Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Articulation Agreement

An articulation agreement is a signed, formal agreement between PCC and the receiving institution.¬†Articulation agreements provide concrete benefits to PCC students compared to what students receive under the partner institutions' standard transfer admission policies.¬†Benefits may include any or all of the following, subject to the specific parameters outlined in an agreement and a student’s acceptance into the institution and program:

  • Guaranteed transfer of PCC credits towards receiving institution’s major, minor, general education, and/or graduation requirements
  • Guaranteed transfer of PCC credits in ways that fall outside the receiving institution’s standard policies for transfer credits
  • A simplified pathway for transfer from PCC to the receiving institution that minimizes loss of credit
  • Preferential admission, registration, and/or scholarship consideration for PCC students

The definition of “benefit” can vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including the selectivity of the receiving institution’s standard admissions process, how tightly structured and sequenced the major is at the receiving institution, and the availability of the target major at institutions across the U.S.

In general, articulation agreements include the following elements:shaking hands

  • A clear and accurate description of the benefit(s) to PCC students
  • A completed Plan of Study (POS) showing courses to be completed in Years 1 through 4 (or less, if appropriate) reflecting the agreed articulation, which can be used by PCC students and advisors for planning purposes
  • A clearly defined term of duration (a maximum term of three years is recommended)¬†
  • A commitment by administrative and academic contacts at each institution to the upkeep of the agreement, including an annual review to discuss changes to the curriculum at either institution which may impact the specifics of the agreement
  • Specification of administrative and academic contacts at PCC and the receiving institution

Plan of Study (POS)

The POS accompanies the Articulation Agreement. It is a grid depicting the term-by-term and year-by-year order of courses to be completed at PCC and, in most cases, those to be taken at the four-year college or university. The POS reflects the numbers, titles, and credits of the agreed-upon courses at the time the partnership is formalized.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An MOU is a signed, formal agreement between PCC and the receiving institution. MOUs signal the mutual accord and desire for collaboration between PCC and the receiving institution, and a general willingness on the part of the receiving institution to recognize and accept PCC transfer credit. An MOU may be signed in coordination with the development of a transfer guide, to formalize the desire of the two institutions to work together on transfer and related issues. An MOU also may be signed as an indication there is interest on both sides in developing more specific articulation agreements in the future.

In general, MOUs can be quite flexible. The following elements should be included:

  • A term of duration, and due to the broader nature of MOUs in comparison with articulation agreements, a term of five years or longer is reasonable
  • Reference to associated transfer guides, if applicable
  • Specification of administrative and academic contacts at PCC and the receiving institution

University Transfer Guide

A transfer guide is a non-binding information resource which identifies equivalencies at a receiving institution for PCC coursework under the existing transfer policies of that institution. They are intended as a resource for PCC students and advisors, but do not provide guarantees of credit beyond that normally provided by the receiving institution, and are not intended to be a substitute for direct contact with the receiving institution’s admissions and advising staff.

Transfer guides are typically developed for institutions, and/or specific majors at those institutions, which regularly receive significant numbers of transfer students from PCC. Transfer guides may be developed in conjunction with an MOU, but will be kept current based on demonstrated interest from PCC students.