Graduate Credit Transfer Policy

Updated June 2024

All transfer credits are evaluated for relevance to the College’s programs and policies. Grades earned at another institution are not factored into the calculation of cumulative grade point average at CCS. The College makes every effort to ensure you get credit for your past graduate-level work, subject to the following conditions:

  • Coursework taken in the United States must have been completed at a college or university accredited by one of the following regional associations of schools and colleges—Middle States (MSCHE), New England (NECHE), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Northwest (NWCCU), Southern (SACSCOC), Western (WASC)—or by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). International programs and institutions with non-regional accreditation will be evaluated on an individual basis.
  • For coursework completed outside of the United States, College for Creative Studies requires all transfer students to obtain a professional course-by-course evaluation of all college or university-level work from a professional credential evaluation service with National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) membership.
  • Courses noted on a transcript as transferred from prior institutions will not be considered for transfer credit. An official transcript must be submitted to CCS from any institution(s) attended before transfer credit can be awarded.
  • Courses awarded transfer credit are recorded in permanent academic records. Grades of approved courses are not factored into the calculation of a student’s cumulative grade point average at CCS.
  • Credit will not be awarded for undergraduate level coursework.
  • Approval of transfer credit is at the discretion of program chairs, following, if applicable, a review of the applicant’s portfolio, or other relevant works. Courses must meet the majority of the learning outcomes required by the equivalent course at CCS to be approved.
  • The number of possible credit transfers for each program is as follows:
    • For the MFA in Interdisciplinary Design Studies, students may transfer up to 30 credits) from a graduate program towards the 60 credits required to complete a two  year MFA. For all other MFA degrees, students can transfer up to 9 credits.
    • For all MA design degrees, students can transfer up to 6 credit hours from a graduate program towards the 30 credits required to complete the one-year MA.
    • Note: A limited number of transfer credits to the MA in Art Education is possible if directly aligned to the learning outcomes of any online courses being replaced. Transfer credit is not possible in lieu of summer residence classes.
    • Eligibility for additional credit is determined on a case-by-case basis and will depend on factors such as the alignment of the transferred coursework with the CCS curriculum, the academic rigor of the courses, and the demonstrated proficiency of the student in those subjects. Students should contact the Program Chair to initiate a comprehensive evaluation of their previous coursework.
  • Up to 3 courses (nine credits) completed at the Graduate level as part of a CCS Bachelor of Fine Arts program may be applicable for transfer upon approval.
  • Transfer credits may be awarded for courses with a grade of B (3.0) or higher and completed within 10 years of the time of application.
  • Courses taken at an institution on a quarter or term academic calendar are converted to semester hours before being applied to CCS course requirements.
  • CCS must receive all official final transcripts, along with any supporting documentation or portfolio artifacts required for evaluation and placement of transfer credit
    • before the end of the student’s 1st week of classes (for new/incoming students)
    • within a month of completing the course(s) intended for transfer (for current students)

Frequently Asked Transfer Questions

What Is An Official Transcript?

Only transcripts mailed directly from your previous institution(s) to CCS, as well as transcripts sent directly to you and forwarded to CCS in the original sealed envelope, are considered official. Transcripts received by CCS from a certified digital document service such as Parchment or Clearinghouse are all considered official.

What If My Previous College Was On a Different Academic Calendar?

For in-person programs, CCS operates on a semester academic calendar of two fifteen-week long terms. Colleges operating outside the US, as well as those utilizing alternate units of credit, such as a ‘unit’ or a ‘quarter hour’- an academic calendar consisting of 3-4 main terms spanning 10 to 11 weeks per year- will need to be assessed to determine transferability. Since ‘quarter hour’ terms are shorter, a quarter ‘credit hour’ will require less instructional time. For this reason, students seeking transfer credit from intuitions that operate on a quarter-hour calendar (or other alternate structure) may have their courses combined to equal the instruction time and learning outcomes required in the equivalent CCS course.

*The low residency  MA in Art Education utilizes the 8 week summer semesters for resident courses. The MA in User Experience Design (Distance Ed) operates with 8 compressed 7-week terms for accelerated completion.

How Long Will It Take To Complete My Degree?

In-person MA and MFA degrees are offered in full- and part-time mode. A full-time MFA degree may be completed in two years, and typically takes four years in part-time mode. The MFA in Interdisciplinary Design Studies can be taken in half that time if 30 credits are transferred (see above).  A full-time MA degree takes one year to complete, two years in part-time mode.

The MA in Art Education is a low-residency program lasting 26 months. It runs over seven semesters (including three short summer semesters). Students attend campus for four weeks each July.

The MA in User Experience Design (Distance Ed.) is fully online, and takes 18 months to complete. It comprises 8 condensed 7-week courses for accelerated learning.

New students seeking clarification on time required to complete their degree at CCS should follow up with their Academic Adviser and/or Department Chair after receiving their Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE). Current students should meet with their Academic Adviser to review their degree audit for an understanding of remaining requirements and time required to complete them.

What If I Want To Change Majors

Students wishing to change their graduate design major, or mode of study, should refer to the Change of Graduate Program Policy.

What Happens To My Transfer Credit If I Change My Major?

Students should express their intent to change their major before finalizing enrollment. This allows the admissions office to re-evaluate all potential transfer credit for application to the student’s new major prior to enrollment.

If a current student decides to change majors at CCS, the transfer credit granted upon initial enrollment will undergo re-evaluation by the Program Chair. All relevant courses completed at CCS will be applied toward the student’s updated degree requirements. However, courses previously transferred to CCS may potentially fulfill an elective requirement, but if they no longer fulfill graduation requirements will default to an ‘Other Courses’ category, remaining in the student’s academic record but not counting towards degree completion. If students feel they have previously completed coursework that should be considered after declaring a change of major, it is the student’s responsibility to initiate this review and provide any required documentation or work examples to support the placement of credit.

February 28, 2018

June 21, 2024

Enrollment and Student Services