Transfer of Credit Policy

Students who have completed graduate-level courses in social work or in related disciplines may request, and in some cases be granted, transfer credits for eligible courses completed with a grade of B or above, within five years of the date of matriculation at CSSW. Courses used to fulfill graduation requirements for a degree that was conferred are not eligible for transfer. Courses taken at other institutions after a student has matriculated at CSSW are not eligible for transfer credit. Please note that this “Transfer Credit” option is not the same as the CSSW Transfer Program. For further information regarding transfer credits, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at

Credit for Prior Graduate Course Work

A maximum of nine (9) points may be transferred from CSWE-accredited schools; only six (6) of these may be for electives. These points can be for first-year background courses in areas such as human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy, and social work research. These points also may be social work electives, or a combination of social work electives and background courses.

A maximum of 6 points from a related discipline (i.e., other than social work) may be eligible for transfer credit. Normally these points are counted toward electives required for the CSSW degree. Students who receive transfer credit for electives are still required to meet all degree requirements for their chosen method area. In some instances (e.g., the Social Enterprise Administration method area), transfer credits cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements.

Please note that no additional credit beyond the maximum of 9 is granted for graduate courses either in a related practicum or in social work, separately or in combination, whether earned prior to or during the period of enrollment, except as noted for Dual Degree, Advanced Standing and Transfer Program candidates.

It is the responsibility of the admitted student to request transfer credit. The transfer credit application must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment and Student Services no later than the Friday of the first week of classes of the term in which the student matriculates. All applications are reviewed for relevance of the course(s) to social work, grade(s) earned, and date of completion. The Office of Enrollment and Student Service Systems, in conjunction with the the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, determines whether graduate social work credit taken at another school of social work is to be transferred as “elective” credit or as the equivalent of a particular required Columbia course. Courses may be accepted as electives with the approval of the curriculum area chair or coordinator, if the content is reasonably related to the professional and educational objectives of social work study at Columbia.

Students may receive transfer credit for the following required Columbia courses only if they were earned at an accredited U.S. graduate school of social work:

  • T660A-B Human Behavior and Social Environment A and B
  • T6501 Social Work Research
  • T6801 Social Welfare Policy

Because of the difficulties in evaluating international transcripts, no transfer credits can be granted for course(s) taken at international universities. Courses taken at another school cannot be transferred to fulfill the requirement for a course waived at CSSW.

Columbia University School of Social Work does not give academic credit for life experience or previous work experience, in whole or in part, in lieu of practicum practice or of courses.

Dual Degree and Minor Program Students

If students elect a Dual Degree or Minor Program, or plan to take courses outside of the School during their enrollment period, they must take a minimum of 42 points at Columbia University School of Social Work; therefore, these students may transfer a maximum of 3 points, in addition to those awarded for study at the participating school. Students enrolled in a minor must take a minimum of 51 points at Columbia University School of Social Work.

The School of Social Work offers dual degree programs with Columbia University’s School of Business, the Law School, the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, as well as with three affiliate institutions—-Bank Street College for Education, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary.

The school also offers minors in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, International Social Welfare, and Law.

Advanced Standing Program Students

Students accepted into the Advanced Standing Program are usually granted 27 transfer points for work completed for their B.S.W. degree. Students must take a minimum of 33 points at Columbia University School of Social Work, regardless of the number of credits eligible for transfer.

Doctoral Program students (PhD)

The Social Work PhD Program is governed by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, with regards to transfer credits and Advanced Standing status. Please visit the GSAS site for more information on their policies and procedures for securing such credit.