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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Transfer FAQ

How can I see if the institution I attended is recognized for Open Learning transfer credit purposes?

Typically, most credit-based courses taken at institutions that are members of Universities Canada or Colleges and Institutions Canada (CICan) are eligible for transfer credit. However, the usability of those courses will depend on the Open Learning program requirements. Courses taken as part of a continuing education program are typically not accepted for transfer credit, although there are exceptions. Continuing education courses may be recognized through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition process. If you do not see your institution as a member of Universities Canada or Colleges and Institutions Canada, you still may be eligible for transfer credit. Call 1-800-663-9711 or email for more information.

Can I receive credit for courses that I took with private training institutions?

Possibly, but the process for determining the amount of credit available is not the same as it is with a public post-secondary institution. Post-secondary institutions that are members of Universities Canada or Colleges and Institutions Canada (CICan) may recognize credit from each other through established provincial credit transfer systems, e.g., ACAT or BCCAT, or through formal articulation agreements. However, such credit recognition is not automatic and the evaluation and credit amounts will be subject to the policies and program requirements of each institution. If credit recognition between member CICan/Universities Canada institutions is available, it is often classified as transfer credit.

Open Learning has an established history of working with private educational institutions and other organizations that provide training and are not members of Universities Canada or CICan. Credit for courses or programs taken from such institutions and organizations is determined in two primary ways. The first is through a formal evaluation of the learning that has been acquired by an individual who has successfully completed such courses or programs. This type of individual evaluation is completed through our department of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition. The second form of evaluation is available if such courses or programs have undergone a formal evaluation by our PLAR department and are in our Credit Bank. Successful graduates of programs in our Credit Bank are eligible for credit in their Open Learning programs. In either scenario, the credit assigned will appear as PLAR credit on our transcripts. For more information about our individual PLAR or Credit Bank credit evaluation services, contact our PLAR department directly.

What is a block of transfer credit?

An individual who has completed a certificate or diploma from a recognized post-secondary institution may receive a block of transfer credit towards an Open Learning program. If only some of the courses within the certificate or diploma program were completed, those courses would be individually assessed for transfer credit.

What is an articulation agreement? Does it affect my previous credits from another institution?

Articulation agreements are formal agreements in which Open Learning has partnered with other institutions across Canada to create pathways for students to ladder from one credential to another. These partnerships take formal post-secondary education, private, corporate or industry level training and assign a block of transfer or PLAR credits towards a higher level credential with Open Learning. The articulated agreement also identifies how much credit a graduate can normally expect to receive and what credits must still be completed in order to graduate from the Open Learning program. To find out if your institution has an articulated agreement with Open Learning, visit our transfer opportunities webpage or contact our Open Learning Strategic Partnerships department via email at

What if the courses I took were over seven years ago? Are these credits still recognized by Open Learning?

Normally there is no time limit on the transfer of courses. However, in some subject areas and for some programs courses taken more than seven years previously are not automatically awarded transfer credit. Currency of the subject matter may be taken into account.

How many credits can be transferred to an Open Learning program?

Open Learning accepts up to a maximum of 105 transfer credits towards a 120-credit Open Learning degree, provided these courses meet the program requirements specific to that Open Learning program. For all Open Learning credentials, students must meet the residency requirement.

What does residency requirement mean? Do I have to attend the TRU campus to complete an Open Learning credential?

Residency requirement means that before a student can receive a credential from a particular institution, they must complete a predetermined number of credits, or a certain percentage of their program, through that institution. The number is specific to each post-secondary institution but is commonly 50 percent of a total program, or 60 credits out of the 120 credits needed to complete a standard bachelor's degree.

In support of our mandate to offer the greatest flexibility to our students, Open Learning has one of the most responsive residency requirements in Canada. The actual amount of coursework that must be taken through TRU (campus) or Open Learning (online and distance) is specific to each Open Learning program. For the majority of our programs the following residency requirements apply:

  • Open Learning certificate programs — residency requirement is 6 credits
  • Open Learning diploma programs — residency requirement is 9 credits
  • Open Learning degree programs — residency requirement is 15 credits

Students can satisfy our residency requirements in three ways. First, take the required number of courses with TRU (either on campus or at a distance). Second, take courses with our consortium partner: The University of Victoria. Third, acquire credit through our Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition process.

I have attended other colleges and/or universities in the past. What happens to those credits?

After a student has applied to an Open Learning program and has arranged for the submission of all official transcripts from past academic institutions, an official assessment of transfer credit will be completed. Generally, credits completed at other recognized institutions are eligible for transfer credit; however, the applicability of credits from other institutions is specific to the requirements of the Open Learning program. Our advisors will review all the transfer credit available and create a program plan which outlines the amount of usable transfer credit and identify the remaining credits and course requirements needed to complete the program. Once students receive program plans, they are encouraged to contact their advisor with any course selection or program questions they might have.

I have already completed a degree at another accredited institution; can any of these credits be used towards another degree at Open Learning?

Yes, with the approval of the dean (or designate) accountable for the program. In addition, the degree must be in a different subject area. The number of credits will vary by program and by type of courses previously taken.

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