Chapter 13 BC Transfer Process

13.2 Transfer Guides

The BC Transfer Guide

The BC Transfer Guide is available online and students can check to see if a course or program is transferable. Often courses are very similar in several institutions and are deemed transferable. When the content of a course at one institution is the same (or very close) to the content of a course at another institution, the other institution will give a student credit for its own course if the student has completed the course at the first institution. This is called transfer credit.  It doesn’t matter how the course is taught (e.g. face to face, distance, or online) and it doesn’t matter if the assignments are the same. However, it does matter that the same content is taught, that the course meets the minimum number of hours, that it is an academic course, and that it is evaluated, to ensure the courses are similar.

Your Transfer Checklist:

If you are thinking about transferring, keep the following things in mind:

  • Search to see how your courses would transfer. (How much credit would the new institution give you?)
  • Check out other transfer pathway options (e.g. block transfer, degree partnerships).
  • Hang on to your course outlines! (This is how institutions determine the transferability of a course or program.)
  • Request transfer credit when you move to another institution. (Credits are only transferred after a student has applied and gained admission to the new post-secondary institution.)

Updating the BC Transfer Guide is a continual process. New courses and programs are developed all the time and these can be sent to other institutions to see if they will be accepted for transfer credit at those institutions. Sometimes courses are revised and are added to or removed from the transfer grid. The online guide is regularly updated, so if what you were looking for wasn’t there when you checked previously, don’t assume that it still is not there. New courses and new institutional agreements are being developed and added regularly.

Not that long ago, the BC Transfer Guide was intended for enabling the transfer of post-secondary students throughout BC. But the BC transfer system now includes two post-secondary schools outside of BC (Yukon College and Athabasca University) so transfer agreements with those schools are included in the Guide. In many cases, universities from other provinces accept transfer from BC’s colleges when the courses are listed as transferable to the major BC universities on the BC Transfer Guide. In other words, educational institutions in other provinces respect and accept the rigorous process for determining transferability that BC uses, and thus will accept our transferable courses accordingly.

The Alberta Transfer Guide

The Alberta Transfer Guide shows transfer options between Alberta institutions. These guides are being updated continually, and more inter-province agreements are being developed and added to the BC and Alberta Guides regularly.

Make Sure to Check

There are several things you need to check if you plan to apply for transfer credit.

  1. Are the courses you have taken, or plan to take, transferable to the institution you plan to transfer to?
  2. If so, do your courses meet all the criteria?
    • Did you pass?
    • Does your grade in the course meet the minimum grade for transfer? Some institutions will not accept the course for transfer credit if your grade in the course is below a certain level.
    • Does the course have an expiry date for transfer? Some courses (not all) will not be accepted for transfer after a specific amount of time has passed.
  3.  If your courses are transferable, are they courses that qualify to give you credit towards the program you want to take? For example, a human anatomy course may give you credit toward a nursing program, but might not give you any credit toward a plumbing trade.

Student Testimonial

“Like so many Aboriginal students, I really struggled in school and was not academically ready for university study. The smaller classes, student community, and my family all supported me while at the college. Were it not for Langara College, I never would have been able to attend UBC, graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree, and begin my career in higher education.”

— Graeme Joseph, a Langara-to-UBC transfer student and member of the Gitxsan Nation (as cited in a September 2016 BC Government news article).

Not on the Transfer Guide?

If you can’t find a course or program in the Transfer Guide, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get credit for your courses. If a course doesn’t show up as transferable, it’s possible that it doesn’t meet the criteria. However, it may mean that the course hasn’t been evaluated for transfer yet. The courses may be new or may have been recently amended. Even if it doesn’t transfer, it doesn’t mean that the course isn’t valuable or good quality. It may just mean that other institutions don’t offer a similar course.

Most institutions have Application for Transfer Credit forms which you can often download from their websites. If courses are listed in the BC Transfer Guide, it’s a fairly straight forward process. If you think you should get credit for relevant courses that aren’t in the Guide, compare the courses you took with the courses required for your intended program and, if you think there is a close match, you may be able to get credit for the courses, and save yourself some time and money by not having to repeat the courses in the new institution. Here’s where course outlines come in very handy. If you compare the learning outcomes of the course you took with the course you want to get credit for, and if they are very similar, it may be worth applying for transfer credit. Usually, you will need to apply for admission into the program before applying for transfer credit.

If you haven’t taken the course yet, but you want to take a course from another institution than the program you are in or intend to attend, you will need a Letter of Permission from the institution you are enrolled in. It is important to submit this form before taking the course, so that you get it in writing that you will receive transfer credit. There are several reasons someone might want to take a course from a different institution than the one their program is in.

  • A student fails a course and needs to repeat it but can’t fit it into their existing full time schedule. It may work better to take it from another institution that offers it by distance or over the summer.
  • A student wants to take a course prior to starting in a program to lighten their load once they do start.
  • It is offered in a different format, which you prefer.
  • It is offered by a different instructor, whom you prefer.
  • It is significantly cheaper at one institution than another.
  • You want to take a specific elective that isn’t offered in the institution that you are taking the program from.

Student Testimonial

“The complexity of these different pathways completely flipped my thinking: education isn’t a progression from point A to point B. It’s a process that is fluid, complex, dynamic, and individual.”

— Daniel Jacinto, UBC student

Regardless of whether you are filling out an Application for Transfer Credit or a Letter of Permission, you will want to include course outlines of the courses from the outside institution. They will be required in order for the registrar to grant credit. Course outlines are usually provided on the first day of class and are official documents that describe the courses. It is important to keep these. Often when people are applying for transfer credit, they have their transcripts with grades, but this only contains the name of the course, not the course details. Note course outlines are not usually required for courses listed on the BC Transfer Guide, since these courses have already been evaluated for transfer.

Author’s Tip

Keep course outlines! (Even if you aren’t thinking of transferring.) You never know what educational program you may want to take in the future. Course outlines are invaluable for getting transfer credit later on. Even if you love to burn all your notes at the end of a course, save and file those course outlines!

— Mary Shier, College of the Rockies

Ruth Erskine

“The BC Transfer System and the BC Transfer Guide are part of one of the most complete and most successful transfer systems anywhere. The BC system is successful because BC’s universities and colleges know how important it is for students to have as many options as possible and to be able to easily move from school to school. Every year it is very exciting to attend the meetings of the articulation committees and to see how excited the representatives are about creating the best opportunities for students.”

— Ruth Erskine, BC Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT)

Students have more opportunities to transfer between institutions than ever before. This means that students can be creative in how they will meet their educational goals. Students can change programs and possibly use some of their credits toward their new program or start a program at one institution and finish at another allowing for personal circumstances to be considered. These can include location, cost, size of classes, proximity to home, and many other factors. Talk to an education advisor about your options.

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