Common Transfer Principles (Massachusetts Community Colleges)

The community colleges of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in order to ease and clarify the process of transferring earned credit from one college to another, whether among themselves or from other public or private institutions; to provide standards for the evaluation of alternative sources of credit; to reduce the time and cost of completing a college education; and to increase the opportunities for graduation of their students, establish common transfer principles. These principles respect the academic standards, quality and integrity of each of the Massachusetts community colleges.

In accepting undergraduate transfer credit from other institutions, the Massachusetts community colleges apply these Transfer Principles to ensure that credit accepted reflects appropriate levels of academic quality and is applicable to a student’s program. Each community college makes these Transfer Principles publicly available to students and prospective students on their websites and other communications. These Transfer Principles reduce unnecessary barriers to protect the colleges’ academic quality and integrity.

This policy addresses issues of academic credit earned through coursework completed at one institution and transferred to another. It also addresses the related issue of credit earned through alternative sources of credit, such as examinations, professional courses, military training and other prior learning experiences.

Transfer Conditions at GCC Under the Principles

  • For credit to transfer, the courses must have been taken at an institution accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies in the United States or, when allowed by college practice, by a national accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Consult the transcript evaluator about any special requirements for online courses.
  • Credit earned at international institutions not accredited by one of the six regional United States accreditation agencies may transfer.
  • Colleges require official transcripts from the institutions where credit was earned for credit to transfer.
  • Students must be accepted by GCC and have declared their major programs of study for credit to be transferred.
  • At minimum, credit will be granted for courses that apply to a student’s current program of study.
  • Once credit is transferred it becomes part of a student’s permanent records.
  • Only credit for college-level coursework will transfer.
  • Credit for pre-college-level or developmental coursework does not transfer.
  • GCC may choose to use developmental coursework for student placement purposes.
  • Grades do not transfer; only credit transfers.Therefore, transfer credit grades are not used in calculating grade or quality point averages.
  • Transfer credit is designated on transcripts with an appropriate letter or symbol in the grade field.
  • Credit will transfer as (1) the course equivalent at GCC, if it exists, or (2) as an elective equivalent within a comparable department, if it exists.
  • Credits earned in a quarter-hour system will be converted to semester-hour equivalents.
  • Audited coursework does not transfer.
  • Credit will not be granted for duplicate coursework or for two courses that cover the same or similar content.

Minimum Grades

  • GCC accepts grades of C- or higher for transfer.
  • Grades of D, D+, C- and CD (1.00 to 1.99 on a 4.00 scale) may transfer if they are for courses that are part of the 34-credit MassTransfer Block and students have completed the Block with a cumulative grade or quality point average of 2.00 or higher.
  • Grades higher than C (2.00) may be required for admission to certain programs, for use as pre-requisite courses and for application of credit to certain program requirements.
  • Grades of Pass (P), Satisfactory (S) or similar grades will transfer only when official transcripts indicate that such grades are equivalent to a grade of C or higher.

Residency Requirement/MaximumTransfer Credit Allowed

To earn an associate degree at GCC, students must complete at least 25% of credits of coursework used to fulfill the requirements of the associate’s degree at GCC. Transfer of the remaining credits will depend upon the associate degree program’s requirements and elective options.

Students wishing to earn an additional associate’s degree must:

  • meet all specific requirements of each degree program;
  • complete at least 15 credits of course work beyond the previous degree awarded; and of those 15 additional credits, at least 12 must be completed at GCC.

To earn a certificate at GCC, students must complete at least 50% of the credit hours required for a certificate program at GCC— including at least three courses and 9 credits used to fulfill certificate requirements at GCC.

Alternative Sources of Credit

  • Credit will be granted for satisfactory scores on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations based on GCC’s policies.
  • Credit will be granted for satisfactory scores on College-Level examination Program (CLEP) examinations based on GCC’s policies.
  • Official score reports from the College Board are required in order to receive credit for AP and CLEP.
  • Credit will be granted for satisfactory scores on challenge or credit by examinations. See for more information.
  • Credit may be granted for formal courses or examinations offered by various organizations, including businesses, unions, government and military based on the recommendations of the American Council on education (ACE) as found in its national Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training, a resource of its National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) (see Valor Act Policy).*
  • Credit also may be granted for life experience (service learning, internships, learning from experience at work, volunteering in the community, job training, etc.).*
  • Members of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium adhere to the Consortium’s Academic Residency Requirements for service members at their institutions.
  • Academic credits earned through the evaluation of military occupation, training, experience and coursework are transferable within the Massachusetts public higher education system in accordance with the MassTransfer agreement.
  • Credit granted by one institution from alternative sources other than that included above may not transfer to another institution.

* Criminal Justice programs do not award life experience credits or credit for military or police training.

Time Limits

Credit will be transferred without time limits. Certain programs, courses or admission standards may require courses to be taken within a specified time period. See individual programs for specifics.

Student Appeals

  • GCC maintains and publishes a process for students to appeal decisions made about transfer credit.
  • Students who disagree with the transfer credit decisions at GCC may appeal those decisions as follows. Students should provide evidence, such as course descriptions and syllabi, that the courses in question are either the equivalent of or comparable to courses offered by GCC.
  • Students first must appeal the transfer credit decision to the Transfer Credit Evaluator.
  • If the disagreement is not resolved with the Transfer Credit Evaluator, students may appeal to the appropriate Department Chair or Program Coordinator.
  • If the disagreement is not resolved with the appropriate Department Chair or Program Coordinator, students may appeal to the appropriate Dean.
  • If the disagreement is not resolved with the appropriate Dean, students may appeal to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. The decision of the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs shall be final and not subject to appeal.
  • GCC designates an ombudsperson who ensures institutional compliance with transfer policies and procedures.