International Relations

Undergraduate Student Articulation Agreement Development Guidelines

These guidelines aim to establish a clear framework and set of processes for Faculties/Departments to develop new international articulation programs at the University of Alberta.

What is an articulation agreement?

An articulation agreement is a defined, officially approved agreement between educational institutions to facilitate students’ academic progress towards a degree. The agreement facilitates the student’s transfer of credits from their sending institution to their receiving institution.

Types of Undergraduate Articulations Agreements

The most common models are:

1+3 model

  • Transferring academic credits from the first year of a four-year program toward a four-year undergraduate degree (max. 30 credits).
  • Students are required to fulfill academic requirements for the remaining three years of the four-year program at the receiving institution.

2+2 model

  • Transferring academic credits from the first two years of a four-year program toward a four-year degree (Max. 60 credits).
  • Students are required to fulfill academic requirements for the remaining two years of the four-year program at the receiving institution.

Common Mechanisms for Credit Transfer

Course by course transfer

  • A select number of courses at the sending institution have already received approval for transfer credit by the receiving institution.

Block transfer

  • The receiving institution grants a pre-determined number of credits to students who have already acquired the equivalent number of credits at the sending institution. The student must have completed certain required courses in their program at the sending institution.
  • Courses taken at the sending institution may have a different syllabus and structure to those at the receiving institution.

Curriculum alignment

  • The curriculum of the sending institution is aligned with that of the receiving institution for the level of study covered by the articulation agreement.
  • Sequencing and contents of courses are the same at both institutions, but differences in faculty qualifications and certain pedagogy are allowed.

Curriculum adoption

  • The sending institution adopts the curriculum of the receiving institution for the level of study covered by the articulation agreement.
  • The receiving institution would typically have input into the choice of teaching staff and pedagogy. In some cases, faculty from the receiving institution may even assume the responsibility of grading examination materials to ensure equivalency of academic standards.

Principles for Developing New Undergraduate International Articulation Programs

  1. Articulation programs should be strategic and consistent with UAlberta’s academic vision and mission, and should support UAlberta’s internationalization goals while addressing the specific recruitment and enrolment management needs of individual programs.
  2. The quality of the articulation programs is paramount, and the academic content of and competencies required by articulation programs must advance the reputation of UAlberta and be consistent UAlberta’s profile and stature.
  3. Articulation programs should be robust enough to address the unique aspects of various countries and/or regions, but each agreement must have identified host units and clearly defined guidelines outlining the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities for each partner.
  4. Articulation programs should ease the transfer of participating students to UAlberta. Students must meet all of UAlberta’s admission requirements, and all degree requirements must be fulfilled in order to be granted a UAlberta degree.

Steps to Establish an International Articulation Agreement

  • Step 1: Evaluate Qualifications of Partner Institution

    There should be internal consultation between University of Alberta International (UAI), the proposing Faculty(ies), and the Registrar’s Office to determine whether the proposed articulation partner meets UAlberta’s standards in terms of quality, reputation, and stature.

    To initiate these discussions, the proposer should contact the relevant Regional Manager in UAI then follow the Process for Establishing an Agreement.

  • Step 2: Establish Course Equivalency
    Once UAlberta has decided to move forward with the articulation program, the Faculty and the Registrar’s Office will review the course descriptions and grading scales for course equivalency, and establish which courses from the partner institution are eligible for transfer credit.

  • Step 3: Prepare and Negotiate Agreement
    UAI, the RO, and the proposing Faculty will work together with the partner institution to complete the articulation agreement, working from an existing UAlberta template. Legal Counsel, the Office of the Vice-Provost, and other offices will be consulted where appropriate.
  • Step 4: Obtain Final Approvals and Sign Agreement
    Once both parties have confirmed the agreement details, it is recommended that the agreement go to the Faculty Council for approval. As with other agreements, a letter of support from the Dean (or designate in the Dean’s office) will be required, outlining the rationale for the agreement.

    After receiving the letter of support, UAI will request approval and signatures from the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). The signing authority at UAlberta rests with the Provost, but Faculty Deans and Department Chairs may be listed as signatories as well, under the Provost and Vice-President (Academic).

    UAI and the partner institution each retain one original copy of the signed agreement. Individual Faculties and Departments are welcome to make copies of the agreement, or may request that additional original copies be signed.

  • Step 5: Create Course Mapping on the System
    The Faculty and Office of the Registrar create course mapping and admission processes on Campus Solutions.

  • Step 6: Implement and Monitor
    The Faculty is responsible for implementing and monitoring the agreement.