All publicly funded colleges and universities in Ontario have agreements for transferring credits between programs and institutions. According to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, over 55,000 students take advantage of these agreements every year.
To simplify the credit transfer process, the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) has created ONTransfer.ca – an online resource for current and prospective postsecondary students looking for potential credit transfer opportunities (also known as pathways). There are currently over 1,400 credit transfer pathways available in Ontario, and more than 800,000 distinct transfer opportunities.
The term credit transfer simply means getting credit for courses completed at one institution or in one program, when switching to another. Courses taken in one program can be transferred to the same program at another institution, or to a different program at either the same institution or a new one.
Types of Credit Transfer
There are two types of credit transfer:
- Course Transfer. Transferring courses from one institution to another or taking a course at a different institution that will transfer back to your current institution.
- Program Transfer. Transferring a block of courses from one program to a similar program at another institution. For example, you have completed a diploma program in Accounting and want to take an advanced diploma or degree program in Accounting.
How Credit Transfer Works
The value of your credit transfer depends on how similar your courses are to the ones at the new institution and / or how the courses you’ve taken fit in with the requirements of the new program.
There are also several factors that institutions consider when granting a credit transfer, including whether you have met the grade requirements for a course or achieved minimum GPA for a program, as well as how long ago you completed a course or program. Colleges and universities also have something called residency policies, which require you to complete a certain percentage of a program at their institution in order to receive your credential there.
Is Credit Transfer Right for Me?
Students switch postsecondary programs for a number of reasons – some to improve their career opportunities, others because their interests change or their current program isn’t a good fit. Some students find they like their program, but decide they want to go to school in a different city.
Whatever the reason, according to the Canadian Federation of Students, in 2010 Ontario students spent about $40 million on duplicate courses when switching between programs or institutions. If you’re interested in changing programs or institutions and you qualify for credit transfer, you could save both the time and money spent on repeating courses and may also earn course exemptions or advanced standing in your new program, which can help you earn your credential sooner.
The ONTransfer.ca Transfer Guide is an easy-to-use, searchable database of all available credit transfer pathways offered by Ontario’s colleges and universities. To use it, first choose to search by either course transfer or program transfer, and then fill out the required fields.
Once you’ve submitted your search, you’ll be shown a list of all pathway options open to you, with details including Pathway ID and Title, program eligibility, transfer equivalency and more. You can view the details of each pathway individually, compare the details of multiple pathways on one page, or register with ONTransfer.ca to save transfer paths to view later.
Please note: Currently, the Transfer Guide contains only the pathway information for publicly funded postsecondary institutions in Ontario. If you are attending a private institution in Ontario, or an institution outside of Ontario, you’ll need to contact the admissions office at the school you want to attend, or check their website to find out if your credits can be transferred.
Once you’ve found the credit transfer pathway you want to follow, use the Find a Transfer / Policy Advisor page to connect to a transfer advisor at the school you want to attend. He or she can help you with any questions you have on the transfer process and can advise you with next steps for applying to your program.
After you’ve been accepted, you’ll need to have your credits evaluated. The credit evaluation process varies between institutions, but will likely include completing a transfer credit application, providing an official transcript from your previous institution and creating a detailed outline of the courses you want to transfer. Some institutions may charge a fee for credit evaluation.
The credit evaluation process can take several weeks depending on the time of year. Once your credits have been evaluated, you will be contacted by the institution with the results.
- The top five transfer programs in Ontario are:
- Social Science
- General Arts
- Students in business diploma programs can now transfer between any of Ontario’s colleges with full credit recognition. This first-of-its-kind transfer agreement applies to accounting, business administration, human resources and marketing programs, and colleges are already working to develop similar agreements in other areas of study.