Top 7 Doctoral Programs That Accept Transfer Credits

Given the critical decision-making on what program to enter and knowing that different life circumstances could result in the necessity of transferring one’s credits from one school to another, or an online university, it is imperative to know if the credits at the doctoral level are transferable. The knowledge of doctoral programs that accept transfer credits would help you quicken your decision.Top 7 Doctoral Programs That Accept Transfer Credits

The duration of a doctorate is about four to six years and some factors influence the completion of a PhD within this time. Although we are not here to look at these factors as we have treated them in our previous post – check the link above. Many PhD students who move from one college to another to complete their doctoral programs do not know if their new colleges accept transfer credits.

Most doctoral students are shocked to find out that very few of the course credits they took in their previous program will transfer to the new program. This can force students to complete large amounts of repetitive coursework, costing them valuable time and money. Hence increasing the time to complete their doctorate studies.

What is a Transfer Credit?

Transfer credits are credits that students are able to take with them when they leave one academic institution and go to another. This means that they can transfer and use the credits that they earned by taking certain courses in their previous institutions towards their new institution. The credit may facilitate entry into a program at another educational institution or satisfy the requirement of a certificate, diploma, advanced diploma or degree.

There are many times at new colleges when students learn that they will have to take a class over because the course does not transfer with them, by using the credits this no longer becomes an issue. A student can transfer credits from a two-year community college or another accredited four-year college to a four-year college or university. It is important to understand that the transferability of credit varies by degree and by institution. Oftentimes, the flexibility of transferring credits for a bachelor’s degree is greater than for a graduate degree.

Types of Credit Transferred at Graduate Schools

Graduate programs often accept more credits at the graduate level compared to undergraduate programs. The transfer policy varies among schools and programs, with some accepting all coursework while others accepting none. However, for programs that accept transfer credits at graduate level, only credits from a previous doctoral degree, master’s degree or special licenses and certifications are accepted.

  1. Previous Doctoral Credit

For transfer credit earned in previous doctoral studies, students must have completed relevant coursework at the doctoral level. Credit for a master’s degree alone is not sufficient. The student’s program will evaluate their prior coursework on a case-by-case basis, considering course descriptions and syllabi. Those who already started a PhD in another college but could not finish may be allowed to transfer credits to another college.

  1. Master’s-Level Credits

The work and coursework of an applied master’s often correlates with the work of a doctoral degree. Many students who enter a doctoral program have already earned a master’s degree either in a related field or a field they are currently leaving, hence, the master’s level credits can be accepted to make up for elective requirements.

  1. Special Licenses and Certifications

Examples of special licensing or certification for the Ed.D. program would include an associate license, a National Board Certification, a superintendent license, or a school services provider license. Each would allow for up to 12 or 15 transfer credits.

Why Transfer Credit Matters for Your PhD

If a prospective student has previously completed graduate coursework, they often wish to transfer the credit into their future doctorate program. There are a variety of reasons why; perhaps numerous classes taken directly complement the desired doctoral degree, or a time conflict prevented the completion of a certain program, or maybe there were moves to different locations that interrupted the academic course.

Transferring credits can be frustrating if they are considered lower level. However, for doctoral programs, transferring credits can save time and money. PhD students who can transfer more credits will be able to complete their studies in a shorter duration and incur lower financial costs. Here are some advantages of looking for doctoral programs that accept transfer credits.

  1. To Accelerate Your Doctoral Journey

With transfer credits from previous graduate coursework, you can significantly reduce the duration of your PhD program by many months or even semesters. This results in both accelerated completion of your doctorate studies and decreased tuition expenses, enabling you to achieve your academic objectives more quickly and with less financial strain.

  1. Beyond Time Savings

Transfer credits save students time in completing their degrees, but their benefits extend beyond that. This is especially true at the doctoral level, where professionals with full-time work and family commitments may find it overwhelming to add rigorous study. For such individuals, credit transfer options are enticing as they alleviate the burden of full-time study. This also helps prevent dropouts.

How To Strategize Your Transfer Credit Success

The process of transferring credits is most successful if you plan. Choose a graduate school that accepts a wide variety of credits to avoid the problem of limited selection. Investigate the accreditation of the credits received and prioritize schools with higher prestige. Transfer credits can save time, allowing for degree completion in a shorter timeframe. Look for schools with maximum time limits for degree completion to ensure eligibility for transfer credits.

  1. Know Your Options

Transfer credits can vary significantly across different doctoral programs. Programs that prioritize research and emphasize original research may have stricter credit acceptance policies. However, professional practice programs, which focus on honing practical skills, may be more willing to accept relevant coursework from your previous graduate studies. It’s important to grasp the different program variations to find the best match for your transferable credits and career goals.

  1. Course Evaluation Process

The evaluation of past coursework to determine if credit can be granted is the most subjective and complicated part of the transfer credit process. The same course from two institutions may vary greatly in content and depth, so it is important to know how courses are evaluated before initiating the credit transfer process.

  1. Build Your Case for Transfer

Collect detailed information about each course you want to transfer, including course descriptions, syllabi, papers, and textbooks. The more information you compile, the better you can identify equivalent courses at your new program and strengthen your case for transfer. Showing that you have taken courses equivalent to specific courses in your new program will make your case stronger.

Once you have these plans in place, you are ready to transfer credits to a PhD program.

Top 7 Doctoral Programs with Transfer Credit Options

Here are some universities that have doctoral programs known for facilitating transfer credits into their curriculum. For each of the seven universities, we have collected the exact amount of coursework required to complete the degree and the amount of transfer credit units allowed so that the total course requirement would be less than the standard 90 units.

  1. Northcentral University

Northcentral University (NCU) is a top online university built around the needs of students. They offer one-on-one services to provide a more personalized education and experience. Here you can earn your degree at your own pace. NCU offers several doctoral programs with flexibility for transferring credits from a regionally accredited institution.

Doctoral programs at NCU are about 60 credit hours and a maximum of 15 credits can be transferred. When considering transferring credit, the student should be aware that only grades of “B” or better are accepted. The student will also need to provide a course syllabus or catalog from the time of course completion. This assures the content is similar to the Northcentral course that it will be substituted for.

  1. Purdue Global University

The PhD program at Purdue Global University requires an additional 60 credit hours beyond a master’s degree. It allows a maximum of 30 credits (50% of the master’s degree courses) to be transferred. Students have a time limit of six years to complete the degree. The program is open to nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher. Specialities offered include Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Adult Nurse Practitioner.

Students can choose to study full-time or part-time and online classes are available where students can study from the comfort of their own home or office. The program also accepts visiting students and transfer credits from other universities. Flexibility is a key aspect of the program, allowing students to work at their own pace.

  1. Walden University

Walden University offers several doctoral programs that provide a progressive learning experience with transfer of credit options towards the highest degree. They aim to make the transition as smooth as possible and to maximize transfer of credit, so students do not have to repeat coursework and delay the start of work on their degree.

You can transfer doctoral credit from a regionally or recognized program into the following programs: PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences, PhD in Public Policy and Administration, and PhD in Health Services, as these programs do not have residency requirements. These credits must be deemed relevant to your degree program by your Academic Advising Team or your Program Director. Credits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must have been earned within the past ten years.

The amount of transfer credits differs depending on the degree. A student enrolling in the MS in Accounting degree may transfer a maximum of 9 credits. A student pursuing an MS in Human Resources Management can transfer up to 15 credits, while a DBA student may be qualified to transfer 21 credits.

  1. Liberty University

Liberty University is one of the fastest-growing institutions in the nation. It is evangelical Christian in orientation and holds to its mission that the university is characterized by a Christian environment. Liberty offers a variety of doctoral degrees and has a developed policy for the transfer of credit into these programs.

Liberty’s process for transfer of credit into a doctoral program is at the discretion of the dean of the program to which the student seeks entry. Transfer of credit into a doctoral program is not to exceed half of the degree program. The transferred credit must have been earned at an institution of higher education fully accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation during the time of the student’s enrollment.

The student must have earned a grade of ‘B’ or above for the corresponding course to be considered for transfer of credit. All credit must be evaluated by the Office of Admissions for applicability to the student’s program. After acceptance of the student into a program, all transfer of credit must be completed within the first year of enrollment and only graduate-level credit within that 5-year time frame will be considered.

  1. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers 5 distinct doctoral programs. Unlike many other institutions, Grand Canyon University does accept transfer credit from regionally accredited colleges and universities. This is a big step for Grand Canyon and its students, as transfer credits greatly reduce the cost of obtaining a degree. Although Grand Canyon University prefers the student to have a master’s degree, it is possible to be admitted with a bachelor’s degree.

Grand Canyon University has a very structured transfer credit policy. A maximum of 12 credits can be transferred into your program depending on a review and approval from the university. All transfer credits must meet the time constraints of the 7-year rule. Transfer credits cannot include specific research or dissertation courses, and they also must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution of higher education. These transfer credits must also be equivalent to a matching course in the GCU curriculum and have a grade of “B” or better.

  1. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is currently offering six doctoral programs that accept a maximum of 12 transfer credits. Those programs are:

  • EdD in Educational Leadership with 3 concentrations
  • EdD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
  • EdD in Psychology
  • EdD in Learning and Leading
  • EdD in Literacy
  • PhD in Integrative and Public Health

Only a maximum of 12 credits can be transferred into these programs as long as the courses were taken within the past five years and a grade of B was achieved. This policy is a bit firmer than the other universities considering transfer students should check into this in more detail if they want to maximize their previous coursework.

  1. Franklin University

Completing your applied doctorate at Franklin typically takes around three years, which includes the dissertation. You can complete your degree more efficiently and reduce costs by transferring up to 24 credit hours you’ve already earned. Close to 50% of the university’s doctoral students benefit from the extensive transfer credit policy. The streamlined transfer process ensures that you receive credit for your existing knowledge without any hassle.

Factors To Consider Before Transfer Credit Application

When deciding to transfer, it is essential to start planning in the semester before transfer. Start by identifying which programs interest you and are a good match for your educational goals. Consider the following general factors when researching potential transfer schools.

  1. Financial Aid and Transfer Credit

Doctoral students are concerned about funding and compensation, particularly if they are transferring from another institution. Transfer status and the timing of guaranteed funding should be inquired about. Fellowships and scholarships are another potential funding source.

  1. Faculty Mentorship

One factor to take into serious consideration before applying to transfer to a doctoral program is the availability of a faculty mentor within the new department. Finding a mentor within the new department is crucial to gaining inside information on departmental politics and resources as well as locating research and teaching opportunities. A mentor can greatly aid the student in transitioning to the new department and solidifying the decision to transfer.

  1. Research Opportunities

When choosing a doctoral program, the research opportunities available are a crucial factor for students. Research experience impacts employment post-graduation and the program’s culture. It is important to know what is expected and available in terms of research. Some students prefer their own projects, while others want to work with faculty. Knowing these opportunities can prevent distraction from extra employment.

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