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Obtaining approval for transfer courses for your Major (Equivalency Form)

If an SFSU Biology student plans to use a course taken at another university to satisfy a Biology Major requirement, the student must have this approved by a Biology Advisor and the Chair of the Department of Biology.  The Equivalency forms are used to obtain permission from your major advisor to use a non-SFSU course as part of your major program. You must consult with a major advisor well in advance to discuss every single class in the major that you take at another college, including courses in math, chemistry, biology, and physics.

This transfer to the major is a TWO STEP process.  First, the University must approve the transfer.  Second, the Department must approve the transfer.

STEP ONE:  UNIVERSITY APPROVAL.  Before the Department can consider accepting the course for major credit, the University must approve the transfer of the course, designated on the Advanced Standing Evaluation (ASE) (request ASE at One Stop Center) or the Degree Audit Report (DARS, download from MySFSU). More information on the DARS and ASE can be found at the Registrar's web site. Transfer students submit their transcripts prior to entering the University.  Approved courses are transferred for specified units as indicated on the ASE or DARS.

To determine equivalency of a transfer course, the the following resources may be of use:

This chart shows which courses at Bay Area colleges transfer for lower division courses required for the SFSU Biology degrees.  The information in the chart was obtained using the assist.org articulation web site.

STEP TWO:  DEPARTMENT APPROVAL.  The student must meet with the Biology Advisor to confirm that a specific transfer course is equivalent to a majors requirement. The student must bring to the meeting with the Biology Advisor:

  • a copy of his/her unofficial SFSU transcripts
  • a copy of his/her Advanced Standing Evaluation (ASE), and Degree Audit Report (if a transfer student)
  • current course enrollment
  • all supporting documentation to demonstrate course equivalency:
  1. If the course equivalency is shown on the assist.org articulation website, the student must print out this articulation agreement and attach the agreement to the Equivalency Form.
  2. If the course equivalency is to be based on the analysis of course materials by faculty, the course syllabus or course catalog description must be attached to the Equivalency Form.

Important notes:

  • The student cannot receive more units than the University has awarded on the ASE (or DARS) and cannot receive more units than the equivalent SFSU course.
  • Courses taken at a junior college (two-year college) can ONLY FULFILL LOWER DIVISION REQUIREMENTS.  However, such course work may be given "content only" credit if the course work is deemed equivalent to an SFSU upper division course.  The upper division units must be made up by taking another upper division elective.

Once the Biology Advisor has approved the form, the studen submits the form to the Department of Biology for approval by the Chair of the Department. The student does not meet with the Chair of the Department. The student picks up the form (typically within two days) from the Department after it has been approved.  Your Equivalency Form is NOT APPROVED until the DEPARTMENT approves the form.

It is recommended that the Equivalency Forms be filled out sooner than later: Do not wait until graduation to get the Equivalency forms approved.

Note that it is the responsibility of the student to keep all Department-approved Equivalency and Substitution Forms to submit with the graduation application.

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