Taking Courses and Transferring Credits When You Study Abroad

Don’t wait until you get home to start the process of transferring credits from courses abroad to your home university. You need to think about the classes that will transfer – and maybe even get approval – before you set foot on foreign soil.

Pre-approval for Transferring Credits

If your study abroad program is not sponsored by your school, you might have to get your courses pre-approved before you leave the US. Get at least twice as many courses pre-approved as you think you might actually enroll in abroad. That way you’ll have options in case your first-choice courses are full or aren’t offered.

You might have to register for a class abroad that you didn’t get pre-approved. Contact your university as soon as possible. Staff there may be able to get it approved while you’re away, and you won’t risk not receiving credit for the course when you return.

If you attend a study abroad program sponsored by your university, your job may be much simpler. Transferring credits might be automatic for these courses, and that credit could appear on your transcript without any further work from you.

Transferring Credits

When the study abroad program isn’t certified by your home university, you may have to apply for transferring credits when you return to the US. Your university might not guarantee credit for your courses.

Keep records of your classes, such as syllabi, exams and papers, just in case university staff have questions about the work you completed. You may have to provide your home university with translations of materials that aren’t in English.

Make sure the institution with the study abroad program you are participating in is accredited. Also talk to past participants about any trouble they had transferring credits.

Other Things to Remember About Courses and Transferring Credits

  • If you won’t be enrolled in a study abroad program through your home university, you will have to apply for financial aid through the university providing the program.
  • Some schools factor grades from academic classes abroad into the student’s grade point average. Other schools transfer credits and not the grades, so the GPA is unaffected.
  • Your university could limit the amount of course credits for a major or minor that you can transfer from a study abroad program.

Students who will study abroad should check their university’s policies about transferring credits. Give yourself plenty of time to complete any required paperwork. A few signatures from advisors could make the difference between getting your diploma on time and delaying your graduation date.