Transfer Units

How many units do I need?

The minimum number of transferable units required to enter the program is 54 units. CIIS accepts a maximum of 75 lower division semester units, and will accept up to an additional 6 upper division semester units for a maximum number of 81 transferable units.

What kind of transfer units do you accept?

Within the limits cited above, we accept as transfer credit:

  • Work in college level classes completed at regionally accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and Canada or from other foreign institutions provided that acceptable documentation and evaluation demonstrates that these institutions and their courses are equivalent to regionally accredited institutions. International applicants must submit foreign transcripts to a foreign credential evaluation service for a "course by course" evaluation. CIIS accepts evaluations completed by the World Education Service (WES) and J. Silny & Associates, as well as from current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
  • Documented military training, granting credit based on the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines.
  • Test results from the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement Exams, and Excelsior College Exams (ECE) may provide a student with a total maximum of 30 units. The CLEP exam is administered by the College Board, a non-profit organization which is known for its SAT, PSAT, and Advanced Placement programs. Applicants must provide the Institute with official test results.

Further criteria for transferable credit include:

  • College Level Work: Courses must be college level. This means that courses that are developmental or college-preparatory will not transfer. Graduate level courses may be accepted as transfer credit; students should understand, however, that credit can be counted towards only one degree and that graduate credit applied to an undergraduate degree cannot then be applied again for a graduate degree. Associate of Arts (AA) credits are acceptable except for developmental or college-preparatory courses.
  • Grade Criteria: Students must have earned passing credit or a grade of C or better. Coursework marked by a grade of D, D-, F, or NP (No Pass) or incomplete work is not transferable.
  • Physical Education: CIIS does not accept physical education credit except in specifically defined areas: dance, yoga, and some forms of martial art.
  • Double Credit: Students cannot receive credit twice for the same course of study. This is most easily determined when courses are standardized mainstream college curricula and bear comparable or identical names. It may be less easy to determine in other circumstances. More specific courses, for example, "Modern European Art," are considered as fully separate from survey courses, such as, "Western Art Through The Ages," even though there may be some duplication of material. In certain cases, course descriptions may need to be procured to determine content overlap.
  • Extension Credit: CIIS accepts a maximum of 12 units completed in university extension programs for professional development. These units are reviewed on a case by case basis. Students should be aware that there is no guarantee that these units will be accepted. Please note that Continuing Education Units (CEU) units are not transferable.

How can I know how many transfer units I have?

You can submit your transcript(s) to the Admissions Office for review. These do not need to be official transcripts, but students will need to submit official transcripts with their application. Students with outstanding official transcripts and/or work-in-progress can be accepted into the program on a provisional basis. The provisional status impacts the packaging and disbursement of a student's financial aid package; students will not be eligible for financial aid until they move to full admission status.

I took classes a long time ago. Will these classes count as transfer units?

Yes, as long as they meet the criteria listed above and you can present an official transcript. The institution(s) you attended may need some extra time to retrieve your records, but the credits you earned do not expire. General education requirements may need to be repeated, especially in the field of science because scientific knowledge changes over time.

Do I need to have met all general education (GE) requirements in order to transfer?

No, students can meet their GE units while in the program, including the math GE requirement.

What kind of units or courses are you looking for?

The completion of the following fields is not a prerequisite to enter the program, but rather an assessment of general education requirements necessary for graduation. If you are lacking units in one of these fields, you'll be able to take them as elective courses while enrolled in the program here:

  • 3 units of college level math
  • 3 units of experiential art
  • 6 units of natural sciences
  • 6 units of expository writing
  • 6 units of humanities
  • 9 units of social sciences
  • 3 units of oral communication

Time Commitment

What is the length of the program?

The exact length depends on a student's number of transfer units and what workload a student wants to carry per semester, which typically ranges between 12-15 units per semester. Most students will complete the program in 4 semesters, with a small number able to finish in as few as 3 semesters. To graduate, a student must earn 120 units and complete the core curriculum, as well as all general education requirements (if these haven't been met prior to entry into the program)

Can I study part-time?

Only full-time study is available for BS degree completion students, but as an online program, it is designed for adults with busy lives. The program requires a commitment to be in online classes about three times per week, plus whatever electives and/or general education courses a student might need to take (based on the number of transfer units).

How much time will I need to plan to spend for each week for coursework?

Every student is different and the amount of time they will spend on reading, writing, preparing, and working on projects may differ. A good rule of thumb, however, is to plan for 2 hours per week of preparation and study time for each unit of credit (in addition to time spent in the online classes).

For example, if a student takes only the core curriculum of 12 units, they can expect to spend (12 x 2 =) 24 hours per week on coursework. Similarly, if a student takes the core curriculum, as well as another 3-unit class, they can expect to spend (15 x 2=) 30 hours per week on coursework.


How much does the program cost?

Please consult the Tuition and Fees page for the current rates and connect with the Financial Aid Office for more information on what financial aid is available to you.


When can I apply?

Applications are accepted for a fall semester start. The priority application deadline for fall is April 1. Applications received after this deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis.

We recommend that students attend an info session and/or admission open house to learn more about our program. Check that you have enough transfer units and submit a complete application.

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