Graduate students

Transfer Credit - Graduate Students

Policy Number: 100336

Current Policy

Category: Academic » Enrollment



If you have been admitted to a graduate program at NAU and have earned resident graduate credit at another institution, you can petition the Graduate College to apply such credit toward your graduate degree. Transferring credits to a graduate degree program is not routinely done. A petition to transfer credit is, by definition, a request for an exception to the rule that all graduate courses must be taken at NAU. Faculty within a graduate program/department assumes the responsibility to ensure transfer courses demonstrate the core learning competencies, expectations, and criteria for the requested transfer.

Transfer credit is not guaranteed in advance. Three levels of approvals (advisor, department, and Graduate College) are required on the petition, making it possible the request may be denied at any of the three levels.

Petitions to transfer credit should be submitted early in your program to avoid the risk of delayed graduation if the petition is not approved.

Doctoral Degrees

For Doctoral students, the transfer credit should be noted on the plan of study. The number of transfer credits allowed for doctoral degrees are specific to the program. Please refer to the program/department handbook for specifics. The Graduate College will finalize the transfer credit at the time of admission to candidacy.

Master’s Degrees and Graduate Certificates: Regulations Governing Transfer Credit

To be considered for transfer credit, the student’s courses must:

  • demonstrate that the course meets and/or contains equivalent core learning competencies for the requested transfer, shown through a course syllabus and/or other official course material
  • have been earned at an accredited or recognized institution;
  • have been earned with a grade of "A" or "B." (The Graduate College will accept a "Pass" grade if the course is graded only on a pass-fail basis.);
  • be applicable to a graduate degree at the institution where the credit was earned;
  • meet the Arizona Board of Regents’ requirement for credit. A minimum of 45 hours of work is required for each unit of credit. (Note: An hour of work is equivalent to 50 minutes of class time, often called a “contact hour,” or 60 minutes of independent study work. NAU requires at least 45 contact hours for each 3-unit course, and assumes at least 90 hours of student homework for that course.);
  • have been earned within the six-year period required for completing the Master's degree or Graduate Certificate at Northern Arizona University.
  • The number of units that may be transferred from other institutions cannot exceed twenty-five percent of the total minimum units of credit required for the Master’s Degree or graduate certificate. Proviso: A student in the M.Ed. in Secondary Education plan may transfer 12 units in the content area.

 Master’s and Graduate Certificate students must complete the Petition for Transfer Credit form.

Students can petition for exception

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which there is no specific petition process. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. The student’s advisor and department chair should endorse the letter of petition.

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