Transfer Policies

Certain policies and procedures at Northern Kentucky University apply to transfer students and transfer credit. These policies are outlined here in thorough detail for your reference.

Transfer of Undergraduate Credit

The policies that follow apply to the transfer of undergraduate credit toward an undergraduate degree program at Northern Kentucky University.

  1. NKU requires official transcripts from all previously attended institutions. The transcript must include all coursework completed up to the date of application.
  2. Once NKU receives all the required credentials for admission and relevant transfer documentation, NKU will complete a course-by-course Transfer Credit Evaluation of the student's transfer coursework. This process may take up to 15+ business days.
  3. Students enrolled in courses at a post-secondary institution (other than NKU) at the time of application will be given one semester to provide a final, official transcript showing all grades and credits earned.
  4. When applicable, students should request that the Kentucky Transfer Policy for General Education certifications be included on the printed document of their official transcripts from other public colleges and universities in Kentucky.
  5. Only coursework from a regionally accredited institution or an institution with an approved formal articulation agreement will be considered in the process of awarding of transfer credit.
  6. Students with AP or CLEP credit should submit their official score reports to the Office of Admission for evaluation. NKU cannot accept credit by testing or examination listed on transcripts from other institutions as transfer credit.
  7. Students may receive up to 32 credit hours of U.S. Military transfer credit from the Army (AARTS), Navy or Marine Corps (SMART), or Coast Guard (USCG), in addition to any credit earned at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, or Community College of the Air Force. For further details, please refer to the Veteran Services website.
  8. The unit of credit at NKU is the semester hour. When considering transfer credit, 1 quarter hour is equal to approximately 0.667 semester hours. For units of credit other than semester or quarter hours, NKU will refer to the legend that is provided on the transcript from the sending institution in order to calculate the proper conversion of units.
  9. For students who first registered for any course at NKU in Fall 2009 and forward, coursework completed at a regionally accredited institution with a passing grade of D- or better will be evaluated for transfer credit.
  10. Transfer coursework and grade point averages:
    1. Students who first registered for any course at NKU between Fall 2004 and Summer 2009 will have the grades associated with transfer coursework included in their GPA calculation at NKU, including D and F grades, based on NKU's policies and procedures. Changing their catalog of record for graduation requirements will not change this policy; grades associated with courses transferred to NKU will continue to be included in their GPA calculation.
    2. Students who first registered for any course at NKU in Fall 2009 and forward will not have the grades associated with transfer coursework included in their GPA calculation at NKU, though the credit hours are generally accepted and specific course equivalencies are assigned for all courses with passing grades of D- or better. In other words, transfer students with no prior NKU coursework as of today will begin at NKU with a brand new GPA.
  11. Transfer coursework and duplicate credit:
    1. Students who first registered for any course at NKU between Fall 2004 and Summer 2009 cannot receive credit for the same (non-repeatable) course twice. Transfer students who bring in two distinct courses that individually equate to the same NKU course will only receive credit for the first course with a passing grade. For example, if two courses (e.g. "ENGL 101" and "ENGL 104") are both individually determined to equate to NKU's "ENG 101" course, only the first course with a passing grade will receive credit hours at NKU; any further courses will not.
    2. Students who first registered for any course at NKU in Fall 2009 and forward will find that any potentially duplicate credit for the same course would be avoided by assigning elective credit for any potentially duplicate courses. For example, if two courses (e.g. "ENGL 101" and "ENGL 104") are both individually determined to equate to NKU's "ENG 101" course, one of the course equivalencies will be changed to "ENG 100T" but will keep its credit hours.
  12. Transfer coursework and repeating courses:
    1. Students who first registered for any course at NKU between Fall 2004 and Summer 2009 can repeat up to 4 NKU courses that were assigned a grade of D+ or below. Transfer students repeating an NKU course will need to fill out and submit an "Option to Repeat a Course" form, which is available from the Office of the Registrar. Students who received a grade of C- or better in a course cannot repeat that course. If a transfer student retakes a course that was originally graded C- or better at another institution, only the first course and its original grade are accepted.
    2. Students who first registered for any course at NKU in Fall 2009 and forward can repeat up to 4 NKU courses that were assigned a grade of A- or below. Transfer students repeating an NKU course will need to fill out and submit an "Option to Repeat a Course" form, which is available from the Office of the Registrar.
  13. Students who first registered for any course at NKU prior to Fall 2004 generally follow the same policies as those students who first registered for any course at NKU in Fall 2009 and forward, with the exception that transfer courses with grades of D+, D, and D- are not accepted; only courses with passing grades of C- or better are considered for transfer credit.
    1. Students who transferred coursework to NKU between Fall 1981 and Summer 1988 will find that any courses they transferred to NKU during that time with grades of C- or better were included in their GPA calculation at NKU.
    2. Students who transferred coursework to NKU prior to Fall 1981 will find that all courses they transferred to NKU during that time were included in their GPA calculation at NKU, including courses with D and F grades, and that any courses with passing grades of D+, D, and D- were also accepted for transfer credit during that time.
  14. Courses evaluated as developmental or remedial in content will not be considered for credit hours.
  15. Students who earn transfer credit (or a combination of transfer credit and NKU credit) within one semester hour of that necessary for completion of a general education, major, or minor course requirement will be considered to have completed that requirement. This does not affect the number of transfer credit hours awarded.
  16. A transfer student may not be awarded credit for all courses to complete a major. In general, it is recommended that at least half the work in a major be taken at NKU, but individual academic departments may set specific limits on the amount of transfer credit that will allowed for their programs of study. The chairperson of the student's program of study will make the final determination of the requirements for the student's major.
  17. Students who completed coursework more than 5 years ago and/or from less common institutions that are not part of our existing database should plan on submitting course descriptions in order to expedite the evaluation process.

Categories of Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants are prospective students who have graduated from high school and have previously attempted coursework at another regionally accredited college or university for credit (other than college credits taken while in high school).

Potential transfer students who have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.000 from regionally accredited institution(s) and who have earned at least 24 transferable credit hours or 36 quarter hours as determined by NKU are evaluated on the transfer admission standards. For these applicants, NKU must receive the following credentials by the appropriate final deadline.

  1. An online application.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. Official transcript(s) from each college attended.

Potential transfer students with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.000 and who have fewer than 24 transferable credit hours or 36 quarter hours as determined by NKU are evaluated on both the transfer and freshman admission standards. For these applicants, NKU must receive the following credentials by the appropriate final deadline.

  1. An online application.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. Official transcript(s) from each college attended.
  4. Official and final high school transcript(s) or GED scores.
  5. ACT, SAT, or COMPASS test scores.

Potential transfer students with a cumulative GPA less than 2.000 may apply but do not meet NKU's admission standards and as such are not guaranteed admission to NKU. These applicants must adhere to earlier deadlines and NKU must receive all required application materials, listed below, by the appropriate deadline. Each application is reviewed by an academic committee that will make the final decision whether to approve or deny admission. These applicants are strongly encouraged to successfully establish a GPA of at least 2.000, perhaps by attending a regionally accredited community college, before applying for admission to NKU.

Students who have been academically suspended from their most recently attended college or university or at any point within the past year may not be admitted to NKU. These students must sit out the duration of one academic year (one Fall semester and one Spring semester) following their suspension before they may apply for admission to NKU. Once these students become eligible to apply for admission to NKU, they will be subject to the same policies as those with a cumulative GPA less than 2.000.

  • Fall semester applicants: July 1, academic appeal deadline.
  • Spring semester applicants: November 1, academic appeal deadline.
  • Summer semester applicants: April 1, academic appeal deadline.
  1. An online application.
  2. A non-refundable application fee, which is not refunded even if admission is deferred and/or denied.
  3. Official transcript(s) from each college attended.
  4. Official and final high school transcript(s) or GED scores.
  5. ACT, SAT, or COMPASS test scores.
  6. A letter from the student regarding his or her academic goals and appeal to be accepted to NKU.

To be considered for regular admission, transfer applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.000, while admission with conditions may be granted to a selective and limited number of students who do not meet all the criteria for regular admission.

  1. Conditionally admitted students may be ineligible to declare a major.
  2. Conditionally admitted students may be limited to taking 12 credit hours of courses per semester.

Transcripts Received from Other Institutions

When NKU receives transcripts from another institution, the transcripts are considered property of NKU from the moment they are initially received. NKU does not reproduce or copy transcripts received from any sending institutions. Students should seek copies of transcripts from the institution that originally issued the transcript.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

In order to complete an undergraduate degree program at Northern Kentucky University, students must meet all the applicable degree requirements outlined by their Undergraduate Catalog, receive approval from the appropriate representatives within their academic department(s), and apply for graduation through the Office of the Registrar.

There are many specific requirements regarding the number of credit hours that must be taken at NKU in order to complete a degree, which transfer students need to know and keep in mind as they make progress toward completing a degree program at NKU. For further details, please refer to the Graduation Requirements outlined by the Office of the Registrar.

Kentucky Transfer Policy for General Education

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and other Kentucky public institutions developed and approved the general education Kentucky Transfer Policy to facilitate student progress toward graduation and to ease the transition between state institutions within Kentucky. Under this agreement, students who complete a general education category at their sending Kentucky public institution will also have that category fulfilled in the Foundation of Knowledge framework at NKU.

In addition to general education, the Baccalaureate Program Transfer Frameworks identify 12 hours of coursework in specific majors that may be successfully transferred. Each framework has a specific guide to the exact courses that a student needs to follow. Students should work closely with academic advisors at their original institutions to ensure they are taking framework courses that will transfer as desired to Northern Kentucky University.

Kentucky College Readiness Standards

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) established College Readiness Standards for all incoming freshmen and transfer students with fewer than 24 semester credits. Failure to meet one of the standards constitutes a deficiency.

Students who do not meet the college readiness standards are required to take a placement test in every area in which the standard is not met. Placement tests must be taken prior to orientation and/or registration in any course at NKU. Each placement test can be taken only once. Students register for placement tests online through Testing Services.

The current College Readiness Standards established by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education are as follows:

  • ACT scores (taken after 10/1989)
    • English: 18 or higher
    • Mathematics: 19 or higher
    • Reading: 20 or higher
  • SAT scores
    • English: 430 or higher on Writing
    • Mathematics: 460 or higher
    • Reading: 470 or higher on Critical Reading
  • COMPASS test scores
    • English: 70 or higher
    • Mathematics: 41 or higher
    • Reading: 84 or higher

Students with any academic deficiencies are required to enroll in all necessary developmental courses during their first two semesters at NKU. Please be aware, these developmental courses do not contribute to the credits required for graduation and will not be calculated in the GPA. The following developmental courses are available at NKU:

  • Developmental Mathematics
    • MAHD090: Basic Mathematical Skills (3 credits)
    • MAHD091: Elementary Geometry (3 credits)
    • MAHD094: Essential Algebra, Part III (1 credit)
    • MAHD095: Essential Algebra (4 credits)
    • MAHD099: Intermediate Algebra (3 credits)
  • Developmental Literacy
    • ENGD080: Writing Lab (1 credit)
    • ENGD090: Writing Workshop (3 credits)
    • RDG 091: Reading Workshop (3 credits)
    • RDG 110: Critical Reading (1 credit)

Students must complete their developmental courses prior to completing 45 credit hours at the 100 level or above. Students who do not remove their academic deficiencies by the time they complete 45 credit hours will not be permitted to continue enrollment at NKU. Students may take courses at another institution to meet their academic deficiencies and then return to NKU to finish their degree. For further details, please refer to the Learning Assistance Programs website. 

Please be aware, some college-level courses have a prerequisite that is higher than the College Readiness Standards set by CPE and could result in a student needing to take a developmental course(s). Additionally, some academic programs or courses may require higher ACT, SAT, or COMPASS test scores as prerequisites to enter those programs or courses.

Formal Articulation Agreements

Northern Kentucky University has established formal articulation agreements with a variety of colleges and universities. These agreements facilitate the transfer of credits to NKU and specify how the credits will contribute to satisfying general education or other degree requirements. Students should alert their academic advisor if they have completed a program that is governed by a formal approved articulation agreement between their prior institution and NKU.

Advising and Registration for Transfer Students

Once admitted to NKU, transfer students will receive a full Transfer Credit Evaluation applying NKU's policies on transfer credit. This completed Transfer Credit Evaluation report shows which courses have been accepted and how each course transfers to NKU. Once the student receives this report, the student is ready to meet with an academic advisor who will answer questions such as what courses are needed for the student's chosen major and how the transfer work will apply to the student's general education, major, and minor requirements. Academic advisors also assist students with course selection for registration.

Post-Baccalaureate Students

Post-Baccalaureate students are those who have already received a Bachelor's degree. These students are not required to take general education courses at NKU; they are only required to complete the requirements for their program of study.

Transfer coursework for Post-Baccalaureate students is not sent from the Office of Admissions to academic departments for an official evaluation as it would be for transfer students. Should these students need an evaluation of a specific course or courses to satisfy a prerequisite requirement, they should contact the chair of the academic department. When doing so, they are encouraged to bring the original catalog and/or a course description of the course they completed from the original institution.

Transfer Course Appeals Process

If students believe that a course on their Transfer Credit Evaluation should be given further consideration toward a different NKU course equivalency, they can request a review of the evaluation by following this re-evaluation process.

  • General Education: If the student is seeking re-evaluation of a course for Foundation of Knowledge credit, they will need  to email the Director of the General Education Programs at gened@nku.edu. The student must supply the original course syllabus for the assured consideration of their request. The decision of the Director of the General Education Programs is final and will be forwarded to the Office of Admissions, at which time the student will be notified of the result.
  • Major Requirement: If the student is seeking re-evaluation of a course toward a major, minor, or area of concentration requirement, they will need to contact the chair of the academic department. It is encouraged that they supply the original course syllabus along with a written request of re-evaluation. The decision of the academic department is final and will be forwarded to the Office of Admissions, at which time the student will be notified of the result.

If you have any questions about NKU's transfer policies, contact us.