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Transfer through our Bearcat Pathway program

Spend two years at a community college, then transfer to a university. Willamette’s transfer program offers a seamless and easy experience to earn your four-year degree.

Blitz the Bearcat - Willamette University's mascot

Transfer to Willamette University

At Willamette, we know how challenging the transfer process can be. That's why we've created pathway programs so students can seamlessly transfer from a community college to our university. Our partnerships with local community colleges offer an easy way for community college students to earn their Bachelor's degree.

Through our Bearcat pathway transfer program, community college students can earn a four-year degree seamlessly. Willamette does not require an application fee, test scores, or an interview. Pathway program students must submit an initial application to participate in the program, and will later submit a transfer application along with their official transcripts. Letters of recommendation are not required, but are recommended. Willamette currently offers transfer articulation agreements with Chemeketa Community College, and additional Bearcat Pathway programs are in the works.

Current Bearcat Pathway programs*

*Transfer programs with additional colleges will be added soon.

Two Willamette University students at Commencement.

Associate's orbachelor's degree?

Associate degrees are typically a two-year general studies program. They require 60-90 quarter credits. You do not need to earn an associate's degree before a bachelor's degree. However, you can apply the credits and the degree earned to a bachelor's degree.

A bachelor's degree is usually a four-year program that offers an in-depth exploration of specialized subjects. This degree typically requires approximately 180 quarter credits. A bachelor's degree can fulfill many job requirements and prerequisites and also may open opportunities that are not accessible with an associate's degree.

Individuals with a bachelor's degree earn more than $22,000 per year compared to those with an associate's degree. This difference in earnings has a lasting impact on their financial well-being.

Why choose a pathway program?

Experience a seamless transfer journey through our Bearcat Pathway. Learn more about which credits transfer, what general education credits matter, and even what classes you need to take.

Our program provides a clear academic roadmap for credit transfer. Learn how to complete your associate’s degree in two years, and then your bachelor’s degree at Willamette in two years. Plus, you'll receive transfer advising support through both institutions.

Each of our pathway programs offers a way to earn your four-year degree without the hassle. Review specific community college details, and their available degree programs to learn more about the requirements and available paths.

Why Willamette?

Willamette offers community college students important advantages that impact their lives and their careers. We focus on student success, preparing students for a successful transition after their higher education experience.

  • Scholarships and financial aid

    While community colleges offer an opportunity to save money, Willamette is also committed to making college affordable.

    Willamette provides generous scholarships and aid packages to transfer students:

    • The university automatically considers all transfer students for a renewable merit scholarship, which ranges from $25,000 to $33,000 (for the Fall '24/Spring '25 academic year).
    • Students in the Bearcat Pathway program who meet the requirements will also earn a partnership grant.
    • Willamette awards a scholarship opportunity to Phi Theta Kappa honors society members transferring from a community college.
    • Specific community college partnerships may offer additional scholarships and grants.

    Willamette also offers need-based financial aid. Students will need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) alongside their application.

  • Personal development

    Invest in your future beyond the classroom. Willamette offers a variety of options for students to take advantage of. Utilize the on-campus health counseling for support or prepare for your next job through the Career Development Center. We offer a Student Success Hub that ensures Willamette students connect with the resources to succeed.

    Willamette also offers tutoring services, a writing center, and a digital learning center. You can choose to join student organizations to learn new skills or hone in on current interests.

  • Return on investment

    Invest in a degree that positively impacts your future. Willamette transfer students are able to take advantage of the same opportunities as four-year students. From studying abroad to hands-on learning opportunities, you deserve a degree that matches your aspirations.

    Willamette offers an internship program to help students stand out in the job market. Faculty and staff will help connect you with the right experience to build your resume. We are well-known for practical learning, giving students relevant experience for their first job after college.

  • Community and support

    As the oldest university on the West Coast, students join a community with a long history of success. We have connections in all industries and locations. Transfer students can find a community with the Non-Traditional Student Union, which helps them feel at home. We also offer small class sizes, providing transfer students with the opportunity to build connections within the classroom.

    At Willamette, you're not just another number. Our faculty will actively mentor you and invest in your success.

Application checklist

How will credits transfer?

Students may transfer a maximum of 64 semester hours or 96 quarter hours. Generally, courses completed at a regionally accredited institution above 100-level or above with a grade of C- or higher per a liberal arts education will transfer. You can request an unofficial transcript evaluation through the Registrar's Office.

Willamette offers many different pathways that allow students to transfer with junior standing (60 credits). Students with an AA, AS, AAOT or ASOT-CS degree enter without having to take many general education courses. In some cases, students do not have to take beginner-level courses for their major. Learn more about transfer credits.

Turn your two years at community college into a bachelor's degree

It's important to find a school that matches your needs and interests. Willamette offers in-person classes that offer a sense of community. We're a small school with a lot of resources to help connect you with employers nearby.

Our admissions team can help discuss program specifics, and answer questions about the Bearcat Pathways Program. You can look into each school we partner with to find what courses to take and how to advance your degree by attending a local community college.

Then, make sure to apply for financial aid. We offer exclusive transfer student scholarships and generous financial aid packages to make a private university affordable.

Learn more about transferring from community college to a university

Do you have questions about college credits? Curious if a specific course counts towards your degree? Through the Bearcat Pathways programs, students have the support of both institutions. The Willamette admissions team will help answer all your questions and help you prepare! We also have answered some commonly asked questions for transfer students.

For all transfer questions, please reach out to Ryann Wegrzyn through email or by phone at 503-370-6543. You can also chat with our admissions team to answer general questions about the process. We look forward to welcoming you on campus as a Bearcat!

Apply Today

Priority Deadlines

Applications can be submitted for the Bearcat Pathway program any time.

Deadlines for submitting a Transfer Application:

  • Nov. 1: Semester starting in January
  • Apr. 15: Semester starting August
    (rolling admission throughout the summer as space permits)
Willamette University

Office of Admission

Salem Campus

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
1-844-BEARCAT toll free