Transfer Credits & Prior Learning

You’ve already started your college degree. Now, get the credit you earned.

The exact way your prior credits will transfer to Winona State University depends on the type of institution, program, or exam you used.

Here’s a quick breakdown for how transfer credits generally work for undergraduate programs:

  • WSU will determine what credits transfer and whether they meet degree requirements.
  • WSU accepts D grades or better for transfer. WSU will review credits from courses and programs and look for equivalencies to course goals, content, and level of instruction.
  • Not everything that transfers counts toward graduation requirements. Degree programs usually count credits in three categories: general education, prerequisites, and major/minor courses or electives.

To get a sense of how your credits will transfer, check for course equivalencies in Transferology. You can also find many tools and resources for transfer students online.

You may also be able to earn credit through the credit by exam process and portfolio review. This is helpful if you’ve gathered relevant prior learning experiences outside formal education.

Types of Credits

WSU will give undergraduate course credit for scores of 3 or higher on most Advanced Placement exams.

There’s an exception for the English Language and Composition Exam.

You’ll need to score a 4 or 5 to receive 3 college credits toward WSU’s freshman English requirement (ENG 111). Then you only have to take a 1-credit class (English 112) to complete this skills requirement for graduation.

If you score a 3 on either the Language and Composition or the Literature and Composition AP tests, you’ll receive 3 general elective credits.

You may receive 3 or more course credits for scores of 4 or higher on individual Higher Level IB exams.

If you earn an IB diploma, you’ll be granted 6 undergraduate credits for scores of 4 or higher on each Higher Level IB exam.

You’ll receive 2 undergraduate credits for scores of 4 or higher on each Standard Level IB exam.

Results from IGCSE, Cambridge Advanced Level (A-Level) exams are considered for advanced credit.

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a testing program from The College Board that’s designed to measure prior learning.

WSU will grant credit for CLEP exams if a student receives a score of 50 or higher on the exam.

All credits earned at any accredited college or university will be reviewed for application toward the selected degree program. WSU also has articulation agreements in place with select colleges.

WSU has the right to determine whether previous coursework provides a suitable base for advanced study.

Transfer Credits for General Education Requirements

Transfer credits meet WSU’s General Education Program (GEP) requirements if you have:

  • earned an Associate of Arts degree after May 1985
  • earned a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science
  • completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), including through Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree programs

If you’re transferring to WSU from a participating institution and you’ve satisfied all 10 educational goals of the MnTC, you’ll get credit for completing all general education requirements.

See the current WSU courses that meet MnTC goal areas.

WSU complies with Minnesota State College and University guidelines, such as Undergraduate Course Credit Transfer Policy (3.21) and Procedure (3.21.1) as well as Transfer Rights and Responsibilities (3.39).

Contact Admissions at if you’re interested in transferring credits from technical colleges.

WSU will accept a 16-credit general elective package of college-level technical courses offered by institutions with appropriate regional accreditation.

Some departments may offer course transfer credit of technical classes that apply to a program of study. Students can obtain a special form to facilitate the process.

Students are considered transfer students if they’re entering WSU from a technical college. They must submit an official transcript from the technical college.

A high school transcript and appropriate admission test scores also are required for admission.

Winona State University determines which credits transfer from international universities and whether they meet degree requirements.

To receive credits for international work completed, an official evaluation completed by a NACES or AICE member agency must be submitted to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at

We aren’t able to provide you information on how many credits will be accepted until the credit evaluation report is received. So, you should submit this evaluation as soon as possible once you’re admitted to WSU.

Learn more about applying to WSU as an international student.

Veterans may be granted academic credit for formal military schools they attended while on active duty.

WSU Admissions uses the American Council on Education’s Guide to the Evaluation Experience in the Armed Forces to evaluate military experience. You’ll need to provide a copy of your SMART, AARTS, or CCAF transcript for this evaluation.

Learn more about how you can get credit for experience in military branches.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests

The DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) can be individually reviewed by WSU academic departments.

DANTES funds DSST testing for eligible service members and personnel at DANTES military test centers.

Students who were enrolled in PSEO courses must transfer those credits to WSU regardless of their earned grade. You can find course equivalencies for PSEO courses through Transferology.

If your PSEO or College in the Schools (CIS) credits are from a Minnesota State college or university, just let WSU Admissions know and we’ll retrieve those transcripts automatically.

If your credit is earned at any non-Minnesota State school, you’ll need to ask them to send your official transcript to WSU Admissions.

Licensed registered nurses (RN) who’ve completed 3-year hospital training programs may receive 48 semester (72 quarter) credits of electives toward any undergraduate degree program, except nursing.

32 semester credits will be applicable to lower-division coursework. 16 semester credits can be applied to upper-division coursework.

To transfer these credits, you’ll need to provide proof that you successfully completed the necessary RN tests.

For more information, contact WSU Admissions at

WSU accepts some correspondence work toward a degree.

Please contact WSU Admissions at if you’re interested in transferring correspondence coursework.

Appealing a Transfer Credit Decision

All students have the right to appeal transfer credit decisions.

If you haven’t yet enrolled at WSU, print out the WSU Transfer Decision Appeal Form (PDF) and send it to the Admissions Office.

If you’re already enrolled, please use the online Degree Audit and Transfer Credit Request form.

WSU also complies with the Minnesota State system transfer credit appeal procedure (3.21.1).

Credits by Exam

If you can satisfy a course’s requirements by a written or oral examination, you may be able to get credit without formally enrolling in that course.

This is a way to receive credit for equivalent study at a non-accredited school, independent study, and related work experience.

Students cannot use this process to repeat a course to improve a grade.

To start the process, you should meet with the faculty member offering the course.

You must be enrolled and have at least a 2.0 GPA at WSU during the semester you wish to get credit by exam.

Credits by exam cost $50 per credit and will be posted to your student’s record at the end of the term. These credits do not count toward determining full-time status.

Portfolio Review

A portfolio review is an opportunity to present a coherent, carefully organized, and convincing case that identifies specific learning outcomes which you’ve gained through your life experiences.

The WSU faculty evaluators may recommend that credits be awarded if you can demonstrate that what you have learned is substantially equivalent to the level and depth of knowledge you would acquire in the classroom.

How to Start a Portfolio Review

You must complete this process at least 6 months prior to graduation. It will take you a significant investment to put together a compelling portfolio, and there’s no guarantee you will receive credit.

Costs for Portfolio Review

There is $50 fee for the assessment of prior learning for each academic area, and you can submit multiple portfolios for credits in different disciplines.

For example, you could submit a portfolio to be reviewed for credits in accounting and another portfolio to be reviewed for credits in management. This would cost $100 to assess both portfolios.

If equivalency credits are granted, you will have to pay an additional charge for each credit. This charge amounts to 50% of the resident undergraduate credit hour tuition rate.