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Information & Advice on the Use and Forfeit of Secondary School Transfer Credits

Information & Advice on the Use and Forfeit of Secondary School Transfer Credits

This is a general information and advice page for Faculty of Arts & Science students who received transfer credits from the following programs:

Transfer credits awarded for the above programs are all unspecified (e.g. CHM1**Y, HIS1**Y). They count towards the total number of credits required for your degree.  Each transfer credit appears on your University of Toronto academic record and transcript, although the grade you received is not shown and is not used in the calculation of your Grade Point Average in the Faculty. For detailed information regarding transfer credits from the specific studies completed in secondary school, refer to the Enrolment Services website.

Uses of Such Transfer Credits

As above, these transfer credits may be used as part of the total credit count (20.0) needed for a degree in the Faculty of Arts & Science.  Many transfer credits may be used toward completion of the Breadth Requirement (one of the requirements of the degree) and in some cases they may be used to fulfill Program requirements.  Refer to the relevant chart above for details on usage.

Permission to Forfeit Such Transfer Credits

Since the course work that generates these transfer credits has been done as a compulsory part of a secondary school curriculum, the Faculty permits a student attending university for the first time to opt to forfeit them if that would be in the student’s interest.  Students who are transferring from another division at U of T or another post-secondary institution are not eligible to forfeit their credits. The purpose of this webpage is to help you understand the elements that should go into a decision to keep or to forfeit the transfer credit(s) you have been awarded.  The default is that transfer credits awarded to a student remain on the academic record unless they are explicitly forfeited.   These transfer credits may be kept or forfeited individually: it is not an all or nothing choice.  A discussion with your College Registrar’s Office can help clarify the decision for you.

In 2017-18 Fall/Winter, the deadline of May 31, 2018 to forfeit such transfer credits applies to all students who were admitted and awarded these transfer credits for September 2017 and are entering university for the first time.

The following are some points to consider when deciding whether to keep or forfeit your transfer credits. Should you choose to forfeit your transfer credits, please note that they may not be reinstated at a later date, so it is important that you make an informed decision. Since every student’s case is unique, as mentioned you are strongly encouraged to consult your College Registrar’s office for further advice if you are unclear about your particular situation. 

Frequently Asked Questions & Points to Consider

1. Can the transfer credit fulfill entry requirements for the Program I would like to get into in second year?  If so, do I need to have achieved a certain grade in my GCE/IB/AP exam for admission to the program?

Transfer credits are sometimes accepted by Departments for program admission purposes. Refer to the relevant Enrolment Services link above for information. If in doubt, you should check with the individual Department or Program Sponsor on whether your transfer credit can substitute for the specific entry requirement. Note that some programs require a minimum grade in the required first-year course for program entry; this applies to some transfer credits as well. See the relevant chart on the Enrolment Services website above for information and speak to the Department directly if you have questions

2. Can the transfer credit meet a prerequisite to take higher level courses that I need or wish to take in the future? If so, am I prepared to take the higher level courses without completing the first year courses here at U of T?

Many higher level courses (200-level and up) have prerequisites; some transfer credits can be used to meet prerequisites. Refer to the relevant chart above for information.

Again, if you are unclear, you should contact the Department offering the higher-level course you wish or need to take.  Before proceeding to take the higher level course, you may wish to consider factors such as how long ago you took the subject/exam in secondary school, how well you did, and determine if you would have sufficient background to move on to a course beyond the university introductory level.  In some instances, you may find it beneficial to speak to the Department offering the course you wish to take for advice on whether you should take the relevant introductory course at U of T, even if the transfer credit technically meets the prerequisite.  Often taking the course offered at UofT will provide you with a more complete and more recent introduction to the UofT courses offered beyond the introductory level.

3. What if I wish or need to take a course similar to my transfer credit?

All transfer credits awarded for these programs are unspecified.  Refer to the relevant chart above regarding equivalencies and usage of the credit.  In all cases, you may keep the transfer credit and take a course in a similar subject area, if you wish.

4.  Why would I not want to keep both credits?

If you wish to take a similar course at U of T, you are permitted to keep both the transfer credit and the similar course, and count both for degree credit.  There may be reasons relating to the Breadth Requirement for doing this (see #5 below).   However, in doing so you may encounter another degree regulation that might make it in your interest to have forfeited the transfer credit.

For example, the Faculty has a degree regulation that limits to 6.0 the number of 100-level courses credits that you may count for degree credit (because an Arts & Science degree may only contain a limited number of introductory courses.)   Credits taken beyond the limit of 6.0 are marked “Extra” and do not count as degree credits and their marks are not counted in calculating your Grade Point Average (GPA).   Extras are identified and designated according to “the chronological principle”: the last course taken is designated Extra, no matter how high the mark.  If a number of courses are taken and completed simultaneously in the term that pushes the total over the limit, the course with the lowest mark is chosen as the Extra (to give you the advantage on your GPA).

If you are required to take, or if you wish to take, more 100-level courses so that your total will be pushed over the 6.0 limit, you may not want to lose the GPA value of the university courses you will take – in which case you would opt to forfeit the transfer credit to make room within the 6.0 limit for the courses you intend to take.  If you want to ensure that your lowest mark(s) on some university courses are not counted into your GPA, you may want to keep the transfer credits to push your total over the 6.0 limit and ensure that some of your courses are designated Extra.  Note that if you forfeit the transfer credits and do not eventually reach the limit of 6.0 100-level courses, you must take other courses for credit to reach the required total for your degree of 20.0.

As you can see, deciding to keep or forfeit transfer credit awarded on secondary school work requires you to make a calculation about your needs, your plans and your expected level of performance.  For this reason, we have set the deadline to make this  decision as May 31, so you have an opportunity to gauge your performance and have a better sense of your academic needs.   Your College Registrar is your best source of advice and perspective on these decisions, and you are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to discuss your individual situation.

5. Can the transfer credit be used to fulfill a Breadth Requirement category?

Arts & Science students must complete the Breadth Requirement (BR) as part of their degree. The BR is independent of programs of study, and so may be satisfied by credits that are part of a program’s requirements and also by those that are outside a student’s program(s).    Unspecified transfer credits may also be used to fulfill the Breadth Requirement (BR), if applicable. You can find BR categorization information in the relevant chart above. Note:  not all transfer credits are assigned a BR category; some do not have BR status.  

Note also that forfeited transfer credits will not count toward the BR, as they will no longer be on your academic record.

Example #1: If your main area of study is in the Life Sciences, the majority of the courses in your program will likely be in BR categories 4 and 5.  If you received a transfer credit in HIS1**Y for IB, it counts as 1.0 credit in BR category 3.  Therefore, you would not have to take another course in category 3 towards your Breadth Requirement unless you wanted to as part of your non-program courses.  

Example #2: If your main area of study will be in English, this program requires the completion of 0.5 credits from BR category 4 or 5, even though almost all the other English courses fall within BR category 1.  An unspecified science transfer credit with a BR designation of 4 or 5 would satisfy this requirement. 

6. Will forfeiting or not forfeiting affect my fees now or in the future?

It may. Depending on how you complete your remaining degree requirements over the subsequent Fall/Winter and/or Summer sessions, your total fees for your degree may be affected. In the Fall/Winter session, depending on course load, students are charged fees on either a program or per-course basis; in the Summer, fees are charged on a per-course basis. 


In summary, you are strongly advised to speak to your College Registrar about your particular situation as everyone’s case may be a little different. If after speaking to your Registrar you decide to keep all your transfer credits, no further action is required. If you decide to forfeit one or more transfer credits, your Registrar will have you fill out a Transfer Credit Forfeit Form. Once processed, the forfeited transfer credit will be removed from your academic record and transcript.  


Last updated: April 27, 2017