Advanced Standing

Some entering freshmen and transfers may qualify for waiving of certain requirements.

Advanced Placement

Students who earn acceptable scores in the Advanced Placement Program of the CollegeBoard will receive credit at Trinity providing they receive a grade of 3 or better and that all appropriate materials and scores are submitted to Trinity.


College Level Examination Program (CLEP) scores (subject examinations only) may be accepted for credit upon the recommendation of the department. A student may not earn CLEP credit for a course previously taken, as an audit or for credit, at Trinity International University.

Competency Exams in Old Testament and New Testament

Students who believe that their Old Testament and New Testament knowledge is equivalent to Trinity’s introductory courses may demonstrate their mastery by taking a competency exam.  Credit for the courses BI 105 and BI 115 may be achieved upon successful completion of the respective competency exam and reading of the respective biblical text. Successful completion is understood to be a score of B (3.0) or better on the exam. The Director of the TEDS Undergraduate Teaching Department administers the exams. The exams are made up of objective questions (multiple choice, true/false, matching) addressing the content of the texts and integrative essays addressing the application of the texts.  A fee for the exam is charged; see credit by examination procedure, below.

Credit by Examination (CBE)

On occasion, examinations conducted by departments of the college may be used to determine a student’s achievement and mastery in specific subject areas and serve as a basis for credit or waiving a course, as recommended by the department. Credit by Examination is limited to matriculated Trinity undergraduate students. CBE is regarded as transfer credit and, therefore, will not be computed into the student’s grade point average. CBE will not be granted for a course that the student has previously taken (for audit or credit) at Trinity International University.

Students should complete the following process for seeking CBE for a specific course:

  1. Obtain a “Credit By Exam” form from the Student Accounting Office. The Student Accounting Office will initiate the approval process by assessing the appropriate CBE fee (see “Fees” section in this catalog).
  2. Make arrangements for completing the exam with the department chair or instructor.
  3. Obtain the signature of the department chair.
  4. Submit the completed CBE form to the instructor.
  5. Upon completion of the exam, the instructor will post the test results on the CBE form, sign, and submit the form to Records.
  6. The Records Office will notify the student when the CBE credit is posted on the transcript.

Credit examinations administered at other schools may be accepted for credit (not grade) at the discretion of the department chair. The chair may require an additional examination to determine the student’s level of competence prior to granting Trinity credit.

Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, or proficiency tests will not be allowed to count toward the residency requirement for graduation from Trinity. Proficiency tests may not be used to fulfill any general education or major requirement.

Credit for Military Basic Training

Any prospective student having successfully completed Military Basic Training may be eligible to receive credit. The student should submit a copy of the military DD-214 (Copy-4) to the Records Office and request an evaluation. Upon verification of completed Military Basic Training, credit will be posted as transfer work on the transcript.

International Baccalaureate Program

Trinity recognizes the International Baccalaureate Program and awards credit from the Diploma or the Certificate for Higher Level Subjects in which the student has attained a score of 5 or better. Application of this credit to specific courses is determined by the appropriate departments. Hours of credit are determined by the Trinity courses for which the subject exams are substituted.

Pre–High School Diploma, College-level Work

Trinity accepts, under normal transfer credit guidelines, course credit earned by a high school student provided that the credit appears on the transcript of a regionally accredited college or university and that the student attended the regularly scheduled classes on the institution’s campus.

Transfer Credit Policy

Trinity is pleased to receive credits from other postsecondary institutions to fulfill degree requirements, subject to the following criteria and limitations:

  • The sending institution must be accredited by a body recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), including—but not limited to—regional accrediting agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission, national accrediting agencies such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), and specialized accrediting agencies such as the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). (For a complete listing of recognized accrediting bodies and accredited institutions, see the USDE Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.) A maximum of 30 credits from postsecondary institutions not accredited by a USDE-recognized agency, which satisfy all other criteria (see below), will be received after the student has completed at least 24 credit hours of Trinity coursework at a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • The student must have received a grade of “C” or higher (or its equivalent) from the sending institution in all coursework presented for transfer.
  • Trinity credits are based on semester hours, so credits from institutions that grant credits according to other delivery systems (e.g., quarters, trimesters) will be adjusted accordingly and proportional credit received.
  • Nontransferable courses that must be taken at Trinity include:
    • For traditional and online students:  The general education course IDS 180 (IDS 150 or IDS 180 for online) and the capstone course in each major.
    • For Adult Undergraduate students (TIU-Florida):  The general education course IDS 105.
  • The general education courses BI 105, BI 115, and BI 211 are transferable, but the credits received to satisfy these requirements must be from sending institutions that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) or that are accredited by ABHE or TRACS.
  • A maximum of 82 credits at the 100 or 200 level may be transferred into a BA degree program at Trinity.
  • At least 30 of the last 45 credits (exclusive of credits by examination) applied to a degree must be taken at Trinity or in a nonresident program of study authorized by the faculty.
  • Students who complete any of the following - an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree, an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree, or an Associate in Fine Arts (A.F.A.) degree - at an accredited institution are guaranteed a minimum of 60 transfer credits. The A.A., A.S., or the A.F.A. degree fulfills general education requirements in all categories, including the world language requirement, with the exception of:
    • For traditional and online students:  The Thinking and Living Biblically in the World category. Students with an Associate degree must fulfill the Thinking and Living Biblically in the World course requirements in accordance with established policies.
    • For Adult Undergraduate students:  Foundations of Adult Learning (IDS 105), Understanding the Old Testament (BI 105) and Understanding the New Testament (BI 115).  Students with an A.A. degree must fulfill these course requirements in accordance with established policies. 
  • The Illinois Articulation Initiative’s general education core, completed at an accredited Illinois institution, fulfills the general education requirements in all categories with the exception of the Thinking and Living Biblically in the World category and the Foundations of Adult Learning course. Students who complete the IAI general education core must fulfill the Thinking and Living Biblically in the World course requirements in accordance with established policies.
  • Traditional and online undergraduate students who transfer to Trinity as juniors (minimum 58 hours earned) must take IDS 180 (traditional) or IDS 150 or IDS 180 (online) and two of the three Bible classes in the category Thinking and Living Biblically in the World (BI 105, BI 115, and BI 211).
  • Undergraduate online students may have a maximum of 33 percent of the total credit hours for any major accepted as transfer credit. Because of the integrated nature of the courses in each major and the elements that are built across the curriculum, students must take a majority of the courses that constitute the major from Trinity. 
  • To facilitate efficient transfer processes, Trinity maintains a database of transfer articulation agreements involving individual courses, as well as blocks of courses taken at other institutions, including (but not limited to) area community colleges and online course offerings. The Records Office can also facilitate pre-approval of transfer coursework according to university policies.
  • Students who wish to appeal an evaluation of credits presented for transfer may do so in writing to the Dean of the College and Graduate School or designee.
  • Please note that the transferability of credits taken at Trinity to other colleges and universities is at the discretion of the receiving institution. It is the student's responsibility to confirm whether another college of the student's choice will accept credits earned at Trinity. 
  • Transfer credits may not apply towards the completion of any certificate program.

Prior Learning Assessment 

(Available to online and TIU-Florida students only)

The university recognizes learning gained through various life experiences.  This learning may have been acquired through professional/job endeavors, ministry/church activities, personal or family events or education in unaccredited settings.  Students may receive credit for college-level learning gained through these experiences, not for the experiences themselves.  This college-level learning can be demonstrated through life learning papers, business and professional training, as well as through credit by examination as described elsewhere in this section.  To be considered college-level learning, the experience must be measurable through documentation, be at a level of achievement defined by faculty as university equivalent or consistent with the learning of other students in university studies, be applicable outside of the specific job or context in which it was learned, have a knowledge base, be reasonably current, imply a theoretical or conceptual as well as practical understanding, show some relationship to degree or lifelong learning goals, and not repeat learning for which credit has already been earned.  Prior learning credit may be applied to general education electives, or major requirements as appropriate.  

Prior Learning Assessment workshops are offered to inform students about the process of writing papers to demonstrate life learning.  Students may seek advice from advisors about the potential number of credits they may petition for through Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) but advisors do not determine how many credits papers are worth.

PLA credits (including Life Learning Papers, and Business and Professional Training) are classified under, and are therefore subject to, transfer credit policies. On this basis, students needing to complete credit hours toward graduation requirements may be eligible to petition up to 82 hours of credit through PLAs.  It is important to note that the maximum of 82 credits includes both transfer credits from other schools and PLA.

PLAs are divided into two categories:

  1. Business and Professional Training (BPT): demonstrates college-level learning through documented nontraditional educational experience such as conferences and workshops.  The student verifies learning through providing documentation regarding the curriculum, organization, trainers/teachers, and hours.  Faculty evaluate the BPTs.
  2. Life Learning Paper (LLP): demonstrates college-level learning through previous life experience apart from formal training.  This can include travel abroad, family, work and ministry experience, and life-changing events (e.g. divorce, leadership, ministry).

Upon completion of the appropriate documentation, the student submits the PLA to the appropriate office (online students to the Dean of the College; TIU-FL students to the academic leadership in Florida). The documentation is then forwarded to a faculty reader qualified to evaluate the subject matter. The faculty reader determines if the documentation needs to be rewritten or the amount and level of credit to be awarded, if any. The faculty reader then returns the PLA to the relevant office, and the student is notified of the results via mail. The process takes approximately six to eight weeks, and students should refrain from contacting the office regarding the status of the PLA until eight weeks have elapsed.

The title of each PLA-awarded paper will appear on the student’s transcript, with one of two alpha-numeric codes, either IDS 199E for lower division coursework, or IDS 399E for upper division coursework.  PLA credit is listed as a number of credits with no grade.  There is a fee for prior learning assessment based on the number of credits petitioned, not the number of credits earned.

VA Student Credit for Previous Education and Training

Veteran students must report all previous education and training. Trinity International University will evaluate such education and training, and if appropriate will award transfer credit.  VA Benefits exception: For VA benefit awards, it is not required that a student’s last semester of degree completion only include TIU courses. However, the awarding of credits toward the degree is subject to the normal request, review, transfer and acceptance policy of TIU.