Credit Recognition and Transfer Policy

Carolina University grants transfer credit for previous college work from colleges or universities that are accredited by agencies approved by the Department of Education.

CU recognizes that students may commence their studies at CU with a variety of prior educational and professional experiences. While CU does not guarantee the transfer of credits from any educational institution, the university is receptive to the transfer of credits from accredited universities in the United States and elsewhere. Similarly, the university understands that adult learners may possess valuable work experience and professional competencies acquired over the duration of their careers that may be relevant to the community of practice pertaining to an academic area. Given the policies adopted by various state governments to encourage the recognition of such competencies and military service in order to enable degree completion, upskill workers to meet emerging skills gaps, and promote affordability in higher education, CU seeks to provide credit for demonstrated competencies gained through professional work and alternative educational pathways. As a general matter, combined credit through all alternative means should not exceed 50 percent of the credits required for any undergraduate degree awarded by the university. In other words, it is expected that students will complete 50 percent of their studies at CU in order to graduate with a CU undergraduate degree. Administration may recommend a variance to this principle and grant additional credit where evidentiary justification exists. Where discipline/profession-specific accreditation requirements apply, the maximum transferable credits are those specified by the professional accreditation body, and alternative credit may not be granted toward any mandatory courses specified for such accreditation. In addition, any coursework submitted for credit must have been completed within the prior ten years. For courses completed before ten years, the candidate must submit a written statement providing a rationale for the granting of credits and explain why their knowledge is current.

In all cases of credit recognition and transfer, the competencies must be clearly evidenced, current, and relevant to the discipline area. It is also essential that credit recognition and transfer is pursuant to policies and procedures that ensure robust quality assurance, academic oversight and integrity, and satisfy program learning outcome requirements applicable to the relevant discipline.

Credit Gained at other Universities/Colleges

Carolina University grants transfer credit for previous college work from colleges or universities that are accredited by agencies approved by the Department of Education. Additionally, transfer work must adhere to the following guidelines.

  • Only courses taken at Carolina University will apply to the student’s cumulative GPA.
  • In order to qualify for transfer credit, courses must be equivalent to the respective Carolina University program of study, and course work must be comparable. Equivalency is a matter for academic judgment. Accreditation status, faculty qualifications, content correspondence, theological perspective, and instructional level of courses are considered.
  • Courses taken at other institutions (including correspondence courses) while a student is enrolled at Carolina University require prior approval by the Registrar.
  • A transfer applicant must have left his/her previous institution in good standing. A student who has been dismissed or suspended from another college for disciplinary reasons must submit a letter from the dean of the college giving the reason for dismissal. In addition, all debts with former institutions must be settled before acceptance is granted at Carolina University.
  • Official transcripts of all former institutions must be received by the Admission Office prior to approval for admittance.
  • Transfer Credit should be evaluated as part of the applicant’s original admission to the program.
  • Correspondence work from some colleges may be transferred. The above guidelines for transfer apply. The Registrar should approve such studies in advance.

Minimum Course Grade for Transfer

Program Minimum Course Grade
All Undergraduate Programs C
All Seminary Programs C
Other Graduate and Doctoral Programs B

Additional Admissions Requirements for Transfer Students

In addition to these policies, transfer of credits from institutions not accredited by an agency approved by the Department of Education must adhere to the following guidelines and provide the following documentation:

  • The course work has been taught by faculty who are qualified by education and/or experience to teach at the appropriate degree level.
  • The course content is comparable as demonstrated by college catalog, course syllabi, hours of attendance, and grading standards.
  • The institution has received legal authorization or official exemption in its state or country.

In any case, a transfer student from an institution not accredited by an agency approved by the Department of Education must successfully complete 12 hours of work at CU with a C average for the transfer work to be accepted.

Credits Granted by Way of Articulation Agreements

Carolina University may conclude articulation agreements with universities/colleges and professional organizations providing for articulation pathways into its degree programs. Where an articulation agreement exists, an eligible student who is in good standing from the partner institution will be automatically granted credits as provided in the articulation agreement toward an applicable degree program at CU. A student from an eligible partner institution which is a signatory to an articulation agreement may be issued a provisional offer of admission into the relevant degree program with a conditional recognition of prior credits. In such cases, the full and final recognition of prior credits completed at the partner institution may be confirmed upon enrollment after assessing the evidence of learning.

Non-Traditional Credits

Carolina University may award credit by examination, experiential learning, advanced standing, and professional certification. The following policies apply and additional details may be found in the appropriate Handbook or by contacting the Registrar’s Office. In no case will combined nontraditional credits exceed one-half of the program length. Non-traditional credits may not be used to meet residency requirements. The full procedure for applications and processing may be specified by the Registrar’s Office and amended as needed.

Credit by Examination

Advanced Placement, CLEP, and DSST

Carolina University awards credits based on passing scores obtained in external examinations such as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs), the Defense Language Proficiency Tests, and the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). In order to receive credit for Advanced Placement, the student must score at least three on any exam, and the course(s) must be equivalent to courses offered at CU. Information on CLEP registration and testing centers may be obtained in the Registrar’s Office. An official CLEP transcript must be submitted to the university.

General Examination Minimum Score Hours of Credit Awarded Comparable CU Course
English Composition with Essay 50 6 GE101, GE102
Mathematics 50 3 GC203
Subject Examination      
American Literature 50 3 EN300, EN320
English Literature 50 3 EN201, EN202
General Psychology 50 3 GP202
Western Civilization I 50 3 GH101
Western Civilization II 50 3 GH102
American History I 50 3 GH201
American History II 50 3 GH202

DSST Exams are available in six subject areas. Please contact your advisor to discuss ones that might be applicable to your program. Other external examination scores will be assessed for credit on a case by case basis.

Course Challenges

A student may challenge a course for which he/she has sufficient background if he/she receives the approval of the dean of the appropriate school. A course may be challenged to earn credits or to qualify for waiver of a program admission pre-requisite. A course challenged for the purpose of earning credits requires a challenge fee, course registration, and tuition. A course challenged for the purpose of qualification for pre-requisite waiver requires only a challenge fee. A student may only challenge a course once. Course challenges are only permitted during the first four weeks of each semester, the first two weeks of an online session, and the first day of a 5-day module. A student may not challenge a course for which he has been registered and has attended past the registration deadline.

A student will receive credit, which will be recorded as P (Passed), upon passing the examination with a minimum grade of B. A research paper may be required in certain courses. P is recorded on the transcript, but it is not included in the grade point average. Examination results judged inadequate will not be recorded on the transcript. Course challenges may not be used to meet the residency requirement for transfer students. After completing the proper form, the student must take the challenge examination from the appropriate professor. The student is responsible for the payment of the challenge fee to the Business Office prior to taking the challenge examination. The fee per course to be challenged is $100. This fee is applicable toward the tuition if credit is to be earned for the course.

Required courses which are challenged for the purpose of being waived do not result in credit, nor in tuition charges. Courses, required or elected, that are challenged for the purpose of credit will result in tuition charges, if passed. The total combined credit hours of course challenge, transfer, and Advanced Standing may not exceed 50% of the requirements for a degree.

Prior Learning

Carolina University awards Prior Learning Credit (PLC) for post-high school, pre-enrollment professional experience or military service. Prior Learning Credit may be granted for professional/workplace certifications evidenced by relevant transcripts or is based on a portfolio that demonstrates the relevant competencies toward the credits claimed and acquired by the student through work or other experience. It may be granted for work/employment experience validated by an employer, training experiences such as assessed seminars or professional development, or life experiences* such as substantial volunteer activities that are congruent with course learning objectives or graduate attributes.

In some cases, it may be granted for transcript credit not applicable for transfer because CU has no equivalent course.

The credit awarded will be based on the competencies documented rather than on a course by course equivalency. The amount of credit given will be determined by the documentation of learning rather than evidence of simply doing a task or serving in a position for a period of time.

A student seeking PLC is required to complete an application and enroll in a directed study course entitled ‘Portfolio of Experience.’ This course qualifies for 3 credits and is conducted under academic supervision and approved by the dean/head of the relevant academic area. In order to complete the course, students have to build a portfolio substantiated by evidence relating to the competencies claimed, and supported by an essay or statement (max. 3000 words) reflecting the acquisition of the required learning objectives.

It is the responsibility of the student to provide the evidence and build a satisfactory portfolio. Whilst the university is committed to guiding students and providing advisory support in assembling a portfolio, it remains the responsibility of the student to demonstrate why credit must be granted. The quality of the presentation of the material and weight of evidence will be considered in making credit awarding decisions. The portfolio submitted will be evaluated by the dean of the appropriate school, an assigned content expert, or a contracted professional. Evaluation of the portfolio may include an oral presentation or video interview to assess the student’s competency in the areas claimed. Students should allow up to eight weeks for review of their portfolio submission. An official report will be provided specifying the credits granted or denied. A fee of $100 will be charged for each credit assessed. Prior Learning assessment at CU follows the guidelines published by bodies such as the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the American Council on Education (ACE). A student who is aggrieved by a PLC determination may appeal that decision to the Provost by stating reasons why the appeal should be allowed and providing any new evidence that is relevant to the appeal under the procedures established. The decision of the Provost shall be rendered within four weeks after the appeal has been received and communicated in writing to the student.

In addition to credits granted by portfolio submission, credit for experiential learning is given in the following instances: credit for physical education is given for individuals who have completed basic training in the military or for military service, credit for physical education may be given for participation in an intercollegiate sport with a recommendation from the coach and the approval of the Provost, and credit may be given for Early Field Experience, ED202, for individuals who have actual teaching experience in the formal school setting. The dean of the Moore School of Education decides if the individual has had the variety and depth of experience that warrant credit.

*Applicable to undergraduate students 2020-2021.

Advanced Standing

Piedmont Divinity School may also award Advanced Standing credits. Credits may be granted to qualified students possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited or recognized institution. The policy is designed to reward high-level undergraduate preparation.

The eligibility for and the amount of Advanced Standing are based on catalog and transcript evaluation as well as correspondence of course content between the undergraduate college granting the bachelor’s degree and Carolina University.

Course Criteria

  • Grade of A or B
  • Junior or Senior level course number
  • Content Correspondence

Advanced Standing Limits

  • Up to 24 semester hours toward the MDiv(excluding MDiv military chaplaincy track)
  • Up to 16 semester hours toward the MABS degree
  • Up to 9 semester hours toward MA Bible Exposition
  • No hours towards the Graduate Certificate, MA in Ministry or Leadership, MEd, MDiv military chaplaincy track or PhD degree

Professional Certification

Credit may be awarded in some programs based on professional certification. Examples include the following: BLET credits will be awarded toward 1 year of the BA Criminal Justice program, the BA Interdisciplinary Studies, and toward some courses in the Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

Deaf Studies

If the student already has current and verifiable interpreting credentials, then he/she may receive credit for classes according to the following:

  1. Certified (CSC, CI, CT, NIC, NIC-A, NIC-M, NAD 4 and 5, EIPA 4.0 or higher):
    • ASL 1, ASL 2, ASL 3, ASL 4, and ASL 5
    • Introduction to the Interpreting Profession
    • Introduction to the Interpreting Process
    • English to ASL Interpreting
    • ASL to English Interpreting
    • Interactive Interpreting
  2. Written portion of a nationally recognized knowledge test:
    • Introduction to the Interpreting Profession

Transfer of Carolina University Credits

Carolina University credits are transferable to various institutions; however, academic institutions are autonomous in determining policies for admission and transfer of credits.