Taking Coursework At Another Institution

Are you thinking of taking a course at another college or university and using the credit to count toward your degree at Ohio State? Read the information below for guidance on how to make this a smooth process!

Before You Enroll in the  Course 

A lot of the work in planning for coursework at another institution involves steps you take before you even begin the class: evaluating the courses ahead of time, reviewing your plans with your academic advisor, and applying to the institution as a transient/visiting student.

Pre-Evaluate Your Courses

Check if the course at the institution is already pre-approved as a direct equivalent of an Ohio State course. You can find a list of course equivalencies that have already been approved at these resources:

  • Transferology: an online database which displays how courses transfer and apply to degree programs across institutions.
  • OSU Quick Equivalencies: a reference list of all pre-approved course equivalencies between Ohio State and other institutions.

If the course you plan to take is listed as a direct equivalent for a specific OSU course, then you do not need to do any further pre-evaluation! The course will automatically convert to the OSU equivalent once you have completed it and submitted your final transcript showing your final grade to Ohio State.

Courses that are listed as general, special, or technical credit are not approved as a direct equivalent for an OSU course and need further pre-evaluation.

If the specific course you want to take is not listed as a direct equivalent for an OSU course in these resources, you need to have the course pre-evaluated by Ohio State to determine whether it will count as an equivalent of a specific course and/or fulfill a degree requirement the way you intended it to. You can do this one of two ways:

  • Pre-evaluating GE Courses: submit a course description or syllabus to your academic advisor, who will have it evaluated via a curricular petition to determine if it will fulfill the GE requirement. You can also submit course materials for pre-evaluation directly to the Transfer Credit Coordinator (see below), although this process may take longer depending on how many courses you have and how many different departments will be involved.
  • Pre-Evaluating Any Course: submit course materials for pre-evaluation to the Transfer Credit Coordinator of the appropriate OSU department. (Example: submit chemistry course materials to the Department of Chemistry.) Each department requires specific course materials. You can find contact information for Transfer Credit Coordinators and information on what materials to submit at these resources:

Transfer credit pre-evaluations may take up to a few weeks to be processed. Plan ahead, read the information provided by the department of evaluation of credit carefully and submit your course materials as soon as possible.

If you receive approval for a pre-evaluation of your course, keep a copy of that notification for your records.

Review Your Plans With Your Academic Advisor

In addition to pre-evaluating your courses, you should also discuss your plans with your academic advisor. They can ensure that you are interpreting information about your course equivalencies correctly. You will also want to discuss how taking this course at another institution may impact your time to degree, your scheduling process for next semester, or your admission to major process (if you are still a pre-major). Your advisor can clarify questions about how transfer courses impact the admission to major process,  considerations for scheduling upcoming classes, and the impact on grade forgiveness. For example, students planning to take a math course (e.g. Math 1151) during the summer at another institution are not allowed to enroll in the next math course (e.g. Math 1172) in autumn semester at Ohio State until they have received a passing grade in the summer course and submitted proof via the Math Transfer Credit Prerequisite Verification Form. Also, remember that if you take a course at another institution, you can no longer use grade forgiveness for any attempt of that equivalent course at Ohio State.

Your plans for taking GE courses at another institution can oftentimes be reviewed via a quick email with your advisor. If your plans involve taking courses that can impact areas like your admission to major or use of grade forgiveness, you may need to set up an appointment with your advisor to ensure you have everything covered.

Find Out Application and Scheduling Information at the Institution

You will need to find out how to apply and register for classes at your new institution. Most institutions have separate application processes for students wanting to fully transfer to their college/university and for students wanting to only take a few classes and then return to their home/parent institution. Look for an application process described as transient students, visiting students, or non-matriculated students. If you are unable to find information about how to apply, contact the institution’s admissions office to request more assistance. In your request, explain that you are only looking to enroll for one term and then return to Ohio State, not pursue a full degree at their institution. This clarification ensures that they point you in the right directions.

Oftentimes the application process for transient/visiting students is abbreviated. If you need to submit a transcript from Ohio State, you can request one online by going to Buckeye Link and searching for “order a transcript.” If the institution requires a form to be signed by Ohio State, bring that form to your academic advisor who can help you with the process.

Pay attention to the calendar of the institution. While semester schools tend to have a similar meeting pattern, you always want to check the exact dates of the term in which you want to enroll at another institution to ensure that it will fit with your plans. Check the following dates:

  • What date does the course start? Will you be done with your classes at Ohio State by then and will be able to attend starting the first day?
  • What dates does the course end? Will you have finished this course and be able to transfer your final grade and credit to Ohio State before your next term of enrollment at Ohio State begins? This is especially important if the course you are taking at another institution is fulfilling a prerequisite for a course you want to take at Ohio State. If your transfer credit doesn't post in time, you might be dropped from the proceeding course because it doesn't appear that you have met the course's prerequisites.
  • Do you have any travel plans during that time that would cause you to miss class? Oftentimes summer courses are taught at an accelerated pace. Always check with the course instructor to see if there will be any issues with the amount of time you plan to miss class. You might need to adjust your vacation plans to ensure you will be able to attend.

Check if the course you want to take is going to be offered during the term you want to enroll and if you meet any course requisites that the institution may require.

As You Complete the Course 

This may be the most straightforward step of the entire process! Do as best as you can in the course. While grades in courses taken at other institutions are not calculated into your official OSU GPA, they can have an impact in areas like your admission to major, application to graduate school, and scholarships that calculate a merged GPA of all college-level courses.

After You Complete the Course

Once you have completed the course, you will need to transfer the course credit to Ohio State and verify that it is being evaluated and applied to your degree requirements correctly. 

Transfer Your Credit to Ohio State

Once you have finished the course at the institution and have a final grade, you will need to order an official transcript from the institution and have it sent directly to Ohio State. If the institution offers electronic delivery, use that option as it is processed much faster than paper copies. You can find information about the address (electronic or mailing) to enter when sending a transcript to Ohio State from another institution on the OSU Transfer Credit Center.

If the course you just completed is a prerequisite for an upcoming class you are taking, you may also want to send a verification of your final grade (screenshot of your grade information, unofficial transcript, etc.) to you academic advisor while you wait for your transcript to be processed. If your final grade and credit do not official post to your record at Ohio State in time, you may be dropped from any courses for which you don’t currently meet the prerequisites based on your Ohio State academic record.

Verify that Your Credit Applies To The Correct Degree Requirement

After your transcript arrives and is processed by Ohio State, check your Transfer Credit Report and Degree Audit on Buckeye Link. Make sure that the course is evaluated and fulfills the degree requirement as you had anticipated.

If your Transfer Credit Report and Degree Audit look correct, you are all set! If either of them does not appear correct, review the pre-evaluation information you received from the Transfer Credit Coordinator or check with your advisor to see if there is anything additional you need to submit for the credit evaluation.