Columbia Southern University (CSU) evaluates transfer credit when a student submits official postsecondary transcripts, military and employer courses that have been reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE), credit by examination score sheets, or professional training certificates. Courses accepted for transfer credit must be relevant to the program of study and equivalent in both content and degree level. Transfer credit evaluations are conducted in the Office of the Registrar. Exceptions must be approved by the Academic Program Director. Transfer credit appeal decisions are determined by the Dean of the College.

Sources of Transfer Credit

Academic Credit

CSU accepts transfer academic credit from institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Transferrable courses with a grade of “D” or above may apply to undergraduate degree requirements unless a minimum grade of “C” is required to satisfy specific program requirements. “D’s” are not accepted as transfer credit for English composition or any mathematics requirement for any degree program. Transferrable courses with a grade of “B” or above may apply to master’s degree program requirements; in some cases, a grade of “C” may be considered.

Transcripts that are not in English must be evaluated by an approved third party, such as those recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Service (NACES), and translated into English or evaluated by a trained transcript evaluator fluent in the language on the transcript. Evaluators possess expertise in the educational practices of the country or origin and must include an English translation of the review. All translated materials must be official.

Credit by Examination

CSU accepts credit by examination and uses guidelines established by ACE to determine if the examinations warrant awarding academic credit. Provided minimum passing scores are met, CSU accepts credit by examination from testing centers, to include but not limited to, the following examples:

Professional Licenses, Certificates, and Training Programs

CSU uses guidelines established by ACE to determine if certain training programs, certificates, professional licenses, and/or military training warrant awarding academic credit. The following ACE publications are used:

Experiential or Equivalent Learning

CSU takes into consideration that adult learners gain knowledge outside of a traditional academic environment and will consider experiential learning credit through a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) review. A PLA review is performed by subject matter experts with experience in the evaluation of prior learning and follows the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) Ten Standards for Assessing Learning.

Interested CSU students are responsible for collecting documentation to build a portfolio and are encouraged to submit the portfolio to LearningCounts® for a comprehensive review. To learn more about a PLA review, please visit https://earncollegecredit.org/csu/.

Technical Credit

Technical credit will require a review and decision by the appropriate Academic Program Director in order to assess comparable course content and learning outcomes alignment to determine transferability.

Maximum Allowable Transfer Limits

Undergraduate Degrees

A maximum of 45 semester hours may be awarded as transfer credit for an associate’s degree program and 90 semester hours for a bachelor’s degree program. Transfer credit for experiential learning may not exceed 25% of the degree program.

Master’s Degrees

A maximum of 18 semester hours may be awarded as transfer credit for a master’s degree. Transfer credit for experiential learning may not exceed 25% of the degree program.

Doctoral Degrees (DBA)

A maximum of 9 semester hours may be awarded as transfer credit for doctoral programs. No credit for experiential or equivalent credit may be considered.

Additional Transfer Credit Limitations

Please note that transfer credit does not apply towards CSU certificates.

Developmental and remedial coursework is not transferrable towards CSU degree programs. In addition, other transfer credit decisions made at previously attended colleges or universities involving auditing or waiving of program requirements are not applicable at CSU.

Transfer credit may be limited in order to satisfy specific and relevant degree program requirements. When determining program relevancy, some courses may not meet transfer criteria due to age of credit and will require review and decision by the appropriate qualified faculty.

CSU does not typically accept transfer credit from non-accredited institutions; however, transfer credit decisions are not based solely on accreditation. In some cases, CSU qualified faculty conduct a review to determine that courses meet the requirements for the degree the institution awards and that applicable accreditation standards are met.

Credit for experiential or equivalent learning may only be applied to CSU undergraduate and master’s level course offerings, excluding General Education requirements.

Transfer Credit Decision Appeal

Students may appeal transfer credit decisions by submitting the Transfer Credit Decision Appeal form to the Office of the Registrar, which will be escalated to the appropriate Academic Program Director for consideration. Appeals must be submitted to Registrarappeals@columbiasouthern.edu.

Transfer of CSU Credit

CSU recognizes that students pursue education in a variety of institutional settings to meet educational goals. Transfer credit decisions are made at the discretion of each institution and in accordance with its academic mission and transfer credit policies. It is, therefore, recommended that students seek prior approval of CSU credits for purposes related to transferability of credit, credentialing, tuition reimbursement, or other academic and professional reasons. Students who wish to learn more about transferring CSU credit may send inquiries to Registrar@columbiasouthern.edu.