Understanding UC Maximum Transfer Credit Limitation Policy

Confused about the UC Maximum Transfer Credit Limitation Policy? This information applies to intercampus (UC-to-UC) transfers and transfer students with four-year college credits. Empower yourself with knowledge so you can make informed decisions about your future.

August 2023 update: UCs have renamed the “Maximum Transfer Credit Limitation Policy” to “High-Unit Limits and Admission Policy” and moved the explanation into the Quick Reference Guide for UC Admissions (the short link in the video “askmssun.com/unit-cap” now directs you there). You can find a campus-by-campus unit limit chart and some additional information regarding the policy (under “Limits on Transfer Credit”) on page 37 of the PDF file. Examples of how to calculate the unit limit are provided on page 38 of the PDF file.

February 2021 update: UCs did a webinar for transfer counselors on how to advise “reverse transfers” that covered some specific issues and noteworthy problem areas for former UC students and students with four-year college credits. Access a recording of the webinar and the presentation slides (including presentation notes) here.

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Tariq Kafireply
September 17, 2016 at 1:24 am

You are the most important source for UC Admissions. Period. I am sorely disappointed by the billion dollar UC System’s total failure to clarify this bureaucratic maze. I personally think this policy is utterly moronic to say the least; but even more moronic is UC System Wide dearth of information. Not a single campus’s web site has information remotely as clear as your web site does. You are doing a great service for the public, and UC should give you a medal. If not, they should come up with one, so that you can be the first recipient. I mean it seriously. Thank you for your dedication.

Ms. Sunreply
September 17, 2016 at 9:19 am
– In reply to: Tariq Kafi

Thank you very much for your kind words 🙂

Tariq Kafireply
September 17, 2016 at 1:28 am

p.s.: Oh! I forgot to mention, the short URL is no longer active. I think UC took it somewhere and cannot be found. Typical UC.

Ms. Sunreply
September 17, 2016 at 9:21 am
– In reply to: Tariq Kafi

Yeah, that’s on my “fix” list. For now, I added a comment to direct viewers to the correct location (it’s now buried in a 78-page document).

Christine Buireply
December 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

Hello Ms.Sun. What if I have only 3 units of upper division coursework at a 4-year university (I don’t know if it’s transferable or not) on top of the 70 semester units cap? Am I still automatically disqualified for admission? Thank you!

Ms. Sunreply
December 6, 2017 at 11:57 am
– In reply to: Christine Bui

Did you look at the chart on page 30 of the Quick Reference for Counselors?

Marilyn Nguyenreply
April 29, 2019 at 6:24 pm

If I am a student who double timed at 2 community colleges and then I transferred with 98.5 units only at CC. Then if I transfer to a CSU to do biochemistry but I am not doing upper division classes yet (I’m still completing calculus, physics, biology) would those disqualify me from transferring from CSU to UC?

Ms. Sunreply
April 29, 2019 at 10:30 pm
– In reply to: Marilyn Nguyen

As long as you don’t have upper-division units (and no UC units), you should remain eligible.

April 25, 2020 at 7:41 pm

If I earned 65 units at a community college and have 15 units from AP credits, will 80 units of lower division courses be able to go toward my bachelors degree?

Ms. Sunreply
April 26, 2020 at 10:48 am
– In reply to: JC

You will only get “unit credit” (number of units that will count toward UC graduation unit requirement) for up to 70 semester or 105 quarter units. But you will receive “subject credit” for all of the courses/AP credits you have (you don’t need to retake anything you already passed). Duplicate credits (for example, AP Calculus BC score of 5 and one year of calculus course sequence) will only count once.

April 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Are you saying all of the credits including the subject credits from the AP tests can only add up to 70 units? Or the subject credits are separate from the 70 units and can push someone over that unit cap?

Ms. Sun
April 27, 2020 at 10:33 am
– In reply to: JC

“Unit credit” has to do with the number of units you need to accumulate in order to graduate; that is capped at 70 semester units (you can apply 70 semester units you have earned toward meeting that graduation unit requirement). “Subject credit” is different and that has to do with the courses you can take or don’t need to take (for example, if you already took Calculus, you don’t need to retake that).

July 31, 2020 at 8:35 pm

I plan on having 74 semester units (all lower division from community college) by the end of next spring, and earned 24 AP unit credit, am I a junior level transfer?

Ms. Sunreply
July 31, 2020 at 10:06 pm
– In reply to: Devin

You are a junior level transfer. After you transfer, you can apply up to 70 semester units toward your UC graduation unit requirement but you will retain subject credit for all of the courses you have completed and AP credits you have earned.

October 21, 2020 at 8:34 am

I spent one semester at a 4-year University and completed 17 units of all lower division courses. I have 71.50 units from CCC. So 88.5 total. Am I ineligible for the UCs? Some of the lower division units at the 4 year university don’t match UC coursework on ASSIST, so would those not be counted? Thanks!

Ms. Sunreply
October 21, 2020 at 10:25 am
– In reply to: John

As long as that 4-year university is NOT a UC and all of your units from that 4-year university are lower-division, you will be under the maximum unit limit (you cannot exceed the limit if you only have lower-division units; the only exception is when you have UC units).

You need to report ALL coursework and grades on your UC Application. The UCs will determine which courses are transferable. If you omit courses and then the UCs later find out (when reviewing official transcripts in July), you may get your admission offer revoked.

January 2, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Hi Ms. Sun,

I am currently attending UC Riverside where I am going to start the Winter quarter of my second year in January. Currently, my major is Psychology, though I have decided to change my major to Computer Science with Business Application. I talked to an advisor in my current college (CHASS) and I was told that I cannot change to another major in the engineering college after my first year. I am confident that I do not want to pursue my initial major and career choice after college and I feel the college of engineering would be integral for my long term career plan. I am considering a full withdrawal from UCR, instead taking the required courses at a community college to apply for a junior transfer or readmission to my major of choice. In this case, would you say these actions are effective for a change of major? If otherwise, could you offer any recommendations for other options? I appreciate your time and consideration on this matter! Thank you.

Ms. Sunreply
January 3, 2021 at 1:35 pm
– In reply to: A

You may have too many UC units to stay under the maximum cap, which would make you ineligible for transfer admission. CS majors at most UCs require a six-course sequence in math (single-variable/multivariable calculus, differential equation, linear algebra), a three-course sequence in physics (mechanics, electricity and magnetism, heat/light/waves), and an assortment of four to six computer science courses (programming, data structure, assembly language, computer organization, discrete math, etc.). I’m not sure how many UC units you have now and if the courses you have already completed coincide with the CS requirements; if you haven’t taken the math/physics/computer science sequences, my guess is you’ll exceed the cap before you finish all of the required CS courses.

I recommend that you check with with your UCR Transition Advisor to see if leaving UCR and then returning to a different major is actually allowed (that sounds like a massive loophole and I would be surprised if UCR is not aware of it).

For the other UCs, you need to match the courses you have completed against the CS requirements at each UC campus where you intend to transfer to see how many courses you are missing and then figure out if you can actually complete all of the missing courses without exceeding the maximum cap. If you’d rather have me do that for you, you can sign up for this service.

January 3, 2021 at 11:43 pm

Yes, I’ve worked out a course plan that would enable me to not exceed the credit limit for a major switch, I will be checking if I can do the same the graduation credit limit. Thank you for your help! If I need assistance in a plan, I will subscribe the service.

Ms. Sunreply
January 4, 2021 at 11:08 am
– In reply to: A

Ok, if your intention is to go back to UCR (the major there doesn’t seem to require the extensive math and physics preparation that the other UCs require), then definitely discuss your plan with the UCR Transition Advisor. Your instinct may be to avoid discussing this, but know that UCR may choose to close the loopholes (if it hasn’t already) and you don’t want to unknowingly walk into a dead end (especially if you are not planning for transfer to other UCs).

January 5, 2021 at 6:20 pm

Ok, thank you for your time and your reply!

Ms. Sunreply
January 6, 2021 at 10:11 am
– In reply to: A

You are very welcome (I took out your name to preserve confidentiality given the information you have disclosed).

January 6, 2021 at 11:45 pm

Thank you, I appreciate that very much!

Ms. Sunreply
January 7, 2021 at 11:45 am
– In reply to: a


March 3, 2021 at 3:04 am

Hi Ms. Sun! I have around 80 units as a transfer student (all from CCC’s), and understand that I’ll receive unit credit for up to 70, but am wondering if that means I will necessarily be receiving that credit or if I’m able to apply only some of those units to my graduation requirements.

I wasn’t able to find any mention in the Quick Reference Guide of whether you have a choice in what courses above the 60 unit minimum to transfer you earn credit for, and considering that I might want to take more than 50 units in my upper division courses, I’m concerned that I’ll be capped off at the 120 unit maximum because I received unit credit for CCC courses I didn’t want nor need.

This might be sort of a silly question, so any clarification on how the process work would really help. I’ve been on your site since starting my application last year and you’ve been nothing but tremendously helpful, so I also just want to thank you for all the effort you put in to helping so many students like myself.

Ms. Sunreply
March 3, 2021 at 1:13 pm
– In reply to: Evan

You will get subject credit for ALL of UC-transferable courses you completed. You will just get 70 semester units (wholesale) applied toward your UC graduation unit requirement. Think of your units as having two distinct forms: a qualitative form (subject credit) and a quantitative form (capped at 70 when applied toward graduation).

A somewhat ambiguous version of what I just said is in the Quick Reference, page 35, first paragraph under “Limits on Transfer Credit.”

March 3, 2021 at 2:29 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Okay, I think I’m understanding you correctly-instead of telling the UC’s something like, “I only want 60 units applied to my graduation requirement, and from only these classes…,” I would just have a flat 70 units automatically applied to the unit requirement, regardless of what courses I earned them in.

What I’m getting caught up on is the wording of “up to” in “up to 70 semester units” in the Limits on Transfer Credit section. Let me know if what I wrote sounds correct, and thanks again for the help!

Ms. Sun
March 3, 2021 at 6:14 pm
– In reply to: Evan

You got it.

The UCs are using “up to” like “a maximum of” (so “Students will be granted a maximum of 70 semester units …”). Either way, it’s meant to convey that you will NOT get unit credit beyond 70 semester units (but you’ll always have subject credit). If you completed 68 units, you’ll carry over 68 units. But if you have 72 units or 84 units, you’ll only be able to carry over 70 units.

March 3, 2021 at 6:42 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Got it! Thanks so much for the clarification.

Ms. Sun
March 3, 2021 at 6:50 pm
– In reply to: Evan

I’m happy to help!

March 7, 2021 at 4:04 am

Hi, Ms Sun, I am currently applying to UC Berkeley from UCSB. However, my total units are about 121 by the end of spring quarter. I was wondering whether all courses taken at UCSB can be given credits in Berkeley. Because Berkeley has a 120quarter unit maximum requirement, so I am hoping one course will not be transferable to Berkeley.

Ms. Sunreply
March 7, 2021 at 11:02 am
– In reply to: Kexin

All UC units are transferable within the system. However, I have heard of one case where the student was capped at 70 UC units (it really depends on the campus policy). Once you transfer and figure out how your units are counted, any disputes you have would require you to research the academic policy at your campus and work things out with your academic advisor and/or college dean.

The maximum unit limit that you CANNOT exceed for Berkeley is 135 (look at the chart on page 37 of the Quick Reference). All of the units you have completed at UCSB will count against that limit.

March 7, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your help!

Ms. Sunreply
March 8, 2021 at 11:41 am
– In reply to: Kexin

I’m happy to help. My best wishes to you and good luck!

July 20, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Hi! I have been accepted as a transfer, but found out I will exceed units by 0.5 before I arrive on campus since I have classes currently that I cannot drop. Will they rescind if I exceed credits?

Ms. Sunreply
July 20, 2021 at 5:17 pm
– In reply to: Jack

If you had reported all of your units on your UC Application, then the admission offer was made with that in mind. If you made changes to your schedule and did not report the changes, then you should report them now and see what the campus says.

April 3, 2022 at 8:41 am

I understand that UCLA has a unit cap of 216 and transfer credits are counted towards that. However, how about if I took college courses before high school graduation. I applied for transfer this year but 70% of my college credits (from community college) were granted before I graduated high school. I noticed that UCSB and UC Berkeley do not factor in college courses/credits earned before high school graduation into the unit cap limit but have not seen any information about this for UCLA.

Ms. Sunreply
April 3, 2022 at 8:47 pm
– In reply to: Mathur

If you only have college credits from community college, then the unit cap does not apply to you (but you will only be allowed to apply up to 70 semester/105 quarter units worth of credit toward your UC graduation unit requirement). Also, the max is 130 quarter units for UCLA; I’m not sure where you got the 216.

November 29, 2022 at 9:43 pm

Hi I have a question. I have been in community college since graduating from high school. I have 71 UC transferrable units when I transfer and 25 AP units that can transfer to uc. Am I over the limit for junior transfer? Even if I am qualify for a junior transfer, would I still be competitive enough for the transfer? That 71 units are all completed in a community college. And that 25 units are all completed in high school.

Ms. Sunreply
November 29, 2022 at 10:10 pm
– In reply to: Jacky

If all you have are community college and AP credits, then you’ll be a junior level transfer even if you have credits far above junior level. This is because all community college courses and AP credits are “lower division.” Since you never took “upper division” (junior or senior level) coursework, you cannot actually be above junior level.

November 29, 2022 at 10:16 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

If so, will I be counted as competitive? I saw on that guide for 2022, high unit transfer would be consider as not competitive. Also, thank you so much for replying my questions so late! Thank you!!!!!

Ms. Sun
November 29, 2022 at 10:27 pm
– In reply to: Jacky

You are not a high unit transfer because that definition only applies to those who have four-year or UC units.

November 29, 2022 at 10:58 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Thank you so much! You really help me a lot!

Ms. Sun
November 30, 2022 at 5:09 pm
– In reply to: Jacky

You are very welcome. My best wishes to you and good luck!

January 29, 2023 at 10:47 am

Your presentation on the details of transfer units at UC’s are the best I have seen. Thank you.

Ms. Sunreply
January 30, 2023 at 11:57 am
– In reply to: Jill

Thank you!

September 5, 2023 at 10:07 pm

Hello Ms. Sun, thank you for this!
I’m a student at UC Davis and all I have are credits from Davis and my AP exams. I’m hoping to transfer to UCLA or Berkeley. I’ve taken one upper division course worth 4 credits. After fall 2023 I will have 63 credits from Davis, but I have 72 credits from my AP exams, which will put me at 135 quarter credits (and, of course, I will be taking more courses in the winter and spring). With these factors in mind, will this prevent me from transferring at the junior level?

Ms. Sunreply
September 6, 2023 at 9:15 am
– In reply to: Jason

AP credits are excluded from the limit.

September 30, 2023 at 11:53 am

Hello Ms. Sun, thank you for this!
I’m a student at UCR and all I have are credits from Riverside. I am hoping on transfering to Cal or UCD however I am going to have about 117 units by the end
of spring 2024 so is there any way for me to transfer?

Ms. Sunreply
October 1, 2023 at 10:32 am
– In reply to: Patel

You’ll be ok if it’s 117 quarter units (cap is 120 quarter units).

October 1, 2023 at 12:13 pm

I only have lower division units, no upper divs so would the cap still be 120 quarter units? I thought it was 105 quarter units.

Ms. Sunreply
October 1, 2023 at 2:17 pm
– In reply to: Patel

All UC units are transferable within the system so the “105-quarter-unit limit” does not apply to UC units; you will be eligible to transfer as long as you are under 120 quarter units (meaning you will be ineligible to transfer if you are at 120 quarter units or above). You need to review the relevant section of the Quick Reference Guide mentioned in the post.

October 5, 2023 at 10:28 am

Hi Ms Sun, I took quarter 45 units at UCSC and now I am taking courses at a CC where I will accumulate 80 more units for a total of 125 units with no upper division classes. Do you think it would be fine?

Ms. Sunreply
October 5, 2023 at 10:51 am
– In reply to: Jonathan

Are you accumulating 80+ quarter units or semester units? Some UCs have a cap at 120 quarter units, other UCs have a higher cap (130-135), you need to look at the Quick Reference (page 37) to see the cap for each campus.

October 5, 2023 at 11:03 am
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

Hi Ms Sun, thank you for replying! I am taking 125 quarter units total but I was wondering that if because I took classes at a different UC that would put me over the max limit.

Ms. Sun
October 5, 2023 at 11:11 am
– In reply to: Jonathan

Yes, all UC units will count toward the cap. Some UCs have a cap at 120 quarter units, other UCs have a higher cap (130-135), you need to look at the Quick Reference (page 37) to see the cap for each campus <-- you need to look at this (this is pretty much going to be my answer no matter how many different ways you rephrase your question).

November 13, 2023 at 11:55 am

Hi Ms Sun, If i wanted to do UC to UC transfer as a junior, is it required to get letter of recriprocity? And you do not require it then do i have to redo all my GE classes that I already took at previous UC, if I get accepted?

Ms. Sunreply
November 13, 2023 at 5:12 pm
– In reply to: Krish

Reciprocity is not required for admission. If you don’t have reciprocity, then the destinations UC would just pick through the courses you already completed to see what general education requirements are satisfied and make you take classes to finish the remaining general education requirements. Having reciprocity means the destination UC will be waived you out of general education requirements wholesale (rather than going through courses one by one).

April 7, 2024 at 3:11 am

Hi Ms Sun

I have around 20 quarter units from an out of state 4 year college. I will be completing around 120 credits at a ccc. so in total i’ll have around 140 credits. am i at risk for being a high unit transfer?

Ms. Sunreply
April 7, 2024 at 10:14 am
– In reply to: R

You are fine if the 20 quarter units are “lower-division.” If any of them are “upper-division,” then those need to be added on top of 90 quarter units (max count for lower-division) and the sum compared to the campus-specific limit.

April 21, 2024 at 8:57 pm

Hi Ms. Sun,

I’m doing a UC to UC transfer, and have been admitted to Berkeley yesterday.

However, my original submitted coursework plan included exactly 120 units, yet last week, I added two courses, amounting to 120+4+5 = 129 units in total.

With your expert advice, should I try to drop these classes, or should I include them in my Update Form?

Thank you so much,

Ms. Sunreply
April 22, 2024 at 10:34 am
– In reply to: Sebastian

If you exceed 120 quarter units before starting at Berkeley, you will become ineligible for transfer. My recommendation would be to drop them. You may also want to check with your Berkeley admission officer about this (you should find the contact information in your portal).

May 12, 2024 at 12:56 pm

Hi Ms. Sun, I am a current UCI student wanting to transfer from UCI to UC Berkeley and UCLA. I have 76 quarter units at UCI, and 60 quarter units from a CC. Does this make me ineligible? Also is there an upper-division unit limit for UCLA and UC Berkeley?

Ms. Sunreply
May 12, 2024 at 2:13 pm
– In reply to: Sami

If you have 136 quarter units total, you have exceeded the limit for transferable eligibility for all UCs (there might be couple of majors open for senior transfers, but you would have to look them up when the UC Application opens). UC units are basically counted like they are all upper-division units for the maximum unit limit calculation.

Questions or Comments?