Off-Campus Transfer Students

Requirements and Resources for Off-Campus Transfer Students

Off-campus transfer students have completed or are completing course work at another college or university after graduating from high school and want to transfer directly to the College of Engineering (CoE). Off-campus transfer students may apply for fall semester or spring semester admission. Transfer admission to one of the twelve CoE undergraduate majors is a two-stage process.

Two-Stage Transfer Admission Process to CoE Programs

Off-campus students must first be admitted to UW-Madison by the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.  (Stage 1).  Applicants indicate two majors (preferred and alternate) for consideration on their online application to the university, though only one can be in the College of Engineering (CoE).  It is in a student’s best interest to indicate their preferred choice as their intended CoE major on their university application.

After admission to the university as a CoE student, CoE requires applicants to submit a supplemental application for evaluation of program progression. (Stage 2). CoE then notifies students about whether they have satisfied the progression requirements for their degree-granting engineering program before transfer, or if they must complete more course work after transfer to satisfy the progression requirements.

A student’s classification upon CoE admission reflects their direct admit status to their intended department (i.e., civil engineering or industrial engineering).  Students are assigned departmental staff and faculty advisors, may apply for departmental scholarships, and seek internships and co-ops as departmental students.

Stage 1.  Admission to CoE with an Intended Engineering Major

  1. Establish a strong college record before completing 80 transferable credits.
    1. Fulfill the UW-Madison Transfer Admission Requirements.
    2. Demonstrate success in engineering-related course work.
    3. Do not exceed the 80 Credit Limit for transfer admission to CoE.
    4. Explore engineering majors and other majors at UW-Madison.
  2. Apply to UW-Madison for transfer admission.
  3. Gain admission to UW-Madison.

Stage 2.  CoE Program Progression

  1. Learn about progression requirements.
  2. Submit the CoE supplemental application.
  3. Understand program progression status decisions.
  4. Await program progression status.
  5. Confirm admission to UW-Madison and the CoE.
  6. Understand next steps if progression requirements must be satisfied after transfer.
  7. Understand important note for students who must meet progression requirements after transfer as specified by the GCR15.


Stage One: Admission to CoE With an Intended Engineering Major

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 80 transferable credits. 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. A strong match between the student’s academic background and likelihood of success at UW-Madison is required.  For more details, see

(2) Demonstrate Success in Engineering-Related Course Work.

A strong match between the individual and engineering study at UW-Madison is desired. Academic performance in college must be given priority. The student’s academic record should indicate a likelihood of success in full-time engineering course work to be taken immediately after transfer. Although admission is not guaranteed, strong applications include factors such as the following (these are guidelines, not a checklist):

Math, Science, Engineering Course Work

  • 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. Recommended for strong preparation: at least three courses on the list of Core Math and Science Courses in the General College Requirements for Off Campus Transfer Students.
  • An introduction to engineering course is optional but strongly recommended, if available.
  • Engineering courses related to the intended major

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 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), in addition to the following: 

  • 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.

 Note:  Due to high student demand, several CoE majors are especially selective and competitive, including for students with very high GPAs: biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, computer engineering and mechanical engineering.

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. At least one letter of recommendation attesting to academic ability is strongly suggested.

(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:

  • In-progress credits (at the time of application)
  • 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

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 candidates at other institutions who are in transfer agreement programs with the College of Engineering. 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. For a list of all undergraduate majors, visit .

After transfer to CoE, students have a very limited time to explore engineering majors. Students must identify an engineering major within one year (two semesters) of residency.

Ways to explore engineering prior to transfer:


To apply, students (1) must submit the online transfer application to UW-Madison, (2) must submit their application materials and course syllabi to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, and (3) should enhance their transfer application with supplemental information.

Application Process:

(1) Submit the online transfer application to UW-Madison by the official deadlines.

Submission of this application begins the first stage of admission to a CoE major. Note the application deadlines carefully: . CoE will later notify admitted students when the supplemental application can be submitted to begin the second stage.

Online transfer application:

  • Specify intended College of Engineering major (identified by ENGR).
  • Specify alternate UW-Madison School or College; applicants will not be able to select a second CoE major, but can select Biological Systems Engineering (CALS) or majors in any other school or college at UW-Madison.

(2)  Submit all application materials directly to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

See “Transfer Application Materials”:

When applying, submit the following materials and information.

  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended.
  • Exam scores, if any. Applicants should submit all scores if they want the exam credits to fulfill engineering admission and degree requirements. If Advanced Placement (AP), GCE Advanced Level (A-Level), or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams or the International Baccalaureate (IB) were taken, have the official grade report submitted to UW-Madison. Consult College Board to submit AP scores: . The UW-Madison AP code is 1846.
  • Syllabi for math, science and engineering courses. 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. Exception: If the transfer credit equivalency appears on an official database below, applicants should not submit the syllabus unless wanting the equivalency reconsidered.

Transfer Information System (TIS)
Transfer Equivalency Database (TED)

(3) Enhance the transfer application (optional but recommended)

In addition to the materials mentioned above, students may submit to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment:

  • A statement of interest about engineering. In the application statement section or in a separate attachment, applicants can explain their interests, relevant experiences if any, and reasons for transferring to pursue their intended program. They may also explain circumstances that may have affected their academic record.
  • Additional material as desired.

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment reviews students holistically, makes the admission decision, and notifies students accordingly. Students should check the preferred email address provided on the university transfer application for communication from UW-Madison.

Students should also review the “Check Application Status” website to learn important information such as what materials have been received, when they have been admitted, and how to accept their offer of admission:  See the Admissions website for the notification time frame:

Students admitted to CoE will then move to stage two of the process and evaluation of their progression toward their intended major.

 Students not admitted to CoE will be considered for admission to their alternate major that they indicated on their university application. If they are admitted and attend UW-Madison to pursue the non-CoE major, they may apply for future transfer admission to the CoE, provided course work at their prior campus and at UW-Madison does not cause them to exceed the 80 credit limit for cross-campus transfer application to the CoE.


Stage Two: CoE Program Progression

Students must satisfy specific course, credit, and GPA requirements for progression.  This can be done by completing specific requirements either before transfer or after transfer and within one year (two semesters) of residency in CoE.

(1) Before Transfer

Students may complete and preferably exceed as fully as possible the General College Requirements for Off Campus Transfer Students at their current campus before transferring.

NOTE: Fulfilling the General College Requirements for off-campus transfer students does not guarantee that students will be approved to have completed progression requirements prior to transfer.

(2) After Transfer

If it is determined that they have not met progression before transfer, students must meet progression requirements within one year (two semesters) of residency in CoE after transfer.


All admitted CoE students will receive an email from the College of Engineering requesting that they submit the CoE Department Choice for Transfer Student System (DCTSS) supplemental application by the specified deadlines: in December for spring admission, and in May for fall admission.

Submission of this supplemental application starts the evaluation process for program progression.

To make the progression determination, 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. Students’ transferable credits must fulfill the General College Requirements for Off Campus Transfer Students.

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). NOTE: the Core GPA of most successful transfer applicants ranges from 3.2-4.0.
  • 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.

Additional Notes

  • Credit will be given for equivalent test credits, transfer course work, or other advanced standing credits that are transferable to UW-Madison.
  • Transfer courses must have at least C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) final grades to fulfill CoE degree requirements.

The CoE will notify students by email in late-January or early-February for spring admission, or July for fall admission. The email will confirm that they will begin in their selected program.  The email will also confirm their progression status in that program.  The progression decision will be one of the following:

  • (1) Progression requirements were satisfied before transfer. Students will begin in their selected program knowing that they may continue in the program having to meet only graduation requirements.
  • (2) Progression requirements must be satisfied after transfer. Students will begin in their selected program; however, to continue in the program, they must satisfy the General College Requirements (GCR15) within two semesters in residency.

NOTE:  Students should plan to attend the Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program regardless of whether they are in group 1 or 2 described above.

Follow the guidelines on the Admitted Student Checklist:

By early-January for spring and early-June for fall, admitted students must notify both the CoE and the Office of Admissions of final grades.  Students should self-report their final grades on their MyUW Student Center.

They should also send an unofficial transcript or a copy of their final grade report with the subject line “Final Transcript” to  This must be done so students can be considered for having satisfied the progression requirements for their selected CoE program.

Students who must satisfy progression requirements after transfer will work on satisfying General College Requirements (GCR15) within two semesters of residency at UW-Madison.  They take courses that fulfill the progression requirements and engineering degree requirements, including available engineering courses in their intended major. They should also take time to explore the variety of engineering majors and other programs on campus.

  • NOTE: Transfer students may be considered for satisfying the progression requirements during 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. If not found to have met progression requirements, they may be considered again the following semester without any penalty; however, the requirement to satisfy within two semesters of residency both (1) the GCR15 (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 satisfying progression requirements should consult with advisors in their program about their interests, academic and career goals, and course planning. They are also encouraged to take advantage of CoE student services and academic support such as tutoring and study groups.


Engineering major GPA requirements for guaranteed progression under the GCR15GPA benchmarks are effective for the 2016-2017 academic year and are subject to change.

Additional notes:

  • Credit will be given for equivalent Advanced Placement credits, transfer course work, or other advanced standing credits that are transferable to UW-Madison.
  • Transfer courses must have at least C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) final grades to fulfill CoE degree requirements.

After transfer: Students must meet course/credit/GPA requirements in order to continue in their department. Because of program capacity limitations, admission can become more competitive if demand trends change. Students who must satisfy progression requirements must achieve high grades at UW-Madison. Transfer credits but not grades are included in the departmental admission review, and only UW-Madison grades are computed in GPA calculations. To keep their options open, students who must meet progression after transfer must expand their interests and also make parallel plans toward at least one major outside CoE.  They are responsible for knowing the progression requirements for their intended engineering program and for alternate engineering programs of interest.


Transfer Planning Resources

  1. GPA Calculation: Grades for all transferable courses, including the first grade for repeated courses, will be included in GPA calculations for departmental admission and progression consideration.
  1. Final Grades: Transfer courses must have a final grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better to fulfill CoE degree requirements.
  1. Transfer Credits and Exam Credits: Credit will be given for appropriate transfer course work, Advanced Placement (AP), GCE Advanced Level (A-Level), International Baccalaureate (IB), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or other advanced standing credits.
  1. Transfer Agreement Programs: Students in transfer agreement programs specifically with CoE are considered for direct admission and immediate progression into their intended engineering major. The CoE transfer agreement programs are the Engineering Transfer Blueprint, College of Menominee Nation Transfer Agreement, and Dual Degree Program. Students submit the same the online application form and transcripts as for all transfer applicants, and follow the same application deadlines. They must consult with the agreement coordinator at their campus for additional procedures. They may also consult with the CoE transfer admissions 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 additional transfer admission requirements and considerations.

The Office of Admissions and Recruitment notifies students of the admission decision and prepares their transfer credit evaluation. Admitted students will receive an email when they can access the report via their MyUW Student Center:

To identify possible transfer credit equivalencies before admission, consult these resources:

*Note: Courses “that are remedial, technical, vocational, or doctrinal in nature are not transferable” and therefore will not fulfill CoE degree requirements.

Course Descriptions

All CoE courses:

UW-Madison Course Guide:

Engineering Majors and Curricula

All CoE Majors and Departments: departmental handbooks

For the curricula, see each departmental website.

All CoE students are required to:

  • Follow the curriculum requirements in operation at the time of their admission to a CoE degree program.
  • Enroll full time (minimum 12 credits) each semester.
  • Complete at least 30 credits in residence in the CoE, including 15 credits of work in the degree-granting department.

CoE regulations

Questions? Please consult:

Office of Admissions and Recruitment

702 W. Johnson Street

College of Engineering – Transfer Student Services