Articulation at CSULB

Articulation refers specifically to course articulation: the process of developing a formal, written agreement that identifies courses (or sequences of courses) on a “sending” campus that are comparable to, or acceptable in lieu of, specific course requirements at a “receiving” campus. Successful completion of an articulated course assures the student and the faculty that the student has taken the appropriate course, received the necessary instruction and preparation, and that similar outcomes can be assured. In short, the articulation process enables the student to progress to the next level of instruction at the receiving institution.

At California State University Long Beach (CSULB), articulation is the process for establishing agreements on lower-division courses of other colleges that may be used in lieu of CSULB lower-division courses. The Long Beach campus maintains an extensive number of articulation agreements with California Community Colleges, other CSU Campuses, the UC, and a few independent institutions. These articulation agreements are published on the ASSIST website (Articulation System Stimulating Inter-institutional Student Transfer). This site is the official repository of articulation information for the state of California and is widely used by students and colleges.

Articulation is based on the following premises:

  • That students who have conscientiously pursued an educational plan at one institution based on the published requirements for a degree at CSULB should be able to transfer approved (articulated) courses taken for credit toward that degree without unreasonable loss of credit or time (and this has been legislated in California).
  • That among accredited institutions there will ordinarily be a high degree of correspondence and equivalency between programs of the same type and, therefore, a high degree of reciprocity will normally exist.

Students should consult their advisor regarding questions about information from ASSIST or transfer of classes.

Additional Articulation Information

The actual process of developing and reviewing curriculum and coursework to determine course comparability between institutions rests with the faculty at the respective institutions. Faculty in each discipline are responsible for the actual review of course content, the identification of comparable courses, and the authorization of acceptance of specific courses for transferring students. Once this review, identification, and formal written acceptance process has occurred, a course (or sequence of courses) is said to have been “articulated.” Implicit in the articulation process is involvement, communication, and cooperation between the respective faculties who mutually develop curriculum and establish requirements and standards for articulated courses. It is important to note that articulated courses are not to be construed as “equivalent” but rather as comparable, or acceptable in lieu of each other.

The Articulation Team within the Office of Academic Programs has the overall responsibility for the effective functioning of the internal articulation process and external communications of policy, primarily with the California Community Colleges, but also with the other campuses in the CSU, campuses of the University of California, and with private institutions.

The Articulation Team has the overall responsibility for all aspects of articulation with other colleges and universities and is responsible for the preparation of all university reports and correspondence on articulation matters, although it is expected that departments and schools will have well-established, collegial communication with the local institutions with which formal articulation agreements have been made. The Articulation Team is also responsible for maintenance of the university course articulation databases (PeopleSoft and ASSIST).

The team also maintains close liaison with the director of University Outreach and School Relations, whose duties include the dissemination of general information about the university to regional high schools and community colleges. The director of University Outreach and School Relations, in the process of maintaining inter-institutional relations, may from time to time learn of matters concerning the articulation of courses between academic departments and should immediately notify the Articulation Team of these matters. The Articulation Team shall keep the director of University Outreach and School Relations apprised of articulation agreements in effect.

College/Department Articulation

College/departmental articulation is organized according to departmental and college policies. Involved faculty should be familiar with the lower-division course portfolio of the department and with the articulation process in general. The chairs of departments should maintain open communications between themselves and their counterparts in the community colleges and other institutions of higher education. Within each college/department, faculty will be assigned as the college or department articulation reviewers. Courses for potential articulation agreements will be evaluated by the designated articulation reviewer and endorsed by the Associate Dean.

Articulation Process

The CSULB articulation process is designed for course-to-course articulations, and all other articulation-related agreements and literature are predicated on it. Because CSULB and community college enrollment management and transfer student processes are facilitated when students can transfer from the community college with all lower-division major requirements completed or appropriately patterned, the university hopes that the relationships between CSULB departments and the colleges will result in as many articulation agreements as possible of the lower-division requirements of our majors.

Articulation agreements may be initiated by external colleges or by CSULB faculty.

The Articulation Team, acting as the main points of contact for requests for articulation of courses received from other institutions, ensures that CSULB has an up-to-date copy of the college catalog (also available on the College Source Site) and college course outlines for those courses for which articulation is desired.

The college or department articulation reviewer will be responsible for evaluating courses using these course outlines or for comparability to CSULB courses. Any course outline referred to the department reviewer and Associate Dean from the Articulation Team will be attached to an articulation request email that provides the college name and course name and number, along with the corresponding CSULB course for potential articulation agreement. The reviewer will indicate approval or disapproval of the agreement, and reply all to the email. The Associate Dean must also agree on all disapprovals. Upon receipt of all decisions, the Articulation Team ensures that the agreement is formally communicated and recorded and that all systems are expeditiously updated and coded.

A CSULB department that wishes to initiate articulation for a course(s) at another community college should contact the Articulation Team.

Timely responses to articulation requests are important. Departments requiring additional information should always relay this information to the University Articulation Team, because this person has contact with the requesting institution on a variety of courses. Requests for additional materials should be made promptly.

Notice: Colleges/departments are given three week in which to respond to a college's request or to review tentative agreements forwarded to them by the Articulation Team. Failure of a department to respond within the normal time period requires that the Articulation Team, in consultation with the Director of Academic Programs, make the determination for the course in question. The department reviewer will receive notice during the three week review period that the articulation agreement will be assumed in cases of no response from the department. Under normal conditions, the Articulation Team will complete and sign single-course articulation agreements and record articulation agreements with the community colleges only on the recommendation of the department reviewers and endorsement by the Associate Deans.

Course-to-Course Articulation

A single course articulation requires that the course have substantially the same content, methodology, and goals. Normally the same number of semester course credit units are assigned to courses that are articulated. Where quarter-system units are involved, the department is urged to consider the coverage rather than concentrating on the elapsed time. A course with fewer units or with more units may be articulated with a CSULB course; in such cases, the student receives the full CSULB subject credit for the transferred course, but may have either a deficiency or an excess in unit credits in the major.

Articulation with Upper Division Courses

In general, courses must be articulated within the same division, i.e., lower-division to lower-division. However, if faculty wishes to award "subject matter credit" to a lower division community college course in comparison to an upper division CSULB course, the agreement will be accommodated. The student will NOT receive upper division credit for the course.

Major-to-Major Articulation

An "articulation-by-major" refers to a set of agreements for most or all of the lower division requirements for the major. CSULB does not articulate majors-to-majors, but it does attempt to establish complete sets of course-to-course articulations which fill out the lower-division requirements of the major.

ASSIST is a computerized student-transfer information system. It displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and, therefore, provides the most accurate and up-to-date information available about student transfer in California.

The ASSIST acronym stands for Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer.

The Academic Programs and Articulation office records all articulation agreements in the ASSIST database for easy access by students wishing to transfer to CSULB. Agreements are listed individually by academic department, but are also included in the section of the site that provides lower division degree requirements by major. The CSULB information for majors and articulation agreements is established and maintained by the University Articulation Team. The information is available on the ASSIST website.

Articulation agreements are maintained by "CSULB catalog year" and are updated when new CSULB courses are published in a new university catalog, the CSULB course changes and the notification of change is published to other institutions, or a new community college course or substantially changed course has been developed.

When a community college course has changed, we rely on the community college articulation officer to give us prompt and detailed information about the change. Articulation agreements remain in effect (at a minimum) through the effective period of the college catalog in which the course is published, unless the articulated course is substantially changed and offered as a changed course during this period. If an articulated college course is substantially changed by its faculty, whether published in their catalog or not, the articulation agreement may be voided by the University Articulation Team or referred to the college/department reviewer for evaluation. If in the opinion of the Articulation Team the change to the college's course is not substantial, the articulation agreement may be continued by the Articulation Team without further review.

Changes to CSULB courses for which any articulation agreement exists may have an affect on those agreements. Normal courtesy requires that when CSULB courses are modified the institutions which have a course articulated with our course be notified with sufficient time to effect necessary changes. This is done automatically in the articulation office with sufficient time (at least one semester) given to the community college to respond to the change.

Articulation agreements are in force for the minimum period of the academic year of the college catalog and CSULB catalog in which the course is published and these agreements are normally extended for a five year period. They may be cancelled, and in unusual circumstances without respect to the election of regulations policy. Nevertheless, the CSU election of regulations policies are fundamental to the California Higher Education Master Plan. They promise students a stability of degree course requirements at the degree-granting institution and are predicated on the currency and accuracy of articulation agreements and transcript evaluations.

Articulation agreements are recorded in the university student system module of the common management system (PeopleSoft) and in ASSIST.

C-ID is a California Community College common numbering system for significant transfer courses. Each C-ID number identifies a lower-division, transferable course commonly articulated between the California Community Colleges and universities. The C-ID program provides an opportunity for CSULB to expand articulation without reviewing individual college course outlines. Articulation approved with a C-ID course descriptor means agreement to articulate the CSULB course with any California Community College (CCC) course that is awarded this specific C-ID designation. The CCC course outline will be reviewed and approved by an inter-segmental (CCC, CSU, UC) faculty review team in this discipline to include the content covered in the descriptor. It is a one-to-many articulation agreement in that CSULB would not be reviewing individual CCC course outlines, but accepting the review by the above-mentioned faculty team. For more information, contact the Articulation Office (X58221) or the C-ID website.

The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (SB 1440, Padilla), signed into legislation on September 29, 2010, enables the California Community Colleges and California State University to collaborate on the creation of Associate in Arts Degree (AA-T) and Associate in Science (AS-T) Degree transfer programs. This law requires community colleges to grant an associate degree for transfer to a student once a student has met specified general education and major requirements for the degree. Upon completion of the associate degree, the student is eligible for transfer with junior standing into the California State University (CSU) system.

Under this program students will transfer to CSULB with CSU GE certification and 60 transferable units. If the student transfers to a CSULB program that has been deemed similar to the Associate Degree for Transfer program, the student can be held to no more than 60 units at CSULB to earn the bachelor's degree. The Associate Degrees are composed of California Community college courses with the above-mentioned C-ID designation, ensuring that appropriate course content is included. The CSU campuses are encouraged to designate that bachelor's programs are similar to the Associate degrees for Transfer in order to promote transfer and timely degree completion. For more details, please contact the Articulation Office on campus (X58221).


Best Practices for Articulation

Articulation Office
University Library, 2nd Floor
(562) 985-7171.