Please Note:  The content of this guide has been updated and incorporated into the 2018 version of the How to Articulate Handbook. 

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What is Articulation?

Articulation is "the action or manner in which the parts come together at a joint." In the context of course transfer, articulation allows multiple sectors or branches of post-secondary education, each with its own distinctive characteristics, to function as a system. Through the process of articulation, institutions assess courses offered at other institutions to determine whether to grant course credit toward their own programs or credentials.

 Articulation is a process involving a series of transactions that:

  • relies on faculty assessments of equivalencies;

  • acknowledges the different character and missions of institutions;

  • acknowledges the integrity and autonomy of programs;

  • is built on trust;

  • is built on institutional or disciplinary interaction through articulation committees; and,

  • may result in the awarding of transfer credit.

In BC the most common form of articulation for post-secondary courses is bilateral course-to-course articulation. This process starts when Institution A sends a request to Institution B asking that one of Institution A's courses be awarded transfer credit at Institution B. If Institution B determines that Institution A's course is  equivalent to one of its own courses, Institution B indicates that it will accept a student having completed the course at Institution A as having completed the equivalent course at Institution B. Once this agreement has been determined, the course has been formally articulated. Any student whose transcript indicates completion of the course at Institution A will receive the transfer credit recorded in the BC Transfer Guide for that course at institution B.

Within a bilateral course-to-course articulation process, the transfer agreement for each transferred course is articulated individually with each receiving institution. Therefore, each course receiving transfer credit at multiple institutions has multiple bilateral articulation agreements. This form of articulation, being the most common, is described at length in the sections on Requesting Articulation and Assessing Articulation Requests.

Multilateral articulation is used by several disciplines within the BC Transfer System, most notably by Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL). In multilateral articulation, programs articulate their courses collaboratively, comparing each institution's individual courses to a set of outcomes or content statements that have been jointly developed as representing an acceptable standard for the course. This form of articulation is described in the section on Other forms of Transfer Agreements.

Block transfer articulation occurs where institutions compare whole programs and award credit on the basis of total hours or credits, rather than for individual courses. This form of articulation is used, for example, in granting credit for a diploma completed at one institution toward a degree program at another institution. This form of articulation is described in the section on Block Transfer.