Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policy Amendments

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Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policy Amendments

To: All University of Arizona Faculty and Academic Advisors


Neel Ghosh, Chair, Undergraduate Council (UGC)
Celeste Pardee, Assistant Director for Academic Policies/Organizations

Subject: Undergraduate Transfer Credit Policy Amendments

Date: November 16, 2018

Additions to the University's undergraduate transfer policies – (1) to accept course work from non-regionally accredited institutions, and (2) to award credit for prior learning – were proposed by the Office of Transfer Credit and Articulation in March 2018. With input from Undergraduate Council faculty and student representatives, the Council made a few revisions before passing the proposal in October 2018. The College Academic Administrators Council (CAAC) and Faculty Senate approved the two policy amendments in October and November, respectively, to be effective in Spring 2019 for all current undergraduates, regardless of their Catalog year. 

Amended Policy: Acceptability of Undergraduate Transfer Credit, https://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/acceptability-undergraduate-transfer-credit: [Note: The two new policies are underlined below, with links to separate pages for the policy details; other additions to this Catalog page are previously approved policies, now centralized for convenience.]

The determination of acceptability of credit for course work completed at another institution of higher learning is made solely at the discretion of the University of Arizona. The evaluation of course work completed at another institution or exam credit from an approved organization will be based only on an official transcript from the offering institution or organization.

General policies:

  • Course work of comparable content to University of Arizona courses is usually transferable if it was completed at colleges or universities accredited by regional accreditation associations at the time the course work was completed. 
  • If course work was completed at a non-regionally accredited school, the student may request that up to two (2) courses be considered for transfer, not to exceed a maximum of 10 credits. See Non-Regionally Accredited Course Work Transfer Policy.
  • Requests for credit for Prior Learning (Prior Learning Assessment) are reviewed on a case by case basis. No more than six (6) general elective credits for Prior Learning will apply to the student’s degree. See Credit for Prior Learning Policy.
  • Course credit earned at an institution of higher education in another country is generally considered transferable if that international institution is recognized by the Ministry of Education as a degree granting institution or by an American accreditation body.  
  • Credit is not given for grades lower than a "C."
  • Grades from other institutions are not included in the calculation of the University of Arizona grade-point average.
  • The University of Arizona considers the credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE). Remedial, vocational, and personal development courses are not accepted for credit.
  • Physical education (PE) activity courses and Success Courses are accepted for credit; however, no more than three (3) PE activity credits and three (3) Success Course credits will apply as general electives toward the student's degree.
  • Proficiency or competency credit-by-exam earned at another college or university is non-transferable. 
  • The Office of Transfer Credit and Articulation (link is external) collaborates with appropriate University faculty on the evaluation of transfer credit and determination of transferable learning.
  • Courses from Arizona public community colleges are evaluated by the Director of Transfer Curriculum & Articulation and by the appropriate University faculty to determine which courses are acceptable for transfer.
  • Transferability of courses of independent study, internship, or practicum are subject to approval by the appropriate faculty at The University of Arizona and may be restricted both in number of units and in degree applicability. Students who have taken community college courses in these categories may petition for an exception.
  • Students who lack not more than a one-semester course toward the fulfillment of curriculum and minimum-graduation-average requirements may apply, as the final course to complete the degree, a single one-semester course in residence at another accredited institution. The graduation GPA shown on the transcript will include the grade from the approved course taken in absentia. An anecdotal note will be added to the transcript explaining the difference between the graduation GPA and the cumulative GPA, which will not reflect the course taken in absentia. Permission must be obtained from the academic dean, prior to enrolling for the course, to apply the grade received in such a course toward the graduation average. This provision may be applied also to the required separate average of 2.000 in the major field if prior permission is obtained from the major advisor (link is external) and the academic dean.

Applicability of transfer credit (link is external) to a student's academic curriculum is determined by the academic advisor in the student's major department (link is external).

Justification for the Policy Amendments:

  • Some Arizona community colleges are now evaluating non-regionally accredited course work and assessing prior learning. The Universities need their own policies to address these types of credit.
  • Like NAU and ASU, the UA has not had policies regarding non-regionally accredited course work nor credit for prior learning. However, more transfer students are admitted to the UA after attending a non-regionally accredited institution.
  • Policies concerning credit for prior learning and non-regionally accredited course work are needed for the UA to remain at the forefront of national transfer credit trends and demands from transfer students, including online students and returning students.
  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) states that institutions must establish a policy and procedure for faculty to evaluate documented prior learning for possible credit. The policy must establish how the credit is assigned, how the credit (if any) applies to degree requirements, and what level of academic rigor is associated with awarding credit.
  • Several of the UA's peer institutions evaluate and accept non-regionally accredited course work on a case-by-case basis. Likewise, requests for credit for prior learning are considered on a case-by-case basis by many UA peers. 

Management of the Policy Amendments:

  • Student procedures for submitting a request for Prior Learning Credit are posted on the Transfer Credit and Articulation site.
  • Additionally, student procedures for submitting non-regionally accredited course work for transfer credit are posted on the Transfer Credit and Articulation site.
  • The faculty will be asked to evaluate syllabi for non-regionally accredited courses and documents for prior learning for course content and topics within their discipline.

Questions about the two policy amendments may be addressed to Nicole Kontak, Office of Transfer Credit & Articulation, at 626-3212, or nicoler@email.arizona.edu.

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