Davis Degree Program Applicants

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Davis Degree Program Applicants

The application: an overview

Designed with the needs of the returning student in mind, the Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program affords women beyond traditional college age who have begun but not completed a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to complete their degree at Wellesley. The Davis Degree Program gathers women from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, providing them with a fully engaged college experience in one of the best liberal arts programs available and, in the process, creating an extraordinary community.

Each year Wellesley accepts a small number of Davis Scholars for entrance in September. Students are integrated into an existing class and enjoy the same opportunities and privileges available to their classmates, including financial aid and guaranteed housing. In order to receive a Wellesley College degree as a Davis Scholar, you must complete at least two years (16 units) of coursework at the College.

After submitting the application, some candidates for the Davis Scholar Program may be invited to interview if additional information is needed.



Who can apply to the Davis Degree Program?

U.S. veterans, mothers, and any woman age 24 and older who was unable to complete her bachelor’s degree during the traditional 18- to 23-year-old period of her life.

Davis Scholars take the same classes as Wellesley’s traditional-age students, have the same degree requirements, and graduate with the same Wellesley degree. Davis Scholars have their own dean who will guide them through the curriculum at the College, along with their major advisors. They can even choose to live in on-campus housing, although family housing is unavailable.


Financial aid for Davis Scholars

Wellesley’s admission process for U.S. citizens and permanent residents is need-blind. We admit students based on their skills, abilities, and promise—not on their financial situation. Wellesley meets 100 percent of calculated need for all admitted students. Financial aid is limited for international students and international students must apply for financial aid at the time of application. International students applying for aid may only apply as Fall Transfers.


Community College Transfer and Davis Scholar Collaboration Agreement

Last Revised: 5.4.2022


Wellesley welcomes applications from talented students who have chosen to begin their higher education at two-year institutions. Above all, the College looks for women of intellectual promise who have demonstrated qualities of independence and character that will enable them to take full advantage of our curriculum. We seek qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds—students whose perspectives will contribute to our community and beyond. Wellesley believes that diversity is essential to our students’ educational experience and is committed to fostering an environment where all students have the potential to thrive.


Many transfer applicants will be considered traditional-aged transfer students. Transfer applicants who are U.S. veterans, mothers, or any women age 24 and older, can choose to participate in the Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program as a Davis Scholar. 


This collaboration agreement serves as an outline of how most competitive community college transfer applicants at Wellesley may appear. Unlike an articulation agreement, eligibility criteria do not guarantee applicants for admission. 


COVID-19 Considerations: Additional Flexibility in the Evaluation of Transfer Credit

For the most up-to-date modifications to transferable credit policy please visit:  https://www.wellesley.edu/registrar/credit/guidelines



  • Students are eligible for transfer admission to Wellesley if they have a minimum of 6-8 transferable Wellesley-equivalent units, but no more than 16 transferable units. In order to receive a Wellesley College degree as a transfer student, you must complete at least two years (16 units) of coursework at the College. 

    • One (1) unit of Wellesley College work typically equals 4 semester-hours or 6 quarter-hours.  This means if you attended an institution where you took 5 courses each semester worth 3 credits each, each course could transfer as .8 or .75 units of Wellesley College work, depending on the total number of credit hours needed for the current college’s degree. Students may transfer in a maximum of 16 units, only 4 units of which may be earned in summer sessions.

    • Distribution requirements (except for writing) must be fulfilled by taking or transferring in one (1) whole unit of coursework.

    • All colleges have varying credits or units required for graduation. There is no absolute calculation for transferable credits. Each student’s transferable credits will be determined when they have been admitted to Wellesley.

    • One (1) unit is awarded for most Advanced Placement exams completed during secondary school, with a score of 5. A score of 4 or 5 in AP Calculus AB will earn 1 unit, and a score of 4 or 5 in AP Calculus BC will earn 2 units. Please review our AP/IB credit guide.

    • One (1) unit is awarded for each higher level International Baccalaureate exam completed during secondary school, with a grade of 5, 6 or 7. Please review our AP/IB credit guide.

  • Four semesters of work (including courses in progress at the time of application) and full-time enrollment in a community college are strongly recommended at the time of application. Credit hours from courses in progress are considered in student credit evaluations. For more information, please refer to “Transfer of Credit” below.

  • Wellesley typically admits one out of every ten students who apply for transfer admission. In previous years, competitive applicants have had at least an​ ​ A- average in their most recent college coursework.

  • While Wellesley welcomes traditional- and non-traditional-aged applicants to apply, all applicants must be capable of enrolling as full-time students in the successive years needed to complete their degrees. Students are not required to live on-campus and, due to the structure of our residential community, we do not currently have the capacity to house families in on-campus housing. Non-traditional-aged applicants are eligible for twelve month, on-campus housing but must apply for on-campus housing at the time of application.

  • Wellesley admits transfer students from U.S. colleges and universities only. Any student who wishes to apply from an international college or university must apply as a first-year student, not as a transfer student. See first-year students.

  • Students are ineligible for transfer if the student:

    • has already obtained a bachelor’s degree or equivalent .

    • is taking community college coursework as part of any program of early graduation from secondary school or other accelerated completion of secondary school, or to fulfill high school graduation requirements.


Transfer of Credit

  • Credit is granted only for courses in the liberal arts and sciences. Please find a list of our current academic departments online: ​https://www.wellesley.edu/academics/deptsmajorprog. Most course credits within departments available at Wellesley will be eligible for transfer. More information can be found on the registrar’s transfer credit guideline webpage.

  • Credit is not awarded for the following:

    • Courses with a grade of C- or below; or courses graded pass/fail, unless you submit a letter from the professor who taught the course, stating that you would have earned a grade of C or higher.

    • Courses in business (except for one accounting course), criminal justice, speech and communication, computer science courses that cover microcomputer applications of non-programming topics, journalism or other pre-professional training courses.

    • Mathematics subjects prior to calculus (pre-calc, college algebra, trig).

    • Physical education or dance, lab-only, and nonacademic studio art.

    • Distance or online learning.

    • Individual study or self-paced courses.

    • Internships, practica, workshops, how-to courses, or experiential learning.

  • Wellesley requires all students to have some proficiency in the use of at least one language, ancient or modern, other than English.

    • Students may fulfill the language requirement by completing two units of language study at the second-year college level as defined by the language department or program; or

    • Students who demonstrate adequate preparation for advanced work in language through a placement exam, through an AP score of 5, or through an IB Higher Level Score of 5 or above, may complete the language requirement by completion of one unit of work taught in that language in an advanced course identified by the department or program, or by completing two semesters of introductory work in a different language; or

    • Students may fulfill the language requirement with course work done at another institution, subject to approval by the appropriate department or program (this requirement may not be met by independent work); approval will typically include a placement test, and may include a requirement that the student take an additional course in the language at Wellesley; or

    • Students who are native speakers or very advanced learners of languages other than English may fulfill the language requirement by permission of the appropriate department or program (in cases of speakers of languages not taught at Wellesley, by presenting documentation to the Academic Review Board of proficiency in that language).

  • Lab sciences may transfer from a community college with department approval. Transfer students enrolling at Wellesley and wishing to obtain credit for Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience or Physics courses taken at two-year community colleges prior to enrollment at Wellesley, will need to consult the Chair of the respective Academic Department once they are on campus. Students must fill out Transfer of Credit forms for each course, to be reviewed by the Department on a case by case basis.

  • Wellesley requires that all students satisfy distribution requirements, including work in data literacy, English and writing, mathematics, multiculturalism, the sciences, social science, and foreign language in addition to those credits required for a student’s major.

  • If a student is admitted to Wellesley by the Office of Admission,  the Registrar’s Office does a preliminary assessment of how many credits will transfer. This credit evaluation will be included with the letter of admission. Once a student has accepted Wellesley’s offer of admission, the Registrar’s Office will provide a more detailed assessment indicating which courses will transfer and which of Wellesley’s degree requirements they may meet.



For community college transfer applicants, close attention is paid to students’:

  • College and high school transcripts

  • Academic instructor recommendations

  • Quality of writing as demonstrated in essays

  • Extra – and co-curricular involvements and talents

Transfer applicants are also welcomed to contact the Office of Admission  to discuss opportunities at Wellesley and the transfer process at ​admission@wellesley.edu​


Financial Aid

Wellesley College is need-blind for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and guarantees to meet one hundred percent of all students’ calculated financial need.

As financial aid for international students is limited, admission to Wellesley for international students is need-sensitive and competition is extraordinarily keen. Its purpose is to support highly qualified candidates who could not otherwise attend Wellesley. International students must apply for financial aid at the time of application. 

In an effort to simplify the financial aid process for international, undocumented, and DACA students, applicants who have indicated their intent to apply for aid will be prompted to complete a Financial Aid Intent Form after submitting their application for admission. Within three to five business days of the completion of the Common application, students will be given access to the Applicant Portal by Admissions. We will contact applicants later in the process regarding any additional financial aid forms or documents they may need to provide. We encourage all applicants applying for aid to begin completing the CSS Profile so that if requested, they can submit it promptly. However, students won’t need to submit the CSS Profile unless they are instructed to do so by our staff. Information on assistance with its cost will also be provided.

For U.S. service members and veterans, we are a Yellow Ribbon school. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are also strongly encouraged to apply for Wellesley’s need-based financial aid. For more information, please visit the financial aid website:  https://www.wellesley.edu/admission/cost ​or contact ​sfs@wellesley.edu​.

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