Transfer Credit Policy

BIS Transfer Credit Policy

Prior to applying to Mason, prospective students must include any institution(s) previously attended on the application for admission to Mason in order for any coursework to qualify for consideration as transfer credit.

*No transfer credit can be considered in the future if the institution(s) is/are not listed on the application.

The office of Transfer Admissions will evaluate and award up to 90 total transfer credits.  With no more than 75 credits from community colleges.

A secondary evaluation of your transcripts will be done through the BIS program in the students take "BIS 300 - Understanding Interdisciplinary Studies". Any remaining eligible credit will be awarded up to a maximum of 90 total transfer credits across all transcripts.

The BIS program accepts five types of transfer credit:

Credit Earned at Regionally Accredited Institutions

Most course credit earned at regionally accredited colleges and universities will be accepted by the BIS program, even if not transferred by the Mason Office of Admissions, provided the following requirements are met:

  • A grade of "C" (2.0) or better earned for the course (C- is not accepted)
  • The course is 100-level or above (college-level)

Determination as to how transfer credits will be applied to specific degree requirements are made by a BIS advisor, in consideration of the student's overall degree plan.

Exclusions
  • Orientation courses from other institutions that are not accepted by Mason Admissions are not accepted for BIS transfer credit.
  • ESL (English as a Second Language) courses are not accepted for BIS transfer credit.

Credit Earned at Independently or Privately Accredited Institutions

Credit earned at institutions accredited by bodies other than recognized regional accrediting organizations will be considered only if the institution is listed in the guidebook Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education, published by the American Council on Education (ACE).

A maximum of 45 semester credit hours (or equivalent quarter hours) from independently or privately accredited institutions may be applied to BIS degree requirements.

Orientation Courses and ESL Courses are not eligible for BIS transfer credit.  

Credit Earned by Examination

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) may be used to fulfill certain general education or elective credit requirements. Only those examinations that have been reviewed and approved by the university are acceptable for credit. For a full list of approved exams visit the Mason Office of Admissions Transfer Credit Policy Site.

Mason departmental credit-by-exam opportunities may also be used to fulfill certain general education or elective credit requirements. Some departments have placement exams that may be used to earn exemption from certain prerequisites. No credit is awarded for passing these exams.

Credit limits

A maximum of 45 credit hours of examination credit can be applied to BIS degree requirements. Students may count towards their graduation requirement any combination of examination credit and ACE credit as long as neither category exceeds 45 semester credit hours and the combined credit from BOTH categories does not exceed 60 semester credit hours.

Note: Because they are specific to the institution, Mason department and placement exams do not count towards the examination credit limit.


Employer-sponsored or Military Training

Employer-sponsored or military training may be used to fulfill certain elective or concentration credit requirements, provided the training has been reviewed and recommended for 100-level college credit or above by the American Council on Education (ACE). To receive credit, training or course specifics must match what is in the ACE guide. The BIS program follows ACE recommendations for the amount and level of college credit to be awarded for a training experience.

ACE evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services

Credit limits

A maximum of 45 semester credit hours of ACE approved credit can be applied to BIS degree requirements. Students may count towards their graduation requirement any combination of ACE credit or examination credit as long as neither category exceeds 45 credit hours and the combined credit from BOTH categories does not exceed 60 credit hours.

Credit for Life Experience Learning
(Portfolio Assessment)

Students can earn credit for life experience college-level learning through the submission of portfolios to the Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation (PLACE) program at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) or to Thomas Edison State College (TESC) of Trenton, NJ. The exact nature of academic requirements that must be met in order for credits to be awarded through portfolio completion varies depending on the institution that reviews the portfolio and awards credit. For this reason, the only institutions from which BIS students may earn transfer credit through portfolio completion are NVCC and TESC; the BIS program has specifically developed working relationships with the portfolio assessment programs of these particular institutions only.

Northern Virginia Community College: Credit for Prior Learning Program (CPL)

NVCC CPL Program

Northern Virginia Community College's (NVCC) CPL Program is for individuals who have gained college-level knowledge through work, volunteer activities, participation in civic and community assignments, independent study, and other "life experiences". Credits earned through CPL are lower division only (100 and 200 level).

Before you begin the portfolio process, you will need to:

  1. Complete the Mason Request for Permission to Study Elsewhere
  2. Send this form to the BIS department, to get the nontraditional stamp added to the form.
  3. Submit the completed form with the nontraditional stamp to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Undergraduate Academic Affairs office.
Credit limits

The CPL program awards a maximum of 15 semester hours. Students may count CPL credits towards their graduation requirement any combination of CPL and TESC credit (see below) as long as the combined portfolio credit from BOTH colleges does not exceed 30 semester credit hours.

Exclusions

CPL portfolio credit does not count towards the 30 credit hour residency requirement at Mason.

Thomas Edison State College Portfolio Learning Assessment (PLA)

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a regionally accredited institution in New Jersey that has a credit for life-experience program similar to NVCC's CPL. Both lower and upper division credits may be earned at TESC. A key feature of the program is that courses may be selected for portfolio credit from the TESU course portfolio catalog or from any regionally accredited academic institution in the United States.

Portfolio credit via Prior Learning Assessment at Thomas Edison State University (TESU)

TESU PLA website

Before you begin the portfolio process, you will need to:

  1. Complete the Mason Request for Permission to Study Elsewhere
  2. Send this form to the BIS department, to get the nontraditional stamp added to the form.
  3. Submit the completed form with the nontraditional stamp to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Undergraduate Academic Affairs office.
Credit limits

A maximum of 30 credit hours can be applied to the BIS degree from TESU's portfolio program. Students may count towards their graduation requirement any combination of TESU credit and CPL credit (see above) as long as the combined portfolio credit from BOTH colleges does not exceed 30 credit hours.

Exclusions

The BIS program does not accept credits from TESU's "credit-banking" system, in which courses are completed through other institutions and merely transcribed by TESU. Transfer credit is only accepted by evaluation of transcripts from the institution through which the coursework has been completed.

Transfer Coursework after Admission to Mason

Once admitted to Mason, students are not normally allowed to enroll in coursework at other institutions. However in some cases, permission to take a course elsewhere can be granted by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs office.

Request to take a "Course Elsewhere"

Students must submit a "course elsewhere" request form in advance to receive permission to take a course at another institution and transfer the credit back to Mason. Visit the CHSS Undergraduate Academic Affairs - Course Elsewhere website for more information on policies and required forms.

Process
  • Students should schedule an appointment with their BIS advisor prior to submitting the course elsewhere form. Students need their advisors approval and signature on the form before submitting it to CHSS Undergraduate Academic Affairs for approval.*
    • All requests should be submitted with sufficient time to allow for processing of the request and student registration time.
  • If the request is approved, a special registration is entered on the student's record for the appropriate term to indicate the number of credit hours that are being completed at another institution. The student completes the coursework during the approved academic term.
  • Once satisfactory scores/grades are received for approved coursework, the student must request an official transcript directly from the course institution to be sent to Mason's Office of the Registrar.
  • The Office of the Registrar will then review the transcript(s) and post eligible credit to the student's academic transfer record as appropriate.
    • It is the student's responsibility to ensure that transcripts are sent to the appropriate office for evaluation. Failure to do so could delay a student's planned date of graduation.