Credit and Transfer Policies

Credit and Transfer Policies

Pacific College Credit Hour Policy


  • Didactic courses: 15 academic hours equal 1 semester unit
  • Hands-on courses and labs: 30 academic hours equal 1 semester unit
  • Independent study: 45 academic hours equal 1 semester unit
  • Clinical training: 30 academic hours equal 1 semester unit

NOTE: For purpose of verification of massage training by NYSED, NY regulations require the college to use a 14:1 ratio instead of the normal academic 15:1 ratio. However, classroom hours and tuition charges are based on the 14:1 ratio.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine meets the minimum standards in the definition of a credit hour defined by the U.S. Department of Education in 34 CFR §600.2. Pacific applies the credit hour, defined by the Carnegie unit, to all courses offered by the college. The Carnegie formula requires two hours of outside work for every hour of in-class didactic instruction. This is described under “Schedule of Classes” in the college catalog page 120. This formula directly relates to assignments, both in, and out of classes. Pacific College courses are based on semester hours. Semesters are 15 weeks long. One credit hour is equivalent to one hour of guided instruction (50 minute class) and a minimum of two hours of out-of class student work each week for all courses, face-to-face and online.

Transfer Credits

Notice Concerning Transferability of Credits and Credentials Earned at Our Institution

The transferability of credits you earn at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the degree or certificate you earn in any Pacific College of Oriental Medicine program is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits or degree or certificate that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution. For this reason you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending Pacific College of Oriental Medicine to determine if your credits or degree or certificate will transfer. Currently, the college has articulation agreements for the nursing program with several colleges and universities in the New York City area.

General Transfer Credit Policy

  1. Transfer credit may be awarded for equivalent coursework documented by official transcript that indicates the units or hours of training in each subject.
  2. Only coursework completed at an accredited or candidate institution of an agency recognized by the Secretary of Education may be transferable.
  3. A grade of “Pass” or “C” (2.0) or above is required for transfer.
  4. Credit must have been earned within the last five years unless the applicant provides acceptable evidence of continuous activity within the last two years in the specific field for which transfer credit is requested. (The Deans may make exceptions, in some cases.)
  5. Transfer credit may be granted for a limited number of courses to individuals who have passed a state-recognized licensing examination. The licensing board or examination agency must provide documentation indicating a passing score in each of the specific areas for which transfer credit is requested to the college and to the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) if/when applying for acupuncture licensure in California.
  6. Transfer credit is officially recorded on the student’s Pacific transcript only upon completion of the program, even if previously recorded unofficially for administrative purposes.
  7. Courses taken at Pacific College branches are interchangeable and not considered transfer credit.
  8. Coursework taken at another institution after admission to Pacific is not transferable unless approved in advance in writing by the registrar, student advisor or academic dean.
  9. Coursework transferred is not included when computing grade point average.
  10. Transfer credit limitations may require a student from an unaccredited school or an institution not approved by the CAB to repeat similar courses and to take more than the minimum credits required for graduation.

Post-Graduate Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Transfer Credit

The program may accept limited transfer credit (no more than 20 credits) for prior coursework toward the post-graduate doctoral program that the Admissions Committee judges to be equivalent to the requirements for graduation from the doctoral program. Transfer credit may only be awarded for didactic course work that is equivalent to the doctoral level, supports the program’s objectives and meets the credits for completion of the program. These credits must come from an accredited institution or its international equivalent. The applicant must demonstrate that they meet the objectives of the courses being transferred by way of an examination or interview with the relevant faculty member.

DAc, DACM, and MSTOM Degree Transfer Credit

Students in the DAc, DACM, and MSTOM programs are qualified to sit for the California Acupuncture Licensure Exam and are subject to the following California Acupuncture Board (CAB) regulations:

  • Up to 100% transfer credit may be awarded for coursework and clinical instruction completed successfully at another acupuncture school or college that is approved by the board. (To be awarded transfer credit for such courses, the college where the work was completed must also be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, otherwise a Challenge Exam is required.)
  • Up to 100% transfer credit may be awarded for courses completed successfully in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, nutrition and vitamins, history of medicine, medical terminology, clinical science, clinical medicine, Western pharmacology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, practice management, and ethics at a school which is approved under Article 4, Section 94770 of Chapter 7 of Part 59 of the Education Code or by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Transfer students from institutions that are unapproved by the California Acupuncture Board or the accrediting agencies noted above will be subject to the following transfer regulations and limitations:

  • Evaluation of such coursework shall include an examination administered and retained by the school in the subject area(s) in which transfer credit may be awarded.
  • Up to fifty percent (50%) credit, by transfer or challenge exam, for clinical practice coursework and instruction in acupuncture and Oriental medicine principles, theories and treatment procedures completed successfully at a school which is not approved by the board may be awarded by a school approved by the board, provided that at least 50% of the course hours in individual subjects are completed successfully at a school approved by the board.

These limitations may require a transfer student from an unapproved institution to repeat similar courses and to take more than the required minimum credits for graduation to be eligible for the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE). Transfer students who have attended an acupuncture college other than Pacific for more than one year, and would like an assessment of transfer, are charged a $100 transfer credit assessment fee. This fee is credited to tuition after the add/drop period ends.

New York and Chicago Master of Science (Acupuncture) and Master of Science (Traditional Oriental Medicine) and Chicago Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and Doctor of Acupuncture students who waive, in writing, eligibility for the California acupuncture license exam (CALE) will be exempted from transfer policies #1 and #2 directly above. Students who waive eligibility for the CALE and subsequently apply for CALE eligibility will need to take or retake coursework sufficient to satisfy the above transfer regulations and limitations. San Diego DACM or MSTOM students may not waive eligibility to the CALE. 

DAc, DACM, MSTOM, and MSAc Degree Transfer Credit Exceptions

Pacific College does not grant transfer credit for the following courses: Senior Internship, Clinical Counseling 3 (pre-Fall 2015 curriculum), and Advanced Needle Techniques.

Transfer students must take either Clinical Observation or a Clinical Assistantship course at Pacific College prior to entering any level of clinical training. Transfer students who have previously taken similar courses may qualify for a reduced course fee but must still earn a passing grade in these courses.

Students who are not healthcare professionals and did not take pharmacology prior to admittance must take Pharmacology at Pacific College due to accountability for drug-herb interaction and application of ADME (Absorption/Distribution/Metabolism/Elimination). Students in medical professions who received transfer credit will be provided a handout on this information.

Transfer credit for Practice Management and Ethics is only granted for comparable courses taken at accredited acupuncture colleges. Other prior business courses are not transferable.

Licensed acupuncturists taking Pacific College’s herbology and clinical courses for the purpose of qualifying for the NCCAOM herbology exam may be exempted from certain program prerequisites. Please contact the registrar or academic dean for details. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Holistic Nursing) Completion Program Transfer Credit

Course content, complexity, grading standards, and grades are considered when determining transfer credit. Credit is not granted for workshops and continuing education classes. The maximum number of transfer credits from a two-year program shall not exceed 70 credits. Students who have taken additional courses at the bachelor’s level may transfer up to 20 additional credits for a maximum total of 90 transfer credits. Registered nurses who have taken courses at an accredited baccalaureate nursing program may also receive credit for nursing courses completed if they have a grade of “B-“ and are comparable to content in courses required for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Holistic Nursing) at Pacific College.

Students enrolled in the Pacific College Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion Program (Holistic Nursing) will be licensed registered nurses who have graduated from an accredited associate’s degree or Diploma Nursing Program. They would have received course work or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment as part of their pre-professional nursing program. This content will be evaluated in conjunction with their transcript evaluation of transfer credit during the application/admission process.

Residency Requirement - At least 25% of any program must be completed at Pacific College. The New York campus is the only campus offering this degree, and transfer between campuses is not permitted for nurses at this time.

In the holistic nursing program, registered nurses with an associate’s degree can receive credit for courses taken at previous schools. Registered nurses with a diploma in nursing can obtain advanced standing credits by taking select nursing examinations through Excelsior College (formerly known as Regents College) or the NLN Mobility Profile Examinations. Remedial coursework is non-credit bearing at Pacific College.

Articulation Agreements with Nursing Associate Degree Programs

Pacific College Nursing Program has articulation agreements with three associate’s degree programs to facilitate seamless transition to the bachelor’s of science degree:

  • Queensborough Community College
  • Sullivan County Community College
  • Swedish Institute

Please check the Nursing section for an updated list.

Massage Program Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for courses taken at massage schools is limited to less than 50% of each massage program for San Diego and Chicago campuses. Transfer credit for courses taken at massage schools is limited to 25% or approximately 250 hours of each massage program for New York campus.

Doctoral, Master’s, and Massage Challenge Examinations

Students who have completed unaccredited coursework equivalent in content and length to Pacific College courses may be eligible to take a challenge examination. A student who passes a challenge exam will receive credit for the respective course or courses. No grade will be entered on the student’s transcript. Challenged courses count as transfer for purposes of California Acupuncture Board eligibility and certain limits apply. Challenge examinations may be taken only in subjects that meet the standards listed in “Transfer Credit Policy” above with the exception that credit: 1) need not be accredited, 2) need not have been earned within the last five years, 3) nor must the applicant have been continuously active within the last two years in the field for which challenge examination is requested.

In order to take an challenge examination the student will:

  1. Obtain the examination petition through the office of the academic dean.
  2. Pay the challenge exam fee.
  3. Take the examination by arrangement with the administrative office or office of the academic dean.
  4. A score of 70% is required to pass the exam and receive credit for a course.

A student wishing to challenge a course may not attend the course prior to taking the challenge exam. Students who pass a challenge exam will not be required to take the course, and credit will be granted. Students failing a challenge exam will be required to take the course at normal tuition rates. All challenge examinations must be completed by the end of the first year of the student’s enrollment at the institution, or prior to the term when the course is required, if before the end of the first year (master’s and doctoral degree students). Massage students must complete their challenge exams before the end of their first term enrolled at the college.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Holistic Nursing) Completion Program Nursing Health Assessment Examinations

In order to assure that all students have reached the minimal nursing bachelor’s level of skill in health assessment, all students must pass a nursing health assessment exam prior to the start of Community Health and/or Leadership course(s). The nursing health assessment exam is graded as pass/fail. Students will be awarded 2.5 nursing credits upon successful passing of the nursing health assessment exam and the payment of the fee. Students who have taken WS352 Health Assessment/Physical Exam course at PCOM, previously earning 2.5 credits, will not obtain extra credit for passing the nursing health assessment exam. Students transferring in a two or more health assessment courses will not obtain extra credit. If students do not pass the nursing health assessment exam they may have a second opportunity. If students fail one nursing health assessment exam or wish to prepare for the exam, they must do so by auditing WS352 Health Assessment/Physical Exam. The student must still pass the nursing health assessment exam prior to starting clinical course work.

Math Placement Exam (San Diego and Chicago campuses)

Undergraduate students are required to complete a placement exam prior to enrolling in the college algebra general education course.

The placement exam used at the San Diego campus is My Foundations Lab. The college will provide an access code to My Foundations Lab to the student; the access code gives the student access to the placement exam and additional online course material in math and English. The My Foundations Lab final exam must be passed before a student may start mathematics at Pacific.

The placement exam used at the Chicago campus is the ACT Compass Math Placement Test. The ACT Compass Math Placement Test is a multiple-choice, computerized test that evaluates students' ability levels in terms of basic skills such as performing a sequence of basic operations, application skills such as applying sequences of basic operations to novel settings or in complex ways, and analysis skills such as demonstrating conceptual understanding of principles and relationships for mathematical operations.

The test includes: integers, decimals, exponents, square roots, and scientific notion, fractions, percentages, ratios and proportions, and averages, substituting values, setting up equations, factoring polynomials, exponents and radicals, basic operations/polynomials, linear equations/one variable, linear equations/two variables, and rational expressions.

Students may sign up to take the test through the front desk receptionist.

Inter-Program Financial Credit

Students who have taken specific courses from Pacific College’s massage department may be allowed to challenge (C) or receive financial credit (FC) for specific master’s or doctoral degree program courses. In addition, master’s or doctoral degree program students wishing to earn a massage degree or certificate may share similar benefits. Please note that financial credit is not applied automatically. Students must note financial credit on their registration forms to inform the administration when credit has been awarded.

Contact your admissions or student advisement representative for what may apply to you.

Auditing Classes

Students may choose to audit a class for which they already have credit for a reduced fee. (See fee pages, or ask the Academic Dean or Student Advisor.)

Auditing classes outside a student’s major or minor program coursework, for which a student does not have credit, is also possible at full tuition. Academic Dean or Student Advisor approval is required.

Auditors must respect the priority access of credit students to teachers’ time. Auditing is permitted on a space-available basis only.