External Credit Policies

It is expected that the majority of credits applied towards degree requirements are earned by completion of courses taught at Johns Hopkins University by our faculty.  We do recognize that some students may have other sources of college-level credit that could be applicable to some requirements.  This section explains the conditions and restrictions regarding credits earned outside of JHU.

For full details about the application of external credits towards degree requirements, please see the Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree and the Residency Requirement.

Exam Credit

The information below describes the requirements for students entering JHU in Fall 2019.  Students who entered JHU prior to Fall 2019 should view the appropriate archived catalog.

Advanced Placement Exams

To receive credit, Advanced Placement examinations must be taken prior to admission to the university.

If a student enters the university with credit from an Advanced Placement Exam and then earns credit for an equivalent course at the university, the credits from advanced placement (and lab class waiver, if applicable) will be disallowed. The credits and grade for the Hopkins course will appear on the academic record. The Advanced Placement Exam title also remains on the record, but the credit value is converted to zero. This policy also applies to IB credit, GCE credit, and credit from foreign exams.

AP Exam JHU Course Score Credit
Biology AS.020.151 & AS.020.152*** 5 6
Chemistry AS.030.101 & AS.030.102 and labs AS.030.105-AS.030.106**** 5 8
Chemistry AS.030.101 and lab AS.030.105**** 4 4
Environmental Science TR.270.100 4 or 5 4
Computer Science A EN.500.112^ 5 3
Macroeconomics AS.180.101* 5 3
Microeconomics AS.180.102** 5 3
Calculus AB AS.110.108***** 5 4
Calculus BC AS.110.108***** 3 or 4 4
Calculus BC AS.110.108 and AS.110.109***** 5 8
Physics C Mechanics AS.171.101****** 4 or 5 4
Physics C Electricity and Magnetism AS.171.102****** 4 or 5 4
Statistics EN.553.111 4 or 5 4


 Higher Level International Baccalaureate Courses*

Subject JHU Course Score Credit
Biology AS.020.151 & AS.020.152 (labs AS.020.153 & AS.020.154 waived with no credit) 6 or 7 6
Chemistry AS.030.101 & AS.030.102 and labs AS.030.105 & AS.030.106 6 or 7 8
Economics AS.180.101 (Macroeconomics) 7 3
Math AS.110.108 6 or 7 4
Physics AS.171.101 (lab AS.173.111 waived with no credit) 6 4
Physics AS.171.101 & AS.171.102 (labs AS.173.111 & AS.173.112 waived with no credit) 7 8

Foreign Certificate Exams

Credit is awarded for grades of A or B on the British and the Singapore General Certificate of Education A-Level (GCE) courses in many of the subject areas included on the Advanced Placement exams and International Baccalaureate courses listed above. A grade of A in Physics on the GCE is awarded 8 credits. A grade of B is awarded 4 credits. AS and O levels are not accepted. Foreign certificate programs like the French Baccalaureate and the German Abitur are considered on a case-by-case basis. No foreign language credit is available for these exams.  The rules regarding credit forfeiture described in the Advanced Placement Exam section above also apply to foreign exam credits

Exam Credits for Foreign Language

The German and Romance Languages Department does not award any credit for Spanish AP/IB exams.

French, German, and Italian will grant six credits for AP scores of 4 or 5 (IB Exams for 6 or 7) only after a student successfully completes two courses in that same language sequence at the intermediate level or higher. Additional information is available under Registration Restrictions.

JHU Placement Exams

Some departments may offer placement exams or other evaluations that allow a student to bypass lower-level content in that department, most commonly mathematics and foreign language. No credit is awarded for these departmental exams or evaluations as they are for placement purposes only. In some cases, a waiver of the bypassed course(s) may be noted on the student's academic record. No academic credit is awarded when a course is waived. Students should contact their respective academic advising office for additional information.

Transfer Credit

Students who entered JHU prior to Fall 2015 should view the appropriate archived catalog.

The following content is included on this page:

Transfer Credit Limits 

Transfer Credit Rules

Registering for Courses at Other Colleges and Universities After Matriculation

Policies Unique to Students Admitted to JHU as Transfer Students

Description of Transferable Credit

Transfer of Writing Intensive Credits

Transfer Credit Limits

Students admitted directly from high school

Students who enter the university from high school may transfer up to 12 credits from approved courses taken at other institutions, whether taken before or after matriculation. The 12-credit limit on transfer credits does not include credit from Hopkins summer courses, Advanced Placement examinations, British General Certificate of Education courses, International Baccalaureate courses, or foreign certificate courses.

Students admitted as transfer students

Students who enter the university as transfer students into the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences may bring in up to 60 transfer credits towards a degree requiring 120 credits. Students earning degrees requiring more than 120 credits in both KSAS and WSE may bring in more than 60 credits; however at least 60 of the total degree credits must be earned in residence as a full-time student at JHU. See the Requirements for a Bachelors' Degree section in the  catalog for additional residency requirements. All transfer students may transfer up to an additional 12 credits after matriculation. The 12-credit limit on transfer credits does not include credit from Hopkins summer courses, Advanced Placement examinations, British General Certificate of Education courses, International Baccalaureate courses, or foreign certificate courses.

Transfer Credit Rules

The following rules apply to both online courses and courses taken in a traditional classroom setting.

To be eligible for transfer credit, an approved course must be taken for a grade at an approved college and completed with a grade of C or better. In the United States, an approved institution is a 2-year or 4-year college or university that is accredited by one of the following regional accrediting agencies:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institution of Higher Education
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities

Transfer credits from non-US academic institutions must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the academic advising offices in the respective schools. Non-US academic institutions must be degree-granting and recognized and authorized to issue academic records by the appropriate national (or regional) bodies in their home countries.

How the number of semester credits is determined

For courses offered in semester credits at the host institution, courses will be awarded the same number of semester credits at JHU. For example, if a Calculus I course is offered for 5 semester credits at another institution, it will be transferred to JHU as 5 credits, even though our parallel course is a 4-credit course. Credit for courses earned at a school using the quarter system will be converted to a comparable number of semester credits. One quarter credit is equivalent to 2/3 of a semester credit. Other unit systems will be convert to semester credits based on the transcript key provided by the host institution.  If a key is not available, credits are evaluated such that one year of full-time coursework at the other school is considered proportional to one year of full-time coursework at JHU.

How transfer credits are posted on a JHU transcript

The following information is included for each course transferred to JHU:

  • name of institution where course was taken
  • course title
  • JHU course equivalent (if any)
  • credits awarded

The grades earned in these courses do not appear on the Hopkins record and therefore do not contribute to the  grade point average. 

Restriction on courses taken without a letter or numerical grade

Ungraded or pass/fail courses taken at another institution prior to matriculation at JHU, if approved, may receive credit if the host school states in writing that the mark represents a grade of C or better.

Restriction on transferring duplicate content

A transfer course will not be approved when the course content has significant overlap with other courses the student has already completed. Likewise, transfer students may not take courses at JHU with significant overlap with prior course content.  In cases where a department requires a student to do this, the transfer credit will be zeroed out on the transcript.  

Entering freshman with more than twelve transferable credits

Some students enter the university from high school with additional college course work beyond the 12 credits that may be transferred. If these additional courses are equivalent to subjects that the university accepts for credit by Advanced Placement exams, and if the courses are needed to complete requirements for a major or are prerequisites for higher level courses that the student will take at JHU, then students may request that the department waive the comparable courses at JHU.  Waivers do not carry semester credits. Students must contact their respective academic advising office for detailed information about how to obtain a waiver.

Credits earned at JHU prior to matriculation, including the JHU Pre-College Summer Program

A student who takes JHU courses prior to matriculation as a degree-seeking student may receive credit for those courses completed with grades of C or better, but the grades are not included in the undergraduate record. Because these courses were taken at JHU, they are not subject to the 12-credit transfer rule.  Credits earned through this program may be applied to the 100-credit JHU residency requirement (applicable to freshmen matriculating fall 2014 and later).  Independent Academic Work (research, study, internship) completed prior to matriculation is not eligible, and will not be reflected on the undergraduate record.

Credits earned at other JHU schools in the summer

Students should refer to this section of the catalog for details about the policies related to credits earned at other JHU schools in the summer.  

Credits earned through study abroad

For the purposes of fulfilling the JHU residence requirements, Homewood-approved study abroad courses posted as HA.xxx.xxx or TR.xxx.xxx on the transcript are considered in-residence and are included in the 100 credit residency requirement for students who enrolled directly from high school as freshmen.  Transfer students should refer to the residency requirements section for applicability of study abroad credits. Students participating in study abroad programs must meet university residence requirements, including the requirement that they be on Homewood campus during their final semester prior to graduation.

Students may transfer a full-year of credit from Homewood Abroad Courses (HA) or up to 30 credits from authorized Study Abroad Transfer Courses (TR) toward their Hopkins undergraduate degrees.  Students may apply up to 12 additional transfer credits from pre-approved programs abroad, with a 42-credit transfer credit maximum from all study abroad (HA/TR) and domestic courses combined. Students on Homewood Abroad Courses (HA) will be held to the same course load guidelines that apply to course loads and over loads on the Homewood Campus.

Students may enroll in a combination of semester and/or summer/intersession abroad programs, but students may not enroll in three consecutive fall/spring semesters abroad. 

Transfer of credits from international institutions without pre-approval

Students who pursue coursework at an international institution without pre-approval may request these credits be transferred after completion. However, these credits will be reviewed and, if acceptable, will be processed as transfer credits, not study abroad credits. Therefore, these credits are subject to the 12 credit transfer maximum. 

Deferred Admission

Students who have been accepted to the university may defer admission for up to two years with approval from the director of undergraduate admissions. Freshmen who have deferred admission begin their studies in the fall semester. The purpose of a deferral is to allow students to take time off in order to travel, work, or experience another culture. Deferrals are not granted for the purpose of studying at another institution. Students who wish to pursue academic studies during the deferment period may do so; however, the credits earned during the deferment period will not be applied toward the university’s degree requirements.

Special Note for Students on Disciplinary Suspension from Hopkins

While serving a disciplinary suspension, academic work completed at another institution will not be recognized for credit transfer to JHU.

Registering for Courses at Other Colleges and Universities After Matriculation

Students are required to seek pre-approval to transfer credits from courses completed at other institutions. A form for this purpose is available in the advising offices. Directions regarding appropriate signatures and required supplemental materials (typically a detailed course description and/or a course syllabus) are on the form. Courses must be taken for a letter grade and a grade of C or better is required.

In order to transfer credit for previously-approved summer work done elsewhere, students must arrange for an official transcript to be sent to the Office of the Registrar.  

International students seeking to take summer courses in their home country must complete International Travel Registration with the Office of Study Abroad prior to submitting pre-approval requests to transfer courses.  

Courses at colleges and universities in the Baltimore Student Exchange Program (BSEP)

See Registering for Courses through BSEP in the Registration Policies section. BSEP does not operate during the summer session; courses taken at these institutions during the summer are considered transfer credit and are subject to the same rules and limits as courses from other colleges and universities.

Concurrent registration at JHU and another institution

Students may take courses at another institution when registered at JHU and have these courses transfer to JHU only if permission is granted before registering for the courses at another institution.  During the fall and spring semesters, students must be registered at JHU for a minimum of 12 credits and the addition of courses at another institution may not exceed our maximum credit limit for the term.  During summer term, the total credits across institutions may not exceed the 14 credit maximum.  During intersession term, the total credits across institutions may not exceed the 3 credit maximum. 

Policies Unique to Students Admitted to JHU as Transfer Students

  • Transfer students who completed Advanced Placement or other exams during high school are subject to the same policies as students admitted directly from high school as of the term they matriculate at JHU.  We do not transfer exam credits directly from another college or university transcript.
  • Students who transfer from the Peabody Conservatory will be granted full credit for performance courses in their major instrument. For performance courses in other instruments, only one credit per semester will be awarded.

Description of Transferable Credit 

In order to be transferable, a course does not have to match a currently existing JHU course; however, courses should cover topics that are broadly defined as part of the curriculum at Hopkins. For example, we do not regularly teach a course about horror films. However, since this is a film studies course and we have a major in film and media studies, it’s likely that this course would be eligible for transfer. A course can be transferred as either (1) a direct equivalent to one of our courses or (2) a generic course affiliated with a field of study . A course with an identical name at another institution is not necessarily going to transfer as directly equivalent to the course with the same title at JHU.

A maximum of 6 credits may be granted for courses which are in curriculum areas not covered by the fields of study in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.

Additional Details About Course Eligibility for Transfer:

Section One: Common courses not accepted for transfer credit

Section Two: Common courses with restrictions for transfer credit

Section Three: Non-domestic studies

Section Four: Transferring writing-intensive courses

Section One: Common courses that will not be accepted for transfer credit:

Physical Education or Personal Health and Wellness Courses are not accepted.

  •  However, a maximum of 6 credits in the fields of nutrition, dietetics, or kinesiology if these courses were part of a curriculum leading to a college degree in the subject.

Study Skills or Career Development Courses are not accepted.

  • However, courses that are in-depth studies of career paths within a field of study may be considered. Psychology courses in career counseling or learning theory may be accepted.

Math Courses Below the Pre-Calculus Level are not accepted.

  • However, we do accept most introductory statistics courses. We will accept one course designed to review all necessary background for the study of calculus and to introduce the concept of the rate of change of a function.

Theology Courses are not accepted.

  • However, we will consider comparative religion courses or other religion courses that study religion from an academic viewpoint.

Developmental English, English Grammar, or English as a Second Language Courses are not accepted.

  • However, we do typically transfer "freshman composition" courses.

Independent Study, Research, or Internship Credits are not accepted

  • However, hybrid courses that include lectures and graded assignments along with practical experiences are reviewed individually.

Trade Skill Courses are not accepted.

  • Trade skills courses are defined as being part of an educational program leading to a specific trade such as (but not limited to) automotive repair, culinary arts, day care provider, or airplane pilot.

Computer Software Courses are not accepted.

  • However, courses that teach some use of software, Internet design and security, basic programming in html or Java, computer aided-design or introduce field-specific software programs may be considered.

Section Two: Common courses with restrictions for transfer credit


General Chemistry courses intended to serve as a one year sequence for students in the sciences are transferrable. However, because of the variability of these courses, it is often not possible to transfer just one semester of two-semester sequences (or one or two quarters). Syllabi review is required to transfer these courses. Rudimentary introductory chemistry courses intended to prepare students for a year of general chemistry are not transferrable. One-semester chemistry courses intended for non-science majors designed to fulfill general education requirements for non-science student may transfer.

Organic Chemistry Lab

JHU offers a one-semester, three-credit course (AS.030.225 or AS.030.227) that is recognized by medical schools as being equivalent to other institutions' typical year-long introductory organic lab courses that are frequently 1 credit each. To transfer these lab courses from other institutions, students must take both semesters at the other institution, as one semester alone is not transferable. If the course lecture and lab are taught as a single course unit at the other institution, students must take the full year-long sequence of the course lecture and lab in order to transfer the courses to JHU. Our course AS.030.228 is an intermediate level organic chemistry laboratory course intended for only chemistry majors and typically goes beyond other institutions' expectations of students from introductory organic chemistry lab.


General physics courses, typically covering the topics of mechanics, heat, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics intended to serve as one year of physics study for students in the sciences, may be transferred if the course was taught using the principles of calculus. Those courses that do not require calculus knowledge will not transfer. Rudimentary introductory physics courses intended to prepare students for a year of general physics will not transfer. Introductory one-semester physics or astronomy courses intended for non-science majors, for example those offered to help students fulfill general education requirements, may be transferred.


We accept transfer credits for corporate finance courses that may include, but are not limited to, understanding the design and functioning of financial markets or modeling financial forecasting and decision making. We do not transfer credit for personal finance courses designed to teach the individual consumer about topics such as money management, budgeting, home mortgages, personal tax, individual insurance, or investing.

Graphic Design

In order to be considered for transfer, graphic design courses must be taught as part of the required curriculum for a major leading to a degree at the offering institution and the course content must include design theory and practices. These carry no area designation. Courses that focus solely on software usage will not transfer.

Website Design

In order to be considered for transfer, website design courses must be taught as part of the required curriculum for a major leading to a degree at the offering institution and the course content must include some programming components. Courses that solely focus on usage of productivity software such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, graphics editing, accounting, statistical processing, or webpage creation will not transfer.

Internet/Social Media

Marketing courses that discuss the effective use of social media concepts and tools, search engine optimization (SEO) or other analytical market analysis techniques, and content creation and management strategies for marketing campaigns will be considered. However, courses teaching effective use of the internet for personal research or educating the lay person about its structural design or usage of social media will not transfer.

Medical Terminology

In order to transfer a course teaching medical terminology, the course must have: 1) an emphasis on etymology from Latin and Greek (as opposed to just learning word parts per se; i.e. the course has to have some direct and explicit treatment of the ancient languages) and 2) a significant historical/cultural component, involving study of the history of medicine (including at least some ancient material).

American Sign Language

If offered for degree credit at the host institution, courses in American Sign Language may transfer.  It is at the discretion of a department if the language may be used to fulfill the foreign language requirements of a major or minor.

College/University Orientation

Credit-bearing courses designed to promote student success may be considered for transfer.  Courses should include topics such as: learning strategies, study techniques, career readiness, academic planning, and how to engage in the academic/campus community. Courses focused only on campus-specific topics will not transfer.

Section Three: Non-domestic studies

For those attending programs leading to the medical profession

In several countries around the world, students enter higher education programs that lead to a medical degree without the completion of the United States equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. We do not transfer credits from these types of programs.

US citizens who studied abroad prior to acceptance as a transfer student to JHU

Like our international students who studied internationally before transferring to Johns Hopkins, courses taken abroad by US citizens either through study abroad programs or direct matriculation at international institutions will be processed as transfer credits, not as study abroad credits. A transcript from the originating institution will be required.

Composition courses not taught in English

Courses taught in a language other than English that mimic the typical “freshman composition” or “expository writing” courses found in the United States will transfer. These courses will be reviewed for transfer credit as potential courses in our English Department (home of our Expository Writing Program), not as foreign language courses. They may not be used to meet the JHU writing-intensive requirement.

Current JHU students studying internationally in their home country

Please see study abroad eligibility restrictions for limitations during the academic year.     

During the summer, courses may be taken in a student's home country or country of citizenship. Students follow the procedures for pre-approval of transfer credits. Such courses are subject to the 12-credit transfer rule.

Courses unique to China

We do not transfer three commonly required courses: Introduction to Mao Zedong Thoughts, Ideological and Moral Cultivation and Fundamentals of Law, and Principles of Marxism.

Section Four: Details about transferring writing-intensive credit

Students may transfer up to 6 credits of writing-intensive credit for a course(s) under these conditions:

  1. The course must meet University criteria for a writing intensive course.
  2. Students must take the course during the regular academic year, in either fall or spring semester (there is no writing-intensive transfer credit for summer courses).
  3. Students must have a grade of B or higher in the course.

Except for courses completed in a study abroad program, review of transfer courses for writing intensive credit is conducted in the student's respective academic advising office.  Study abroad courses are handled by Patricia Kain, Director of the Expository Writing Program. To arrange a meeting, she may be emailed at kain@jhu.edu

Students who wish to have a course evaluated for writing intensive credit, should:

  • Confirm that their respective academic advising office has an official transcript for the course.
  • Gather the necessary materials to apply for transfer of W credit. These materials include a syllabus for the course, a course description from the catalog or official website, and copies of the papers you wrote for the course. If you have the original papers with the instructor’s notes, bring them. All materials must be printed; they will not be reviewed electronically.  
  • Schedule a 30 minute meeting in advance with the appropriate academic advisor.
    • Arts and Sciences incoming freshmen meet with either Ami Cox, Kathie Sindt, or Wiona Porath.
    • Arts and Sciences incoming transfer students meet either Ami Cox or Wiona Porath (students should schedule with the advisor who is NOT their assigned academic advisor).
    • Engineering students freshmen meet with their assigned professional academic advisor.