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Transferring Credits to the Genetics Major


  • Courses from other colleges or universities can be transferred as equivalent ISU courses. This can be used for courses taken at community colleges during high school, summer courses, or transferring to ISU.
  • The Office of Admissions designates equivalent ISU courses for work done elsewhere. Transfer credit can be given for specific ISU courses, or at a given level (100, 200, etc.) without a specific ISU course number.  These show as "IT**" or "2T**" on transfer credit evaluations and degree audits.
  • Grades in courses taken elsewhere are not calculated in the ISU GPA, but the credits count towards graduation.
  • A maximum of 65 credits from two-year institutions such as community colleges can count towards graduation. If more than 65 credits have been earned, those that apply to the major can be used.
  • Details are summarized here, and the links below provide more information.


Determining course equivalencies

  • ISU provides a web tool, TRANSIT, that shows course equivalencies for work done at many institutions in the U.S.A. and also some international institutions. To use TRANSIT, log in as a guest and select the state, institution, and course number, semester and grade and the system returns the equivalent ISU course(s).  Note that the semester and a grade must be entered but appear to have no impact on the results and do not correlate with the actual availability of the course in the semester that you enter.
  • Also, Transfer Equivalency Guides are provided by the Office of Admissions. These documents list all pre-established course equivalencies for community colleges in Iowa and some institutions in the neighboring states of Illinois and Minnesota.
  • Comparing course equivalency information to the Genetics major curriculum shows which parts of the program will be certified as completed from the work done elsewhere.


Assignment of course credit during admission

  • As part of an application the Office of Admissions automatically reviews courses from other institutions. A Transfer Credit Evaluation form indicating which courses have been accepted for transfer is sent with the offer of admission letter.
  • During orientation or after arrival new students meet with their advisor and the Transfer Credit Evaluation form is reviewed. Decisions about course registrations are then guided based on the previous work.
  • Equivalent courses will show up on the official degree audit as transfer credits. Sometimes the advisor will need to communicate with the college to designate transfer courses correctly in the degree audit.


Credit for courses taken elsewhere during the summer term

  • Enrolled ISU students often take courses elsewhere during the summer, for example at a local community college.
  • TRANSIT or the Transfer Equivalency Guides should be used in advance to guide decisions about which courses to take over the summer.
  • If you are considering a course that is not included in the TRANSIT system, a transfer credit evaluation by the Office of Admissions can be requested in advance. Use the Preliminary Transfer Credit Evaluation form found on the links below.
  • Be sure to have your transcripts sent to Admissions so that the courses show up on your ISU Degree Audit and internal transcript.


Credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate Examinations

  • ISU has established course equivalencies for passing grades on specific AP and IB exams taken while in high school. A table showing which courses are awarded for each exam, and the score required, can be viewed from the link below.
  • Specific courses required for the Genetics degree can be earned through AP exams in Calculus, Statistics, Chemistry, and Physics. Other AP exams can give credit for courses in humanities, social sciences, or other general education electives required by the college. IB coursework can also count for Chemistry.
  • Credits awarded from AP and IB exams counts towards the total of 120 credits required for the B.S. degree. These courses are not considered as part of the calculation to determine ISU grade point average.

Transferring from Community Colleges

  • Students may choose, for financial or other reasons, to attend a two-year institution to obtain initial college credit.  If the ultimate goal is to earn a B.S. degree in Genetics at Iowa State University, it is very important to review and follow our transfer plans below.  Meeting with an ISU academic adviser before entering community college is also strongly encouraged.
  • Earning an A.S. or A.A. (associates degree) may not be compatible with transferring in the maximum amount of relevant coursework so that the degree can be earned in two years at ISU following two years at a community college.  
  • For example, only General Biology I and II (equivalent to ISU Biology 211 & L and Biology 212 & L) transfer as required courses in the major; Anatomy and Physiology, Genetics, Cell Biology, and Microbiology transfer as 100 or 200 level coursework and do not meet our requirements.
  • Specific courses in General Chemistry,  Organic Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, and Statistics can be applied to the ISU degree requirements and students are strongly encouraged to complete as many of these as possible during their two years at a community college.  See the plans below for course specifics.  Students who have maximized the relevant course offerings at community colleges have successfully completed the degree in two years at Iowa State University.
  • There are community college equivalents for many requirements, however, at least 40 credits of specific required coursework (300-400 level Biology, Microbiology, Bioinformatics, and Genetics coursework, 400 level Biochemistry, and 300 level English writing) cannot be completed at a two-year institution. Additional coursework to at least 55 credits from a four-year institution is required.  120 total credits are required.

Information for Transfer Students

Transfer Plans for Genetics in AGLS

Transfer Plans for Genetics in LAS