Transfer Students and Transfer Credit Policies

Transfer Students

Transfer students must present the same application forms and transcripts as those applying for freshman standing. The Office of the Registrar has final authority for the release of transfer credits into Biola University.

Transfer students with fewer than 15 semester credits of regular college work must qualify for admission on the basis of both their high school and their college record. Those transferring with 15 semester credits or more of college work will be considered primarily on the basis of their college grades. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required for admission to Biola. A minimum grade average of “C-” (1.67) is required to transfer college credits into Biola on each course attempted at the college level. Students are advised that some professional and graduate programs have a “C” minimum requirement, and students should contact their major advisor about the need to retake any courses that Biola accepted with a “C-”.

Transfer students will not be required to take the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT or submit high school transcripts if 15 or more semester credits of college level coursework is completed prior to enrollment.

Transfer students coming from institutions which are not accredited or recognized may be given the opportunity to validate credits through the College Level Examination Program, prior learning assessment (PLA), or through consultation. Information on this procedure is available from the Office of the Registrar. Provisional credit for liberal arts courses from non-accredited institutions will be granted in accordance with the policies of state colleges or universities of the state in which the institution is located. Provisional credit is considered validated only when the student performs at the “C” level or better following enrollment in Biola University.

College-level credit earned during the 9th through 12th grades will be given credit. A combined maximum of 32 credits will be awarded for all forms of advanced credit options including AP, CLEP and IB.

Undergraduate Transfer Policy

  1. Biola University will accept credit for equivalent courses from schools accredited by regional or national agencies recognized by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Administration), including distance education courses.
  2. Biola University measures all courses in semester credits. Quarter credits are converted to semester credits by reducing the quarter credits by one-third. Such a reduction does not mean loss of credit.
  3. A maximum of 70 transferable semester credits are acceptable from two-year community colleges.
  4. Incoming transfer students may fulfill their Core Curriculum (GE) requirements by completing Biola University's Core Curriculum (GE), completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), or completing CSU Breadth. 

    The completed IGETC/CSU Breadth model for either the University of California (UC) or the California State University (CSU) systems is accepted by Biola University with the following provisions:
    1. First Year Seminar: The Biola Experience and the current foreign language requirement for all bachelor’s degrees cannot be completed by the IGETC/CSU Breadth certification.
    2. The current ENGL 313 (Writing in the Disciplines) requirement cannot be fulfilled by the CSU Breadth certification.
    3. The minimum of 120 credits for graduation will remain the same.
    4. In addition to IGETC/CSU Breadth certification, students must take all major-specific Core Curriculum (GE), prerequisite, and support courses if not met through IGETC/CSU Breadth.
    5. Official documentation certifying IGETC/CSU Breadth completion must be received by the Office of the Registrar by the graduation petition deadline (March 15 for Spring, November 15 for Fall) prior to receiving commencement and/or graduation clearance.
  5. ​Partial IGETC, CSU Breadth, or General Education Coursework Completion: If a student at a California community college transfers before full completion of the IGETC or CSU Breadth transfer patterns, all coursework taken at the community college to meet the pattern guidelines will transfer to Biola University in satisfaction of Core Curriculum (GE) requirements for that area, with the exception of upper division, modern language, or program-specific requirements. Similarly, with the same exceptions, coursework taken at any regionally or nationally accredited institution to meet the general education guidelines of that institution will, in most cases, satisfy requirements for the comparable subject area in Biola's Core Curriculum.
    1. Only students who are not currently enrolled, and who have not been previously enrolled at Biola may use these curriculum paths to meet the Core Curriculum requirements at Biola. The intent of this provision is to honor prior coursework taken before a student's matriculation to Biola University.
    2. Once admitted, continuing students are subject to Biola University's Core Curriculum and program-specific requirements as essential to the mission, vision, values, as well as institutional learning outcomes of Biola University. Continuing students should consult with their departments, academic advisors, and submit Transfer Preapproval Forms to the Office of the Registrar, before considering coursework outside Biola for potential transfer credit.
    3. In addition to Core general education requirements, all students who transfer to Biola University will be required to take thirty (30) credits of Bible/Theology. (See the Bible Minor section for more information.)
  6. All students are required to take a minimum of 24 credits of upper-division coursework in their major, 15 of which must be taken at Biola University.
  7. Biola has a residency requirement for biblical studies. Of the 30 credits of Bible coursework required for all students, 15 credits must be taken at Biola.
  8. Grades do not transfer — only earned credit amounts. A student's grade point average is computed only on work completed at Biola University.
  9. Courses may not transfer for several reasons: repeat of work already taken, low grades ("D+" or lower), technical or vocational courses, remedial courses, etc.
  10. College-level credit earned during the 9th–12th grades will be given credit, including Advanced PlacementInternational Baccalaureate and CLEP exams.
  11. A music major is limited to a maximum of three semester's worth of previous study in applied music (not including ensembles). The maximum number of transferred applied music credits for each program is as follows:
    • B.M. Music Performance: 6 credits
    • B.M. Music Composition: 3 credits of primary instrument, and 6 credits of applied composition
    • B.M. Music Education: 3 credits
    • B.M. Music Therapy: 3 credits
    • B.M. Worship Arts: 3 credits
    • B.A. Music: 3 credits
    • B.A. Music, Commercial Music: 6 credits
    • Contemporary Worship Minor: 3 credits
    • Music Minor: 3 credits

    Applied music proficiency will be determined in the first semester of private study at Biola and further transfer applied music credits may or may not be granted as of that point. A non-music major is limited to a maximum of 8 credits in applied music (including ensembles), and a non-physical education major is limited to 8 credits in physical education or skill courses.
  12. The combined total of transferred credits plus completed Biola credits determines student level:
  13. Freshman: 0-26 credits
  14. Sophomore: 27-56 credits
  15. Junior: 57-87 credits
  16. Senior: 88 credits and above

Transfer of Credits

Upper-division credit cannot be allowed for courses taken at a community college. Final authority for the acceptance of transfer credits into Biola University rests with the Office of the Registrar. Current students taking courses at local community colleges while enrolled at Biola should request written prior approval of courses in order to assure that transfer credit will meet the needs of their curriculum. No course below a “C-” (1.67) grade will be transferred from another institution. Students are advised that some professional and graduate programs have a “C” minimum requirement, and students should contact their major advisor about the need to retake any courses that Biola accepted with a “C-”. Vocational or technical courses will not be accepted for university credit. Admission counselors are prepared to give academic advisement to those attending, or planning to attend, community colleges with the intention of transferring into Biola University.

Transcripts must be official transcripts from an accredited institution or approved non-accredited school1 sent directly from the institution to Biola or physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution in order to be recognized and officially evaluated for credit transfer. Any transcript that is hand carried or mailed from the student must be sealed by the sending institution without signs of tampering. Any opened transcript or envelope with signs of tampering will be considered unofficial and the student will need to re-order a new transcript.

Courses taken as a Pass/Fail or Credit/No-Credit grade are not recommended, as they may not meet the grade requirement for transfer of “C-” or better. 

A course taken at a community college or a lower-division class from a four-year school will not be given upper-division credit toward graduation requirements, even if the course content is approved by a Substitution Request.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Biola University follows the guidelines developed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to award credit or advanced standing for documented and experiential learning. PLA is designed to assist adult learners in attaining academic and career goals by validating college-level experiential learning through demonstration of mastery of course level learning outcomes. 

  • PLA methods at Biola consist of challenge exams and portfolio. 
  • PLA credit may only be earned for approved courses in Biola’s catalog. 
  • A maximum of 25% of the degree may be fulfilled through all forms of PLA (excluding external standardized examinations such as ACE, AP, CLEP, IB, etc.). 
  • The process for PLA credit must be completed prior to the beginning of the student’s last semester required for degree completion. 

In order to be eligible for credit through PLA, students must:

  1. Be fully admitted into a Biola degree program.
  2. Have discussed PLA options with an academic advisor, success coach, and/or department chair.
  3. Apply and be approved to participate in PLA.
  4. For PLA portfolios, students must pass GNST 106 Portfolio Development for Prior Learning Assessment 1 with a “C” or better.
  5. Enroll in the appropriate challenge exam or portfolio course and pay the assessment fee.

PLA Portfolio Appeals Process

Students who have been denied credit or waiver of course requirement based on their original portfolio submission may appeal within 30 days of the decision. To appeal a student must complete the following steps: 

  1. Students must complete the PLA Appeals Form. 
  2. Upon approval of the PLA Appeals Form, students must submit their PLA portfolio with clarification in the learning narrative and/or additional supplemental documentation.
  3. Students are required to pay a fee for resubmission of the PLA portfolio. 

Advanced Placement Program

Biola University, as a member of the College Entrance Examination Board, recognizes the merits of the Advanced Placement Program and will grant credit for Advanced Placement exams taken in high school. Credit will be given when the Advanced Placement examination grade is 3 or better.

A maximum of 32 credits can be awarded for all forms of advanced credit (AP, CLEP, IB, etc.). Torrey students: Math and/or science credits are needed for Core Curriculum credit. All other AP credits will count as elective credits toward graduation.

AP Exam Number of Credits Biola Credit
Art History
3 Core Curriculum Fine Arts
Studio Art: 2D Design
3 Elective
Studio Art: 3D Design
3 Elective
Studio Art: Drawing
3 Elective
5 Core Curriculum Science (or BIOS 100/BIOS 110). General elective only for biology majors
Chemistry 1
4 Core Curriculum Science
Computer Science
Computer Science A
3 Elective
Computer Science Principles
2 Elective
3 BUSN 201
3 BUSN 202
English Language and Composition
3 ENGL 112
English Literature and Composition
3 ENGL 112
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
3 Core Curriculum Science
United States History
3 HIST 200
U.S. Government and Politics
3 POSC 225
Comparative Government and Politics
3 POSC elective (lower-division)
World History
3 HIST 100
European History
3 HIST elective (lower-division)
Human Geography
Human Geography
3 Elective
Language 2
Language and Culture for all languages (score of 3)
4 Language 100
Language and Culture for all languages (score of 4 or 5)
8 Language 100 and Language 200
Spanish Literature and Culture (score of 4 or 5)
4 SPAN 351
Math 3
Calculus AB 1
4 MATH 150
Calculus BC 1
8 MATH 150 and MATH 151
3 MATH 190 or MATH 210
Music Theory
3 Elective
Physics 1, 4
Physics 1
4 Core Curriculum Science
Physics 2
4 Core Curriculum Science
Physics C - Electricity and Magnetism
4 Core Curriculum Science
Physics C - Mechanics
4 Core Curriculum Science
Psychology 5
3 PSYC 200

College Level Examination Program

Biola University recognizes the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the College Entrance Examination Board. Biola University encourages transfer students from non-accredited schools to validate certain credits on the basis of the examinations provided by this program. High school students with superior records are encouraged to take the exams prior to attending Biola University.

Credit will be awarded for CLEP exams, provided no college credits have been attempted or earned in the same field. Students should not take English composition through CLEP. English composition through CLEP does not meet the English Composition requirement.

Students should take CLEP exams as early as possible in their college program to receive the maximum value from them. Biola University reserves the right to determine the score at which credits will be released and the amount of credit awarded.

Unlike other CLEP exams, having previously attempted or completed a college level foreign language course does not preclude a student from taking the exam. A student may take a CLEP foreign language exam without pre-approval from the Office of the Registrar. To obtain credit, the student must seek a higher level of language than previously completed.

A maximum of 32 credits can be awarded for all forms of advanced credit (AP, CLEP, IB, etc.). If the same course is taken at the college level, elective credits cannot be given for CLEP exam. Biola accepts a minimum credit-granting score of 50 or higher (higher score required where designated, see below).

CLEP Exam Number of Credits Biola Credit
Behavioral Science
Introductory Psychology
3 PSYC 200
Introductory Sociology
3 SOCI 220
Human Growth and Development
3 Elective
Intro to Educational Psychology
3 Elective
Financial Accounting
3 Elective
Info Systems and Computer Appls.
3 Elective
Introductory Business Law
3 Elective
Principles of Management
3 BUSN 240
Principles of Marketing
3 Elective
Principles of Macroeconomics
3 BUSN 201
Principles of Microeconomics
3 BUSN 202
Foreign Language
French Language
Score of 55
4 FREN 100
Score of 66
8 FREN 100, FREN 200
German Language
Score of 55
4 GRMN 100
Score of 63
8 GRMN 100, GRMN 200
Spanish Language
Score of 58
4 SPAN 100
Score of 68
8 SPAN 100, SPAN 200
Humanities (score of 50 or higher)
3 ENGL 230
American Literature (score of 50 or higher)
3 ENGL 281
English Literature (score of 50 or higher)
3 ENGL 251
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (score of 50 or higher)
3 ENGL 230
Mathematics and Sciences
College Mathematics
3 Core Curriculum Math
3 Core Curriculum Math
College Algebra
3 Core Curriculum Math
4 Core Curriculum Math
4 Core Curriculum Science
Chemistry 1
4 Core Curriculum Science
Natural Sciences
6 Biology (3) and Physical Science (3)
Social Sciences and History
American Government
3 POSC 225
History of U.S. I: Early Col. to 1877
3 HIST 200
History of U.S. II: 1865 to the Present
3 HIST 201
Western Civ I: Ancient Near East to 1648
3 HIST 100
Western Civ II: 1648 to the Present
3 HIST 101

International Baccalaureate Program

Biola University will grant credit for IB exams taken in high school. We accept only the higher level exams when the grade is 5 or better. A maximum of 32 credits can be awarded for all forms of advanced credit (AP, CLEP, IB, etc.).

IB Subject Group (Higher Level only) Number of Credits Biola Credit
Group 1 (First Language)
English A: Lang and Lit + IB Diploma
3 ENGL 112
Group 2 (Second Language)
Chinese B, English B, French B, German B, Indonesian B, Spanish B
8 Language 100, 200
Group 3 (Individuals and Societies)
History: Americas
3 Elective
History: Europe
3 Elective
Islamic History
3 Elective
3 Elective
3 Core Curriculum Philosophy
3 PSYC 200
Social and Cultural Anthropology
3 ANTH 200
Business Management
3 Elective
6 BUSN 201, BUSN 202
Group 4 (Sciences)
4 Core Curriculum Biology
4 Science electives
4 Science electives
Computer Science
2 Elective
Group 5 (Mathematics)
Analysis & Approaches
3 Core Curriculum Math
Applications & Interpretation
3 Core Curriculum Math
Group 6 (The Arts)
3 Core Curriculum Fine Arts
Theatre Arts
3 Core Curriculum Fine Arts
Visual Arts
3 Core Curriculum Fine Arts
3 Elective
3 Elective