3120 Transfer and Course Substitution Credit

Original Date: 1/8/20 * Last Revision Effective: 1/8/20


Bellevue College academic standards certify that all students completing a degree or certificate program meet outcomes established by Bellevue College and approved by the WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These standards ensure that students have acquired the skills necessary to transfer to another institution, enter the workforce, or attain other academic and career goals. The college has a process to assess whether to grant credit towards degrees and certificates for transfer or course substitutions.

Regardless of the number of credits accepted for transfer or substitution, students must meet the college residency requirements. For an associate degree or certificate, at least one-third of the required credits must be completed in residence at Bellevue College. For a bachelor’s degree, at least 45 of the required credits must be completed in residence at Bellevue College, of which 30 credits must be upper division (300 and 400 level courses).

Transfer Credit

The Evaluations & Graduation Office uses the following standards for the acceptance of transfer credit:

  • The college accepts credits from other regionally accredited colleges and universities based on the graduation requirements for a specific degree or certificate program and the admission requirements for selective-admission programs. Exceptions are indicated in the Bellevue College Course Catalog (available online on the Bellevue College website).
  • Credit for military training and coursework is evaluated based on the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations and is awarded according to 3110P, Prior Learning Credit (Procedures).
  • Credit from institutions outside the United States may be accepted if the institution has completed a comparable accreditation process as regionally accredited U.S. institutions.
  • Credit for general education transfer coursework is accepted if the course content contains at least 70 percent of the course offered at Bellevue College.
  • Conversion of semester credits to quarter credits is done by multiplying the semester credits by 1.5.
    • Acceptance of equivalent semester courses must be within a .5 variance when compared to the college’s quarter credit courses.
    • Transfer students from an institution based on semesters must still meet the total number of credits required for their degree program.
  • The college accepts college level coursework only (100 level or above). However, students may use below college level courses to meet prerequisite requirements or for English and math placement.
  • The college does not accept credits from a course in which the student earned a grade of less than a 1.0 (D).
  • The college accepts grades of S (Satisfactory), or P (Pass), or other similar grade designations if there is documentation to show that these grades have a minimum GPA of 1.0 (D).

Course Substitution Credit to Fulfill Specific Degree or Certificate Requirements

Transfer Associate Degrees. Substitutions for coursework or other requirements needed to complete a transfer associate degree are not generally approved due to the Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC) transfer agreement and other articulation agreements with colleges and universities. However, under rare and extenuating circumstances the college may consider a substitution of a degree requirement on a case by case basis, and only if the substitution does not fundamentally change the nature of the degree or certificate, or the expected outcomes associated with completion of the degree or certificate.

Professional Technical Degrees and Certificates. Substitutions for professional technical program coursework or other requirements are allowed under the following conditions:

  • The department’s program chair or dean requests the substitution; and
  • The substituted course contains at least 51 percent of the content of the required course; and
  • The substituted course is in the same discipline or department as the required course; and
  • The substituted credits do not exceed 25 percent of the credits needed to complete the degree or certificate program; and
  • The substitution is not for coursework typically associated with general education credits or transfer eligible credits.

These procedures apply to substitutions that are considered a rare occurrence and not a standard practice. Program chairs who frequently request a course substitution for a degree or certificate requirement should officially change the completion requirements for their program to reflect the acceptance of the substituted course. Professional technical coursework that is deemed equivalent to courses completed at other institutions are considered under the transfer credit process.


The Evaluations & Graduation Office

  • Awards degrees and certificates based on approved program requirements as listed in the Bellevue College Course Catalog.
  • Reviews recommendations for course substitutions and waivers of degree or certificate requirements based on the standards listed above.
  • Accepts transfer credit and substitution of coursework based on the standards listed above.
  • Evaluates and awards credit under the provisions established for Prior Learning Credit.



  • Refers to the movement of students from one college, university or other post-secondary educational institution to another, and includes the process of evaluating prior credits earned for the purpose of accepting or not accepting those credits towards a degree or certificate program offered by the receiving institution.

Relevant Laws and Other Resources

Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC) Revised Handbook 2018 [PDF]

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) Joint Statement on the Transfer and Award of Credit [PDF]

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) A Guide to Best Practices: Awarding Transfer and Prior Learning Credit [PDF]

American Council on Education (ACE) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) Standards & Policies

3110 P Academic Credit for Prior Learning (Procedures)

Revision History

Original: 1/8/20

Approved By

Board of Trustees


Last Updated October 30, 2023