Skip to main content

Transfer Credit Basics

Transfer Credit Basics


What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition, by a governing body, of an educational institution. Accreditation is necessary to any educational institution to prove that they are maintaining suitable standards or quality. Boise State University relies on the following accrediting associations standards to evaluate and accept academic college-level credits and grades earned by transfer students:

Transferring Credits

Generally, credits are transferred in at the equivalent level that they were taken (i.e., a lower-division course will transfer in as a lower-division course and an upper-division course will transfer in as an upper-division course). However, all coursework taken at a Junior/Community College is considered lower-division.

There are two types of transfer courses: equivalent and non-equivalent. When determining course equivalency, a transfer credit evaluator compares the course description from the original institution with course descriptions at Boise State. If a course you took at another college or university is equivalent to a course at Boise State, it will be counted toward your degree as if you had completed the course at Boise State. However, upper division credit for courses will be based on the course numbering system of your transfer institution, not the Boise State course it has been equated to. Non-equivalent courses are designated on your credit report with an “XF” at the end of a course number.

Some reasons why a course may be transferred as non-equivalent are:

  • Boise State does not offer an equivalent course.
  • There was not enough information in the course description to make a determination.
  • The evaluators are unable to locate a course description due to the length of time since the course was taken.
  • The course is essential and/or specific to the major, and the department needs to determine if it is equivalent.

Credit Review

If your institution is not accredited by one of the above associations, those courses may still be able to transfer to Boise State. In such cases, the department offering similar courses can review the credits and decide which credits – if any – to accept. This process should be initiated with the assistance of an academic advisor. A list of advisors by major can be found on the Advising and Academic Support Center website.

Religion Courses

Boise State does not accept sectarian religion courses. No more than 8 credits of nonsectarian religion courses (i.e., Old or New Testament or Comparative World Religions) may be used toward degree requirements. Transferred religion courses may count as general elective credits only.

Core Certification

If you earn an academic associate degree (not an associate of applied science) from an institution accredited by one of the above associations, you are considered core certified. Core certification fulfills all general education core requirements except those courses that are specifically required by the major. You may also be considered core certified if you meet all Idaho State Board of Education General Education Core Requirements at the time of transfer. If you are core certified, the statement “General University Core Met” will appear on your transfer credit report and your academic advisement report.

If you are transferring from an Idaho school and have not earned an associate degree, you may still be considered core certified if your transcript is stamped core certified by the Registrar’s Office of your original institution.

Beginning in Fall 2015, students who transfer into Boise State University without an academic associate degree, but meet Idaho State Board of Education General Education Matriculation (GEM) requirements and have a minimum of thirty-six (36) GEM course semester credit hours will be considered core certified at Boise State. The Idaho State Board of Education GEM Requirements are listed below. Visit Course Transfer to learn more about transferring schools within Idaho.

Idaho State Board of Education Matriculation (GEM) Requirements

CategoryCourse RequirementCredit Requirement
Written Communication2 courses6 credits
Oral Communication1 course2 credits
Mathematical Ways of Knowing1 course3 credits
Scientific Ways of Knowing (from two different disciplines with at least one laboratory or field experience)2 courses7 credits
Humanistic and Artistic Ways of Knowing (from two different disciplines)2 courses6 credits
Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing (from two different disciplines)2 courses6 credits
Institutionally Designated Credits2 courses6 credits
Total Courses / Credits12 courses36 credits

You are responsible for meeting all graduation requirements, including specific courses required by a college or department, based on the eligible catalog declared.

Quarter System Credit

Credits transferred in from a quarter system are converted to semester credits. Quarter credits are converted to semester credits by multiplying them by .67 (e.g., 5 quarter credits multiplied by .67 equals 3.33 semester credits). You are responsible for meeting university minimums regarding total number of Foundational Studies credits, upper-division and total hours required for graduation.


Residency Credit Requirements

As a transfer student, you are required to:

  • complete 7 credits at Boise State for an undergraduate certificate
  • complete 15 credits at Boise State for an associate degree
  • complete 30 upper-division credits at Boise State for an baccalaureate degree
Back To Top