Credit Transfer, Educational Pathways and Articulation Agreements Policy

Policy Number: AS-2002-2014
Policy Title: Credit Transfer, Educational Pathways and Articulation Agreements
Policy Owner: Vice-President Academic
Effective Date: January 1, 2014

Last Revised: March 25, 2024

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Attachments
    1. Appendix A - Articulation Agreement Development & Renewal Framework
  9. Specific Links

1. Purpose

This Policy is intended to enable and enhance student academic mobility by defining and operationalizing the conditions for recognition of formal learning through credit transfer at Mohawk College. 

Further the Policy, and supporting processes, solidify a commitment to enable student educational pathways through the development and use of articulation agreements both internal and external to the College that recognize and give credit for prior learning thereby reducing barriers in the attainment of future educational credentials.

2. Application and Scope

This policy applies to all Ontario credentialed programs offered by Mohawk College.

3. Definitions

“Advanced Standing” means direct entry to a program beyond the first term as a result of transfer credits granted for formal learning completed at another institution.

"Articulation Agreement" means an official agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) post-secondary institutions that defines the terms and conditions enabling students to transfer between specific programs. May also determine which courses or programs taken at the sending institution will apply to the graduation requirements at the receiving institution.

“Credit Duplication” means the unnecessary repeat of prior, relevant learning.

“Equivalency” means a recognized level of achievement that is equal to a given academic value resulting in the ability to transfer course credit from one postsecondary program to another.

“Exemption” means waiving of a specific course or group of courses through the completion of comparable courses at another institution upon request of the student. This may be granted based on an assessment by the receiving institution that a course already taken is equivalent in level and scope to the required course.

“Educational Pathway” means the route a student takes to move between and among levels of educational credentials, institutions, types of institutions and programs.

“ONCAT” means the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer which is the provincial body whose mandate is to create to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer between Ontario’s public colleges, universities, and Indigenous institutes.

“Student Mobility” means the ability of a student to move between one program of study to another at or between post-secondary institutions.

“Transfer Credit” means the recognition of prior learning in the form of credit granted by one program or institution for courses taken at another program or institution. May apply to core courses deemed equivalent in content or may be used to fulfill optional elective course requirements.

4. Principles

Mohawk College supports the Ministry’s guiding principles on credit transfer in the following ways, by:

  • Providing explicit, transparent, and timely information to students about transfer credit and exemptions, educational pathways, and articulation agreement;
  • Realizing cost savings for students through the elimination of credit duplication;
  • Providing a high degree of consistency across the province in the review of transfer credit for students moving between Ontario institutions;
  • Optimizing educational pathways for students and minimize barriers to student mobility;
  • Maintaining the academic quality and integrity of Mohawk programs and courses;
  • Improving Ontario’s ability to meet the demand for a skilled and flexible workforce by increasing the capacity and flexibility of the postsecondary education sector; and
  • Committing to support the needs of transfer students to assist in a smooth transition and successful academic career.

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Management Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Vice President, Academic is responsible for monitoring compliance to this policy and updating the policy as required.

6. Rules

The rules herein are broken into two discrete sections: (1) processes governing credit transfer through course exemptions in a student’s current program of study; (2) processes that support educational transfer, articulation agreements, and student mobility.

6.1 Securing transfer credit through course exemptions. 

The College will grant transfer credit course exemptions on the basis of comparable course level learning outcomes, comparable credit hours, and/or accepted Ministry standards, subject to the following:

  1. Courses governed by articulations are not subject to the restrictions outlined in this section where programs and courses have already been benchmarked and requirements (e.g. minimum courses grades, grade point average) are specifically stated in a signed articulation agreement.
  2. Request for course exemptions must be initiated by the student through the online platform provisioned by the College; support will be provided to students on request through the Registrar’s Office and/or academic program areas to reduce barriers to accessing credit exemptions.
  3. Generally, courses must have been completed within the last five years to be eligible for transfer, discretion may be applied by the academic program area particularly in disciplines and/or course areas that are less dynamic and curriculum not likely to change frequently.
  4. A minimum grade of 60% for Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diplomas, Ontario College Graduate Certificate courses, or the elevated passing grade of the Mohawk course, whichever is greater, is required to be eligible for transfer credit. A minimum grade of 70% for degree-level transfer is required where a diploma-level course is to be deemed eligible for transfer credit to a degree-level course. Refer to the College Breadth Policy and Procedure for conditions and rules of transfer specific to degree-level course transfer.
  5. Existing course equivalencies in the College and provincial databases will be automatically approved. New equivalencies must be evaluated by the academic program area.
  6. Applicants who request the assessment of formal learning from an institution outside of Canada, towards their program of study, are required to have credentials assessed and authenticated by a recognized international credential assessment service as determined by the College.
  7. The amount of transfer credit will be limited as defined in the Promotion and Graduation Requirements Policy; each candidate must complete a minimum of 25% of their Program of Studies at the College. The 25% residency minimum is required for students to receive a College credential, additional residency requirements may be determined in consultation with the appropriate Associate Dean I the program area.
  8. Application Deadline - Students must apply for credit transfer/exemption no later than the last day to add or drop courses for fee refund, corresponding to the tenth day of classes, of the semester pertaining to the course exemption request. Late applications may be assessed at the discretion of the academic program area.
  9. Refer to The Prior Learning and Recognition Policy SS-3100-2008 for the processes used to evaluate learning from self-directed study, work, and life experiences.
  10. Right to Appeal - if a transfer credit course exemption request is not granted an applicant, who was not successful in their transfer credit request, has the right to a review of the decision by submitting an Appeal to the Registrar's Office per the College’s Academic Appeals Policy.

6.2 Supporting educational pathways, articulation agreements, and student mobility 

  1. The College, through the Pathways Office, will ensure that student transfer opportunities are identified and populated on the provincial transfer database maintained by ONCAT. This information is reviewed and updated at least once per year.
  2. The College, through the Registrar’s Office, will ensure that course to course equivalencies are identified and populated on the provincial course equivalency database. This information is reviewed and updated at least once per year.
  3. As part of the Annual and Comprehensive Program review processes, pathways into and out of programs will be identified and updated as required to support student success and mobility.
  4. The College will be dedicated to maintaining existing and forming new articulation agreements with a focus on a multilateral approach. Where the institutional partners seeking an articulation agreement are outside of Canada, the Pathways Office and academic program area/s will collaborate with the College’s International Department (Refer to the Articulation Agreement Development & Renewal Framework).
  5. The College is dedicated to support the needs of transfer students. This will include providing regular and timely communications, resources to increase transparency, support to ensure a smooth transition for incoming students, and assist in the preparation of students continuing their academic pathways at the College and/or other institutions.
  6. Program areas will consider educational pathways when developing new, or revising existing, programs through the Academic Development and the Centre for Teaching & Learning Innovation, in particular enabling an incoming student with post-secondary experience to be able to enter with advanced standing. Where possible, best efforts shall be made to align curriculum with equivalent Ontario college programs to foster more seamless student transfer.

7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

March 2029

7.2 Responsibility

The Vice President, Academic will be responsible for reviewing this policy every five years or earlier where required.

8. Attachments

Appendix A - Articulation Agreement Development Framework

9. Links

GC-4002-2020 Contract Management Policy

SS-3100-2008 Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Policy 

SS-3101-1980 Admissions Standards Policy

SS-3105-2009 Academic Appeals Policy

Course Exemptions | Mohawk College

Appendix A - Articulation Agreement Development Framework

This Framework is intended to support the effective development, oversight, and renewal of Articulation Agreements by identifying the processes that will be followed, partner roles and responsibilities, and key components as agreements are developed and maintained. 

The College is committed to providing current, and future, students with more educational pathways to a broader range of credentials both within, and external, to the College. A central objective of the Credit Transfer, Educational Pathways, and Articulation Policy is to enhance student mobility by reducing barriers to pursing further academic credentials, and formally recognizing students’ prior formal learning. The College is dedicated to the continuous enhancement of Articulation Agreement development, as well as other related credit transfer and pathways activities that support student success and academic achievement.

  1. Key Definitions

“Articulation Agreement” means an official agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) post-secondary institutions that defines the terms and conditions enabling students to transfer between specific programs. Such agreements may also determine which courses or programs taken at the sending institution will apply to the graduation requirements at the receiving institution. Depending on the nomenclature preferred by the receiving institution, and Articulation Agreement may also be called a “transfer agreement”, “memorandum of understanding” (MOU), and/or “partnership agreement”.

“Assigned Transfer Credit” means specific courses (including course name, code, and credit value) deemed equivalent and awarded to the student by the receiving institution through use of the Articulation Agreement.

“Academic Program Area” means the leadership and faculty who oversee a specific academic School and program, and may include the Dean, Associate Dean/s, program coordinators, teaching faculty and other program support roles.

“Operational Agreement Contact(s)” means the person or persons who will serve as the key point of contact at each institution for the purpose of updating and maintain and renewing Articulation Agreements.

“Receiving Institution” means the post-secondary institution to which the student is entering into via the Articulation Agreement.

 “Sending Institution” means the post-secondary institution from which the student is leaving via the Articulation Agreement.

“Signatories” means the representatives of each post-secondary institution who legally bind the Articulation Agreement.

“Unassigned Transfer Credit” means unassigned academic credit (a specific number of credits that may meet core or elective program requirements) awarded to the student by the receiving institution through use of the Articulation Agreement. Sometimes referred to as “block transfer”.

2. New Agreement Development Process

All requests for new Articulation Agreements will be received and assessed through the Pathways Office in partnership with the Academic Program Area and other key institutional partners including, but not limited to, the Registrar’s Office, Marketing, International, and Strategic Communications. 

Where the interested partner institution is located outside of Canada, they will be referred to the partner intake processes International Partner Interest Form | Mohawk College as managed by Mohawk International. If student credit transfer is within scope of the proposed agreement, the Pathways Office and Academic Program Area/s will support the components of the agreement that pertain to academic transfer and articulation including: program to program transfer; curriculum review; credit assessment; and grade thresholds.

The College reserves the right to determine which institutions and programs are most closely aligned to our academic and strategic direction from a partnership perspective. The decision to not pursue a new agreement, or renew an existing agreement, may be made if it is deemed in the best interests of the College.

Articulation Agreement request forms Pathways Development | Mohawk College are available on the College Pathways Development Website to be completed by either the Academic Program Area, or the external partner institution interested in developing a new Articulation Agreement. 

Evidence to support the value and impact of a future agreement will be required. Not every request will proceed, factors that will be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Curricular alignment between programs at the College and receiving institution so that credit awarded would be maximized (preference for 2+2 or close)
  • Actual use, measured by annual year where transfer data exists, or anticipated student demand of the pathway
  • Geographic location to the Greater Hamilton Toronto Area
  • Lack of similar program/s and credential/s level in the College’s program mix
  • Previous relationships/partnerships between the College and the receiving institution

Generally, the receiving institution’s agreement template, or preferred standard, will be used to initiate the Articulation Agreement. During final review and sign-off the College’s legal area will review the terms of the said agreement.

All Articulation Agreements and related documents will be reviewed and signed off in accordance with the Contract Management Policy GC-4002-2020. Normally the signatory to an academic Articulation Agreement shall be the Vice President,  Academic, or higher but may be the AVP International if partner is outside of Canada.

2.1 Key Components for Articulation Agreements

In general, Articulation Agreements will include, but are not limited to, the following components:

  • Legal names of both the sending and receiving institutions.
  • Effective, renewal, and end dates (recommend 5 years)
  • Agreed upon scope of partnership beyond institution-to-institution transfer if applicable (e.g. faculty and/or curriculum collaborations; short-term student exchange, research activities).
  • The full credential names and types (per OQF) at both the sending and receiving institutions (e.g. Sending: Diploma in Early Childhood Education to Receiving: Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Studies).
  • Grade requirements (overall and/or course specific) it is preferred that numeric percentage requirements be included versus Grade Point Averages (GPAs) which vary from institution to institution. (e.g. 75% overall average and minimum 70% in SOCI 20345).
  • Assigned (specific courses including credit value) and/or Unassigned (number of academic credits with an equivalent in years) Transfer Credit awarded by the receiving institution (e.g. 4 full academic credits (equivalent to 0.75 years) and HUMA 134567).
  • Admission decisions, the receiving institution, notwithstanding the agreed upon terms of the Articulation Agreement, reserves the right to make final admission decisions and conditions.
  • Admissions processes to access the terms of the Articulation Agreement (e.g. OUAC non-direct application, and/or receiving institution directly, deadlines, and sharing transcripts). 
  • Agreement Signatories persons/roles identified to sign and bind the institutions to the terms of the Articulation Agreement.
  • Agreement Institutional Contacts persons/roles/contacts (email or phone numbers) assigned to maintain the Articulation Agreement and facilitate exchange and review of institutional information.
  • Commitment to support agreement communications by both the sending and receiving institutions using websites, social media, events (joint or sole), campus/classroom presentations. 

2.2 Maintenance and Renewal of Active Agreements

Existing Articulation Agreements will be reviewed according to the cadence included in the agreement, or as Mohawk or partner institutions’ programs of study and/or academic requirements change.

Where changes/updates are required the Agreement Institutional Contacts from both the receiving and sending institutions shall collaborate to collect information from their respective Academic Program Areas or institutions and make the needed updates to the Articulation Agreements.

2.3 Ongoing Support of Active Articulation Agreements

The Pathways Office, Academic Program Area, and College Marketing will commit to:

  • Maintaining the accuracy of Educational Pathways information on the program pages on the College’s website through the annual website review cycle or as needed for in-year changes.
  • Developing and promoting pathways and transfer information on the College website to support students in their decision making.
  • Collaborating with external partner institutions to market and promote signed pathway agreements, including through the annual Pathways Fair as well as institutional specific campus visits and student engagements activities.
  • Mutually highlight students that have pursued the pathway and/or have graduated

3. Additional Resources