Principles & Guidelines for Transfer


Credit transfer provides efficient, cost-effective access to post-secondary education and limits geographical barriers for students. The BC Transfer System includes public and recognized private and out-of-province institutions, facilitates student mobility, supports system quality and ensures the portability and applicability of credit by providing dependable, accurate resources to students and institutions. Key system values are those of transparency, fairness, autonomy, predictability and accountability, built upon trust between system partners. Originally approved by all BC transfer system members, this revised BCCAT Principles and Guidelines document features updates that reflect the changing BC post-secondary system.

Principles and Guidelines for Transfer

In the BC Transfer System

  • Formal transfer credit agreements recorded in the BC Transfer Guide are a guarantee to students that specified credit acquired at one institution will be given transfer credit at another institution.
  • Students should not be required to retake equivalent courses successfully completed at another institution.
  • Students should not be given transfer credit for learning they have not acquired.
  • Students, advisors, administrators, and faculty members must have access to information at other institutions on course equivalencies, program prerequisites, and levels of achievement that determine whether admission and transfer credit will be awarded. This information should also include any limitations on using transfer credit toward credential or program completion.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring they are fully and accurately informed about transfer processes.
  • If an institution defines admission criteria specifically for transfer students, the institution should clearly state the criteria applicable to students applying for admission in that category, such as a minimum cumulative GPA or a minimum number of credits required for the student to qualify for admission in that category.
  • Where an assessment of previous academic performance forms part of an admission decision for transfer students, the student’s post-secondary academic record should be the primary consideration, rather than performance in secondary school.
  • The minimum grade for individual course transfer is normally a passing grade, as defined by the institution where the student acquired the course credit. A course grade higher than the grade usually required for course transfer should not be required for admission by the receiving institution, unless the same requirement applies to the use of grades for the equivalent internal course at the receiving institution: for example, fulfilling pre-requisite requirements for other courses.
  • Institutions should ensure that a formal appeal procedure is available for students who wish to appeal transfer credit decisions, and that information on how to access the procedure is easily available.
  • Students should not be disadvantaged by changes made to articulation agreements while they are taking a course or program they intend to transfer. Any material changes to articulation agreements should be implemented with a start date at least one semester later to ensure equity for prospective transfer students.
  • Each BC Transfer System member institution should have adequate resources, including clearly stated and publicly available policies and procedures, for accepting transferring students and awarding transfer credit.
  • Programs offered within the BC Transfer System may have differing missions, context, expertise, and modes of delivery. These differences should be respected and accommodated in sending and receiving transfer credit.
  • BCTS member institutions may have policies or expectations regarding appropriate qualifications for instructors of transferable courses. Member institutions should be prepared to provide information on their instructor qualification policies upon request.
  • Every BCTS member institution should have a formal transfer credit policy, fully outlining processes for assessing articulation requests and awarding transfer credit, and should make that policy publicly available.
  • Institutions should allocate appropriate resources to administering transfer activity, including receiving and assessing articulation requests, training and advising evaluators, and creating, sending, and recording its own transfer decisions.
  • Each BCTS member institution is expected to send a representative to meetings of articulation committees related to subjects in which it offers courses or programs. Private institutions that are BCTS members are required to send representatives to meetings of articulation committees related to the subject of the degree(s) that it has been authorized to offer by the provincial Ministry responsible for post-secondary education.
  • Receiving institutions should respond to articulation requests in a timely manner, preferably within two months of receiving a request.
  • Articulation agreements should be based on an assessment of equivalence between courses or programs, while recognizing that knowledge can be acquired under a variety of arrangements and conditions. Assessments of equivalence may include (but not be limited to) comparisons of learning outcomes, scope and level of content, evaluation criteria, or hours of instruction
  • The institution seeking transfer credit (the sending institution) should provide course or program outlines, and additional information if requested, that contains sufficient information for the receiving institution to assess equivalence.
  • If an articulation request is denied by a receiving institution, the institution is required to provide a reason for the denial.
  • All institutions are expected to
    • maintain the standard of content, outcomes and instruction upon which an original transfer agreement was based;
    • re-articulate courses or programs when these change to the extent that their equivalency to courses at other institution may be affected;
    • provide adequate notice to receiving institutions of planned curricular changes that may affect established transfer agreements, and
    • review articulation agreements every five years to ensure currency and accuracy for transfer students.
  • An award of transfer credit should specify what credit is being awarded, the number of credits awarded, and any conditions that may affect whether a student will receive transfer credit.

Credit Transfer
Credit transfer consists of the granting of credit by one institution for equivalent courses completed at another. Once transfer credit is granted, the course is accepted in lieu of an internal course and can be applied in the same way as the internal course to fulfill general or specific credential requirements. Block transfer may also be granted for completed programs. Course and program equivalencies that have been articulated (i.e. assessed for equivalence and awarded credit through a formal inter-institutional request process) are recorded as transfer agreements in the BC Transfer Guide. Non-articulated courses are assessed and credit is awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Transfer Student
Some institutions formally define a basis of admission for transfer students and specify criteria for that admission category, but the term transfer student is also used more broadly to refer to any student who wishes to transfer credit from one institution to another.

If you have questions about BCCAT’s membership policies, please contact