Credit transfer, cross crediting and exemptions

If you have already been enrolled in tertiary study, you may be able to transfer your credits to a different qualification or tertiary provider - even if you didn't finish your original programme.

What is a credit transfer?

Credits are the points you earn in tertiary study when you complete a paper or module. Once you earn the required number of credits or points, you gain the qualification.

A credit transfer is when one tertiary provider recognises the credits you have gained from another tertiary provider and allows this to count towards your new qualification.

What are the benefits of credit transfer?

Credit transfer can benefit you if you are in any of these situations:

  • You have already completed an undergraduate qualification and are starting another undergraduate qualification. A limited number of papers may be counted towards both qualifications.
  • You have completed a qualification overseas, and want to credit part of the qualification towards a New Zealand qualification. A limited number of overseas papers may be counted towards your New Zealand qualification.
  • You have an uncompleted qualification, and want to change your tertiary provider part way through your qualification. For example, you might be studying graphic design at UCOL in Wanganui, but want to shift to Auckland to study media design at AUT.

How is credit transfer assessed?

Faculty staff compare the content and learning outcomes of the paper you have done with the one they teach at their institution. If staff are satisfied with the match, they will award a credit transfer for that paper. Each application for credit transfer is assessed on an individual basis and given at the discretion of the faculty or department.

Faculty staff also consider:

  • whether the learning is current and relevant (some tertiary providers specify that study should have been in the last five years)
  • the maximum amount of the qualification that the tertiary provider allows to be transferred. For example, most tertiary providers only allow you to transfer up to one third of a Bachelor’s degree
  • any compromise that will be made to the integrity of the qualification to which credit is being transferred
  • whether the qualification at the new institution will retain its distinctive character
  • the tertiary provider's own credit transfer rules. It is best to visit the provider’s website or faculty office for more details.

What you'll need to apply

You will need:

  • to apply for credit transfer or exemption when you enrol for your paper. Some tertiary providers recommend you apply six to eight weeks before the paper starts
  • to complete an application form and pay an application fee
  • an original or witnessed copy of your official transcript, outlining papers, grades and credits
  • a copy of the course outline or prospectus, with detailed descriptions of each subject.

When can credits not be transferred?

You may not be able to transfer your credits if:

  • the first institution is not recognised as being of equivalent tertiary standing to the second one
  • the statutes or programme regulations of the institution to which you are transferring do not allow credit transfer
  • the qualifications are not of equivalent levels. For example, it is usually not possible to transfer credits from a Bachelor’s degree to a Master’s degree programme.

What is cross crediting?

  • Cross crediting is when you are working on two qualifications, usually at the same tertiary institute, and you want a paper from one degree to count towards the other degree. For example, you might be taking a first year law paper that you want to count towards your Bachelor of Arts as well.
  • Not all tertiary providers use the same terms, so it is best to check the handbook of your tertiary provider for their explanation of cross crediting.

What is an exemption?

  • An exemption is when you are given the right to proceed in your qualification without having to complete a compulsory or pre-requisite course. This is usually because you have passed an equivalent paper already at another institution. For example, a student studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University, who has already passed Accounting 101 at the University of Auckland, could apply for an exemption from Victoria's Accounting 111 paper.
  • An exemption could also be the result of a successful recognition of prior learning application, or credit transfer.

Updated 4 Nov 2016