Transfer credit policy

The policy for acceptance of transfer credit has been developed and is applied and interpreted by the registrar in consultation with the academic dean, the Academic Affairs Committee, and department chairs. Questions about the policy or its application should be directed to the registrar’s office.

General policy

  • Full credit is normally given for all courses completed at a regionally accredited college or university in which the applicant has earned a grade of C- or above.
  • All transcripts submitted by any student will be reviewed individually.
  • Credit will be awarded only for work shown on an official transcript, that is, a transcript sent directly from the originating institution to the registrar’s office.
  • No credit will be given for work from one institution on the basis of its being included on another institution’s transcript.
  • Neither individual grades for classes nor GPA is transferable.
  • Transfer credit can be applied to the Bluffton University liberal arts and sciences requirements, major requirements (as permitted and approved by the department), or general electives.
  • The adult degree completion programs do not accept transfer credit to be applied to the major. Rare exceptions may be made by the office of adult and graduate education and registrar’s office after deliberation and review of said course.
  • Each student is expected to complete a major and all liberal arts and sciences requirements, regardless of the fact that this could exceed the minimum 124 hours required for graduation (122 hours required for graduation for adult degree completion students).
  • Remedial courses (also called developmental) will not be accepted as transfer work.
  • Duplicate credit is never given; that is, credit is not given more than once for the same material.
  • Bluffton University is on a semester system. Transfer students from an institution on the quarter system receive the total number of quarter hours to be awarded divided by 1.5 to equal the number of semester hours of credit.


Institutions from which transfer credit is accepted

  • Transfer credit from within the United States is accepted from institutions accredited by the regional accreditation body. These are the:
    • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Higher Learning Commission
    • New England Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Northwest Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
    • Western Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Work from institutions with other accreditations (such as: the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the Accrediting Commission on Trade and Technical SchoolsWork (TT), the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges (BC) is not generally granted credit.
  • Course work from non-accredited colleges and universities is not generally granted credit.


Bluffton University hours

  • A minimum of 30 semester hours of credit must be taken at Bluffton University in order to earn a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton.
  • A minimum of 24 of the last 30 hours of the bachelor’s degree must be completed at Bluffton University. This rule does not apply to adult degree completion students.


Technical credit

  • A maximum of 30 semester hours of credit will be granted for "technical" credit (including transfer credit and Portfolio credit). Technical credit has an emphasis on skills application with minimal presentation of the theory supporting the skill and minimal application to other skills areas.


Credit by examination/proficiency credit

  • Credit by examination or proficiency credit is available through both external exam programs and through internal exams. A maximum of 20 semester hours credit is allowed for credit by exam and proficiency.
  • Bluffton University follows the American Council of Education (ACE) recommendation for the minimum score required to grant credit and in the credit hours awarded for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. Exam credit will not be granted if the student has already received college credit in that subject area. 
  • Bluffton University grants credit and/or course waiver to students who earn a score of four or five on any of the AP (Advanced Placement) examinations. Credit and/or course waiver may be issued for a score of three upon recommendation of the department concerned and/or the dean of academic affairs. This exam credit is available to traditional age students.
  • Bluffton grants 6 semester hours of credit for each International Baccalaureate Degree Programme (IB) higher level exam with a score of 6 or 7; 3 semester hours of credit for each IB higher level exam with a score of 4 or 5; and 3 semester hours of credit for each IB standard level exam with a score of 6 or 7. A maximum of 20 semester hours of credit is granted for all credit by examination.
  • Examinations used to assess placement level, such as for foreign languages or mathematics, are not used to grant college credit. Thus, a student who places into Intermediate Spanish is not granted credit for Beginning Spanish 1 and 2, regardless of the number of years of Spanish taken in high school.


Other special types of credit

  • A maximum of 20 semester hours is allowed for work taken credit/no credit. This includes work taken as credit by examination.
  • A maximum of 12 semester hours taken as independent studies is allowed.
  • Bluffton University does not grant credit for “advanced standing” granted by another institution based on high school work. However, students are encouraged to work with departments to determine the appropriate level at which to begin study in a particular subject.
  • Bluffton University grants credit for learning through some noncollegiate sponsors based on the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI). This includes educational credit earned through the armed services. American Institute of Banking (AIB) work is accepted as transfer credit based on the evaluation guide for that work.
  • Bluffton University accepts transfer credit taken by high school students through the post secondary enrollment option or the dual enrollment program, if this credit meets the standards outlined in this policy.


Interinstitutional agreements

  • Bluffton University has articulation agreements with area two-year colleges whereby students with associate’s degrees in appropriate majors can finish baccalaureate degrees in corresponding majors.

Appeal procedure

  • A student who feels that the transfer credit policy has been unfairly or erroneously applied, or that the policy itself is unfair should first address those concerns with the registrar. If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may follow the general procedures outlined for grade appeals and academic grievance procedures (available in the registrar’s office).