Students who request transfer or “substitute” credits for courses offered at PIMS, should consider that similar courses offered at other institutions will not have the application and focus on funeral service practice. Furthermore, there is a requirement that all students pass the PIMS comprehensive examination and a requirement for licensure, in most states, of passing the National Board Examination. We at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, feel that the various applications and instruction in funeral service that we provide best prepared funeral director and embalmer for their professional careers. 

Therefore, as general policy, students admitted to our programs must take all courses offered at PIMS. However, students who have successfully (C or better) completed mortuary science courses in a ABFSE accredited school, and who submit a syllabus or detailed course outline may  request transfer credit. Master or doctoral level programs may also be considered for transfer of credit. An example would be a MS in Paralegal Studies could request transfer of credit for PIMS’ Business Law course. Transfer of credit, beyond Area I and Area II courses are not automatically considered and must be made in writing (email is appropriate) to The Program Director who reviews all requests. If the course content is not similar enough, or if the number of credits earned do not meet the minimum number of credits offered at PIMS then the course will not be considered for transfer of credit. Courses that are counted towards state licensure preliminary requirements cannot be considered for transfer of credit; this would be “double dipping”. Grades must be verified by an official college transcript that should be sent directly to PIMS by the institution. 


The 30 Area I and Area II credits transferred to qualify for the Associate in Specialized Technology and the 16 Area I/II transferred in for Associate in Specialized Business do not replace any of the 60 CORE credits that this policy applies to.

If there is any question or if there is any doubt as to transferability of credits, or if a student feels proficient in a subject (i.e. has a bachelor of science in Psychology) PIMS reserves the right to require the student to show proficiency by successfully completing a “challenge examination” in the subject(s)/course(s) for which transfer credit is being requested. This examination is presented for only certain courses and there is no charge to the student. This exam is offered only as proctored examination at PIMS. 

Students will not be charged for any credits associated with transfer courses and will not be counted towards financial aid enrollment figures. If a grade is assigned, in the case of non-CORE course challenges (campus only) then the student will be charged for the course and the credit will be counted towards financial aid enrollment figures; in these cases the credit is earned at the Institute. 

If the student receives transfer credit, a grade of “T” will be entered on the transcript. The “T” grade will not affect the Grade Point Average. 

In any case, at least one-half of total credits offered at the Pittsburgh Institute for the program desired (Diploma or AST/ASB Degree) must be taken in-residence.

Challenge by Examination Procedure:

The following procedure will apply, upon a student request for challenge examination.

  • The student shall have taken a course at a accredited institution, earned at least a “C”, and is also approved, by PIMS, as both similar in content and number of credits awarded. 
  • Student submits in writing no later than one week into the course, (email is acceptable) to the Program Director, with syllabus or detailed course description included, a request to challenge  
  • Once, approved, the challenge examination will be scheduled to be taken on campus. Passing requirement for the challenge examination is 85%. If the student sustains the examination, a “T” grade will be reported to the Registrar.
  • The student may only take this examination one time. No retests are available.