Purpose and Mission

Since its inception in 1983, REACH has been committed to providing adult learners with quality Christian higher educational opportunities in the liberal arts and professions in the context of a Christian worldview. Programs maximize convenience, relevance, and service to students while helping them grow as whole individuals through engaging instruction and stretching curricula. Though originally designed as a degree completion program, REACH now offers admission to students with no prior college experience. The REACH program provides adults with a means to complete degrees that will draw on past experience and provide tools for life. Through the REACH program will grow spiritually, intellectually, vocationally, and relationally and will have the tools to continue that growth throughout their lives.

An Overview

The REACH program of Trinity College offers unique opportunities for adult learners to enhance their professional goals through accelerated education. The degree earned is the same Bachelor of Arts offered through Trinity’s traditional programs and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The programs offer a means for busy adults to complete their undergraduate degree in a convenient and timely manner. Adults may enter REACH with any number of prior college credits and, through taking accelerated courses one at a time, may finish their degree with maximum speed and minimum inconvenience. To make this happen, REACH offers clusters of courses that proceed in sequence. When a group of students desiring a particular major cohort is gathered, they begin the course sequence. Faculty cycle through, but the students in the cohort stay together. Major cohort schedules can take between eighteen and thirty months to complete.

To finish a Bachelor of Arts degree, students may combine several general education clusters to meet the graduation requirements. Single course electives may also be chosen. In addition, students may transfer credit, gain credit by examination, seek credit for prior experiential or job-related learning, or take courses from the traditional or online campus to meet graduation requirements.

REACH is guided by these understandings of the adult learner:

  • Adults are busy and have many competing responsibilities. To introduce any educational program into already full schedules is a considerable challenge. With work responsibilities, church activities, civic efforts, and the never-ending task of raising children, finding time for classes can be difficult. The fewer scheduling adjustments and the more learning that can be done at times convenient to the student, the better the educational design fits the busy adult.
  • Adult students are motivated to learn. Adults who choose to return to school after a time in the workforce are typically ready to give the effort needed to benefit from classes for which they are sacrificing. Because of this, learning proceeds much more quickly and faculty do not have to spend valuable time urging students to attend to their work. Indeed, accustomed to excellence at work, adults often labor to reach that same level or quality in their academic pursuits.
  • Adults have learned discipline. As a result of being in the workforce and managing the complexities of both professional and personal responsibilities, adults have developed a sense of discipline that serves them well in the REACH program. Assignments can be completed, and completed well, within tight time frames despite busy schedules and varied responsibilities to work, family, church, and society.
  • Adults have broad life experiences. Learning theory tells us we learn by relating abstractions to memories of past experiences. For this reason, persons who have experienced a work environment and been placed in leadership positions in the past are better able to absorb concepts of management and leadership. Individuals who have wrestled with the loss of a loved one can relate to philosophical questions of mortality and the problem of evil. Drawing on a broad background of experiential knowledge allows adults to quickly grasp ideas.
  • Adults desire relevance. If a subject immediately relates to a current task or a contemporary problem, ears perk up and brains respond appropriately. Working adults encounter situations where their learning may be consistently applied and thus are more motivated and better able to learn.
  • Adults have developed skill in independent learning. REACH courses seek to foster this skill. To succeed in life, adults have by necessity learned to seek information on their own from a variety of sources. Assuming this ability to independently gather and process information, our adult programs rely on students to grasp more knowledge and skills on their own without a teacher being the fountain from which all information flows.
  • Adults learn best when they are personally involved. The more active people are in their own learning, the better the learning. If individuals are only called upon to listen to a “talking head,” little learning takes place. When learners interact in small groups, engage in role play, prepare projects, and apply techniques in the workplace, the learning is deep and retention is long. For this reason REACH seeks to create situations for active learning.
  • Adults have many insights of their own. Experience is a tremendous teacher. As individuals go through life, they gain new perspectives and insights based on the events that have occurred around them. When a group of adults who have varied backgrounds, travels, and work experiences gathers, the accumulated knowledge and wisdom is considerable. To rely solely on one faculty member’s thoughts for the content of a course would impoverish the educational experience. For this reason, discussion is valued more highly than lecture in REACH classes.
  • Adults can direct their learning to fill gaps in their knowledge. Reading and research outside the classroom allow students to fill in gaps between their current knowledge and the knowledge necessary to meet the objectives of the liberal arts and professional courses that are part of the REACH program. Adults are able to recognize where there is still much to learn and have the discipline and learning skills to focus on those areas where they most need to concentrate.
  • Adults learn well in groups. Group learning is widely recognized as an effective learning process. Peers tutor each other in groups. There is emotional support in groups. Warm friendships develop in groups, resulting in a positive climate for learning. Ideas and learning that would not have occurred individually happen in groups as a synergy is created. Weaknesses in one student are offset by the strengths of others in groups. Teamwork, cooperation, and leadership skills are fostered within groups.

The REACH Program

  • Provides adult students a flexible means of completing their entire undergraduate degree in a reasonable time frame without forcing students to abandon work or family responsibilities.
  • Meets adult needs for relevance, convenience, and vocational advancement without compromising academic excellence within a Christian liberal arts context.
  • Fosters key skills, such as writing, speaking, critical thinking, problem solving, information literacy, ethical thinking, and the ability to integrate faith, values, and practice.

Students can enter the program at various stages in their academic career and enroll in cohorts that proceed one course at a time. Cohorts can be combined to form an entire degree program supplemented by transfer hours, elective courses, credit for learning outside the classroom, and credit by examination. To complete an undergraduate degree through Trinity, students must fulfill the general education requirements, complete a major, and earn a total of 124 credits.

REACH Standard Framework

  • REACH is designed to be a nonresidential program.
  • Classes meet one time per week (or every other week) for a four-hour block.
  • Students generally take one course at a time.
  • Students generally stay with the same group of people through their major, forming a cohort.
  • Classes meet for five to seven weeks.
  • Classes may be subdivided into study groups expected to accomplish group tasks in addition to individual work.
  • Skills that cross the curriculum are deemed just as important as the content specific to courses.
  • Interaction is emphasized in the classroom, focusing on integrative activities and student input. Prior learning is valued and drawn upon to enhance the educational environment.
  • Integrative papers are the primary means of evaluation, though tests may be used when appropriate to the content.

Goals Across the Curriculum

The key question that constantly confronts the curriculum in our rapidly changing society is “What educational qualities will allow an individual to succeed and thrive in the unfolding future?” Eight competencies rise to the top. Trinity seeks to enhance these abilities across the curriculum for each of the REACH degree programs. They are as follows:

  1. Integration of a Christian worldview: The ability to formulate a distinctively Christian perspective concerning ideas, people, events, relationships, and issues and then to discern responses consistent with that perspective
  2. Self-knowledge: A willingness to examine oneself, including one’s emotions, temperament, values, goals, experiences, preferences, habitual processes, and identity structure
  3. Open-minded inquiry: The commitment to explore, understand, and appreciate divergent perspectives, values, and cultures without losing identity through premature closure or complete relativism
  4. Critical thinking: The evaluation, through sound research and thinking, of the quality of ideas and information, the merits of courses of action, and the integrity of one’s own beliefs and viewpoints
  5. Aesthetic appreciation: Love for the beautiful, the imaginative, the delightful and empathy for the unlovely, the commonplace, the tragic
  6. Organizational effectiveness: The ability to effectively participate in organizational settings, including working in teams, giving leadership, and solving problems creatively
  7. Communication: Competency in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and collaboration
  8. Lifelong learning: Awareness of foundational questions and knowledge structures in a variety of disciplines, coupled with curiosity, a desire to learn, and skills in self-direction

Second Bachelor’s Degree Option

Applicants to the REACH Program who already hold a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree will be allowed to pursue and, if all the requirements are met, earn a second bachelor’s degree from Trinity. From a student’s existing bachelor’s degree coursework, we would transfer applicable general education and elective credits that meet current Trinity degree requirements for the second bachelor’s degree program. Also, students would be required to complete the major, as well as IDS 105, BI 101 and BI 111, if they do not transfer in those equivalent courses. Students who have a bachelor’s degree from another school need to take a minimum of 33 credit hours at Trinity and must complete at least two-thirds of a given major in new coursework at Trinity to receive the second bachelor’s degree from Trinity. This second-degree option is also available to students who already hold a TIU bachelor’s degree. Students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree are not eligible for federal or state grant funds.  Lifetime Direct Loan limits for undergraduate work must be reviewed to determine a student’s remaining Direct Loan eligibility, if any.

Student Manuals

No later than two weeks prior to the start of each course, students should secure a copy of the Student Manual for that course. This extended syllabus details all course objectives, materials, and requirements and may contain worksheets and reading material necessary for the course. Since most courses have assignments due the first night of class, it is imperative that the student consults the student manual at an early date to be adequately prepared.

The course manuals can be found at https://my.tiu.edu (you will need to enter your Trinity login information), then Academics, then Syllabi & Manuals, then REACH Manuals. The books for courses are also listed in the course manuals.


The purpose of the general education program is to introduce students to the breadth of liberal arts learning, and to provide the foundations (biblical, conceptual, and contextual) for all subsequent education, and for learning across the lifespan. Specifically, we intend that by the time of graduation the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate a Christian world-and-life view
  2. Think critically, reason clearly, and communicate effectively
  3. Utilize quantitative and analytical skills
  4. Employ moral reasoning and judgment as an outgrowth of personal faith and commitment
  5. Interpret the biblical themes of creation, fall, and redemption--in particular as they relate to the arts and humanities
  6. Respond thoughtfully, redemptively, and empathically to social changes
  7. View current issues in their global and historical contexts and in relation to social, cultural, and natural constructs
  8. Respect diverse religions and cultures, engaging others with sensitivity and discernment
  9. Live healthfully and pursue wellness 


The requirements specified below (totaling 33 credits) may be met by taking TIU courses (traditional face-to-face, accelerated face-to-face, modular, hybrid, and/or online), though transfer credit, credit for prior college-level learning, or credit by examination. No one course can satisfy two General Education requirements. No more than 9 credits can simultaneously count for both General Education and any major. 

Biblical Studies / Theology / Lifelong Learning9
College Writing6
Math or Computer Science3
Social Science6
Total Hours33

Specific Trinity courses that meet these requirements include: 

Biblical Studies / Theology / Lifelong Learning (9 hours)
Select two:6
Understanding the Old Testament
Understanding the New Testament
Biblical Interpretation
Select one:
IDS 105Foundations for Adult Learning3
or IDS 150 Foundations of Christian Thinking and Living
College Writing (6 hours)
ENG 111Critical Thinking and Writing3
Select one:
ENG 210XBusiness Communication 13
or ENG 115 Writing and Research
Humanities (6 hours)
Select one:
ENG 222Studies in Fiction3
or ENG 308 Nineteenth-Century Women Authors
Select one:3
United States History Through the Civil War
United States History Since the Civil War
World Civilizations to 1600
World Civilizations Since 1600
Math or Computer Science (3 hours) 3
Select one:3
Applied Computer Technology
Mathematics in the Modern World
Introductory Statistics
Science (3 hours)
Select one:3
Introduction to the Physical World
Human Biology
Environmental Conservation
Social Science (6 hours)
Select two course from the following options. The courses that are selected must come from two different areas of study, which are represented by the different prefixes (BUS, COM, CRJ, POL, PSY, and SOC).6
Introduction to Economics
Principles of Management 1
Human Resources Management 1
Survey of International Business 1
Introduction to Business Law 1
Personal Finance
Sales Principles and Practices 1
Interpersonal Communication
Intercultural Communication in a Global Context
Introduction to Criminal Justice
Criminal Law and Procedure 1
Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Criminal Justice
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency 1
American Government
Introduction to Psychology
Human Sexuality
Psychology of Addiction
Introduction to Sociology
Marriage and the Family
Social Problems
Social Movements
Race and Ethnic Relations
Total Hours33

 Not available for general education credit for students residing in the state of Florida.


 These courses must be taken at TIU to fulfill the requirement.


 Math must be college algebra or above; computer must be general introduction, not programming, and completed within the past five years.

For Florida Students Only

General Education Courses are those college-level courses designed to place emphasis on principles and theory rather than on practical applications associated with a vocational, occupational, or professional objective.  General education courses may include, but not limited to, English, history, philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, sociology, foreign languages, humanities, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and psychology, when such courses are not within the area of concentration of a vocational, occupational, or professional program.  For example, English Composition is considered a general education course, but Business English is not.  Courses designated as "applied", "specialized", "technical", or similar designation do not meet this definition.

In addition to the 33 hours listed above, Florida residents will complete the following requirements:
Social Science Courses6
Humanities Courses6
Total Hours12

Because of the integrated nature of the courses in each major and the elements that are built across the curriculum, students must take from Trinity a majority of the courses that constitute the major.

REACH Adult Undergraduate Majors

Dual Degree Programs for Adult Undergraduates

Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts in Leadership

Trinity College offers the following certificates for non-degree-seeking students.

Certificate in Bible and Theology
BI 101Understanding the Old Testament3
BI 111Understanding the New Testament3
BI 210Biblical Interpretation3
BRS 231Christian Doctrine3
Choose one of the following recommended courses:3
Foundations of Christian Thinking and Living
Any BI/BRS elective
Total Hours15
Certificate in Christian Ministries
Ministry Foundations:
CM 201Survey of Christian Education3
or CM 181 Spiritual Formation
Intercultural Ministry:
CM 260Introduction to Intercultural Ministry3
or CM 210 Ministry in its Cultural Context
BRS 338Theological and Sociological Foundations of Evangelism3
or CM 321 Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Teaching the Bible:
BI 275Teaching the Bible3
Any CM elective
Total Hours15

Assessment of Prior Learning

Trinity College recognizes that adult students have had many learning experiences prior to their entrance into the REACH Program. REACH offers a variety of ways through which students may be able to earn college credit for learning acquired through these 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 learning may be demonstrated in a variety of ways:

      •     Credit by examination through CLEP and DSST

      •     ACE assessed credit for military training

      •     Life Learning Papers (LLP)

      •     Business and Professional Training (BPT)

      •     Advanced Placement (AP) credit

The following questions are designed to clarify how you might receive college credit through these options.

1. Who do I talk to about PLA at REACH?

The Director of Academic Programs manages the PLA process. Talk to your Student Services Associate about your options. If you are a new student, talk to your admission representative about PLA.

2. What is the limit for PLA credit?

 A maximum of 82 credits can be granted for prior learning and/or transfer credit.  This includes credit awarded by CLEP/DSST, Life Learning Papers, and Business and Professional Training.

3. Can I use PLA to substitute for core requirements of a major?

Yes. PLA credits may also be applied to general education or general electives for the degree.

Note: Prior Learning credit is not an option for education majors in any category.

4. What is CLEP/DSST?

 College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS also administers the STA, ACT, and other exams. More information can be found at www.ets.org and www.collegeboard.org. DSST (DANTES Standardized Tests, formerly known as Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) is administered by the military but open to civilians. More information can be found at www.getcollegecredit.com.  Both of these exams award credit based on receiving a passing score as determined by CLEP/DSST and Trinity College. The credit is not given a grade and does not count toward the GPA. Students can prepare for the exams through study guides and practice tests at the test websites. These tests are available in many areas of Business, Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, History, Social Science, Science, and Mathematics. Contact your student advisor to see if such tests might be an option.

CLEP/DSST do not count towards residency as stated in the Transfer Credit Policy.

5. Where can I take CLEP/DSST tests, and how much do they cost?

Locations and costs vary but are available at the CLEP and DSST websites listed above.

6. What is ACE?

The American College on Education is composed of more than 1,500 institutions of higher learning and national and regional education associations and is the major nongovernmental body concerned with postsecondary education. ACE evaluates military and professional training programs, determines the level of learning, and recommends the amount of credit that should be granted. At the present time, REACH accepts credit for military training through ACE.  Transfer credit is determined based on an assessment conducted through the records office. More information can be found at www.acenet.edu.

7. What is a Life Learning Paper?

Life Learning Papers (LLPs) earn credit by demonstrating college-level learning acquired through life experience apart from formal training. This can include learning from a variety of settings, including travel abroad, family, and work and ministry experiences. Learning is demonstrated through writing a paper clearly describing learning outcomes. Faculty evaluate the LLPs. Students must participate in a Prior Learning Assessment Workshop before they can pursue such credit. For planning purposes, an early start on this process is encouraged. Credit in this area is granted based on CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) standards.

8. What is Business and Professional Training (BPT)?

Business and Professional Training (BPT) demonstrates college-level learning through nontranscripted training experiences such as workshops and conferences. The student verifies learning through providing documentation regarding the curriculum, organization, trainers/teachers, and hours. Faculty evaluate the BPTs. Students must participate in a Prior Learning Assessment Workshop before they can pursue such credit.

9. What is college-level learning?

College-level learning must demonstrate the following characteristics:

      •     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 goals and/or lifelong learning goals

      •     Not repeat learning for which credit has already been earned

10. What is Advanced Placement (AP) credit?

Some students earn AP credit in their high school studies. These credits were earned through having acceptable scores in the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. An acceptable score is a grade of 3 or better. The student should have the appropriate materials and scores submitted to REACH.

11. How much does PLA cost?

CLEP, DSST, and ACE credits are paid to those organizations and are determined by those organizations. Trinity does not charge a transcription fee for these credits. Fees for LLPs and BPTs are based on the number of credits petitioned, not the number of credits earned: 1-4 credits petitioned costs $225; 5-9 credits petitioned costs $375; 10+ credits petitioned costs $550.

12. Does Financial Aid cover PLA?

No. PLA does not count towards academic load, thus it is not eligible for financial aid.

13. How does PLA credit appear on the transcript?

PLA credit appears on the transcript in the semester in which it was earned. It is listed as a number of credits with no grade.

14. When can I start on PLA?

LLPs and BPTs may be petitioned any time after you take the Prior Learning Assessment Workshop. This workshop is offered twice a year at each REACH location. CLEP, DSST, and ACE credits may be submitted anytime during the student’s time in REACH. AP credits should be submitted at the time of admission to Trinity, along with other transcripts.  CLEP and DSST credits are not included in residency credit requirements. Students should work closely with academic advisors when planning on using CLEP and DSST credit.

15. Is there an appeal process for Prior Learning Assessment?

Yes. Appeals regarding Prior Learning Assessment can be made through the regular REACH appeal process. The only difference is that your initial meeting will be with the Director of Academic Programs, rather than the faculty reader of the PLA.