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I am currently taking an undergraduate degree, and by completion, I would have 112 credit hours accumulated. This is fine and all if I don't plan to continue my studies or apply to a local university, but I heard some of my seniors getting rejected applying for a master at universities abroad because the credit hours they accumulated were not sufficient, and thus their degree is only acknowledged as a diploma equivalent.

Edit: I am especially interested in universities in US, UK, and Japan, but I am looking for a rather general answer, as in, is it common for universities to reject an application because of credit hours, even though the degree came from an accredited university?

Edit 2: my main concern is, whether I should take extra credits to ensure I won't run into a road block because of difference in the credit hours standard between universities (instead of say, my performance/cgpa/accomplishments).

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This probably very much depends upon the university/country where the undergraduate degree is given and the university where the candidate applies to. It may even vary from degree to degree. (The word abroad means nothing on the Internet.) – Dave Clarke Dec 12 '12 at 12:42
@DaveClarke thanks, edited the question to add more information on that. How does things work where you live? – hndr Dec 12 '12 at 13:03
btw, the undergraduate degree that I am talking about here is a Bachelor of Computer Science from a university in Malaysia. But does it really matter? – hndr Dec 12 '12 at 13:08
It matters because the quality of university degrees from some places are not known in other places. Everyone knows that an MIT degree is good, but people in Europe (for example) know little about universities in Malaysia (for example). – Dave Clarke Dec 12 '12 at 13:42
So, do Universities uses credit hours as a measurement of quality of an applicant? I know some university have a veery specific CGPA requirement, or where they review the resume of a applicant to decide whether to accept the applicant or not. Is it the same case with credit hours? – hndr Dec 12 '12 at 13:48
up vote 6 down vote accepted


Since there is no universal standard for what constitutes a "credit hour", imposing a required number of credit hours is simply impossible. If you have a degree, you have a degree.

On the other hand, which courses you've taken definitely does matter. For example:

  • If you're applying for graduate school in computer science at X, but your classes have small overlap with the undergraduate computer science program at X, that raises a red flag. That gap makes your undergraduate program look weak, or at least that it develops a different set of skills than the grad program at X normally expects.

  • If you claim in your application that you're interested in (say) artificial intelligence, but you've never taken an artificial intelligence class, that raises a red flag. How an you claim interest in a field you've never been seriously exposed to? How can we judge your abilities in a field where we can't see a single grade?

Of course, all this is secondary to your potential for research excellence, as described in specific and credible detail in your statement and in your recommendation letters.

(I'm on the graduate admissions committee in a US CS department.)

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