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New Policies Open Doors for Transfer Students

Block transfer and credit-based completion will create increased flexibility for transfer and other students, while also allowing for greater creativity when developing courses and degree programs.

two students leaving the Drexel Library

Written by: Emmalee Eckstein

Published: July 13, 2020

Total reading time: 3 minutes

Two new academic policies create new opportunities for transfer students to Saint Joseph’s University, while also ensuring that they are able to benefit from a rich Jesuit educational experience.

Beginning this fall, the University is adopting block transfer and credit-based completion of courses. Block transfer allows students who have earned associate’s degrees from accredited institutions to seamlessly transfer their credits to satisfy Saint Joseph’s general education requirements.

“This policy will open new doors for transfer students, many of whom are nontraditional students, while keeping the signatures of a Saint Joseph’s education intact,” says Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Credit-based completion, which will apply to all students including transfers, mandates that all students complete a certain number of credits – rather than the previous policy of a certain number of courses – to earn their degrees. Credit-based models, which are common in academia, ease the process of transferring credits for those who are coming from community colleges, much like block transfer.

In addition, credit-based completion creates greater flexibility that will serve to benefit all Saint Joseph’s students; for example, it would allow the University to offer compressed, one-credit courses, one or two credit courses that take place during intersession, and allow for the more efficient development of five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Currently, all courses must be three-credit courses, meaning that students coming to St. Joe’s from other schools cannot transfer in clases that were less than three credits, for example, and one- or two-credit courses offered at Saint Joseph’s don’t count towards graduation.

Credit-based completion will begin this fall with incoming freshmen. Current students will be able to opt in by spring 2021.

This policy will open new doors for transfer students, many of whom are nontraditional students, while keeping the signatures of a Saint Joseph’s education intact."

Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“Credit-based completion allows us to be more creative and timely in meeting the needs of our students,” McConnell says. “I’d like to thank our faculty for recognizing the need for these updated policies and working together with the University administration to make them a reality.”

Elizabeth Gatti, director of transfer and adult admission, says the block transfer policy allows transfer students to make room to pursue all of their varied interests while getting their degrees.

“The beauty of block transfer is that because their general education requirements have been satisfied by their associate’s degree, the student will have the opportunity to fulfill their major requirements, as well as choose elective courses and, if they want to, pursue a minor or additional classes that spark their interest,” Gatti says.

To complete their general education requirements, transfer students will be required to complete 9 additional credits of mission and ethics-related coursework. Credit requirements vary by major, but most degree programs at Saint Joseph’s call for students to complete at least 120 total credits, including transfer credits, to graduate.

“We wanted all students to complete these essential ethics courses because they are the backbone of a Jesuit education,” Gatti says. “It provides that background of why we believe a Jesuit education can help prepare you for a very dynamic future, while still getting the feel of a Jesuit historical perspective.”

For more information about policies impacting transfer students, e-mail