4.61 – Transfer Credit

Policy Details

Responsible Executive: Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Responsible Administrator: University Student Records Office (Registrar)
Scope: NMSU System
Last Updated: 10/12/2021


This rule clarifies NMSU system policy relating to transfer credit, including provisions for a unified framework pertaining to Credit for Prior Learning (CPL). The rule also authorizes the policy administrator to issue standard operating procedures (SOPs) to facilitate implementation by students, faculty and administrators. A summary or other graphic describing this rule and the SOPs will continue to be published in the campus catalogs.


  1. General Requirements: Credit will be awarded for transfer courses as follows:
    1. Grades earned in courses taken at other institutions are not included in the calculation of the NMSU GPA, except for grades earned by approved National Student Exchange students.
    2. A grade of D or better is required to grant NMSU credit for courses identified as having an NMSU equivalent.
    3. Colleges or departments may require a grade of C- or higher for courses required in their programs.
    4. Each college determines which transferred courses are applicable toward a degree or a minor.
    5. Transcripts may need to be reevaluated when students transfer from one NMSU campus or College to another.
    6. Currently enrolled students must obtain prior approval from their academic department head and dean before courses taken at another institution will be applied toward meeting NMSU graduation requirements.
    7. Requests for transfer of credits earned at a non-U.S. university must include a professional foreign credit evaluation report from a member institution of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
    8. Courses for which NMSU does not have a direct equivalent may be transferred for elective credits (“E”) in accordance with the SOPs.
    9. Requests for transfer credit based on graduate course work at other institutions at NMSU must have prior approval from the department head and the dean of the Graduate School before credit will be applied at NMSU. All requirements as to accreditation, course level, grades and other elements will apply. Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit forms are available online at: https://gradschool.nmsu.edu/current-students/graduate-forms.html
  2. Credit Transferred from other Institutions: Transfer credit for courses taken at other accredited institutions will be initiated by the University Student Records Office based on the evaluation levels in the SOPs associated with this policy.  For courses not listed or when equivalencies are not clear, the decision will be made in collaboration with the Departmental Faculty with subject matter expertise. Transfer credit based on course equivalency of courses transcripts by other institutions will be based on where the course was actually taken.  For example, a course taken at a workplace for which college credit was later awarded by an accredited institution would be treated as credit from a non-accredited institution.  Credits from non-accredited institutions must be evaluated by Departmental Faculty from the relevant department after two semesters, provided the student is in good academic standing.
  3. Periodic Review of Departmental Equivalents/Effective Date: Every three years, or more frequently as needed, all Departmental Faculty will review the previously approved transfer credit course equivalencies for accuracy and potential update.  Such revisions may only be applied for future terms after submission of a memo to the registrar and confirmation of the transfer credit based on course equivalency.
  4. Credit for Prior Learning: Nontraditional students often come to a postsecondary institution bringing prior knowledge from years on the job, corporate or military training, non-college training programs, or self-study. NMSU will assess that learning and determine whether it is equivalent to the learning outcomes a student is expected to have gained in college coursework, and award credit (or advanced standing) to that student. Transfer credit based on prior learning will be assessed consistent with credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE); using national standardized tests and/or as described in procedural requirements described in more detail in the SOPs associated with this policy. Transfer credit is subject to Title IV maximum time frame limits. (See https://fa.nmsu.edu/terms-conditions/).
    1. Methods: The methods for assessing credit for prior learning are:
      1. Credit by Examination (e.g. CLEP, AP, PEP, DANTES);
      2. Credit for Military Service;
      3. Workforce certifications and other workforce training documentation, which potentially may be addressed in an articulation agreement between an outside entity and NMSU (e.g. New Mexico Fire Academy).
    2. Effect of Transfer Credit on GPA: Credit for Prior Learning will not be calculated into the student’s GPA, and must not duplicate previously awarded credit. NMSU course repeat rules apply to transfer credit. Upon transcription of transfer credit for a NMSU course, the student will not be permitted to repeat that course for a grade that will be calculated in their GPA or affect their academic standing.
    3. Evaluation Standards: Departmental Faculty will apply the Carnegie Rule of Credit when evaluating requests for credit based on prior learning. See ARP 4.63. Departmental Faculty make the final determination on the total number of credits that may be awarded for prior learning, up to a maximum of CPL credits equaling no more than 50% of the credits required to obtain the credential or degree the student is pursuing, unless otherwise approved.
    4. CPL Transfer Credit Decision: The decision of whether credit should be awarded CPL transfer credit rests with the Departmental Faculty teaching in the subject matter department, subject to any final review. Once the CPL transfer credit decision is final and confirmed by the University Student Records Office, the approved transfer credit will be applied consistently and equitably for similarly situated students.
  5. Appeal of Transfer Credit Decisions: An aggrieved student or faculty member may seek review of the transfer credit decision from the college dean, through the associate dean for academics in accordance with the timelines and process set forth in the SOPs associated with this policy.


  1. Student: It is the student’s responsibility to provide the necessary materials for consideration by Departmental Faculty of their requests for transfer credit based on course equivalencies from other institutions or based on prior learning credit.
  2. Departmental Faculty: Departmental Faculty review and decide requests for transfer credit that are not already listed in course equivalencies, subject to the registrar’s confirmation, and to any final review that may be requested pursuant to Part 2, Section C. 5 above. Departmental Faculty are also responsible for conducting periodic reviews of the course equivalencies within their subject matter expertise (See Part 2, Section B.)
  3. University Student Records Office: The registrar is the head of the University Student Records Office. This office maintains the database of courses commonly transferred from other institutions and their NMSU equivalents and awards transfer credit based on these equivalencies.  Courses not listed in the registrar’s database will be individually evaluated by the University Student Records Office in consultation with the appropriate Departmental Faculty as needed.


  1. Authorization to Issue SOPs: The Office of University Student Records, in consultation with the University Program Academic Committee and the Office of the Provost as needed, is authorized to issue and post standard operating procedures (SOPs), including forms, templates, FAQs or other guidance, to facilitate the implementation of this rule.
  2. Fees: Exam fees are posted on the various testing services’ websites, and may be linked for convenient reference by University Student Records at its website (https://records.nmsu.edu). Challenge exams are administered at the same cost as tuition for the course being challenged. NMSU Administrative processing fees, if approved in the future by appropriate university officials, will be posted by the policy administrator.


The terms listed below are defined for purposes of this policy and will be capitalized to denote such.

  1. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is a term used to describe the result of evaluations determining college-level learning that a student has acquired outside of a formal college course, for college credit.
  2. Departmental Faculty: Departmental Faculty are individual faculty in the relevant academic units who have the appropriate credentials and subject matter expertise to assess the equivalency of the requested transfer credit.
  3. University Program Academic Committee: The university wide committee with representative membership from academic administration from each NMSU campus. See https://boards.nmsu.edu/



American Council on Education (ACE) Credit Recommendations
ARP 4.63 - Credit Hour Calculation; Class Schedules and Catalogs

Revision History:

10/12/2021 Amendment approved by Chancellor 
2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 6.89