Transfer Credit

Transfer Credits/Advanced Standing at Empire State University

Empire State University recognizes that students acquire college-level learning from many sources. Advanced standing refers to academic credit for college-level learning gained outside of your attendance at SUNY Empire State University. This includes traditional transfer credit as well as any assessed prior learning such as credits earned through standardized exams, military credits, professional learning that has been pre-evaluated (PLE), or individualized prior learning assessment (iPLA).  See the individual sections of the catalog for more information about each type of advanced standing. 

Official Documenation and Credit Application

Students are required to provide official documentation in order for their credits to be accepted. To be considered official, a transcript or other academic documents must be sent at the student’s request directly from the originating institution or organization to Admissions at Empire State University. Transfer credit and other prior learning (advanced standing) that meets policy for acceptance will be evaluated and applied to a student's record as close to the time of admission as possible.*  At SUNY Empire we apply all available transfer credit to a student's record, so the student and their mentor can see what is available. However, not all credits may be usable toward a student's degree. Students will work with their mentor to determine which credits and how many of them, apply toward their particular degree. 

*Undergraduate students matriculating prior to Fall 2022 have their prior learning applied to their record at the point of degree program concurrence.

Maximum Number of Transfer Credits

In most associate degree programs, students may include up to 40 credits of transfer and/or other prior learning (advanced standing). Students in an AA or AS in General Studies program may transfer in up to 52 credits. In our baccalaureate programs students may include up to 90-93 credits of advanced standing, depending on the overall number of credits required in the degree. Keep in mind, baccalaureate degrees require a minimum of 45 credits at the upper-level, therefore the maximum amount of introductory-level credits (like those earned through a community college), that can be used toward a student's bachelor's degree, is 75-79. Students will work with their mentors to determine which credits are applicable. 

Semester Credit Hours

College credit represents the number of hours students have spent studying a particular topic. These hours are converted into credits based on the length of the course (semester, term), the number of hours the course met during the designated time and the number of hours expected for work outside of the course meetings. Typically, credits are measured in semester or quarter credits. SUNY Empire awards credit based on semester hours. If a student attended an institution that awarded quarter credits or another type of unit of measure, the credits will be converted to semester credits upon application to their SUNY Empire record.

Rounding of Credits

Credits are not rounded at SUNY Empire, and may include fractions of credits. For example, 4 quarter credits are equivalent to 2.68 semester credits and will not be rounded to 3 credits.  

D Grades

Grades of D generally indicate less than satisfactory performance and are not transferable in most cases. Students who were awarded an Associate in the Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), or Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree can bring in all or part of the credit earned as part of that degree, including courses with D grades. Students without a completed associate degree can bring in credits for which the student received a C- or above. D grades earned as part of an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) degree are not transferable, even if the student completed the AOS. Courses with D grades listed on a SUNY general education transfer addendum (GETA) may be used to meet SUNY General Education Requirements. 

Age of Credits

Empire State University accepts credits no matter how long ago a student earned them, except when the learning is in an area that has changed significantly over time, such as computer technology. In such cases, credits should be reviewed for currency. Students should talk to their mentor about the appropriateness of their credits. 

Credits Not Counting Toward A Degree


Developmental courses, remedial courses, English language courses that strengthen a student’s language skills to college-level, or pre-college courses listed on transcripts are not accepted as transfer credit. Numbers lower than 100 or 10 often designate these courses. Some examples of titles are "Reading", "Arithmetic", "Basic Writing" and "English as a Second Language". Often such courses appear on transcripts with credit amounts or quality points attached although they may not count toward degree requirements at the original institution.

Insufficient grades

Incompletes, withdrawals, failing grades, and D-grades not part of a completed AA, AS, AAS degree, audited courses, and adult education courses which did not earn college credit are not accepted as transcript credit. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are not equivalent to college credits and are not directly transferable. A student may demonstrate their knowledge in these areas by taking a standardized examination or through individualized prior learning assessment.


Empire State University awards credit for specific learning only once. Similar courses in the same subject at the same level taken at different institutions are considered potentially redundant unless the university has determined that there is no significant overlap. 

Transferring PLA Credit From Another Institution

Prior learning assessment credit or credit for individually evaluated learning that comes to the university on a transcript from a regionally accredited institution or from an institution on the NYSED approved list when you attended may be accepted when it is part of a completed A.A., A.S. or A.A.S. degree. If this is not the case, then the credits may be used if the originating institution’s process for awarding the PLA credits has been reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and has been determined to be consistent with SUNY Empire's conventions for evaluating such credits. PLA programs from all SUNY institutions have already been evaluated and are acceptable for direct transfer. 

Transfer Appeals Process

When a student transfers into Empire State University, all courses taken at other SUNY institutions are eligible for transfer credit. The student will work with their faculty mentor to determine which prior courses are appropriate to the degree program plan. If the student does not agree with the university's decision on the granting or placement of credit that was earned at another SUNY institution, the student has the right to submit an appeal.

The university appeals process includes an informal resolution procedure, as well as a procedure for formal appeal of an academic decision. We strongly encourage students to attempt an informal resolution before making a formal appeal.

Consult the Student Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure for more details on the appeals process.

Further Appeals Process For Students Transferring From Another SUNY Campus

If the student has exhausted the appeals process at the university and still does not agree with the university's decision or has not received a response within 15 business days, they may appeal to SUNY System Administration. Students can submit the appeal by filling out a student appeal form and sending it with requested material to:

or send via certified mail to:

Thomas Hanford, Ph.D.
Director of Transfer and Articulation Policy
Office of Student Success
SUNY System Administration
353 Broadway Albany, NY 12207

The SUNY representative will respond to the appeal within five business days from receipt of the completed appeal application. If the decision finds merit to change the course to meet a major requirement, the receiving institution will be notified to take appropriate action.