Transfer Applicants: Frequently Asked Questions

1. I have college credit. Should I apply as a transfer or first-year?

It depends. Students with one year or more of full-time college coursework completed or in process should apply as transfers. Students with less than one year of full-time college coursework are encouraged to apply as first-years. We understand that some students’ unique circumstances might leave them outside of these standard parameters. Students with less than one year of full-time college coursework may apply through the transfer process, but the Admission Committee and Registrar’s Office will determine whether those students have sufficient credit to enroll as transfers or should enroll as first-years instead.

2. I have approximately 2.5 years of full-time credit. Does the additional half year of coursework disqualify me from applying to Williams?

No, but Williams has a two-year residency requirement. While any applicant with one year or more of college courses may apply as a transfer, we will only accept a maximum of two years’ worth of credit. If admitted, students would be expected to relinquish any credit in excess of two years.

3. Are there any course requirements or prerequisites for my intended major?

Students considering a particular major are encouraged to review the requirements for that major under Areas of Study. Once students have decided on a major, they are advised to consult with the department regarding their coursework and any placement considerations. Transfers must also complete all other degree requirements as described in the Williams College Course Catalog. The appropriate transfer credit may satisfy those requirements as well.

4. Can I study away as a transfer student?

It depends. Williams has a two-year residency requirement. A student who enrolls as a sophomore may study away and complete the residency requirement. A student who enrolls as a junior and would like to study away must relinquish a semester or year of transfer credit in order to meet the residency requirement.

5. Can I relinquish credit so I can have more time at Williams?

Once enrolled, transfer students have the option to relinquish some or all of their approved transferable credits. Those relinquished credits may still be used for placement into higher level courses. After completion of their first semester at Williams, students who are interested in retroactively relinquishing any of their transfer credit may petition the Committee on Academic Standing. There is no guarantee that the petition will be approved. Please note that Williams meets 100% of demonstrated need for every year students attend.

6. I would love to visit Williams but can't afford to. Is there any help available?

If you’d like to visit Williams but aren’t sure you can afford to, please contact Senior Assistant Director of Admission, Alex DiAddezio, about the Williams Travel Grant Program. The program offers an all-expenses-paid visit to campus. Applications to this selective program are welcomed from any prospective transfers and U.S. military veterans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Transfer Policies and Transferable Coursework

  • As a transfer student, if admitted you’ll have the option to relinquish some or all of your approved transferable credits in order to take additional courses at Williams. You’ll still be able to use those relinquished credits to place into higher level courses (and we will meet 100% of your demonstrated need for every year you attend Williams).
  • Because Williams has a two-year minimum residency requirement for all students, you'll only be allowed to transfer a maximum of two years’ worth of credit from your previous institutions. See the transferable coursework section below for more details.
  • Community is central to the Williams ethos and experience. We guarantee campus housing for all students for the entirety of their enrollment, and are committed to providing students with a type of housing that works best for them. A variety of on-campus options are available. Off-campus housing within close walking distance of campus may also be available in certain circumstances. Regardless of living location, transfer students are welcomed into campus life and engagement with the Williams community.
  • All Williams students, including transfers, may only apply for fall enrollment.
  • Williams doesn’t accept applications from students who have already received a bachelor’s degree.
  • Credit is only awarded for courses taught in the liberal arts in which a grade of C- or above is obtained from an accredited college or university in the U.S. or abroad. Generally, credit is not awarded for courses in business, engineering, computer application, journalism, speech, communications, or criminal justice.
  • Please note that for classes impacted by Covid-19, Williams will review grades of “P" or the equivalent as part of the admission process and for transferability.
  • Williams accepts math courses at the level of calculus and above.
  • Online courses taken spring 2020 or beyond will be reviewed for transferability according to the guidelines laid out here. Asynchronous courses will not be considered transferable.
  • Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or college coursework taken before high school graduation may be used by academic departments for placement purposes. In some circumstances, major credit may be awarded, but degree credit is not.
  • Military coursework may be approved for major or degree credit depending on how the course was delivered and whether it has a liberal arts focus.