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Transfer Student Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about transferring between North Carolina's colleges and universities?  Check out these frequently asked questions!

Some colleges require a minimum number of completed transfer hours, and others don't. It's best to check the transfer policies at the institution you're applying to and also to ask about the best approach.  For instance, more of your credits might transfer if you have completed a certain minimum number of hours or a degree (such as an associate degree).

As for when to apply, earlier is better.  You'll want to check with the admissions office to see if there are any special deadlines for transfer students.

If you're enrolled at a community college or a private two-year college in North Carolina, you should review the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), which guarantees that certain courses will transfer to any state university to which you are accepted, or to any of the private four-year colleges and universities that endorse the Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA).

If you're transferring from a community college to a UNC institution, here are three additional resources:

  1. CAA Transfer Course List - provides a list of courses that have been approved for transfer to UNC institutions as part of the CAA.
  2. UNC Course Equivalences - provides a list of how a wide range of courses transfer to each of the UNC institutions. 
  3. NC Community College Transfer - provides more information on Baccalaureate Degree Plans for NC community college graduates of Associate's in Arts an (A.A.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) programs transferring to UNC institutions. 

Your credits will transfer most easily around the United States if you choose a regionally-accredited college.  Accreditation is an evaluation process that colleges go through so that other colleges know they are meeting certain standards of quality. If you are considering a college not accredited by one of 7 regional accrediting organizations in the United States, your credits might not transfer to other colleges or be recognized by graduate programs.  You also might not be eligible for certain types of financial aid.

Most colleges located in North Carolina are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The Universal General Education Transfer Component, also known as UGETC's are a set of 30-semester hours (SH) of courses that will meet some freshman/sophomore lower division general education requirements at all UNC institutions.

See the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement Transfer Course List for UGETC courses.

A college transfer program is a set of courses that have been designed to transfer to most four-year colleges and universities in North Carolina. The set of courses includes 45 semester hours of general education courses and 15 additional semester hours of transfer credit which include ACA 122 and other transferable courses. In the North Carolina Community College System, the Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Science (AS) degree programs are included in the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement as college transfer programs.

A bachelor's degree is a four-year degree granted by a college or university. Typically, the community college transfer student completes two of the four years of study at a community college and transfers those courses to a four-year college to complete the last two years.

Agreements that govern the transfer of coursework from community colleges to four-year colleges and universities are called "articulations agreements."  Sometimes these articulation agreements are for a whole system (like the NC Comprehensive Articulation Agreement), and sometimes there are special articulation agreements that a college might have with just one or two other colleges.

A bachelor's degree consists of three parts. The first is "general education," which consists of courses in English composition, humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences and natural sciences/ mathematics designed to give the student a broad academic foundation. General education classes are typically taken during the freshman and sophomore years.

The second part of a bachelor's degree is a "major." This set of courses is designed to make the student knowledgeable in a particular field of study. Typically, these courses account for one to two years of study and are usually taken in the junior and senior years.

The third part of a bachelor's degree is "elective" coursework. Electives allow students to broaden their academic horizon and explore subjects of interest. These courses may be taken at any time.

The AA degree is designed for students who want to pursue a four-year degree in areas of study such as English, psychology, music, business, communications or professional programs that require a strong liberal arts background. The mathematics and science requirements for the AA degree are usually fewer than for an AS degree.

The AS degree is designed for students who want to pursue a four-year degree in areas of study such as computer science, engineering, mathematics, the sciences or professional programs that require strong mathematics and science backgrounds.

Completing the general education core before transferring is not necessary but advisable. Students who do not complete the general education core as stated in the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement will have to complete the specific general education requirements of the college or university to which they transfer.

Yes, the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) includes a Transfer Assured Admissions Policy (TAAP) which assures admission to at least one of the 16 UNC institutions with the following stipulations:

  • Admission is not assured to a specific campus or specific program or major.
  • Students must have graduated from a NC community college with an AA or AS degree.
  • Students must meet all requirements of the CAA.
  • Students must have an overall GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by the college from which they graduated, and a grade of "C" or better in all CAA courses.
  • Students must be academically eligible for re-admission to the last institution attended.
  • Students must meet judicial requirements of the institution to which they applied.
  • Students must meet all application requirements at the receiving institution including the submission of all required documentation by stated deadlines.

Transfer students will be considered to have satisfied the UNC Minimum Admission Requirements (MAR) in effect at the time of their graduation from high school if they have received the AA, the AS, the AFA, the baccalaureate or any higher degree.

If you do not complete one of the above requirements, then your high school Grade Point Average (GPA) and SAT/ACT score will be used to determine eligibility.

Transfer students will be considered to have satisfied the UNC Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) in effect at the time of their graduation from high school if they have:

  • Received the AA, the AS, the AFA, the baccalaureate or any higher degree, or
  • Completed at least six semester hours in degree-credit in each of the following subjects: English, mathematics, the natural sciences, social/ behavioral sciences, and (for students who graduated from high school in 2003-04 and beyond) a second language.

No, under the CAA, only courses in which a grade of "C" or higher is earned will transfer.

If a student transfers to a University of North Carolina institution under the statewide Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), a maximum of 64 semester hours will transfer. The student should consult an academic advisor/counselor since special program articulations may exist between community colleges and four-year colleges or universities in North Carolina or elsewhere that may permit the transfer of additional credit hours.

A credit hour is the unit of measure that colleges and universities assign to courses. Most institutions in North Carolina utilize the semester system; other systems include trimester, quarter, and four-one-four. When transferring credit, a student's credit hours are adjusted based upon the systems used between the two institutions.

At present, the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement does not articulate the AAS, AGE or AFA degrees for college transfer.  Even so, many universities and community colleges have formed articulation agreements between certain programs such as an AAS in accounting that might transfer toward a BA in accounting.  Check with your two-year college to see what articulations they have formed with regional four-year colleges.

As early as possible. Some students may not be ready to select a major in their freshman year; this is not unusual. However, the longer a student takes to decide on a major, the more likely it is that some of the courses taken may not apply to the major. This could result in the student having to earn more than the maximum number of semester credit hours transferable to a four-year college or university.

Yes! It is a good idea to speak with an academic advisor/counselor. The information found here and on college web sites is a good guide, but an academic advisor or counselor can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific academic background and goals.

Yes, however, changing majors may lengthen the time it takes to earn a degree and may also result in the accumulation of more community college semester credit hours than will transfer to a four-year college or university.

Most four-year institutions will consider successful performance in English and mathematics at the community college as proof of your skill level and will not require additional testing.  Even so, you'll want to check with the admissions office to make sure.

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