Accreditation and Awarding Transfer Credit
Illinois State University will evaluate and award credit for all successfully completed college coursework from colleges and universities holding national accreditation or accreditation from any one of the six regional accrediting associations (e.g. Higher Learning Commission). Institutions that have been granted candidacy status by a regional accrediting association will be treated as those that are fully accredited. Credit may be granted for general education, major courses, major electives, non-major electives, or graduation requirements such as AMALI and IDEAS.
Students may provide documentation such as course descriptions and/or syllabi for review by the individual departments and registrar for possible credit for coursework completed at an institution without national or regional accreditation.
Some vocational work may be accepted. Remedial or preparatory coursework is not accepted for transfer. In addition, credit will be considered for other reasons as required by law.
Location and Origination of Coursework
The evaluation of coursework originating at U.S. institutions for possible transfer credit will be based on official transcripts. To be eligible to receive transfer credit, coursework must appear on an official transcript from the institution that offered the coursework and initially conferred the credit.
Transfer credit is awarded from international institutions that are approved by the Ministry of Education (or an equivalent governing body) of the certifying country and are designated as tertiary level.
An average of 30 semester hours of transfer credit for undergraduate students and 12 semester hours for graduate students may be awarded. To be eligible to receive transfer credit, coursework must appear on official documents from the institution that offered the coursework and initially conferred the credit.
Credit Based on Level and Nature of Transfer Coursework
Level of Coursework and Passing Performance
Coursework taken to complete an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree is considered undergraduate level credit. All coursework from community colleges is considered to be lower-level credit. Coursework taken at the upper level (as defined by the college or university from which the credit is being transferred) at a four-year college or university is considered to be senior college level credit.
Coursework that is considered acceptable for undergraduate transfer credit and in which a grade of “D” or higher has been earned is eligible to be evaluated and awarded university transfer credit. Coursework that has been awarded a non-standard passing grade (e.g. “P”/Pass; “CR”/Credit; “CT”/Credit; “S”/Satisfactory) is eligible to be evaluated and awarded university transfer credit.
Correspondence, independent study, research, and professional practice courses are not accepted as transfer courses toward an undergraduate degree.
Coursework taken at the graduate level may be considered for transfer at the graduate level. A master’s level student may present a maximum of twelve semester hours of graduate credit from another college or university that holds national or regional accreditation for use in meeting the requirements of the master’s degree. Students in a PhD/EdD program may transfer up to 40% of required coursework. Courses used to award a previous master’s level degree may be used.
No more than 40% of coursework hours required for a graduate level certificate can be transferred.
Correspondence, independent study, research, and professional practice courses are not accepted as transfer courses toward a graduate degree.
Transfer credit must carry a grade of “B” or higher (or the equivalent as judged on a case-by-case basis. Grades of "CR," "P," or "S" will not be accepted unless judged to be the equivalent of a "B" or higher as defined by the college or university from which the credit is being transferred). No courses are transferred without formal request from the student. Credits more than six years old at the time of first registration into a degree program are not transferable from other institutions.
Courses that are clearly intended as a review of secondary school material are often designated remedial/developmental/preparatory and are not awarded university transfer credit.
Nature of Coursework
Basic and General Courses
Illinois State University accepts transfer credit for baccalaureate-oriented coursework from two-year and four-year colleges and universities that hold national or regional accreditation. Coursework is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Course descriptions and/or syllabi are reviewed and compared to the existing coursework and programs offered at Illinois State University for evaluation purposes. Departmental review and recommendation may be required.
Illinois State University will consider evaluation of technical courses from two-year and four-year colleges and universities that hold national or regional accreditation. Coursework is evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Course descriptions and/or syllabi are reviewed and compared to the existing coursework and programs offered at Illinois State University for evaluation purposes. Departmental review and recommendation may be required.
Coursework designated as community education will not be considered for transfer to Illinois State University. Personal enrichment courses do not count toward a degree and are not acceptable as transfer credit.
Course Acceptability, Comparability, Credit Hours Awarded, and General Education
Acceptability of Courses
Coursework evaluated and deemed acceptable based on its content and comparability relative to standard college/university curricula will be awarded university transfer credit. Transfer credit will be posted to the student’s permanent record upon enrollment.
Coursework which, by an evaluation of its content, is deemed to be inconsistent with standard college/university curricula will not be awarded university transfer credit (e.g. Non-Collegiate Level).
While an initial transfer evaluation will, in most cases, lead to a determination, some courses will be referred to designated instructional department faculty for further review and a final decision.
Coursework determined to be transferable as the same course equivalent of an Illinois State University course.
Coursework determined to be transferable, but not as a direct equivalent of an Illinois State University course.
General Education Credit
Coursework determined to fulfill Illinois Transferable General Education Core Curriculum or Illinois State University General Education requirements.
Credit Hours Awarded
Illinois State University operates on a semester calendar. Course hours taken at an institution following a quarter or other calendar will be converted to semester hours (e.g. 1 quarter hour equals .7 semester hour). Transfer credit from community colleges is limited to 70 semester hours; credit from four-year colleges and universities is limited to 90 semester hours.
Fulfillment of General Education through Transfer Credit
Students who have completed an Associate of Arts (A.A.) from any nationally or regionally accredited post-secondary institution will be considered to have met the Illinois State University General Education requirements.
Students who have completed an Associate of Science (A.S.) from an accredited, participating Illinois college or university must complete the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) General Education Core Curriculum (GECC), either as part of their A.S. degree or by completing the GECC at Illinois State or by transfer credit. All distribution requirements of each GECC category must be followed; that is, both a Humanities and a Fine Arts course must be completed and at least two different disciplines must be represented in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Students who have completed an A.S. from any nationally or regionally accredited post-secondary institution outside the state of Illinois will be considered to have met the Illinois State University General Education requirements.
Illinois Transferable General Education Core Curriculum
Illinois State University is a full participant in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) and offers all courses required to complete the statewide IAI General Education Core Curriculum (IAI GECC) that are transferable among more than 100 participating colleges or universities. All colleges and universities participating in IAI GECC agree to accept a “package” of general education courses in lieu of their own comparable lower-division general education requirements. Transfer students who have satisfactorily completed at least one IAI GECC course at another fully-participating IAI school can complete the package at ISU by enrolling in the institution's approved IAI GECC courses.
Determining Satisfactory Academic Performance
Undergraduate coursework must be successfully completed with at least a grade of “D” to be eligible for evaluation and the award of university transfer credit. However, certain courses may require a higher grade (e.g. required for major or general education) and the student would need to repeat the course for the higher grade. Transfer grades are not used in determining the Illinois State University grade point average.
University transfer credit is not awarded for coursework that was audited.
University transfer credit is not awarded for coursework that has not been completed (e.g. given a grade of “I”).
University transfer credit is not awarded for coursework with withdrawal grades (e.g. grades of “W”, “WF”).
Completed Course Performance
Transfer courses in which the student earned a passing grade are eligible for evaluation and university transfer credit may be awarded.
Transfer courses in which the student was awarded a non-passing grade (e.g. F/Fail, U/Unsatisfactory, NC/No Credit) are not eligible for evaluation or the award of university transfer credit.
Credit for Prior Learning and Credit by Examination
Credit for prior learning and credit by examination may be awarded to students who have gained knowledge and skills through examinations, course completion, or professional experiences outside the traditional classroom. Credit for prior learning and credit by examination may be awarded through:
Advanced Placement Program; Cambridge International, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) General and Subject Examinations; Current Licenses, Certifications, and Credential Review; Departmental Proficiency Examinations; Escrow Credit; the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program; Military Service Programs; and State Seal of Biliteracy.
Advanced Placement Credit
Advanced Placement Credit may be awarded depending on the score received. Appropriate scores and credit are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Students may earn college credit and/or placement through successful Cambridge International course completion. Approved scores and credit are listed in the Undergraduate Catalog.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Illinois State University grants credit by examination under the following guidelines:
- Students who desire to take the CLEP Examinations should do so before enrolling in classes at the University.
- Credit earned through CLEP Examination shall count toward General Education and graduation requirements only. A student may not use the CLEP Examination to raise grades or remove failures in courses already taken. All CLEP Examinations shall be considered credit at the 100 level.
- Students who are awarded credit in one or more areas should consult with their adviser to select other appropriate basic and advanced courses.
- Students may take CLEP Examinations at Illinois State at times scheduled by the University Testing Office or any CLEP Open Test Center. A student who takes the CLEP examinations is responsible for the cost of the examination.
- Students should consult with the appropriate Undergraduate Catalog to determine credit awarded for each examination.
Current Licenses, Certifications, and Credential Review
Students may receive course credit for holding a current license or state or federally recognized certification. Credit may be given per the American Council on Education (ACE) National guide listed certifications or by certifications recognized and accepted by the awarding department. Other credential review processes may be utilized that demonstrate mastery of appropriate college level course outcomes. Departments should determine which licenses, certifications, and credentials will be accepted, the courses for which the student will receive credit, and when the credit will be applied. Departmental recommendations are reviewed and approved by the Office of the Provost.
Department Proficiency Examination Credit
Departmental Proficiency Examinations are offered in a limited number of courses. The purpose of the examinations is to allow students to receive credit for knowledge acquired previously and allow students to enroll in more advanced courses or to add breadth to their academic programs. Proficiency Examinations are optional and recommended only for students who are unusually skilled in the discipline in which the examination is taken.
Departments may build into their curriculum escrow credit opportunities where course credit is held in escrow until the successful completion of other specified courses. Escrow credit assumes that skills and critical thinking were built outside the courses successfully completed through such means as work experience in the field and/or licensure. For example, diploma school or Associate Degree nursing courses are held in escrow for the student until successful completion of NUR 223, 227, and 236. Once these three courses have been successfully completed through enrollment, thirty-four (34) credits are placed on the student’s transcript for the following Nursing courses: NUR 229, 231, 314, 316, 317, and 325.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Program
Students with appropriate scores from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program may be awarded proficiency credit as indicated in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Military Service Programs
Students who have served or are serving in the United States military are eligible for academic credit. Credit may be given per American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations listed in the Military Course Completion section of a Joint Services Transcript. Credit will be accepted for DANTES subject standardized exams, as well as military CLEP credit that falls within the University CLEP guidelines.
To receive credit for military service, students must present evidence of military training such as a copy of their DD-214, a Joint Services Transcript, or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript.
State Seal of Biliteracy
The State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes public high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English. Illinois State University accepts the State Seal of Biliteracy from any state as equivalent to two semesters (8 credits) of language study (LAN 111-112) in languages offered at the University. If the seal is granted in a language not offered at Illinois State University, eight credit hours of lower division foreign language will be awarded. Students must request course credit for their seal within three academic years after graduating from high school. No credit will be awarded for the State Commendation toward Biliteracy, though students with the commendation are encouraged to determine their level through self-placement exams and/or proficiency exams. Students with the Seal of Biliteracy may also be eligible for higher levels of credit, which can be earned through taking a course or a proficiency exam.
If a student wishes to challenge the application of the transfer policy, the appeal must be submitted in writing to the University Registrar. The University Registrar may be contacted at registrar@IllinoisState.edu or University Registrar, Campus Box 2202, Normal, IL, 61790-2202.