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Transfer from off campus

Transfer from off campus

With careful planning, students at other accredited institutions can transfer coursework that will apply toward engineering degree requirements at UW–Madison. Off-campus transfer applicants are considered for direct admission to the College of Engineering by applying to the Office of Admissions with an engineering major listed as their first choice. Those who are admitted to their intended engineering program must meet progression requirements at the point of transfer or within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee advancement in that program. A minimum of 30 credits in residence in the College of Engineering is required after transferring, and all students must meet all requirements for their major in the college. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective, and students who have exceeded the College of Engineering’s 80 credit limit at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

The College of Engineering has dual degree programs with select four-year UW System campuses. Eligible dual degree applicants are not subject to the 80 credit limit.

Off-campus transfer students are encouraged to discuss their interests, academic background, and admission options with the Transfer Coordinator in the College of Engineering: or 608-262-2473.

College of Engineering Transfer Process

The College of Engineering (CoE) welcomes off-campus transfer students who have completed coursework at another college or university after graduating from high school. Students may apply for fall semester or spring semester admission. Transferring to one of the thirteen CoE undergraduate majors is a two-stage process.

Stage 1: Admission

To be considered for direct admission to an engineering degree-granting program, off-campus transfer students must select an engineering program as their first-choice major on their application to UW-Madison. Applicants must also list a second-choice major outside of the College of Engineering. The Office of Admissions and Recruitment selects off-campus transfer students for direct admission to the College of Engineering. Transfer admission to the College of Engineering is competitive and selective and is not guaranteed.

Note: Due to high student demand, several CoE majors have been especially selective and competitive in recent semesters: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering and mechanical engineering.

Off-campus transfer students must establish a strong academic record in college that (1) fulfills the UW-Madison Transfer Admission Requirements, (2) includes engineering-related course work, and (3) does not exceed the College of Engineering’s 80 Credit Limit. They should also be able to (4) identify intended majors in engineering and in other UW-Madison schools or colleges.

(1) Fulfill the UW-Madison Transfer Admission Requirements

Students must meet the general requirements for transfer admission to UW-Madison, including the study of a single foreign language for either two years in high school or two semesters in college. The Office of Admissions and Recruitment considers the student’s overall application in a comprehensive and holistic review process. For more details, see

(2) Demonstrate Success in Engineering-Related Course Work

A student’s college academic record must demonstrate a strong match for their intended engineering program and a likelihood of success in full-time, rigorous engineering course work to be taken immediately after transfer. Strong transfer applicants generally meet or exceed these guidelines:

Math, Science, Engineering Course Work

  • Several semesters of rigorous math and science courses common to most engineering curricula—such as calculus, chemistry with lab, calculus-based physics with lab, calculus-based statistics, and computer programming.
  • An introduction to engineering course is optional but strongly recommended, if available.
  • Engineering courses related to the intended major, if available

Other Course Work, for Breadth of Experience

  • English composition, equivalent to Communication Part A
  • TOEFL or IELTS score, most successful international applicants have at least 105 TOEFL or 8.0 IELTS
  • Liberal studies course work (humanities, literature, and/or social science)
  • Course work in biology, geology, etc., depending upon the intended engineering major

Academic Performance

The transfer students we typically see selected for admission generally have:

  • At least 24 transferable credits, including courses in progress at the time of application
  • Grades of B or better in all math, science, and engineering courses
  • At least one semester of grades on record at time of application
  • At least one semester of full-time (at least 12 credits) course work.
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (most successful applicants have at least 3.2-4.0).
  • A sustained pattern of term GPAs of at least 3.0.
  • Consistent success in increasingly challenging course work.

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment requires that admitted students must maintain their current course enrollment and grades, or admission for the upcoming semester may be canceled.

To ensure a successful transition to engineering studies, CoE expects a minimum 3.0 term GPA prior to transfer with no grades below a C (2.0 on 4.0 scale).

Supplemental Factors

Supplemental factors may also be considered, such as a university application statement that addresses interest in engineering; co-curricular activities, work, and/or military service; projects or research; and engineering-related experience.

(3) Do Not Exceed the 80 Credit Limit

80 Credit Limit. Students who have earned more than 80 semester credits at the time of application are not eligible to apply for transfer admission to the College of Engineering.

The 80 credits include:

  • All course credits earned at the time of application, including UW-Madison credits and transferable credits from other colleges and universities

The 80 credits do not include:

  • Credits earned in the Spring 2020 semester
  • In-progress credits (credits taken in the semester or trimester immediately preceding application term)
  • Retroactive foreign language credits
  • Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
  • GCE Advanced Level (A-Level) credits
  • UW-Madison calculus credits awarded by examination
  • Credits from Community College of the Air Force or from Military Services Schools awarded on a Joint Services Transcript

Transfer students who have only taken coursework at two-year institutions will not exceed the 80 credit limit because UW-Madison will award a maximum of 72 degree credits for coursework from a two-year institution.

The credit limit does not apply to eligible candidates in the dual degree transfer agreement programs between select UW System universities and the College of Engineering (please see Transfer Agreement Programs below).

The credit limit does apply to second degree candidates who have already completed a Bachelors degree. Please review options for Returning Adults and Second Degree Students.

(4) Identify Intended Majors.

At the time of application to UW-Madison, students should be able to specify their intended engineering major as their preferred major (first choice) on their university application, along with an alternate UW-Madison major of interest outside of CoE. Students seeking to pursue engineering at UW-Madison might explore the Biological Systems Engineering program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. For a full list of all undergraduate majors, visit .

Stage 2: Progression

Students who are directly admitted to their intended engineering program must then meet progression requirements within their first two semesters at UW–Madison to guarantee permission to continue in that program.

After admission decisions are released, the College of Engineering instructs directly admitted off-campus transfer students to submit a supplemental application for progression consideration at the point of transfer.

When considering a student for progression prior to transfer, departmental committees seek a strong match for their particular program. To that end, they consider the transfer student’s overall application and materials, including transcripts and recommendation letters.

Each engineering committee also carefully considers:

  • Academic course preparation (including breadth and depth of subjects, rigor of course work, and pattern and trend of grades). The Core GPA of most successful transfer applicants ranges from 3.2-4.0. Grades for all transferable courses, including the first grade for repeated courses, will be included in GPA calculations for departmental admission and progression consideration before transfer.
  • Personal essays on the supplemental application form.
  • Final grades for the term just completed.

The academic record must indicate a student’s likelihood of success in departmental course work taken immediately after transfer

CoE notifies students whether they have satisfied the progression requirements for their degree-granting engineering program before transfer, or whether they must meet course/credit/GPA requirements to satisfy the progression requirements after transfer.


Students who must satisfy progression requirements after transfer will work on satisfying first year progression requirements within two semesters of residency at UW-Madison. Transfer students are not required to take Introduction to Engineering. They take courses that fulfill the progression requirements and engineering degree requirements, including available engineering courses in their intended major.


NOTE: Transfer students may be considered for satisfying the progression requirements after their first semester in residence if they are enrolled full-time and in two core courses, and if they are making progress toward fulfilling degree requirements for the specified major. Because they will have only one semester of grades at UW-Madison on record for the departmental committee to consider, progression approval cannot be guaranteed even if the engineering major GPA requirements are attained after one semester. If not found to have met progression requirements after one semester, they may be considered again the following semester without any penalty; however, the requirement to satisfy within two semesters of residency both (1) the first year progression requirements (including completion of a liberal studies course if Communication Part A was satisfied before transfer) and (2) the major GPA requirements will still be in effect.

CoE students working towards progression requirements should consult with advisors in their program about their interests, academic and career goals, and course planning. They are encouraged to take advantage of CoE student services and academic support such as tutoring and study groups and should also take time to explore the variety of engineering majors and other programs on campus.

Transfer Planning Resources

UW-Madison’s Transfer Visit Day program provides an overview of UW-Madison and the transfer admissions process. Prospective transfer students attend an admissions information session and a campus walking tour. They also have the option to sign up for drop-in advising with CoE’s Transfer Coordinator.

The College of Engineering Prospective Student Information Session includes details about opportunities within the College of Engineering and a tour of the engineering campus.

Explore and register for prospective transfer visit options

CoE’s dual degree transfer agreements with UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, and UW-Whitewater are designed to provide an opportunity for Wisconsin residents to access limited enrollment engineering programs and earn two bachelor’s degrees with undergraduate student status.

Minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a Wisconsin resident (for tuition purposes)
  • Must have first enrolled at UW-Eau Claire/UW-La Crosse/UW-Oshkosh/UW-River Falls/UW-Whitewater as a freshman
  • Must major in Physics (all campuses), Chemistry (UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, and UW-River Falls) or Mathematics/Computer Science (UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse)
  • Must meet minimum transfer admission requirements (including two units of foreign language); complete Communications Part A; and earn direct equivalents for MATH 221-222, CHEM 103-104 or CHEM 109, and PHYSICS 201/207 or EMA 201.
  • Must meet or exceed the Core GPA (comprised of physics, mathematics, computer science, and chemistry coursework required by the program) and Overall GPA benchmarks for progression effective at the time of their application.
  • Must receive a positive recommendation letter from dual degree designee at partnering campus
  • May apply to CoE a maximum of two times

Eligible dual degree candidates have the opportunity to be considered for admission to the College of Engineering after completing 80+ transferable semester credits but before completing all degree requirements. Admission to the College of Engineering is not guaranteed, and dual degree applications are evaluated among the off-campus transfer pool in a holistic review process. Students who do not fit the eligibility criteria may decide whether to apply to UW-Madison’s College of Engineering as a general off-campus transfer student before exceeding the 80 Credit Limit.

Students in CoE’s transfer agreement programs submit the same the online application form and transcripts as for all transfer applicants, and follow the same application deadlines. They must regularly consult with the dual degree coordinator at their campus for additional program requirements and application procedures. They may also consult with the CoE Transfer Coordinator.

NOTE: Students in other transfer agreement programs with UW-Madison should consult with the Office of Admissions and Recruitment about their options. These programs establish guidelines for transfer admission to UW-Madison; however, these programs do not guarantee admission to CoE because CoE has limited enrollment programs and additional transfer admission considerations.

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment notifies students of the admission decision, and then the Office of the Registrar’s Credit Evaluation Services team prepares the transfer credit evaluation for admitted students. Students will receive an email when they can access the report via their MyUW Student Center:

General practice is that the Office of the Registrar does not pre-evaluate courses for prospective students. To identify possible transfer credit equivalencies before admission:

To ensure that transfer credits are applied to engineering degree requirements in the most appropriate way, admitted transfer students may be asked to submit syllabi for math, science and engineering courses that do not appear in the databases listed above. Upon request, students must be prepared to submit the syllabus provided by the instructor in the term the course was taken. The syllabus must have details about the textbook, weekly topics, assignments, and evaluation methods.

Note: Transfer courses must have a final grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better to fulfill CoE degree requirements.

The Guide contains detailed information about curriculum requirements, course descriptions, and a sample four-year plan for each engineering program.

Transfer students admitted to UW-Madison and the College of Engineering in the fall or spring semester, will be considered for several Transfer Student Scholarships. The Transfer Student Scholarship is renewable for up to four semesters, with an award amount of $2000 on an annual basis.

To be considered for the Transfer Student Scholarship, you must complete a UW-Madison admissions application and be a US citizen or permanent resident. Selection is based on students’ UW admissions application materials; no additional application is required. Students are strongly encouraged to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to UW-Madison but it is not required. Evaluation criteria include academic merit, extracurricular activities, and essay responses. Transfer Student Scholarship notifications will be communicated to admitted students by no later than May 15th for Fall applicants or January 15th for Spring applicants.

Additionally, transfer students admitted for a Fall semester, will be considered for STAR and LEED Scholarships and will be notified of these awards no later than May 15th for Fall applicants or January 15th for Spring applicants. Learn more about these scholarships here.


Email questions to our College of Engineering advising team at and someone will get back to you soon.

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