Prospective Transfer Students

I. Introduction: Two Key College Rules

Transferring to the University of Virginia and completing a major in Economics is much easier if you plan in advance and satisfy certain prerequisites before you arrive. Before entering into the details, there are two college rules you must know.

  1. The College of Arts and Sciences requires that all students declare a major by the start of their 5th semester, regardless of whether you a transfer student or not.
    • If you are a entering as a third-year student, you will most likely be starting in what will be considered your 5th semester. You must formally declare or defer declaring a major at the start of your first term at UVA.
      • Deferring is an option that allows you to delay declaring for one term, with your intended major’s endorsement. It does not guarantee eligibility for a major (see “V.Deferring Declarations”).
    • If you are entering as a second-year transfer student, this rule will apply to you as well when you start what the University considers as your 5th term or 3rd year.
  2. If you defer declaring with any major this will buy you one semester to fulfill major requirements. You will not be allowed to enter your sixth semester without having declared a major. In the case of rising third-year transfer students, this rule creates a very tight deadline.
    • The College of Arts and Sciences only allows students 8 full-time semesters (Spring/Fall) to finish their degree. For third-year transfer students this means you will only have 4 full-terms to finish a major and your degree requirements. Second-year transfer students typically have 6 or 5 full-time terms left.

II. Understanding the Economics major Declaration Prerequisites

The interaction between these University rules and the Economics department’s prerequisites create special challenges for transfer students. Please see the Major requirements page for more details on the prerequisites and the courses we accept towards them:

The 5 sections below discuss each prerequisite and how they pertain to transfer students.

1. Complete 2 graded economics courses at the University of Virginia.

  • This means that no transfer student can declare the Economics major immediately upon arriving, without having taken two graded ECON courses at UVA beforehand (i.e in the Summer)
  • If you are third year transfer student you will either need to defer declaring with the Economics major, or declare or defer with an alternative major. Whether you are eligible to defer with Economics will depend on the number of prerequisites you are missing.
  • We strongly recommend that any transfer student select a fallback major because qualifying for the Economics is not guaranteed. Third year transfer students in particular will have little time to rearrange their plans if an attempt for the Economics major is not successful.

2. Minimum Econ GPA of 2.3.

  • This is based on economics courses taken at the University of Virginia, hence the 2 graded Econ courses requirement
  • You can’t count the grades received at your previous institution.

3. Calculus II: Pre-matriculation transfer/test credit accepted, or a minimum grade of C+ if taken at UVA

  • Two semesters of calculus (I & II, not pre-calc) are required before declaring the economics major
  • The College of Arts and Sciences offers two introductory calculus sequences: MATH 1210-1220 and MATH 1310-1320. Either one meets our requirements.
    • Math 1210-1220 is the easier sequence. If you enter with credit for MATH 1310, you can take the less difficult version of CALC II, MATH 1220, if you would prefer.
    • If you are considering more advanced mathematics in the future, you should take the MATH 1310-1320 sequence instead. There is also a version in the Engineering school (APMA 1110) that we will accept.

4. Intermediate Microeconomics: A minimum grade of C+ at UVA, or pre-matriculation transfer credit accepted.

  • The prerequisites for Intermediate Microeconomics are Calculus II and ECON 2010 (Principles/Introductory Microeconomics. This means that if you enter the University lacking ECON 2010 and/or Calculus II, it could be at least a year before you could declare the major.
  • We strongly advise incoming third year transfer students in this position to take Calculus II in the summer before their first full-time term at UVA.
  • If you enter as a third year transfer student without having completed any courses in calculus or microeconomics, timely completion of the economics becomes nearly impossible.
  • Intermediate Microeconomics at UVA is offered as ECON 3010 or ECON 3110. Econ 3110 is a more mathematically intense version of Econ 3010; It is only appropriate if you are well versed in calculus and enjoy mathematics.

5. Statistics: Pre-matriculation transfer/test credit accepted, or a minimum grade of C+ if taken at UVA. Credit for STAT 1120 is NOT accepted.

  • Check your transfer credit statement carefully. Some of you will have transfer credit for Stat 1120 which does NOT meet the economics department statistics prerequisite.
  • On our major requirements page you will see that we accept different statistics courses.
    • The easier option and the one most people select is STAT 2120.
    • Stat 3120 or AMPA 3110 or APMA 3120 are more advanced and are appropriate for students interesting more quantitatively advanced academics (i.e. majors in Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering; or the Financial Economics concentration).
  • If you are a rising third year transfer student who plans to major in economics, and you do not have transfer credit for an acceptable statistics course, it is important that you take statistics in your first semester at the University of Virginia. This is because we require that all declared majors complete Econometrics (typically ECON 3720) by the end of their third year.
  • If you do not finish the first semester of statistics in your first semester, it will be impossible for you to comply with this requirement deadline. Taking the requirement later is a possibility with careful planning, but will mean that you can only declare the Economics major later, and must find an alternative major that you will remain in good standing with in the meantime.

III. Determine your current status with the major prerequisites

Transferring in with credit for CALC II, Statistics, as well as the two Introductory Economics courses (ECON 2010/2020 at UVA) will put you in the best position to pursue the Economics major at UVA. If you are missing any of these when you start at UVA, it will likely be at least a year before you can declare the Economics major.

If you planning to transfer as a third-year and are unable to fulfill these courses at your current school, we suggest trying to take these courses at UVA in the summer. If you are a rising second year at the time you transfer, you have more time to complete all the prerequisites and such drastic action is not necessary.

The University has a useful tool, the Transfer of Credit Analyzer that will help you determine what courses at your current school can be used to meet our prerequisites.

IV. Third-Year Transfers without Calculus and/or Statistics, or principles/introductory Microeconomics

Be advised that historically it has been difficult for third year transfer students to qualify for the Economics major; the success rate is low.

If you arrive at the University of Virginia as a rising third-year transfer student and you still need to take calculus and/or statistics, or principles/introductory Microeconomics in order to meet the economics department prerequisites, you will face a very difficult path to majoring in Economics. Your situation is not hopeless, but you need to consider your fallback major carefully – you will most likely need to use it and maybe even graduate with it.

If you are missing more than two prerequisite courses when you arrive at UVA, you should find a fallback major. Fulfilling three or more prerequisite courses in your first semester at Virginia is difficult under the best circumstances, and it has often proven to be too much for transfer students trying to make the transition to a new university.

V. Deferring Declarations

To force transfer students to carefully consider alternatives, we do not sign deferral forms for students who lack three or more prerequisite courses.

Don’t make too much of a refusal to sign. The “deferral of major” form does only one thing – it allows you the fifth semester in which to attempt to qualify for a major. There are no other benefits to a deferral. Our refusing to sign simply means you must meet with your fallback major and determine what must be done to guarantee you can qualify for the fallback major at the end of the fifth semester. If you eventually satisfy the declaration prerequisites in economics, you may declare a second a major or switch your major to economics up until the end of your 7th term.

VI. Conclusions: Where does this put you? What can you do to eventually qualify for economics?

Whether you are a second or third year transfer student, you should carefully plan out how you spend your time at UVA; this is especially important for third-year transfer students. Not being able to immediately declare the Economics major does not mean you cannot declare the major later, but you ought to use your time as wisely as possible and plan to pursue an alternative major as well, should Economics not work out for you. You are welcomed to contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator if you would like assistance with making plans for the Economics major.

We suggest taking no more than two of the prerequisite courses in your first semester at UVA, in order not to overburden yourself and to limit the downside risk in case the prerequisite courses do not go well. If you take 3 or more prerequisite courses your first semester and then fail to qualify for economics, having “wasted” a large number of courses may put you behind in your fallback major or in meeting college requirements. If you are missing more than three prerequisites courses to declare the major, it is recommended that you use the summer session prior to your first term UVA to catch up.


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Department of Economics

University of Virginia
248 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
Phone: 434-924-3177
Fax: 434-982-2904