Applying to Emerson

Who is a transfer student?

At Emerson, we define a transfer student as anyone with a high school diploma or GED (General Equivalency Diploma) who has matriculated full time at another college or enrolled part-time for three or more college courses (9 or more college credits). Students with college credits earned prior to high school graduation (e.g., dual enrollment) are considered first-year applicants.

Apply as a First Year student if you:

  • enrolled full-time at another college but officially withdrew before the college's posted ADD/DROP deadline.
  • attended another college part-time after earning a high school diploma, and have earned 8 or less college credits.
  • earned college credits prior to high school graduation (e.g., dual enrollment).

Apply as a Transfer if you:

  • enrolled as a full-time student at another college 
  • attended another college part-time after earning a high school diploma, and have earned 9 or more college credits.

What are your transfer application deadlines?

Our transfer application deadlines for both fall and spring admission are available online.

Applications and supporting credentials received after the postmarked deadline will be considered only if there is available space in the program. In addition, if your application is still incomplete by the deadline, you may not receive a decision by the notification date.

What is required to apply for transfer admission?

Application requirements for transfer applicants are available online. Additional application materials are required for applicants to our Performing Arts programs and our Comedic Arts program, and recommended for applicants to Media Production programs. Transfer students can not apply Undecided nor are the Global Partnerships at PCA, Franklin University, & ICMS available to transfer applicants at this time.

If you are enrolled in the Longy School of Music and want to learn more about our Bachelor's of Music program, click here to view your information.

How will I know if Emerson has received all of my application materials?

Please visit the Admission Portal to check your application status.

Can I apply to transfer for the spring semester?

Emerson admits a limited number of transfer students each spring. The priority deadline to apply is November 1 and applications submitted after this date will be considered on a space-available basis until December 3.

The sooner you apply for spring and submit all the required documents, the sooner you may receive a decision (and, if admitted, receive information on transfer credits, course registration, and orientation).

Please note, Comedic Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Performing Arts only accept applications for the fall term.

What factors are considered in the transfer application evaluation?

Transfer admission is highly competitive. Although the selection process may differ slightly from major to major, we consider similar factors in the application review, such as the relative strength of your college coursework, your performance in those courses, your high school record, standardized test scores (if applicable), personal statements, application essay, recommendation letters, and activities both in school and in your community. Any additional requirements for Performing Arts, Comedic Arts, or Media Production will also be important in the review. Additionally, if there are any gaps present with your educational history, you will need to account for them within your transfer writing supplement.

Successful transfer applicants typically follow a general education/liberal arts curriculum at their school for a full academic year earning “B” grades or better. Typically, the successful candidate will have completed at least a year of college credit (though some successful candidates have one semester of college coursework plus a strong high school record) and maintained higher than a 3.0 average. If you have been in college less than a year, your high school record will be an important consideration for admission.

Can I reapply?

You are welcome to reapply to Emerson. Applicants who have previously completed an application for admission, within the last academic year, may submit our reactivation form. In addition, previous transfer applicants will need to submit an updated college transcript if applicable. Previously submitted new first time applications must have been complete. Additionally, previous new first time applicants will need to provide a final high school transcript, an academic evaluation from a college professor, and any college transcripts or midterm grades if in the first or second term at college).

Applicants who submitted an application more than one academic year prior must follow the regular transfer admission process.  

(Please note: If you were a first-year applicant who was not accepted, we encourage you to take at least one year of college coursework before applying for transfer admission.)

Are transfer students eligible for financial aid?

About three-fourths of our families receive some form of assistance. We encourage you to apply for financial aid in an effort to consider the affordability of an Emerson College education. Many resources are available, including scholarships, grants, employment, and student loans. The average award - usually a combination of institutional aid, part-time employment, and low-interest loans - is approximately $17,000.

In order to be considered for financial aid, you must submit both the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) and the CSS PROFILE form, as well as copies of signed tax documents. April 4 is the deadline to file financial aid materials for September admission and for January admission, the deadline to file is November 15. More information is available from the Office of Financial Aid at 617-824-8655 or finaid [at] (finaid[at]emerson[dot]edu).

Can transfer students live on campus?

While Emerson does offer some on-campus housing for transfer and upper-class students, it is limited and on a space-available basis. Our Office of Off-Campus Student Services provides assistance in finding roommates as well as locating apartments throughout the city.

Boston is home to hundreds of thousands of college students, which means there are many housing options to choose from. Additionally, with Emerson's location in the heart of the city, you are never more than a few steps from the "T" (Boston's subway system), making for a short trip back home after class.

Transferring Credits

What is an “accredited institution”?

The term “accredited” usually means that a college or university has met or exceeded quality standards and has the resources to achieve its stated purpose. Emerson is accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges, one of six regional organizations in the United States.

Transfer credits are accepted only from other accredited institutions. Credits from foreign colleges and universities may be transferred from schools recognized by national authorities as degree-granting institutions of higher learning.

Can I transfer credits earned somewhere else, and which of my classes will be transferable to Emerson?

Transfer credit is granted for comparable courses from accredited two- and four-year institutions that were completed in the last 10 years with grades of “C” (73% or 2.0) or better. A pass “P” or “CR” grade must equal a “C” or better. Please note, if not included on the transcript, the Registrar's Office requires documentation from your previous institution confirming a grade of "P" or "CR" equals a minimum grade of "C" before completing a course evaluation. Consult our Undergraduate Course Listing to read course descriptions. The College reserves the right to award or withhold transfer credit as well as change transfer policies.

Once you have been offered admission to Emerson, we send all your college or university transcripts to our Registrar’s Office to determine the number of General Education credits that are transferable. Faculty members in each academic department evaluate major-related courses. We then post an initial Evaluation of Transfer Credit Form online that you can access with your Emerson-issued ID (usually within two weeks from the date that you receive your admission offer). The Evaluation of Transfer Credit Form indicates which courses will transfer, the number of credits awarded, and your class standing.

Read the Transfer Credit Policy for more information.

Can I find out what courses will transfer to Emerson before I apply?

Although the number of transfer applications we receive prevents us from assisting students with credit evaluations prior to admission, many of your questions regarding the liberal arts curriculum can be answered by visiting the Academic Advising website or consulting our current Undergraduate Catalog

You will find that general education or traditional liberal arts courses will be more readily accepted for transfer credit than specific upper division classes in a major. Keep this in mind when choosing courses at your current college/university. Keep your school’s catalog, course descriptions, and course syllabi handy. You may be asked for additional information to evaluate your transfer credits.

What is the transfer policy for international transcripts?

If you have transcripts from a college or university outside the United States, that does not follow US grading procedure or have US accreditation, you will need to have them evaluated by a professional evaluation organization, like the Center for Educational Documentation and other organizations listed by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services, before the application deadline. Processing international credentials may take up to eight weeks, so please allow sufficient time for your documents to arrive by the application deadline.

My school doesn’t grant 4 credits per class like Emerson. How do those classes transfer?

A 3-credit course completed at another institution will not transfer to Emerson as a 4-credit course. It will, however, satisfy a 4-credit (full-course) requirement. Credits awarded by other institutions in units, courses, or quarter hours, etc., will be converted to make them equivalent to Emerson’s semester-hour credits. Quarter hours will be reduced by 1/3 to make them equivalent to semester hours.

What is the maximum number of transfer credits Emerson will accept?

Students transferring into Emerson College from another institution may transfer in a maximum of 80 pre-matriculation credits, with no more than 64 of those credits from a junior or community college and no more than 32 credits from exams (e.g., AP, IB, CLEP). Post-matriculation, transfer students will be limited to a maximum of 64 transfer credits, including those credits transferred in pre-matriculation.

Can I receive credit for AP, IB, or CLEP examinations?

Emerson grants transfer credit for Advanced Placement scores of 4 and 5, International Baccalaureate higher level exams with scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7 (with the exception of Language A/English, where a score of 6 or 7 is required), and CLEP exam scores of 50 or higher (for a full 3-credit course equivalent; CLEPs are not accepted for WR 101).

Official test scores must be submitted to our Registrar’s Office for evaluation before any examination credit can be awarded. Please refer to the Undergraduate Course Catalog for more information.

What classes are definitely not accepted at Emerson?

Non-academic coursework from the following subject areas is generally not accepted for transfer credit at Emerson:

  • Physical Education classes
  • Engineering, Mechanical, and Technical courses
  • Hotel, Restaurant Management, Travel and Hospitality courses
  • College Success, Orientation, and First-Year Experience programs
  • ESL classes
  • Pre-College level (Pre-100 level) courses

How many classes will I need to take at Emerson?

Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 48 credits at Emerson, of which at least 20 credits must be in their major. In addition, they are required to earn their final 16 credits at the College. Typically, students take 4 classes (or 16 credits) each semester.

Please refer to our Undergraduate Catalog for additional academic regulations.