Advice for Transfer Students

We welcome transfer students! Many students transfer into our program from various schools every year. Transfer students often require some special help and advising, so don’t be afraid to contact me, the Marine Sciences, Silke Severmann, if you need help. The following is some general advice that addresses some of the issues that most transfer students face. This information is specific to the Marine Science Undergraduate Program. For general advice on transferring to Rutgers, please see the SEBS website for transfer students.

If you are thinking about applying to Rutgers as a transfer student, it really helps to get some idea of which courses will transfer. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between transferring generic credits from your current school to Rutgers, and getting credit for specific courses that are required as prerequisites or that count toward your major (for example Calculus, General Chemistry or Chemistry). If you are coming from a New Jersey community or county college, you can find out a lot of this information at On this web site, you can check out course equivalencies to make sure the courses you have taken (or plan to take) are directly equivalent to courses that you need at Rutgers. It’s always a good idea to check that your courses are equivalent before you take them.

Many transfer students are disappointed to find that although they have completed enough credits for an Associate’s degree at a county college, they are still far behind when transferring to Rutgers. They often find that they can’t graduate in four years and/or that there are very few Marine Science courses that they can take in their first semester here. In both cases, this is a problem of prerequisites, i.e. courses that you need to complete before you can take certain Marine Sciences courses. It’s not enough to take a lot of credits at another school. The key thing is to take the right courses before you join Rutgers. This primarily means taking math up through Calculus 1, two semesters of general chemistry, two semesters of biology, and two semesters of physics. Check out our course syllabi page to see the most common prerequisites for higher level courses. In order to complete your degree here at Rutgers in two years, you will need to be able to take 300 and 400 level courses ASAP. An important example is Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems (11:628:320), which has one term of calculus AND two terms of general biology, general chemistry, or general physics as prerequisite. More so, Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems itself is a prerequisite for several other Marine Sciences courses, so you want to be able to take that course ideally in your first semester at Rutgers (note that currently it is only taught in the fall). If you can get calculus and at least some of the basic science classes out of the way at your current school, you will be much better positioned to graduate quickly from Rutgers. Also note that some course sequences, like General Biology I&II and Organic Chemistry I&II, must be completed at the same institution in order to be considered equivalent to Rutgers courses. In other words, if you have only taken General Biology I at your current school, you will have to re-take it here at Rutgers before you can proceed to General Biology II. That is one of many reasons why it is important to check the course equivalency before you take courses that you hope to transfer.