Study Abroad—Getting Credit
Basic Credit Guidelines:
- The courses must be offered by an accredited institution.
- Grades for all courses must be equivalent to a UR “C” or better.
- All courses must be broadly comparable to courses available at the UR.
Types of Credit
Study abroad courses may be transferred for elective credit, or toward a major, minor or certificate. Course Approval Forms for this purpose are available at the Center for Study Abroad and at the Center for Academic Support. It is possible to transfer courses toward clusters only if you go on a UR-sponsored study abroad program.
Credit for Language Courses
The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures will NOT grant credit to students who enroll in a class (in particular a language/grammar class) that is at the same or a lower level as a class they have taken before their semester abroad. For example, if a student has taken an intermediate language course at the U of R, they may not receive credit for taking a basic or beginning language or the same intermediate class abroad. In addition, courses that duplicate the literature or film or culture content of MLC courses taken before study abroad will not be granted credit.
In order to avoid credit transfer confusion or problems it is imperative that each student consult with the appropriate adviser in MLC before departure and registration.
Bring or send an official catalogue description of each course to the Center for Study Abroad, preferably before you leave for your semester abroad. Courses that are comparable to those offered at the University of Rochester will be approved for elective credit. In some cases, you may be asked to submit the description to a faculty member for approval.
All foreign language courses need approval from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures or from the Department of Religion and Classics. The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures will not grant credit to students who enroll in a language/grammar class that is at the same or a lower level as a class they have taken prior to their semester abroad. For example, if you have taken an intermediate language course at the UR, you may not receive credit for taking a basic or beginning language or the same intermediate class abroad. In addition, courses that duplicate the literature, film or culture content of UR courses taken prior to study abroad will not be granted credit. In order to avoid credit transfer confusion or problems it is imperative that you consult with the appropriate adviser in the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures before departure and registration.
Studio arts courses (painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, etc.) can only be approved upon your return by the authorized faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History. You will need to submit a course description and may be asked for some documentation of the work produced in the class.
Major and Minor Credit
Bring a Course Approval Form, along with the description(s) of the course(s) in question, to the authorized faculty member. The names of the faculty members in charge of approving transfer credit are available at
The College's Curriculum Committee will allow students to transfer a course from a UR-sponsored study abroad programs into a cluster. This may be done by proposing an exception to an existing, departmental Cluster, or by proposing an individualized interdepartmental Cluster. Please note that approval is not automatic. Consult with a study abroad adviser for details.
How You'll Get Credit
If you go abroad on a program sponsored by an accredited American college, or if you enroll at an accredited overseas university that issues an American-style transcript, credit is transferred as from any American college. The institution simply sends a transcript to the Center for Study Abroad, and a study abroad adviser evaluates the transcript and applies the credits toward your University of Rochester record, as appropriate. This process usually takes two to four months after you finish your studies overseas, so do not expect your credits to appear instantly on your transcript.
On completion of the program, it is your responsibility to see that the college that sponsored your program sends an official transcript to the Center for Study Abroad. Credit will be granted for all approved courses in which you have earned a C or better. Be aware that grades and transcripts are often issued by study abroad programs several months after you complete your studies overseas. Transcripts from spring semester programs may arrive in our office anytime from July until October. Fall program transcripts normally arrive between February and May. If you go abroad as a first-semester senior, it is essential to request your transcript from the program as early as possible in order to avoid delays that could affect your graduation date.
Many American colleges and universities are based on a 120-credit system, in contrast to UR, which requires 128 credits to complete the undergraduate degree. Transfer credit is awarded on a proportional basis. If you take five three-credit courses on another school’s program, credit will be evaluated according to this formula: 15/120 = x/128; x = 16 credits. For programs that employ the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), the University of Rochester awards credit at a rate of 0.5 UR credits for each ECTS credit.
In most cases, a full semester (or year) of study completed elsewhere is worth a full semester (or year) at UR. In any event, students abroad must complete the equivalent of 16 Rochester credits per semester. Underloads are not permitted during study abroad. Even if the program allows for an underload, Rochester students are required to carry a full load. Likewise, we strongly discourage students from overloading while studying abroad.
Internships and Independent Study
UR faculty policy allows students to complete up to four credits of independent study or internship per semester. With the exception of the UR Internships in Europe program, independent studies or internships taken on study abroad programs cannot receive pre-approval for transfer credit. While completing the independent study or internship, be sure to keep documentation of all academic work. It is in your best interest to discuss your plans with faculty before going overseas because some departments do not grant approval for independent studies or internships, even for elective credit. Upon your return, you will need to submit this documentation to an authorized UR faculty member in order for transfer credit to be granted.
Grades for courses graded by University of Rochester faculty appear on the transcript and are calculated into the grade point average (GPA). Study abroad programs that fall into this category include the “Rochester in Arezzo” program, UR faculty-led summer programs, and the internship portion of the “Internships in Europe” programs. In most cases, study abroad courses are not graded by Rochester faculty.
Grades earned on other University of Rochester-sponsored programs appear on your UR transcript but do not count in your GPA.
Grades earned on programs sponsored by other colleges do not appear on your University of Rochester transcript and do not count in your GPA.