BIS Transfer Credit Policy
All BIS students will have transferable college credits. 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 Mason Office of Admissions will conduct a primary evaluation of your transcripts and award transfer credit as appropriate up to 75 credits maximum.
The BIS office will conduct a secondary evaluation of your transcripts during the term of the student's enrollment in the introductory BIS course: BIS 300 - Understanding Interdisciplinary Studies and award additional transfer credit as appropriate up to a total of 90 transfer credits.
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:
Determinations as to how the transfer credits will be applied to specific degree requirements are made by a BIS advisor, in consideration of the student's overall degree plan.
There is no limit to the number of credits that can be transferred from this category. However, other program requirements (including 30 semester hours of residency credit) must be met in order to complete the BIS degree program.
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 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 specific information about tests that are accepted visit the Mason Office of Admissions.)
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, but no credit is awarded for passing these exams. Contact the Mason Office of Admissions for more information.
A maximum of 45 semester 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 (see below) 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.
Students and military personnel may request a copy of their Joint Services transcripts at http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Joint-Services-Transcript-Brochure.pdf
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 (see above) 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
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, since the BIS program has developed working relationships with the portfolio assessment programs of these particular institutions.
Northern Virginia Community College Prior Learning Activity for Credit Evaluation (PLACE)
Northern Virginia Community College's (NVCC) PLACE Program is for individuals who have gained college-level knowledge through work, volunteer activities, participation in civic and community assignments, travel, independent study, and other "life experiences." Credits earned through PLACE are lower division only (100 and 200 level).
Before you begin the portfolio process, you will need to:
The PLACE program imposes a maximum credit limit of 15 semester hours. All of the hours can be applied to the BIS degree. Students may count towards their graduation requirement any combination of PLACE and TESC credit (see below) as long as the combined portfolio credit from BOTH colleges does not exceed 30 semester credit hours.
PLACE portfolio credit does not count towards the 30 semester credit hour residency requirement at Mason.
Thomas Edison State College Portfolio Learning Assessment (PLA)
Thomas Edison State College (TESC) is a regionally accredited institution in New Jersey that has a credit for life-experience program similar to NVCC's PLACE. 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 TESC course portfolio catalog or from any regionally accredited academic institution in the United States. TESC portfolio guidelines are on file in the BIS office.
Portfolio credit via Prior Learning Assessment at Thomas Edison State College (TESC)
Before you begin the portfolio process, you will need to:
A maximum of 30 semester credit hours can be applied to the BIS degree from TESC's portfolio program. Students may count towards their graduation requirement any combination of TESC credit and PLACE credit (see above) as long as the combined portfolio credit from BOTH colleges does not exceed 30 semester credit hours.
The BIS program does not accept credits from TESC's "credit-banking" system, in which courses are completed through other institutions and merely transcribed by TESC. Transfer credit is only accepted by evaluation of transcripts from the institution through which the coursework has been completed.
For Coursework after Mason admission / Request to Study Elsewhere
Once admitted to Mason, students are not normally expected to enroll for coursework at other institutions. However in some cases, study elsewhere permission can be granted by the Undergraduate Academic Affairs office.
To complete coursework at another institution, the student must submit* a written request for permission to take courses elsewhere. Visit the CHSS Undergraduate Academic Affairs website for more information on policies and required forms.
Processing of Requests for Study Elsewhere:
Students should schedule an appointment with a BIS advisor prior to submitting paperwork to study elsewhere. The BIS Advisor and BIS Director must sign the form before the student submits* it to 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 Mason record for the appropriate term to indicate the number of credit hours that are being completed at another institution and the student completes the coursework during that academic term.
If satisfactory scores/grades are received for eligible coursework, the student requests that the institution or office responsible for administering the coursework send an official transcript directly from that institution to either the BIS office (for coursework with approved "BIS ----" articulations) or the Mason Office of the Registrar (for all other approved articulations).
The BIS Records Specialist or the Mason Registrar's Records Office reviews the transcript(s) and posts eligible credit to the student's academic transfer record as appropriate.
Note: 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.