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Articulation Overview

Articulation Agreements are formal agreements between two or more colleges and universities to accept credits in transfer toward a specific academic program. Articulation Agreements are generally for specialized professional or technical programs offered at colleges (e.g., Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Fine Arts (AFA), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), diplomas, certificates) that can be applied to a specific program/major at the receiving university, and the entire associate degree or program needs to be completed before transfer. The associate degree, diploma or certificate program is complementary with the baccalaureate degree. Each institution is responsible for developing articulation agreements with other institutions.

Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) procedure requires that any Associate in Science (AS) and Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) degree must articulate to at least one system four-year university, and all courses from the AS and AFA must transfer. Not all of the courses in an Associate in Applied Science (AAS), diploma or certificate will necessarily transfer and apply toward the baccalaureate degree, even when articulation agreements exist, and this usually requires addtional courses to be taken at the university. Therefore, it is very important to talk to advisors when choosing the type of associate degree to pursue as early as possible to maximize transfer. There are also articulation agreements with universities outside of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. A searchable database of articulation agreements is available.

NOTE: NOTE: Transfer usually occurs without articulation agreements. See Minnesota for course-by-course transfer information. Although transfer is possible without an articulation agreement, some of the courses in a technical/specialized program may not transfer without one.

Creation Process and Roles

  • Faculty: The process of developing and reviewing curriculum and coursework to determine course comparability between institutions rests with the faculty and the transfer specialist at the respective institutions. Faculty members in each discipline are responsible for reviewing course content, identifying comparable courses, and authorizing acceptance of specific courses for transfer students. Once this process has occurred, a course or sequence of courses is said to have been articulated. Implicit in the articulation process is involvement, communication, and cooperation between the respective faculties who mutually develop curriculum and establish requirements and standards for transferable courses. Articulated courses are not to be considered as equivalent but rather as comparable to, or acceptable in lieu of, each other. The content of the courses on the respective campuses is such that successful completion of the course on one campus assures the necessary background, instruction, and preparation to enable the student to progress to the next level of instruction at another campus.
  • Administration: The Chief Academic Officer (CAO) or designated individual coordinates and facilitates the process of faculty review leading to courses being accepted for transfer between institutions.
  • Transfer Specialist:Transfer specialists serve as the focus for transfer activities to encourage, guide, and inform students about opportunities and processes for transferring between institutions. They collect transfer equivalency information from other institutions; provide course equivalency information to be input into the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS); provide course articulation information to students and staff; determine transfer institutions' accreditation; evaluate non-traditional education, such as military education, courses from private technical colleges, CLEP, AP and IB reports. Transfer specialists provide transfer credit evaluations for students and provide assistance in resolving transfer credit issues (e.g., interpret college policies, such as appeal procedures). A transfer specialist may be a registrar, counselor, advisor, admissions officer, or other staff person.
  • College or University: Each institution is responsible for developing and maintaining its agreements with individual community and technical colleges. Some institutions have agreements with nearly all of the community and technical colleges in the state, while others have agreements only with a more limited number of colleges. Institutions input basic information about the articulation agreement and submit a copy of the agreement into a database on the website. Each institution is also responsible for formatting their agreements in a manner which they feel best meets their requirements, which may be in a table with a course-for-course format or they may use the Articulation Agreement template.
  • Community or Technical College: Each community/technical college works with baccalaureate degree-granting institutions to develop agreements which assure that progress from one segment of post-secondary education to another is both smooth and efficient.

Articulation Agreements are typically created for specialized professional or technical programs. Associate in Science (AS) and Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) degrees are required to have articulation agreements. Associate of Applied Science, diploma, or certificate programs may have articulation agreements, but are not required to.

As a professional involved with the transfer process, you should recognize these differing roles of various individuals and institutions in the transfer process:

Note about Transferable Courses

Most courses in academic subjects are transferable. Developmental courses do not count toward program requirements and may only be used for course placement purposes when reviewed by the institution to which a student transfers. Some technical courses and most personal enrichment courses may only transfer as electives unless they transfer to meet program requirements, or they may not transfer at all. Most universities consider transferable general education courses to be comparable to those offered to their freshmen and sophomores.


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