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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Transfer Credit and Advanced Standing

Transfer Credit refers to the granting of specific course credit for previously completed postsecondary level credit studies achieved in formal learning settings. The transfer credit awarded may apply to core courses or to elective courses. Transfer credit can take the form of assigned credit, which is credit for a specific course, or unassigned credit, which is elective credit in a specific subject and year level.

Advanced Standing refers to the recognition of prior studies or experiences where the granting of credit is not possible. Both advanced credit and transfer credit may result in achieving higher standing at the subsequent institution; however, for advanced standing, the previous learning could have been completed through different forms of credit work (formal learning) and/or through informal and non-formal learning such that an array of courses, prerequisites, or overall requirements for a degree or diploma are awarded. The term advanced standing has particular utility in the context of the world of prior learning assessment/recognition of prior learning and in situations that do not always lend themselves to the awarding of specific credit.

Transfer credit and advanced standing help students achieve educational goals in several ways. Transfer credit and advanced standing can be used to:

  • satisfy specific requirements for a credential;

  • satisfy requirements for progression through a program;

  • affect a student's enrollment priority; and,

  • satisfy course prerequisites

There are times institutions rely on prerequisites to inform student-specific progression decisions such as establishing enrollment priorities, program eligibility, or qualifications to proceed through different program stages. In some circumstances, transfer credit awarded for a course may not be sufficient to satisfy these requirements even though the learning may be deemed equivalent to course learning outcomes. Therefore, awarding Advanced Standing for the entirety of the prior learning or assigning a course discipline exemption might be alternate ways to satisfy the prerequisite expectation. Local student information systems and practices will influence how this is operationalized (e.g., through applying a permanent prerequisite waiver, resetting the waiver each term, etc.).