Info for Transfer Students

Transfer students are post-secondary (college or university) students who are applying to transfer into one of our degree programs, either from another University of Alberta degree program, or from another post-secondary institution.

This is not the same as declaring or changing your major or minor, which can be done by simply filling out a form at the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Student Services.


Here are the answers to some of our most frequently-asked questions from applicants:

Q: Which programs require a portfolio as part of the application? What's the process for applying to one of these programs?
A: While the Online Application process is the same for all applicants, applications to the BFA and BDes programs also require a portfolio. Please visit our Portfolio Application page for more information.

Q: Do I have to complete certain courses before I can transfer into the BFA or BDes program?
A: In order for our Department to consider you a transfer student for the BDes or BFA program, you have to complete at least ART 134 and DES 135, or at least *6 of equivalent first-year Art/Design studio courses from another institution. If you have at least that achieved, your portfolio will be "competing" for a spot as a 2nd year student, or for a higher year, if you have already achieved the equivalent of our 2nd year courses.

For more information about eligibility and grades, please visit the Admission Requirements page.

Q: How do I know what transfer credit I will get?
A: Only the Faculty of Arts can perform an official transfer credit assessment, which will be done when your application is processed. This is a very time-consuming process and is part of what your application fee pays for. But, we know that understanding potential transfer credit is important to you when deciding whether or not to apply, so here are some tips:

  1. Collect your transcripts for any courses you have taken, including any IB or AP university-level credit you have earned.
  2. Find the program requirements for the program you want to enter. You can find our program requirements listed under our Undergraduate Programs.
  3. You can look up more detailed information about our courses on Bear Tracks (you can find a link at the top of the UAlberta main homepage) or on our website under Course Listings.
  4. For Alberta Schools: If your post-secondary school was in Alberta, you can look up your courses in the Alberta Transfer Guide to see if there is any official transfer credit listed there.
  5. For eligible institutions in other Canadian provinces: If your post-secondary school was not in Alberta, then you can try to find a transfer guide for your province, and see if your courses would transfer to major universities there. If yes, or if they come from a major university in your province, your next step is to carefully compare the courses there to courses here. We can't give transfer credit unless we have equivalent courses here, so for instance, a purely technical course teaching you the basics of Photoshop will not be equivalent to one of our studio courses.
  6. For international applicants: It is likely that you may be asked for the syllabus/course descriptions for courses you have taken so that we can assess any potential transfer credit. It will help your application proceed smoothly if you start collecting these as early as possible. (They will need to be in English or translated into English.)

If you have question about this, you may contact the Undergraduate Advisor, but please do your best to work through this process on your own first.

Q: I did one or more years of Art/Design post-secondary courses but it looks like there's no official transfer credit possible. If I am accepted to the BFA or BDes program, will I have to do first year studio courses again?
A: It depends on the program, and on the strength of your portfolio, and your grades. We will always do our best to place in you in the level of courses which seem most suited to your current level of achievement. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis as it is contingent on many factors.

Q: I am already a U of A student, but I want to apply to transfer to a new degree program; do I have to apply again and pay another application fee?
A: Yes, anytime you want to transfer into a new degree program, you need to the official online application, and pay an application fee. For internal applicants, this fee is lower than first time applicants, and you should not need to submit all your original documents again as these should already be on file. This also applies to students wishing to transfer from the BDes program to the BFA program, etc.

Q: When will I receive my official admission so I can register in courses?
A: If you did your online application early in the year, and everything is in order, and the Admissions team at the Office of the Registrar already has all your documents and final grades, you might be admitted in May. If they are waiting for things like your final Spring term grades or other documents, it could be as late as early August.