Step 1: Building a Critical Bond
- Form a liaison with an appropriate person or persons at the sending institution.
- Select someone who understands the curricula for which you wish to articulate.
- This person needs to be able to supply course descriptions and syllabi, connect you with faculty, and answer general questions as they arise.
Step 2: The General Transfer Agreement
- Defines how your institution deals with transfer credit in general and from the sending institution specifically.
- State transfer and articulation policies may impact some transfer policies.
- This general agreement, once signed by both institutions, rarely requires updates but should be reviewed every two to three years.
Some possible items to include:
- What grades are required to transfer
- If only “usable” courses transfer or all satisfactorily completed courses
- Does completion of associate degree affect transfer
- Whether the GPA transfers
- Non-transferability of developmental courses
- Residency requirement for a degree at your institution
- If national accreditation (e.g. ABET, CSAB, AACSB) affects transferability
- Whether placement testing will be required for transfer students
- Consensus for both institutions to conduct periodic review of agreements
- Availability of transfer advising at the receiving institution
Step 3: Evaluating Courses
- Identify who will perform the evaluations (i.e. transfer advisor, department chair, Registrar, college or department advisor).
- Plan for quarter-to-semester or vice versa transfer, if appropriate.
- Keep in mind that transferability is not always one course for one course.
- Determine how you will catalogue course equivalencies and substitutions (i.e. database, student information system, degree audit software, www.transferologylab.com).
Things to include in your database:
- Original course name and number
- Credit hours
- Notes (for exceptions or criteria)
Examples of some possible notes on equivalencies:
- “Course will count only if taught by a licensed social worker.”
- “Course must be enriched at the receiving institution.”
- “Course counts for non-majors only.”
Encourage completion of entire sequence at one institution but clarify partial transfer. For example:
A&P 101, 102, 103 = BIO 201, 202
A&P 101, 102 = BIO 201
A&P 102, 103 = BIO 202
A&P 101 only = no equivalent
A&P 102 only = no equivalent
A&P 103 only = no equivalent
Step 4: Creating a Transfer Guide
- After equivalencies are determined, choose the majors for which parallel programs or transfer guides are possible. (Note: It may not be possible or practical to create a program agreement for all majors at your institution. Decide which programs you wish to articulate.)
- Begin with a template (e.g. one for the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Business, or Associate of Applied Science).
- Title an agreement (e.g. Biological Sciences) and indicate what degree or credential, if any, is earned at each institution (e.g. A.S. and B.S.)
- Since students are beginning at the sending institution use categories as defined by the sending institution as a way to organize your agreement. For example:
- Area One: English and Mathematics
- Area Two: Computer Literacy
- Area Three: Humanities
- Area Four: Social Sciences
- Within each category list the course options which are appropriate for both institutions. Keep in mind that some majors require specific courses in certain categories.
For instance, a business agreement may require: Business Writing in the English category, Business Calculus in the math category , Economics in the social science category
- Indicate the course equivalencies on the program guide for both institutions
- “Notes” or “Additional Information” may be added to the agreement, usually at the end, to provide clarification for the student. (An example of a Note: “This major strongly encourages but does not require biology for the science sequence.”)
- Admission requirements for the major should be listed.
- Establish expiration date or date to review and update the agreement.
- Once a draft of a parallel program is created, it should be reviewed by appropriate staff at both institutions, such as department chairs, transfer advisors, coordinators, and faculty.
- When the agreement meets with everyone’s approval, it should be formalized with the chief academic officers signing the agreement.
Distribution of Agreements
- The sending institution usually keeps copies to distribute to students.
- Advisors at both institutions should be apprised of all agreements and any changes in articulation.
- Agreements can be posted on the web for easy access to the most current versions.
Step 5: Build course-by-course guides,
If appropriate course-by-course guides are different from Transfer Guides. While Transfer Guides itemize how a particular associate degree transfers into a particular bachelor’s degree, course-by-course guides are usually fewer in hours and are not usually a full associate degree.
Step 6: Informing Students
The Comprehensive Transfer Guide Should include the following:
- Welcome letter to students from both institutions
- Information about admission, financial aid, placement testing and advising for both institutions
- List of important numbers and contact people
- List of campus resources
- List of course-by-course equivalencies
- All parallel programs
Information about completion programs for which there are no articulation agreement required.