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Transferring to Northern

NIU welcomes transfer students from community colleges and from other four-year institutions. We have a very large number of transfer students who do very well, and have a long tradition of cooperation with other schools in the state. If you would like to transfer to NIU, we would be most happy to work with you to make the transfer as seamless as possible. You may also complete the bulk of your work at NIU but take a few courses at another institution if you prefer.

This document contains items of interest both to (A) students coming from another institution who wish to transfer to NIU and begin a major in the mathematical sciences here, and to (B) "native" students attempting to transfer individual mathematics courses from another institution back to NIU.

Policies regulating the use of coursework from another school to meet requirements for an NIU degree are itemized in the Undergraduate Catalogue. Among them we note that (i) there is an upper limit to the number of credits which can be transferred to NIU; (ii) NIU reserves the right to classify a transfer course as a substitute for whatever NIU course we believe it best matches, or possibly only as an elective not matching any single NIU course, or possibly as not offering any NIU credit at all; (iii) grades from another institution are never transferred to an NIU GPA; however, NIU advisors will look at your transfer grades: transfers are accepted only when the external GPA is at least a 2.0, and transfer grades are considered when assessing whether NIU course prerequisites have been met with a transfer course. Other regulations address the manner in which General Education requirements may be met by transfer students, course repeat benefits, and so on. For further information consult the Undergraduate Catalogue, or see an NIU advisor in your department or college office. Some useful links are given below.

Note for potential mathematics majors: It is often true that during a transfer, a student finds the requirements to be completed will take somewhat longer than might have been the case for another student who started at NIU as a freshman. This is particularly true for students who have not previously declared as a mathematics major at another institution. For example, NIU native students expecting to become mathematical sciences majors have typically completed their calculus sequence by the middle or end of their sophomore year. If you transfer to NIU with the calculus sequence incomplete, you cannot reasonably expect to finish the bachelor's degree in our department with just another two years at Northern.

There are some special facts particular to mathematics courses and mathematics majors who transfer to NIU:

There are a few courses about which we receive frequent questions:

The College of DuPage is a special case because they have recently switched from quarter-long courses to semester-long courses. Courses of both types will continue to transfer; of course a few years from now when we see credits for quarter-long courses we will have to ask the student how much he or she has retained from a long-ago course. At the present time, we recommend the following equivalences for students planning to transfer from COD to NIU:

Students coming from Elgin Community College should take advantage of the excellent collection of transfer guides they make available. In particular, the guide for an ECC to NIU Mathematics Education transfer program includes just about everything you should know (except that it fails to mention you must also have a 2-semester sequence of one science, e.g. two physics or two biology courses). Students from ECC who wish to pursue another emphasis in our department would lose nothing by following that prescribed program (although in fact they have more options than the students in the Education emphasis, for whom that guide was written).


During your orientation sessions before you begin classes at NIU, you will meet with advisors from your College (for math majors, that's the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), who will review your transcripts and help identify the remaining coursework to obtain an NIU degree. You should also meet with an advisor within your department, who will help plan a sequence of courses which will take advantage of work you have already completed at another institution. You are encouraged to consult with our advisors even before matriculating at NIU so that we can help you make optimal use of your time at another institution in preparation for the transfer.

Students who transfer to NIU with the intention of completing the requirements for the Initial Teacher Certification in secondary-school mathematics are urged to review the recommendations at http://www.math.niu.edu/mathed/cert/transfer.html. The requirements are dictated by the state but each institution must interpret these requirements in the context of its own course offerings. Again, we encourage an individual consultation with one of our advisors to work out the details.


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Qingkai Kong
E-mail: ugradprog@math.niu.edu [HOME] Back to the NIU Math Department Web page
Last modified: 2009/03/10 (zjy)