- What does
- What is
the relationship between community colleges and the university?
- What is
- What is the
difference between the California State University and the University of
- What is the
difference between a semester and a quarter?
- Which Merced
College courses transfer to a university?
- How many units do
I need to transfer?
- If I earn an
Associate degree, will I be prepared to transfer?
- Is there a
maximum number of units that I can transfer?
- What if I take
more than 70 transferable units?
- What is the
minimum grade point average (GPA) required for transfer admission?
- What is a
competitive GPA for transfer?
- What is General
- What is CSU-GE?
- What is IGETC?
- What is
GE certification and why is it important?
- What is a major?
- What is an
impacted or selective major?
- When do I have to
think about a major?
- How do I choose a
- How do I find
out what classes to take to prepare for my major?
- What is a minor?
- When do I have to
think about a minor?
- How do I
find out about the transfer requirements of any particular school?
1. What does transfer mean?
Generally "transfer" is movement between any two
educational institutions. Here, however the term is specifically used to
describe advancement from a community college to a university. Transfer means
that you begin your bachelor's degree at a community college and complete it at
2. What is the relationship between community colleges and the university?
Universities offer both lower division (freshman
and sophomore) and upper division (junior and senior) coursework. Community
colleges offer lower division courses only. The university accepts certain
community college courses as comparable to courses that are required for
freshman and sophomore students at the university through a process called
articulation. In that way, community college courses become transferable and
counted toward the requirements to graduate from the university with a
3. What is articulation?
Articulation is the process of evaluating courses
to determine whether coursework completed at one institution (e.g. a community
college) will meet the requirements at another institution (e.g. a university)
for the purposes of admission, transferable units, general education or major
preparation. It is this process that ensures that the classes you take at Merced College will be credited toward your bachelor's degree requirements
when you enter a university. Articulation agreements are formal documents that
describe which coursework is accepted. Some articulation agreements are
"course-to-course agreements", meaning that they show a specific course from one
institution and the comparable specific course from another. Other articulation
agreements are "major agreements", meaning that they show a set of courses that
are acceptable to fulfill an entire requirement for major preparation. All
segments of the public higher education system in California---the California
Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of
California--have agreed to have a single repository for articulation agreements
between the community colleges and the universities. That repository is the
ASSIST web site, which is accessible to the public at
4. What is the difference between the California State University and the
University of California?
The California State University (CSU) began as a
system of teacher's colleges and evolved into a broader system of higher
education. It is one of the three segments of California public higher
education, the others being the University of California (UC) and the California
Community Colleges. The CSU grants bachelor's and master's degrees that have a
practical, career orientation. The assumption is that most CSU graduates will
want to enter work based on their bachelor's degree training. There are now 23
CSU campuses. The UC was established as the focal point for academic and
scientific research within the higher education system. In addition to
bachelor's and master's degrees, the UC grants doctorates and professional
degrees. The emphasis at the bachelor's level is on theoretical learning, the
assumption being that most UC graduates will pursue a higher degree before
entering their career. There are nine UC campuses (though one is a professional
school only), with a tenth scheduled to open in Fall 2005.
is the difference between a semester and a quarter?
Each academic institution operates according to an
academic calendar, with terms marking the beginning and end of each session of
classes. A semester is a calendar that divides the academic year into 15 - 17
week terms. There are generally two semesters per academic year: Fall (beginning
in August or September) and Spring (beginning in January). Some semester-based
schools also offer a Summer session that is shorter than a regular semester and
is not a part of the regular academic year. A quarter is the other most common
type of academic term. Each quarter is 10 weeks in length and there are usually
three quarters in an academic year: Fall (beginning in September), Winter
(beginning in January), and Spring (beginning in March). A few quarter-based
schools offer a forth Summer Quarter, but it is not considered an official term
in the academic year. Merced College is on the semester calendar.
Merced College courses transfer to a university?
The University of California will accept Merced
College courses numbered 1 - 49 and most Athletics and Physical Education
courses, regardless of the course number, up to a limit of 4 units of "PE
activity" courses. However, students should not count the units earned for
Selected Topics (48) or Special Studies (49) courses for the minimum 60 units
need for UC admission. Those courses will be evaluated for credit by your UC
campus after transfer. Students should refer to the Merced College UC-Transferable
Course Agreement for a list of all Merced College courses that have been
accepted by the UC as transferable. The California State University accepts
Merced College courses numbered 1 - 99 and all PE units, regardless of the PE
course number. Independent and out-of-state universities do not have specific
agreements with Merced College that relate to our course-numbering system.
Generally, it is advisable to take UC-transferable coursework. However, if you
are interested in transfer outside the California public university system, you
should make early contact with the campus of their choice. An Merced College
transfer counselor can assist you in that communication. Merced College counts
courses numbered 1 - 299 toward an Associate degree, but courses numbered 100 -
299 are not accepted for transfer to a university.
many units do I need to transfer?
You will achieve full junior standing when you have
completed 60 transferable semester units. If you wish to transfer as a lower
division student, the university will consider your high school record in
determining whether to admit you. The University of California requires 60 UC-transferable
semester units for upper division transfer. Some UC campuses infrequently accept
students as lower division transfers. The California State University currently
grants junior standing at 56 semester units (but not for financial aid or
scholarship purposes). Effective Fall 2005, CSU will require 60 CSU-transferable
semester units for junior transfer. Some CSU campuses are open to lower division
transfers, but grant them lower priority for admission. Independent and
out-of-state universities often accept students with fewer than 60 semester
units. Please check the printed or online catalog for the specific university to
which you want to transfer for their requirements. An Merced College counselor
can assist you with that.
8. If I
earn an Associate degree, will I be prepared to transfer?
Generally, meeting the requirements for an
Associate degree will not prepare you for transfer admissions. Not all courses
that are counted toward an Associate degree are accepted for transfer and
General Education requirements differ, as well. (See "What
is General Education (GE)" below.) However, it
is possible to earn an Merced College Associate degree by completing 60
Associate degree units and fulfilling all of the GE requirements for transfer.
See a counselor for more information about earning an Associate degree as part
of your transfer process.
there a maximum number of units that I can transfer?
California public universities will count a maximum
of 70 community college units toward the total number of units you need to
complete for a bachelor's degree. Independent and out-of-state institutions vary
in their limits and you should check their catalog or web site for information.
Different limits may apply if you have already attended a "four-year"
institution and you should meet with a counselor right away.
if I take more than 70 transferable units?
The 70-unit limit applies only to the number of
units that will be counted toward graduation and does not apply to courses. The
university will grant subject credit for course content needed to satisfy
requirements for general education or major preparation, even if they do not
count the units for all of your courses toward graduation.
is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for transfer admission?
The minimum GPA accepted for transfer to the CSU is
2.0 for California residents, 2.4 for non-residents. The CSU has designated some
highly popular majors or campuses as impacted or high demand, for which higher
GPAs and/or minimum course completion are required. The minimum GPA accepted for
transfer to the UC is 2.4 for California residents, 2.8 for non-residents. UC
campuses have designated some highly popular majors as selective, for which
students have to meet competitive selection criteria (higher GPAs and minimum
course completion requirements) to be admitted. Grade point averages necessary
for transfer to independent and out-of-state universities vary. Consult the
institution's printed or online catalog.
12. What is a competitive GPA
Grade point averages necessary to compete for
admission to impacted or selective programs vary from year to year, depending on
the pool of applicants for any given academic year. Generally, a GPA of 3.0 is
considered competitive, though even higher GPAs may be required to gain
admission to majors and campuses for which the most students apply. An Merced
College transfer counselor can tell you whether that is the case for the major
or campus of your choice.
is General Education (GE)?
General Education is a set of courses through which
you will become broadly educated by taking classes that cover a wide range of
disciplines. GE courses are usually introductory in nature and provide you with
fundamental knowledge in English, mathematics, the arts and humanities, social
sciences, and physical and biological sciences. You will complete the majority
of GE coursework needed to receive a bachelor's degree while you are lower
division (freshman/sophomore) student at a community college. After transfer to
the upper division (junior/senior) at a university, you will be required to take
only a few GE courses, so you can focus on your major. For example, you will be
required to complete at least 48 units of GE to graduate from a CSU, 39 of which
are completed at the lower division. The GE unit requirements of independent and
out-of-state institutions vary, but the ration of lower division to upper
division is similar. GE courses are divided into subject areas and GE patterns
describe the number of courses that you must take in each subject area to meet
total GE requirements. Each institution has its own GE (sometimes called breadth
or core) pattern. There are also GE patterns that are accepted by the entire CSU
and/or UC systems for transfer to any campus in that system. Merced College,
like all community colleges, has adopted a pattern of GE requirements for the
granting of an Associate degree.
The CSU-GE is the pattern of coursework accepted to
meet the GE requirements for a bachelor's degree at any CSU campus. An advising
guide that shows the subject areas and the Merced College courses that count to
fulfill area requirements is available from a counselor, from Student Services
in Bailey Hall, in the Transfer Center, or online at
Merced College Transfer Center. CSU-GE is one
way for you to complete the lower division GE requirements for a bachelor's
degree from the CSU at Merced College prior to transfer. Completing the entire
CSU-GE pattern is not a requirement for admission. However, the CSU requires
that students complete most of their lower division GE before transfer. There is
an upper division GE requirement of at least 9 units to graduate from a CSU. It
is not possible to complete all of the GE needed to receive a bachelor's degree
from a CSU at a community college.
eye-get-see) stands for
Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. It is a course pattern
that community college students can use to satisfy lower division GE
requirements for either the CSU or the UC. Completion of IGETC is not a
requirement for admission to the CSU or UC. IGETC is one option for students
preparing to transfer. For the CSU students can use each campus' GE pattern or
the CSU-GE pattern (see above). For the UC students can use each campus' GE
pattern. A few independent California universities also accept IGETC as
fulfillment of their lower division GE. If you have questions about which GE
pattern to use, see your Merced College transfer counselor. For some high unit
majors, such as engineering or biological science, the IGETC is not recommended.
If you are in one of these majors, see your counselor about alternative GE
requirements that apply to you. Important: Students who choose to use the IGETC
must complete the entire pattern, in order to receive certification from a
community college that they have completed lower division GE requirements.
is GE certification and why is it important?
GE certification is a document that is signed by a
community college and states that you have completed lower division GE
requirements. Becoming GE certified means that the university cannot require
that you take any additional lower division GE. (You will probably be required
to fulfill some upper division GE requirements for graduation from the
university.) The certification is normally prepared and sent to the university
to which you have been accepted and where you plan to enroll at the same time
that your final transcripts are sent. It may appear on the transcript itself or
on a separate certification form. If you attend more than one community college,
your GE certification must be provided by the last one you attend. That college
will do so using all the GE courses you have completed at all higher education
institutions you have attended. IGETC policies require that the entire pattern
be completed in order for you to receive any certification. See your Merced
College counselor, if you have been using IGETC as a guide and will not complete
it before transfer; they will show you how you can still fulfill GE requirements
to transfer and graduate from the university. CSU-GE policies allow for partial
certification. The community college can certify your fulfillment of any GE
subject area that you have completed.
is a major?
A major is a program of coursework in a subject
area or discipline that leads to a degree. Your major is the primary area of
study in which you will develop the greatest depth of knowledge. The university
faculty that teach in the department of your major will determine the unit and
subject area requirements you must meet to be granted your degree.
is an impacted or selective major?
Impacted or selective majors are those for which
the university receives many more applications for admission than the campus can
accommodate. Impacted is also an official designation by the CSU system that
allows the department that offers a major to require a higher GPA or specific
major preparation as a way to reduce the pool of applicants to those who are
best prepared to enter the major. Selective is a term used by the UC to describe
majors for which the same conditions exist and for which the university imposes
the same kind of selection criteria (GPA and major preparation) to screen for
the most qualified applicants.
do I have to think about a major?
You will declare a major when you become a junior.
Some universities require that you declare a major for admissions purposes, all
will ask you to petition to actually enter your major after you transfer.
However, the faculty for your major will almost always require that you complete
lower division major preparation courses through which you demonstrate interest
and ability in your major. Some majors require very little such preparation,
while other majors require many courses. It is important to choose a major early
and find out about the preparation that you will need to be admitted to your
major. For example, the UC requires that students complete most, if not all, of
their major preparation before transfer.
do I choose a major?
The very best way to choose your major is by
participating in a career exploration process. You are probably becoming
educated in order to enjoy a prosperous and interesting life and your work will
a big part of that life. Along the way to discovering what you want to do with
your time and energy, you will get information about the education you need to
have in order to do it. That is your major. Some students also use a sampling
method that involves taking GE courses in a number of disciplines to determine
which one interests them most. One disadvantage of this method is that it can
take a long time for such a process of elimination. Certainly, if you use this
method, it is important to learn what you might do with your major and decide
whether any of the possibilities appeal to you.
do I find out what classes to take to prepare for my major?
Universities must show the course requirements for
each of the degrees they offer in their catalogs. A large selection of printed
catalogs is available in the Transfer Center or you can access them online. You
can also find a link to Advising Guides for Transfer in Specific Majors on the
Transfer Center home page. These guides show the requirements for the most
popular majors at universities with which Merced College has articulation
agreements. Last, some universities provide information about articulation by
major at the web site
http://www.assist.org. An Merced College
transfer counselor can help you make use of any of these resources.
is a minor?
A minor is a secondary focus of study that you may
choose to augment your major for career purposes, for graduate education, or
simply out of interest. You will be required to complete far fewer units for a
minor than for a major.
do I have to think about a minor?
A minor is completed entirely at the upper division
level. There may or may not be specific preparation requirements, though there
are often prerequisites for the courses you need to take to complete a minor.
So, while you won't take any courses that count toward your major until you are
at the university, it is good to consider whether you might pursue a minor at
the same time that you choose a major.
24. How do I find out about
the transfer requirements of any particular school?
Information for transfer students is published in
the catalog (either printed or online) of any institution. The Transfer Center
has an extensive library of catalogs and supplementary material that is sent to
us from universities all over the country. There is also a computer lab
available for you to use to access a particular school's web site online.
Transfer Center staff is available to assist you in locating and using these
resources. In addition, a number of universities send representatives to the
annual Transfer Day/College Night event that is held in early September. Some of
those representatives also visit Merced College on a regular basis to meet with
students individually. See the
University Representatives page of this web
site for the latest schedule of visits.