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 Environmental Science Undergraduate Program Director, Lisa Rodenburg, 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 Environmental 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. 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 environmental science courses that they can take in their first semester here. In both cases, this is a problem of prerequisites. It's not enough to take a lot of credits at another school. The key thing is to take the right courses. This primarily means taking math up through Calculus 1, two semesters of general chemistry, two semesters of biology, and two semesters of physics. As you can see from our handy prerequisite map, very few of our environmental science courses can be taken until you have completed these prerequisite courses. If you can get those classes out of the way early at your current school, you will be much better positioned to graduate quickly from Rutgers. Also note that in some cases, specifically Biology 101 and 102, both courses in the sequence must be taken at the same school. You cannot take Biology 101 at another school and then take Biology 102 at Rutgers. That is one of many reasons why it is important to check the course equivalency before you take the course.

When you enroll at Rutgers, the Office of Academic Programs will evaluate your transcript and decide which of your courses transfer and what they are equivalent to. Currently the person most often involved in this is Dean Carol Andrew, so if you have questions about what they have counted and what they have not, you should talk to her. Most transfer students will attend one of the transfer student advising sessions that are held throughout the year. At these sessions, you will get a hard copy of this course transfer information, and someone from our department will help you plan your schedule for the coming semester. Once you are in the Rutgers system, you can look up this information at Degree Navigator. Once you have this information on course transfer and equivalencies, I can often help you decide which courses you should take next semester over the phone or via email.

Once you are ready to register for the upcoming semester, I can help you with prerequisite overrides and special permission numbers via email. You just need to email me with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your student ID number
  • Your Rutgers email address (that is, your official Rutgers address, not a gmail or other account)
  • Course number for which you would like a prerequisite override or SPN
  • Reason for requesting the override or SPN

If you are requesting a prerequisite override, I will then decide whether I can grant you the override. If I can, I will do it via email.

Special permission numbers are requested when the course is full. If I can, I will give you a special permission number that you can use in the on-line registration system.

If none of this answers your questions, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to make your transition to Rutgers a smooth one!