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Transfer Credit


  • Biology courses from other institutions usually transfer to U-M as “departmental credit” (e.g., BIOLOGY 101x) and general LSA credit is granted. 
  • Students must achieve a "C" or better to receive transfer credit on their U-M transcript.
  • Upon student request (via the form linked below), the Program in Biology reviews classes taken at other institutions to determine equivalency to specific University of Michigan Biology, EEB, and MCDB courses.   
  • If an external class is determined to be equivalent to a Program in Biology course, it can be posted to a student's transcript as the equivalent U-M Biology, EEB, or MCDB course (with a "T” in the grade column).
  • If the course is not equivalent, it will remain as "departmental credit" (e.g., BIOLOGY 101x) and general LSA credit will remain.



How to Transfer a Course

  1. Read the FAQs below!
  2. Obtain a detailed syllabus from the instructor or institution (this can be an electronic copy, a link, or a paper copy).  Incomplete or missing information may cause a delay.
    A detailed syllabus includes:
    • Instructor’s name,
    • Term class was offered,
    • Text book used,
    • Days and times of lectures, discussions, labs,
    • Number and duration of exams,
    • Basis of grading, and,
    • A day-by-day schedule of topics covered (i.e., what you covered each time you met in class)
  3. Complete the Program in Biology Transfer Credit Evaluation request form.
  4. Transfer credit that is approved as equivalent to a Biology, EEB, or MCDB course will be posted (or changed) on your transcript to indicate the specific course, with a “T” grade, and it will satisfy prerequisites or major requirements (as appropriate, see your advisor).

Note:  You are welcome to request review of a course before you take it.  You will need to provide a detailed syllabus as described above, so you must obtain one from the instructor or institution in advance. Once you have completed the course (with a “C” or better), request that an official copy of your transcript be sent to the University of Michigan, Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Even if deemed equivalent, the UM course cannot appear on your UM transcript until an official transcript from the home institution has been received by UM Admissions.

Non-majors 100-level Biology Courses

Equivalency may be granted for the introductory biology series of courses, BIOLOGY 171, 172, and 173. Other 100-level courses are not evaluated because they don’t count toward any majors or minors.  The credit you are granted for them  may be applied toward your minimum 120 credits required to graduate and can usually be used for distribution (see your advisor).

300- and 400-level Courses

Effective February 1, 2018, 300- and 400-level courses will not be evaluated for equivalent credit.  University of Michigan upper-level courses are most representative of the research specialties of the U-M biology faculty and are seen as “uniquely Michigan” and crucial to a U-M major.  However, in some instances an external upper-level, departmental-credit course may be considered to fulfill a major requirement.  Students must meet with a departmental Associate Chair or the Faculty Director of their major program to request an exception.  Contact the Program in Biology office with questions.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Review the FAQs about transfer credit before you take a course!

Can I take major prerequisites (Math, Physics, etc.) from a community college?

Yes, LSA students may take a course at a community college and transfer the credit back to UM.  See your LSA General Advisor for questions about LSA College policies.

What is "departmental" credit? (What is "BIOLOGY 101X"?)

Transferring a course to UM is a two-step process (see “How to Transfer a Course” above):

  • One step is transferring the credits to the University by submitting the official transcript to UM Admissions.  If the course is college-level and from an accredited school, it will likely receive credit at this level (this is “departmental,” generic credit usually at the 101X- or 201X-level).  This indicates to advisors that you have officially taken and passed a college-level course that covers a Biology-related topic.
  • The other step is determining whether or not the course is a direct course equivalent to a course offered at UM Ann Arbor.  Once (or before) you have submitted your transcript to Admissions, you should request a credit evaluation from Biology.  You can do so via theProgram in Biology Transfer Credit Evaluation form.

How can I tell if a course at another school is equivalent to a Michigan course?

The Program in Biology reviews classes on a term-by-term basis.  So each instance of a course transfer must be evaluated for direct equivalency.  (A class that was accepted last fall may not be accepted the next if the course material or other details have changed!)  Most courses must be reviewed again for each new term.

Plan ahead: If you are considering taking a class from another institution (going abroad or taking a summer course elsewhere), go through the approval process (see above) before you take the course!

I heard my course was already approved, do I have to complete the form?

Yes!  The review will move quickly if the specific offering has already been approved, but we will still need the information from the evaluation request form to verify.

Can I take a major course at another school?

The Program in Biology strongly encourages you to take all major courses on the Ann Arbor campus—this will put you in the best position to succeed in the major.  However, you may take a major course elsewhere, provided you abide by the residency requirements listed below.  Please also be aware of the residence rules for your particular college.  LSA rules are here.



Credits Required in Residence*



Ecology & Evolutionary Biology


Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity


Biology, Health, & Society


General Biology




Cellular & Molecular Biology




Plant Biology




*Note that these requirements do not include major prerequisites, only credits to the major itself.

Will introductory courses from another school match UM's intro. sequence?

The Program in Biology Evaluation Committee will determine whether or not the introductory course or sequence you're considering is equivalent to Biology 171, 172, or 173 (or a combination thereof), or to a course for non-majors. To receive credit for having satisfied the introductory biology requirement, the student needs to have completed course(s) that covered cell and molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, plant and animal biology, and had labs. Two-semester introductory sequences at four-year institutions will often meet these criteria. So will some two-semester sequences at community colleges, but the syllabi for transfers from community colleges will be carefully reviewed to verify that the student is adequately prepared to move into upper-level biology courses.

The course I took is NOT equivalent. Will BIOLOGY 101X count for anything?

Yes, the course(s) will count toward general electives.

I'm a Bio. Program major, should I submit my PHYSICS transfer course info.?

No.  You will need to have any course that is NOT a BIOLOGY, EEB, or MCDB course evaluated by the home department at UM (i.e, PHYSICS courses must be evaluated by the Physics Department).

If I am denied transfer equivalency, can I appeal?

Evaluation requests are evaluated by faculty members with extensive knowledge of the proposed U-M course (usually current or recent instructors). 

Students whose transfer credit is denied direct equivalency may request a re-evaluation of the same course only if different information can be supplied (e.g., a more detailed syllabus, etc.).

A student who would like to appeal a decision may request a review by the Program in Biology Curriculum Committee by emailing his/her case to the Transfer Credit Coordinator.  The Committee will review the information supplied, consulting with course teaching faculty as necessary, and make a final Program decision.

Students who disagree with the final outcome may contact the Office of the Assistant Dean to discuss the matter.

How long with the course review process take?

Under normal conditions, we can review an external course in 5-7 business days.

Note: the process for submitting official transcripts from other institutions, review at the UM admissions level, and changing the course on your UM transcript happens outside of the Program in Biology, so we cannot guarantee a time frame for these processes.  We will be happy to follow up on your behalf, however!  Contact us with questions:, or 734-764-1440.