Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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Credit transfer

core definition

Credit transfer is the ability to transport credits (for learning) from one setting to another.

explanatory context

The UK has had a scheme in place for transferring credits for about 40 years (CATS described below). However, this is not an automatic process.


The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (EU, 2004) is developing rapidly to facilitate credit transfer across the European higher education area.


In the US, this process is also referred to as transferability or articulated agreement.

analytical review

The process of transfer usually goes hand-in-hand with a process of accumulation of credit. Thus, for example, HEFCE (undated) defines credit accumulation and transfer schemes (CATS) as:

Arrangements within institutions which determine student progression towards defined learning outcomes, including formal qualifications, and recognition of these arrangements between institutions to facilitate the transfer of students.


Credit Common Accord for Wales defines credit accumulation and transfer schemes as:

A system based on a set of agreed specifications and procedures, which facilitates learners to accumulate and transfer the credit they have gained within and beyond the providing institution, awarding body or qualification scheme. (QCA /LSC, 2004)


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA, undated) in the UK defines credit transfer as:

A system that allows credit awarded by one higher education awarding body to be recognised and included towards the requirements for a programme at another higher education provider; or that allows credit gained on a particular programme to contribute towards the requirements of a different one.


In the United States, the comparable term transferability is:

the extent to which a course taken from one campus may be accepted by another campus; variations determining full or partial transfer of the credit depend on such factors as whether the receiving campus offers an equivalent or similar course at comparable levels of academic expectation for learning; academic advisors and campus coordinators have information about whether and how specific courses will transfer to their institutions and degree programs (ICN, 2003; NTNC, 2002).


Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC) (2002) also define:

Articulation agreement: A written agreement listing courses at one college that are equivalent to courses at another college. These agreements facilitate the smooth transition of students through the secondary, community college and university educational systems.

associated issues

related areas

See also


credit accumulation

European Credit Transfer Scheme


European Union (EU), 2004, ECTS Users’ Guide – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System for Lifelong Learning, European Commission. Published summer  2004.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, still available 31 December 2016, not available 20 June 2019.

Indiana College Network (ICN), 2007, ‘Glossary' available at, updated 15 February 2007, accessed 12 July 2012, still available 20 June 2019.

Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC), 2002, Distance Learning College Glossary. , accessed 20 September 2012, not available 10 June 2019.

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and Learning + Skills Council (QCA /LSC) 2004, Principles for a credit framework for England: Terms and definitions, pp. 11–13. March (London: QCA /LSC). Uses definitions from the Credit Common Accord for Wales published in July 2003.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 7 January 2017, not available 10 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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