Approved by: President
History: Issued -- February 23, 2010
Revised -- December 8, 2015
Last Reviewed --
Related Policies: Academic Regulations for Doctoral Degrees; Academic Regulations for Master's and Licentiate Degrees;
Additional References: Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area
Responsible Official: Provost tel. (202) 319-5244


I. Policy Statement


The purpose of this policy is to articulate when credits at comparable accredited colleges or universities can be substituted for credits at The Catholic University of America (the "University"), and to set forth the requirements for transfer of credits within the University (i.e. "Intramural Transfers" as defined below). Accordingly, this policy applies not only to students transferring to the University from another institution or to University students taking courses off campus, but also to University students taking courses on campus who wish to transfer credits within the University. Students seeking to transfer credits from The Catholic University of America to another institution should consult that institution's policy.

In addition to this overarching University policy, each School may, with the written permission of the Provost, establish policies and procedures specific to their disciplines which are different from the general rules set forth in this policy. Note also that articulation agreements may vary from School to School. Accordingly, students proposing to transfer from one School into another should review in advance the requirements of the School into which they propose to transfer.

University students considering coursework at another institution, including summer courses, must request that the course be reviewed by the appropriate School before the student enrolls in the course and must submit the Transfer of Credit Evaluation Form in advance. If a student takes a course at another institution without having it evaluated in advance, the University cannot guarantee transfer of credit.

II. Definitions


A. Credit Hour means an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than either:

  1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
  2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

B. Intramural Transfer of Credit means a transfer of credits from one school within the University (such as the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies) to another school within the University (such as the School of Arts and Sciences).

C. School, as used in this policy, refers to one of the 12 Schools at the University: Architecture and Planning, Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, Canon Law, Engineering, Law, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Professional Studies, Social Service, Theology and Religious Studies. For the purposes of this policy, School also includes the University's CUAbroad Program and the Department of Library and Information Science.

III. Transfer of Credit Requirements


A. Quality, Comparability and Applicability of Transfer Credits

1.  Transferrable Credits

The University allows students who wish to take a course at another college or university to apply credits from those courses toward their University degree provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The course is a post-secondary, credit-bearing course appropriate to the student's degree program and level of studies at the University.
  2. If the course is completed in the United States, it is completed in an institution accredited by one of Regional Accrediting Organizations recognized by the Council of Higher Education.
  3. If the course is completed abroad, the foreign institution has been approved by the applicable country's ministry of education or equivalent body and the course has been evaluated by an external credit evaluation agency at the student's expense.
  4. The course is substantially equivalent to the University course that it will replace.
  5. The course is completed with a grade of C- (C minus) or better for transfer to undergraduate studies or a grade of B or better for graduate studies.
  6. The course does not duplicate previous work.
  7. The college or university offering the course allows it to be used for credit toward degree programs consistent with the student's level of studies at the University.

2. Intramural Transfers


Courses taken in one school of the University may be used toward a degree in another school, or toward joint degree requirements, when they are appropriate to the student's degree program. Specific courses and types of courses that are not appropriate for transfer of credit are identified in the policies of the individual schools. (See section V, below.)

3. Online and Distance Education Credits


The University recognizes that students learn in a variety of manners and contexts, including online. The University also acknowledges that some learning outcomes are best achieved by certain modes of delivery. Accordingly, some schools and departments restrict the transfer of online credit. These restrictions are specified on the school webpages referenced in section V, below. An academic unit that offers online course must accept online course credits from other institutions that meet its own standards.

At a minimum, online and distance education courses:

  1. must be accepted for credit toward degree programs offered by the sponsoring institution that are consistent with the student's level of studies at the University (note that this requirement applies to independent study);
  2. must be recorded on the sponsoring institution's official transcript; and
  3. must include significant student-faculty and student-student interaction.

4. Non-Transferrable Credits


The following types of courses and credits are not accepted for transfer of credit:

  1. Vocational or technical courses.
  2. Winter sessions courses taken elsewhere that overlap with a University session for which the student is enrolled.
  3. Courses offered by governmental agencies, labor unions, civilian organizations, or corporations or businesses. Exceptions to this restriction include courses covered by specific articulation agreements to which the University is a party and American Council on Education (ACE)-approved courses (subject to appropriateness for a given program of study).
  4. DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit done after matriculation to any college or university.
  5. Study abroad courses emphasizing travel or tourism over academics.
  6. Alternative credit, such as that for life or work experience credit.
  7. Courses in physical education (i.e. required or optional personal fitness courses).
  8. Courses taken in non-CUA-affiliated study abroad programs after matriculation.
  9. To address the unique needs of its academic programs, an individual School may, with written permission of the Provost, specify policies regarding non-transferable credits which are different from those set forth herein (see section V, below).

5. Concurrent Enrollment


A student cannot transfer credits from courses taken at other institutions that overlap with either the fall or spring term when the student is enrolled at CUA. This prohibition does not apply during the summer term. This prohibition also does not apply to courses taken through the Consortium Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area because courses taken through the Consortium are not considered transfer courses.

B. Limitations and Requirements Regarding Credits Transferred for Baccalaureate Degrees


The following limitations on the number of transferred credits apply to baccalaureate degrees:

  1. Total transfer credits within a degree program are limited to half (usually 60 credit hours).
  2. Transfer of credit by advanced students (i.e., students already matriculated at CUA) is limited to credits earned in 2 of the last 12 courses for the degree.
  3. The number of credits that may be transferred after matriculation is limited to two times years in residence.
  4. Courses used toward another bachelor's-level degree are not eligible for transfer of credit for a bachelor's degree. (See section III.C, below, for Masters and Doctoral Degrees.)

To address the unique nature of its academic programs, an individual School may, with written permission of the Provost, set forth a different set of restrictions on the number of transferable credits (see section V, below.)

C. Limitations and Requirements for Masters and Doctoral Transfers


1.  Master's Degree Transfer of Credit


Six credit hours of graduate work earned at another accredited institution in which a student received grades of B or above may be applied toward course requirements for the master's degree, upon recommendation of the appropriate School or Department and with approval of the academic dean. For programs requiring 40 credit hours or more, up to 9 credits may be transferred with the approval of the academic dean. In order to qualify for transfer, the credits must have been earned within 5 years of the request for transfer. This policy conforms to the guidelines as articulated by the Council of Graduate Schools.

2. Doctoral Degree Transfer of Credit


Up to 24 credit hours of graduate work earned at another accredited institution in which the student received a grade of B or better may be applied toward course requirements for the doctoral degree upon recommendation of the appropriate School or Department and with the approval of the academic dean. Credits must have been earned within 10 years of the request for transfer and approved before permission is given to take the comprehensive examination.

D. Limitations on Transfer of Credit


To address the unique nature of its academic programs, each School within the University may establish, with written approval of the Provost, a different set of limits on the number of transferrable credits. Consequently, prospective and current students should refer to the individual School's policy (see section V, below) for specific guidance relating to transfer credits. Credits earned at The Catholic University of America are transferrable to other institutions at the sole discretion of the receiving institution.

E. Transfer Credits and Grade Point Average


Although credits may transfer to the University, grades do not. Accordingly, grades earned in courses for which transfer credit is given do not affect the University grade point average (GPA). GPA reflects University and consortium courses only. Consortium courses are discussed in section IV below.

F. Procedure for Requesting Acceptance of Transfer of Credit


Students and applicants seeking transfer of credit at the undergraduate level should consult with the Transfer Coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Studies in advance in order to determine which credits may or may not transfer. Students and applicants seeking transfer of credit at the graduate level should consult with the School in which they are enrolled or will be seeking enrollment. The links to individual School policies and procedures on transfer of credit are noted in section V below. Evaluations are not handled by telephone.

Transfer credit is not posted until the official transcript is received directly from the institution where the course was taken, and until eligibility for transfer under University and School policies is verified.


IV. Articulation Agreements with Other Universities

Cooperation among the institutions of higher education in the metropolitan area is provided by the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The consortium consists of 13 universities: The American University, The Catholic University of America, Gallaudet University, George Mason University, The George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University, National Intelligence University, Marymount University, National Defense University, Trinity University, The University of the District of Columbia, and the University of Maryland at College Park.

Students enroll for consortium courses through The Catholic University of America. As a consequence, credits earned in such courses are not considered "transfer" credits under this policy. Further, consortium course grades are included in the student's University grade point average. As noted in section III.E above, grades earned in other non-CUA courses are not included in the student's grade point average, regardless of whether the credits for such courses are transferred.

Students following an approved program of study who need a course that is not regularly offered at The Catholic University of America may select the particular courses that best meet their needs from the combined offerings of all the consortium institutions. Students in certain degree programs are excluded, and some courses are not open for participation. Students may take consortium courses for credit but must have the approval of their academic adviser and dean, and the consortium coordinator. Students may take a maximum of one course per semester through the consortium. As other universities in the consortium may have different grading deadlines, students are strongly advised against cross-registration through the consortium during their final semester prior to graduation.

Students register and pay tuition at their home institution where the record of academic achievement is maintained in accordance with its policies. However, special fees for specific courses are paid by students directly to the institution offering the course.

With the approval of the Provost, individual Schools within the University also maintain articulation agreements with other colleges and universities. Prospective and current students should refer to individual School websites, listed in Section V below, for additional information.


V. Specific Transfer of Credit Provisions by School


School of Architecture and Planning

Undergraduate and Master's Programs [1]

Arts & Sciences (includes exploratory students)


Graduate (page 40)

School of Canon Law

Licentiate in Canon law

J.C.D. Admissions

School of Engineering


Master's Doctoral

Columbus School of Law




Department of Library & Information Sciences


Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art



Doctoral Programs

Conway School of Nursing


Master's and Doctoral

School of Philosophy


Master's and Doctoral

Metropolitan School of Professional Studies

Undergraduate and Master's

National Catholic School of Social Service




School of Theology and Religious Studies

Master's and Doctoral

Busch School of Business and Economics




Transfer of Credit for Study Abroad Courses