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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

NOTICE: Although we aim to keep this FAQs page as up to date as possible, some details may change before the FAQs page is updated. The FAQs page should be used for general information only and is not part of any contract.

Q: Who awards Calamus degrees?

A: The degrees are overseas awards (not UK, EU or US awards) and are awarded by Calamus International University, which is registered in the Republic of Vanuatu.  Further details are given throughout this website. For detailed information on the status of the  University please click here.

Q: Is any attendance required?

A: No. The study programmes leading to Calamus International University (non-UK) awards are entirely by distance learning,. There are no classroom courses in the UK.  Attendance for examinations is not required as all study is by continuous assessment.

Q: How does a standard course unit work?

A: The course unit is the building block of most study programmes. Most course units are textbook-based. The student will need to acquire a copy of the core textbook for the unit. The college issues a lesson plan detailing the set questions that need to be answered for the course. The student will read the textbook, in conjunction with other suggested reading and sources, and carry out written assignments based on the text. The typical 3-credit course unit  will require written work totalling approx. 3,500 to 5,000 words comprising a number of short questions and a final essay.

Q: Can credits be transferred from other colleges?

A: Credit transfer is normally allowed towards CIU (non-UK) degree courses. At the Bachelor's level, up to 50% of the degree may be credited through transfer credits from other colleges as well as other further education, professional qualifications, skilled work experience and other achievements. At postgraduate levels, credit transfer is more restricted, normally to university credits, professional qualifications and professional CEUs/CPD courses.

Q: I have "A.B.D." (all but dissertation) status at an American university, but have been unable to finish at that college. Can I transfer to Calamus International University and finish my Ph.D?

A: Yes, provided CIU can award a degree in your field and that CIU is  satisfied with the topic and the academic arrangements for completion. Please email with your details.

Q: What is a credit?

A: A credit is the basic measurement of study. Course units are given a credit value, for example 3 credits for the typical course unit. One credit is approximately equivalent to the "semester hour" as used by many American colleges. When calculating transfer credit from professional trainings, workshops, etc., one credit is equivalent to 10 actual attendance hours. The credits used by Calamus International University (Vanuatu) are not equivalent to credits used in UK and EU educational systems.  Credits transferred from US colleges will be allocated the same number of CIU credits. Credits transferred from UK and EU systems will be evaluated and converted accordingly.

Q: Is it possible to study just one course unit?

A: Not at the present time. As an experiment, a few years ago we offered the study of single units at very low prices, with a certificate of completion for each unit passed. the take-up rate for this scheme was extremely low and it was abandoned. However, it is possible to take several units by arrangement and to obtain a certificate or diploma for that individualized programme of study.

Q: How can I see a sample of a course unit?

A: Click this link to go to our sample course unit page.

Q: What is a "challenge examination"?

A: A "challenge examination" system is offered for all taught course units in order to aid experienced and knowledgeable students to demonstrate their expertise. Any course unit, subject to approval, may be "challenged" by an extended essay on an approved relevant topic.

Q: I am pursuing (or about to start) an ongoing professional training course. Can it be counted towards a degree from Calamus International University?

A: By registering for a suitable degree before completion of your professional course, all of your work including workshops, seminars and ancillary study can be counted towards a degree, If you are interested in this option, please email us with full details of your existing or proposed course of professional study. Therapy and complementary medicine training colleges, and training providers in other fields, are also welcome to apply  for recognition of their courses so that each student will have the automatic right of credit transfer to an appropriate CIU degree. (NB - degrees are non-UK qualifications awarded by Calamus International University, Vanuatu.)

Q: Is it possible to register for a combined degree programme, e.g. BA/MA?

A: Yes, subject to approval and availability. There may be significant tuition fee savings if you register for a combined degree programme. Please email us at with your enquiry, stating your fields of interest and background. (NB - degrees are non-UK qualifications awarded by Calamus International University, Vanuatu.)

Q: Can CIU credits be transferred to other universities?

A: Mainstream universities generally only accept transfer credits from within their own system in accordance with intervarsity agreements. Since CIU does not belong to the US, UK or EU educational systems and is not government-accredited, credit transfer to any institution within those systems is unlikely. The same would apply to other non-UK national educational systems.

Q: How do degree grades and Grade Point Averages work?

A: CIU modular taught courses are graded similarly to the American Grade Point Average (GPA) system for the purposes of transcripts and calculating the award of honours. This system is as follows:

Grades A,B,C and D are passing grades. Each letter earns a "grade point" which goes towards calculating the student's average performance. The scale of points is given below:

A = 4.00 (Excellent)
B = 3.00 (Above Average)
C = 2.00 (Average)
D = 1.00 (Below Average)

Other grades may be indicated by letters on the transcript, and the letter codes used by CIU are as follows:

CR = Credit for courses by Challenge and Transfer

S = Satisfactory, applied to Bachelor's project reports, Master's theses, Doctoral dissertations, Practicums and Internships

*NG = No Grade (unsatisfactory performance)

*P (Pass) or *Fail (for certain courses)

*W = Withdrawal, indicating an official withdrawal from a course by the student


Certificates and transcripts may be issued either using the American-style GBP system or the UK-style "honours" system (depending on location of student), the equivalents being as follows:

A average = First Class Honours
B average = Second Class Honours
C average = Third Class Honours


Q: Do you hold graduation ceremonies?

A: No. Because students start and finish at any time of year and come from many countries, it is not practical to hold ceremonies.

Q: Can Calamus help me to obtain a student visa to enter the UK?

A: No. There are no classes held in the UK. All study is by distance learning and we are unable to help in any way with visas for entry to the UK or to any other country.

Q: Is it possible to study in a language other than English?

A: No. All study is conducted in English.

Q: I have difficulty producing written assignments.  May I submit my assignments in recorded audio form?

A: Yes, we will accept taught course assignments in various audio formats if you have a disability. You are welcome to discuss your requirements. If you are writing a thesis or dissertation, it will need to be dictated to a typist or it can be written using voice-to-type software.

Q: Do you provide courses leading to awards from any other universities besides Calamus International University?

A: Calamus International University, Republic of Vanuatu, is the only awarding body for the degree programmes offered via this website.

Q: Why do you charge a fee for the whole degree programme instead of charging per credit like some other institutions?

A: There are advantages and disadvantages with both systems, but we believe that our system offers the greatest savings for the greatest number of students.  A typical 45-credit course works out at approximately US $ 50 per credit if the student takes advantage of our discount for paying full fees at enrolment.  American distance universities in the private sector, even without regional accreditation and without state approval, can charge up to US $ 400 per credit or more, and there are often hidden fees such as graduation fees and fees for transferring credits from other institutions. (Fees quoted do not include textbooks where required). A simpler fee model means considerable saving in administration, and a more complex model would inevitably lead to substantial increases in total fees.


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