What Is an Articulation Agreement and How Can It Help You?

by Heather Nelson

You may not have heard much about articulation agreements before, but they play a crucial role in many students’ college experiences. An articulation agreement serves as a stepping stone between one higher education system and another. These partnerships between junior colleges and universities allow students the flexibility to plan for graduation in a way that respects their time and finances.

If you’re hoping to transfer between schools, you’ll have to become familiar with how their individual transfer processes work. Here’s a look at what articulation agreements are, how to find them, and why they’re a valuable tool as you plan for graduation.

What Is an Articulation Agreement?

Articulation agreements are essentially contracts that lay out what courses directly transfer between a junior college and university. These agreements are specific to each school and can assure students that the general education courses (as well as major- and minor-specific courses) they complete at a junior college can count toward their four-year degree at a partnering university.

The agreement struck between schools can significantly help students by minimizing the time (and money) they spend in college. This also allows students to avoid repeating similar courses once they transfer to a university.

How to Find a School’s Articulation Agreement

If you’re planning to transfer from a junior college to a university, you’ll first want to do some research. Thankfully, many schools offer articulation agreements—and want to provide students the information they need.

In fact, some universities, like Azusa Pacific University, provide lists of partnering schools with articulation agreements; APU even includes a direct link to each individual agreement, down to the exact course codes. Other schools may have students contact an articulation officer to review transferable courses and partnering universities.

Once you understand your school’s agreements, you can work with your admissions counselors to ensure a smooth transfer.

Planning Your Path to Graduation

If you’re just starting out at a junior college, you can use an articulation agreement to plan your path to graduation. By knowing which courses transfer to your desired university, you can selectively choose what classes to take before making the jump.

When making a graduation plan, you should become familiar with transferable general education courses and your major requirements, and understand what prerequisite classes are needed. If you’re able to complete these courses before transferring, you can often save time and money!

Tips for Transferring Schools

If you’re looking to transfer schools with the help of an articulation agreement, here are a few tips for success:

  • Get familiar with prerequisites and major requirements. This is the first step in successfully transferring courses from one school to another. When you know your major, you can compare major requirements at your desired university with available courses at your junior college.
  • Meet with the experts. If a class doesn’t transfer over, you should meet with an admissions counselor or articulation officer to talk through options. This is also a good time to confirm which classes will transfer and flag any that may not.
  • Chart a course to graduation. Either using a copy of the articulation agreement or working with an articulation officer, you can identify which classes at the junior college can transfer and count toward your degree. When you know what courses transfer to the university, you can plan a course schedule that best utilizes your time and money.
  • Keep your course syllabi. If you’ve already taken a few courses that you’re not sure will transfer over, your admissions counselor may need to see a course syllabus for you to submit a transfer inquiry, so it’s a good idea to keep them on hand until you transfer.

If you’re working toward a bachelor’s degree but starting your higher education at a junior college, articulation agreements can serve as a valuable road map by helping you stay on track for graduation. Are you interested in seeing which courses transfer between Azusa Pacific University and more than 100 California junior colleges? Review APU’s current agreements and apply today.

Transfer Events

Want to learn more about the transfer process and see what it’s like to be a student at Azusa Pacific? Attend one of our upcoming campus events designed specifically for transfer students.