Foreign Transcripts

Coursework completed at a college or university outside the United States of America can only be reviewed for certificate and associate degree requirements.

Consider the following limitations before investing in a foreign credential evaluation service.


Foreign coursework CANNOT be applied to CSU GE Certification nor IGETC Certification.

A four-year college may accept foreign coursework after determining how it applies to its degrees. Most four-year colleges have a foreign transcript evaluation service as part of their admissions process. Consult directly with a four-year college for information.


Associate Degrees for Transfer (AA-T/AS-T) use CSU GE Breadth or IGETC transfer patterns, so foreign coursework CANNOT be applied to those degrees. Foreign coursework is NOT APPLIED to speech/communication, English, or mathematics requirements or competencies. Courses must be at least 3 semester units.

Most foreign coursework DOES NOT meet associate degree general education criteria and can only be applied as elective credit. However, some approved foreign coursework is typically ONLY applied to the following associate degree general education areas:

  • Social science
  • Natural science
  • Humanities
  • Career Exploration & Self-Development

After reviewing the information above and are certain a foreign transcript evaluation is right for you, please follow these steps:

Step 1. Students with foreign coursework must first use a Foreign Credential Evaluation Service, listed below, and receive a “detailed” evaluation of their foreign transcript, which divides lower-division from upper-division coursework. TES reviews the foreign credential evaluation to determine application of foreign coursework to a SMCCCD certificate or associate degree.

We accept course-by-course foreign transcript evaluation from any of the approved services listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services membership list

These three NACES approved companies, are ones we frequently receive foreign transcript evaluations from:

Step 2. Have your foreign transcript report sent to

Electronic Transcripts (Preferred) can be sent to:

OR by Mail:

College of San Mateo 

Attn: Transcript Evaluation Services  

1700 W Hillsdale Blvd. 

San Mateo, CA 94402 

CAVEAT: The rest of the information pertaining to “Foreign Transcripts” on this page assumes that the foreign institution does NOT possess U.S. regional accreditation. While rare, there are some foreign institutions which have obtained and maintained U.S. regional accreditation, which you can verify on one of the U.S. regional accreditation directories.

If a particular foreign institution is U.S. regionally accredited, then we are able to evaluate it without requiring such transcript(s) to go through any of other requirements listed on this page (i.e., that students obtain a NACES-approved foreign transcript service’s course detail report) provided that the transcript submitted to SMCCCD is in English and is an official transcript and displays all of the required pieces of information such as units, grades, etc.