Skip to content

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT)?

An ADT is a degree offered through the California community colleges that gives students the opportunity to earn a guaranteed saved spot at participating four-year universities, both throughout California and outside the state.

The ADT makes it easier for students to transfer between a California community college and CSU, UC, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Western Governors University (WGU) or participating independent, non-profit universities in California (member institutions of AICCU).

In most cases with the ADT, you have the opportunity to complete two degrees, an associate and bachelor’s, with only 120 semester units if you apply to a partnering university and are admitted into a similar major or degree program to earn your bachelor’s degree.

How is an Associate Degree for Transfer different than earning an associate degree?

California community colleges continue to offer a variety of associate degrees to choose from. However, when you earn an ADT, you can transfer with a guaranteed saved spot to a participating four-year university and earn other admission advantages.

NOTE: An ADT can still be used to transfer to any college or university outside of the program just as you could with a normal associate degree, but when you apply to a partner university with an Associate Degree for Transfer you receive various admission advantages.

Is my spot at a university really guaranteed with this program?

The guarantee means students who earn an ADT can transfer with a guaranteed spot to a participating university. Requirements vary depending on where you'd like to attend. With this special degree, you may be given an admission advantage when applying to certain campuses or majors, which also helps you transfer.

Each university's guarantee has different eligibility requirements, such as achieving a minimum GPA. So it helps to know what you want to study before you begin planning. For example, at a CSU, students are guaranteed admission into a CSU in a similar major but not necessarily to a particular campus; at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Western Governors University and the participating independent, non-profit universities in California, students are guaranteed admission into the exact campus they apply to or to the major they want to pursue.

Please note: Since the agreement between the California Community Colleges and UC system does not take effect until fall 2019, the specific requirements are currently being defined and will be added to this website once approved.

Why is earning an Associate Degree for Transfer an affordable and efficient way to obtaining my bachelor’s degree? 

  • Save time:

California community colleges provide many course options to choose from, both during the day and evening and online. And, with careful course selection, in some instances you can fulfil both a general education requirement and a requirement for your major with the same course. 

Early research indicates the ADT helps students be more efficient with the courses they take. These students tend to graduate with fewer units taken while at a California community college because the ADT sets them on a streamlined path of classes for their major.

Save money: 

In addition to low tuition rates at California community colleges, there are financial aid options that can help pay for tuition, books, and even help with rent (For more information, visit the Resources page). 

ADT students transferring to a participating university enroll at junior standing, meaning you only have to pay for two years’ tuition at a four-year university. 

With 115 California community colleges to choose from, often one is nearby and allows you to live at home while you complete your ADT. 

Do I get to pick the four-year university I transfer to?

Yes, with an ADT you can apply to any four-year university that accepts transfer students. And, if you apply to a participating university, in addition to your guaranteed saved spot, your ADT ensures that you have fulfilled all the necessary lower division transfer requirements upon enrolling into a similar major or degree program.

Are there any out of state four-year colleges or universities I can transfer to with my Associate Degree for Transfer?

Most transfer options are available to California-based universities, however the ADT program currently partners with more than 35 Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are located outside of California. Another transfer option to consider is Western Governors University (WGU), which allows you to earn your bachelor’s degree completely online.

Are there certain applications and/or deadlines that need to be met when working towards an Associate Degree for Transfer?

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a counselor regularly. It is also helpful to attend transfer-related workshops that can help you understand the transfer application process you need to follow, as well as critical action items and dates that need to be met. Students are also encouraged to check their student portal and email frequently to keep up to date on important announcements and reminders.

Is the Associate Degree for Transfer available for all majors?

The ADT is available in more than 40 popular majors, and continues to expand as new majors emerge. To view a list of the current majors, click here.

NOTE: California community colleges offer a wide range of ADT majors to choose from. However, not all majors are available at each community college. Visit your local community college to speak with a counselor to find out if your community college offers an ADT major you are interested in pursuing.

Do I need to declare my major in order to receive my Associate Degree for Transfer?

To make the most efficient use of your time while at a community college, students are asked to identify a major by their second semester. Quickly identifying a major allows an Education Plan to be developed for you that will serve as your ADT streamlined path while at the community college. Knowing your major also allows the opportunity to take courses that fulfill certain general education requirements while also fulfilling a course requirement for your major, called double counting.

If I do not see the major I am interested in, will it be added later?

While new majors are always added, there is no guarantee the major you are interested in is coming soon. It is better to meet early with a counselor and talk about your career interests, so the counselor can assist you in confirming your best options and which degree pathway is right for you. Since the ADT focuses on popular majors, in many instances an ADT or similar ADT will be available for you at your community college. If not, a counselor will be able to help you identify whether the ADT is available at a nearby college, online or a mix of both.

How many semester units do I need to transfer to a four-year university?

Typically, a minimum of 60 semester units (90 quarter units) is required for transfer, but depending on the major you choose and the university you transfer to, the number of units may vary.

Do I need to meet a certain GPA requirement to transfer to a participating four-year university?

Yes, all universities, including our ADT partner universities, have a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement that must be met. The CSU, for example, requires that students have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for all transfer-level courses attempted. For admission directly into an impacted major, the GPA cut-off is typically higher.

Are there different transfer requirements for each participating four-year university?

Once you have identified your major and are on your ADT path, talk with your counselor about your university options. As you narrow down the list of universities you are interested in, a counselor can help identify any additional transfer requirements that exist.

Can I start taking courses for an Associate Degree for Transfer even if I’m still in high school?

Yes, taking college-level courses while in high school is a great way to get a head start on your ADT degree. Programs such as Dual Enrollment serve as partnerships between local high schools and community colleges. Talk with your high school counselor to learn more about the options your high school has to offer.

Do summer courses count towards an Associate Degree for Transfer?

Yes, summer courses are a popular option to accelerate your time at a community college. Students are advised to talk with a counselor to develop an Education Plan and map out the appropriate summer classes that can be scheduled into your academic year.

Note: Most partnering universities state that you need to fulfill all of your requirements by spring semester of the year you are looking to transfer. For instance, if you plan to take summer courses just prior to transferring in the fall, be sure to understand carefully how those courses are evaluated by the university you are intending to transfer to.

Do I need to transfer to a four-year university right after completing my transfer requirements?

While you can consider a break between attending a community college and university, it is not recommended. A break could negatively impact the number of required courses necessary to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Can I earn an Associate Degree for Transfer in under two years?

Yes, and there are a variety of strategies available to shorten your time while at a community college, such as taking courses while in high school, and/or taking advance placement (AP) exams which when passed can waive certain course taking requirements. If decreasing your time on the ADT pathway is important to you, be sure to meet and talk with a counselor about your options to consider.

How does the Associate Degree for Transfer benefit me once I’m at a four-year university?

Besides the benefits of an admission guarantee, and in some instances admission priority consideration, the ADT is recognized by the university as adequate fulfillment of lower division general education and major requirements. This allows you to focus on your upper division major requirements, which continues to save you time and money.

If I’m a returning student, can prior college credits be applied to an Associate Degree for Transfer?

Yes, it is common for students enrolling at a community college to have taken courses at an earlier time. When you first meet with a counselor, you will typically be asked to bring transcripts of your past course work. Your counselor can help you determine which of the past courses can be used to fulfil certain requirements of your Education Plan.

When do I need to decide which four-year universities I want to apply to?

Students intending to transfer during a fall term typically begin the application process a year prior during the fall. While all partner universities accept applications in the fall, some will accept applications in the spring and WGU begins enrollment monthly.

Am I able to change majors while pursuing my Associate Degree for Transfer?

Yes, while at a community college you can always change majors while pursuing an ADT. However, if you change your major, your pathway of required classes will change, meaning it can take longer to earn your degree.

Where can I learn more at my college about the Associate Degree for Transfer program?

Meet with a counselor at your local community college to learn if there is an ADT offered in your course of study (also known as your major).

A counselor will help you develop an Education Plan to follow while at your community college. This plan prepares you to transfer to a four-year university that offers a bachelor's degree that relates to your ADT major.