Frequently Asked Questions

What does transfer mean?

Transfer is the advancement from a community college to a university. Transfer means that you begin your bachelor's degree at a community college and complete it at a university.

What is the relationship between community colleges and the university?

Universities offer both lower division (freshman and sophomore) and upper division (junior and senior) coursework. Community colleges offer lower division courses only. The university accepts certain community college courses as comparable to courses that are required for freshman and sophomore students at the university through a process called articulation. In that way, community college courses become transferable and counted toward the requirements to graduate from the university with a bachelor's degree.

​What is articulation?

Articulation is the process of evaluating courses to determine whether coursework completed at one institution (e.g. a community college) will meet the requirements at another institution (e.g. a university) for the purposes of admission, transferable units, general education or major preparation. It is this process that ensures that the classes you take at Modesto Junior College will be credited toward your bachelor's degree requirements when you enter a university. Articulation agreements are formal documents that describe which coursework is accepted. Some articulation agreements are "course-to-course agreements", meaning that they show a specific course from one institution and the comparable specific course from another. Other articulation agreements are "major agreements", meaning that they show a set of courses that are acceptable to fulfill an entire requirement for major preparation. All segments of the public higher education system in California---the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California--have agreed to have a single repository for articulation agreements between the community colleges and the universities. That repository is the ASSIST web site, which is accessible to the public at

​What is the difference between the California State University and the University of California?

The California State University (CSU) began as a system of teacher's colleges and evolved into a broader system of higher education. It is one of the three segments of California public higher education, the others being the University of California (UC) and the California Community Colleges. The CSU grants bachelor's and master's degrees that have a practical, career orientation. The assumption is that most CSU graduates will want to enter work based on their bachelor's degree training. There are now 23 CSU campuses. The UC was established as the focal point for academic and scientific research within the higher education system. In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees, the UC grants doctorates and professional degrees. The emphasis at the bachelor's level is on theoretical learning, the assumption being that most UC graduates will pursue a higher degree before entering their career. There are ten UC campuses (UC San Francisco is a professional school only).

Which MJC courses transfer to a university?

MJC transferrable courses are all courses numbered 100 - 299. The UC has some limitations on some courses check with your counselor or Transfer Center to find out the limitations.

How many units do I need to transfer?

To transfer to a four year university you will need to complete 60 transferrable at MJC. You will achieve full junior standing when you have completed 60 transferable semester units. Independent and out-of-state universities often accept students with fewer than 60 semester units. Please check the catalog for the specific university to which you want to transfer for their requirements. An MJC counselor can assist you with transferring out-of-state. If you wish to transfer as a lower division student, the university will consider your high school record in determining whether to admit you. Some CSU campuses are open to lower division transfers, but grant them lower priority for admission. The UC does NOT admit lower division transfer students.

Is there a maximum number of units that I can transfer?

CSU, UC and Private Universities will count a maximum of 70 transferrable units toward the total number of units you need to complete for a bachelor's degree. Independent and out-of-state institutions vary in their limits and you should check their catalog or web site for information. Different limits may apply if you have already attended a "four-year" institution and you should meet with a counselor right away.

What if I take more than 70 transferable units?

The 70-unit limit applies only to the number of units that will be counted toward graduation and does not apply to courses. The university will grant subject credit for course content needed to satisfy requirements for general education or major preparation, even if they do not count the units for all of your courses toward graduation.

What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for transfer admission?

The minimum eligibility GPA for transfer to the CSU is 2.0 for California residents. This GPA is the minimum to make you eligible this does NOT make you competitive it only makes you eligibility to apply. The CSU has designated some highly popular majors or campuses as impacted or high demand, for which higher GPAs and/or minimum course completion are required. The minimum GPA accepted for transfer to the UC is 2.4 for California residents, this GPA only make you eligible it does NOT make you competitive. UC campuses have designated some highly popular majors as selective, for which students have to meet competitive selection criteria (higher GPAs and minimum course completion requirements) to be admitted. Grade point averages necessary for transfer to independent and out-of-state universities vary. Consult the institution's printed or online catalog.

What is a competitive GPA for transfer?

Grade point averages necessary to compete for admission to impacted or selective programs vary from year to year, depending on the major and the pool of applicants for any given academic year. Meet with an MJC counselor to find out the GPA for the major or campus of your choice.

What is General Education (GE)?

General Education is a set of courses through which you will become broadly educated by taking classes that cover a wide range of disciplines. GE courses are usually introductory in nature and provide you with fundamental knowledge in English, mathematics, the arts and humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences. You will complete the majority of GE coursework needed to receive a bachelor's degree while you are lower division (freshman/sophomore) student at a community college. After transfer to the upper division (junior/senior) at a university, you will be required to take only a few GE courses, so you can focus on your major.

What is CSU-GE (Blue Pattern)?

The CSU-GE is the pattern of coursework accepted to meet the GE requirements for a bachelor's degree at any CSU campus. An advising guide that shows the subject areas and the MJC courses that count to fulfill area requirements is available from the Transfer Center, a Counselor, the Counseling Office or online here. CSU-GE is one way for you to complete the lower division GE requirements for a bachelor's degree from the CSU at MJC prior to transfer.

What is IGETC (Green Pattern)?

IGETC (pronounced eye-get-see) stands for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. It is a course pattern that MJC students can use to satisfy lower division GE requirements for either the CSU or the UC. Completion of IGETC is a requirement for admission to the CSU or UC. IGETC is one option for students preparing to transfer. This pattern is available from the Transfer Center, a Counselor, the Counseling Office or online here. Private California universities also accept IGETC as fulfillment of their lower division GE. If you have questions about which GE pattern to use, see your MJC counselor. For some high unit majors, such as engineering or biological science, the IGETC is not recommended. If you are in one of these majors, see your counselor about alternative GE requirements and major preparation that apply to you. Important: Students who choose to use the IGETC must complete the entire pattern, in order to receive certification from a community college that they have completed lower division GE requirements.

What is GE certification and why is it important?

GE certification is a document that is signed by a community college and states that you have completed lower division GE requirements. Becoming GE certified means that the university cannot require that you take any additional lower division GE. (You will probably be required to fulfill some upper division GE requirements for graduation from the university.) The certification is normally prepared and sent to the university to which you have been accepted and where you plan to enroll at the same time that your final transcripts are sent. It may appear on the transcript itself or on a separate certification form. If you attend more than one community college, your GE certification must be provided by the last one you attend. That college will do so using all the GE courses you have completed at all higher education institutions you have attended. IGETC policies require that the entire pattern be completed in order for you to receive any certification. See your MJC counselor, if you have been using IGETC as a guide and will not complete it before transfer; they will show you how you can still fulfill GE requirements to transfer and graduate from the university. CSU-GE policies allow for partial certification. The community college can certify your fulfillment of any GE subject area that you have completed.

What is a major?

A major is a program of coursework in a subject area or discipline that leads to a degree. Your major is the primary area of study in which you will develop the greatest depth of knowledge.

What is an impacted or selective major?

Impacted or selective majors are those for which the university receives many more applications for admission than the campus can accommodate. Impacted is also an official designation by the CSU system that allows the department that offers a major to require a higher GPA or specific major preparation as a way to reduce the pool of applicants to those who are best prepared to enter the major. Selective is a term used by the UC to describe majors for which the same conditions exist and for which the university imposes the same kind of selection criteria (GPA and major preparation) to screen for the most qualified applicants.

When do I have to think about a major?

You will declare a major when you apply for admission to a CSU, UC or Private university. It is important to choose a major early and find out about the preparation that you will need to be admitted to your major. Some majors require very little such preparation, while other majors require many courses. For example, the UC requires that students complete most, if not all, of their lower-division major preparation before being admitted to the UC.

How do I find out about the transfer requirements of any particular school?

You should make an appointment with a counselor to find out transfer requirements as well as visiting your Transfer Center. The Transfer Center has an extensive library of catalogs and supplementary material that is sent to us from universities all over the country. There is also a computer lab available for you to use to access a particular school's web site online. Transfer Center staff is available to assist you in locating and using these resources. In addition, a number of universities send representatives to the annual Transfer Day/College Night event that is held in the fall semester. Some of those representatives also visit MJC on a regular basis to meet with students individually. See the Calendar of Events page of this web site for the latest schedule of visits.