong that you have a clearer picture now about what you need from your preferred graduate program.

    Make sure you sit down to weigh the positives and negatives of your current program, to help you focus your search.
  2. Don’t snooze on your current studies. You might be looking for a new graduate school, but that doesn’t mean you should let your current studies go, if you’re actively enrolled. Many schools only consider transfer credits above a certain letter grade or GPA. Plus, you might be able to make the most of the opportunity.

    If you have another semester or so to go and there are specific courses that are likely to transfer into your preferred programs, you might be able to focus on getting those out of the way.
  3. Follow up about transfer credit policies before you apply. It may seem obvious, but make sure you follow up with your selected schools or programs about their transfer credit policies. Don’t take for granted that they’ll accept your prior work!

    This way, you could make a more informed decision about where you want to attend, rather than being taken by surprise after you enroll.
  4. Double check your financial aid. Finally, make sure your financial aid is in order. Not all awards may transfer with you, whether they’re institutional or not.

    Make sure you know how much you can carry with you, so you can adequately prepare to pay the tuition in your new program after you’re accepted.

Start Transferring Graduate Schools

If you’re ready to start the process of transferring graduate schools, is here to help! Fill out the form on this page to get matched with schools, or use the menu to browse our sponsored program listings by subject area, degree level, and program format.