Transfer Applicants: Frequently Asked Questions

Transfer Eligibility:

  • Students with one year or more of full-time college coursework completed or in process should apply as transfers. Students with less than one year of full-time college coursework are encouraged to apply as first-years. Regardless of how you apply, college credit may be considered for course placement.
  • In some instances, students admitted through the transfer process may have completed one year of coursework, but not all courses meet Williams’ requirements for transfer credit. These students may be asked to enroll as first-years, but they may still use their college credit for placement into higher level courses upon arrival at Williams and approval by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Williams students must fulfill a two-year residency requirement, so transfer students will be granted a maximum of two years’ worth of credit. Students who have earned more than two years of transferable credit must relinquish credit in order to meet the requirement, but they may still use that credit for course placement.
  • Note: While our standard transfer policy is stated above, we understand that your own experience might fall somewhere outside these parameters. If you’re unsure of how to apply and are looking for guidance, please know that we’re available to help.

Transferable Coursework:

  • Credit is only awarded for courses taught in the Liberal Arts in which a grade of C- or above is obtained from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Credit is generally not awarded for courses outside the liberal arts, including but not limited to business, engineering, computer application, journalism, speech, communications, or criminal justice.
  • Williams accepts math courses at the level of calculus and above.
  • Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, online courses, or college coursework taken before high school graduation may be used by academic departments for placement purposes. In some circumstances, major credit may be awarded, but degree credit is not.
  • In some circumstances, military coursework may be approved for major or degree credit, depending on how the course was delivered and whether it has a liberal arts focus.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. I have college credit. Should I apply as a transfer or first-year?

It depends. Students with one year or more of full-time college coursework completed or in process should apply as transfers. Students with less than one year of full-time college coursework are encouraged to apply as first-years. We understand that some students’ unique circumstances might leave them outside of these standard parameters. Students with less than one year of full-time college coursework may apply through the transfer process, but the Admission Committee and Registrar’s Office will determine whether those students have sufficient credit to enroll as transfers or should enroll as first-years instead.

2. I have approximately 2.5 years of full-time credit. Does the additional half year of coursework disqualify me from applying to Williams?

No, but Williams has a two-year residency requirement. While any applicant with one year or more of college courses may apply as a transfer, we will only accept a maximum of two years’ worth of credit. If admitted, students would be expected to relinquish any credit in excess of two years.

3. Are there any course requirements or prerequisites for my intended major?

Students considering a particular major are encouraged to review the requirements for that major under Areas of Study. Once students have decided on a major, they are advised to consult with the department regarding their coursework and any placement considerations. Transfers must also complete all other degree requirements as described in the Williams College Course Catalog. The appropriate transfer credit may satisfy those requirements as well.

4. Can I study away as a transfer student?

It depends. Williams has a two-year residency requirement. A student who enrolls as a sophomore may study away and complete the residency requirement. A student who enrolls as a junior and would like to study away must relinquish a semester or year of transfer credit in order to meet the residency requirement.

5. Can I relinquish credit so I can have more time at Williams?

Once enrolled, transfer students have the option to relinquish some or all of their approved transferable credits. Those relinquished credits may still be used for placement into higher level courses. After completion of their first semester at Williams, students who are interested in retroactively relinquishing any of their transfer credit may petition the Committee on Academic Standing. There is no guarantee that the petition will be approved.