Going from community college to university in British Columbia is a great way for international students to experience the quality and flexibility of the province's post-secondary education system. Many students begin their post-secondary studies at one college or university and complete them at another.
Community college programs can lead to a degree or other credential, but can also be stepping-stones into universities. A community college will usually have what's called an "articulation agreement" with certain universities. Articulation agreements mean the university agrees to recognize the community college's courses as credit towards a university degree. Therefore, you can transfer your credits from a community college to an agreeing university. Often, agreements are between institutions in the same province or region; however, you can also transfer credit to a university in another province, since there are pan-Canadian transfer protocols.
British Columbia has the specific British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCAAT), which runs the British Columbia Transfer System. Post-secondary institutions apply to participate in the British Columbia Transfer System and must have a proven track record of transfer arrangements which have led to student support and success in order to be accepted. The British Columbia Transfer System allows for the transfer of credit for courses or programs between institutions of either the same type (for example, public colleges) or of different types (for example, from a college to a university).
Different schools may allow transfer of different numbers of credits and have a minimum and maximum that can be transferred.
Many community colleges have specifically designated university transfer programs (sometimes called simply UT), in which students can take up to two years of their degree program and then transfer to another institution. Courses can be transferred individually, as a block (related by subject area) or as a program. Common areas of study for university transfer are: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Credits earned in a certificate, diploma or 2-year associate's degree program are also often transferable towards a 3- or 4-year university program. Each institution, and each program, has its own admission requirements and international students should make themselves aware of the requirements of the institution of their choice.
It is important to note that completion of an British Columbia university transfer program does not guarantee admission to British Columbia university degree programs. You must still meet all the admission requirements of the university, and certain university programs have limited enrolment. Transfer credit is generally assessed on an individual basis once a student applies to the university. The university Registrar or Admissions Office can provide information on having your transfer credit assessed.
Whether you've completed one credential or want to transfer credits for part of a program, there are official, systematic and easy-to-follow guidelines for going from community college to university in British Columbia.