I'm planning on attending a university that offers a 5 year program that would allow me to receive my Master's degree in history education, however, my mom (who has the first 4 years covered) is completely unwilling to pay for the final one because she wants me to be back home and working. I don't like this for multiple reasons:

  1. The first few years of teaching are extremely time consuming and I would have practically no time to finish my degree.
  2. An employer might be suspicious about transferring colleges during the last year.
  3. This could go over poorly with the university I transfer to, especially because not all credits would transfer, making my time much more difficult. The college doesn't even have a 5 year school, meaning I'd have to apply for grad school, making the process much more difficult.
  4. The college she wants me to attend doesn't offer the same degree I would be working towards, only a similar one.
  5. In the area I live in, it's harder to get a good job with a Bachelor's because you'll typically just be thrown in wherever someone is needed, rather than with a Master's where a choice is given.

Is it plausible for me to transfer during this last year, or should I convince her that I have to stay at the first school? Yearly tuition is about $20,000 so I'd have to figure out how to attain the money if I decided to stay.

(The college she wants me to go to is George Mason University -- if that information is needed.)

  • 1
    I think there's not much reason to worry about it (except saving your money) until year 3 at least. You may end up in a completely different major by that point.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 17, 2017 at 23:27
  • Ah okay thank you. I'll try to focus on studies first :)
    – Sarah
    Jan 17, 2017 at 23:46
  • Have you considered a shorter or less expensive program that you could either finance yourself by some combination of work and student loans, or that your mother might be willing to fully finance? Jan 18, 2017 at 0:54
  • Another issue--are the starting salaries different if you have a master's versus a bachelor's? You could point out to your mother that you'll make up the cost of the 5th year in X years.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 18, 2017 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


In general, most universities in the United States have a residency requirement (total number of credits that must be completed at the school that grants the degree) and/or a limit on the number of credits that can be transferred towards a particular degree.

So while you can in theory transfer at any time, you will not necessarily be able to bring all your credits with you Similarly, if the new program has different requirements than the previous program, you may end up taking more courses in total (to satisfy these requirements) than you would have had you stayed in one program for the entire duration. (Joint B.S./M.S. programs in particular often have very inflexible timelines that make it difficult to transfer in middle without losing time and credits.)

You will have to check the policies of the school you plan to transfer to for more details, to see what this will mean for your plans. But be warned that the policies that will apply to you are those that are in effect when you first enroll - so even if you have it all figured out when you start your degree at University X, by the time you transfer to University Y, their policies may have changed.

TL;DR; while you may be able to transfer, the later in the program you transfer, the greater the likelihood of "losing" some of your past work and extending your graduation date (i.e. taking more than five years total to finish).


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