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Areas of Study & Credit Transfer > Course Approvals

Undergraduate Students

What is a study abroad course approval?

A "study abroad course approval" is an agreement from the appropriate DU academic advisor to accept a course taken abroad as a substitute for a DU degree requirement. A "degree requirement" is any course or category of classes that you are obligated to take in order to graduate from DU.

How to get a class approved for study abroad:

  1. First you will need to identify a DU degree requirement that you are allowed to complete abroad by talking to your academic advisor. Become familiar with the requirement by reading DU's description of it, by reading course descriptions that fulfill the requirement on campus, and by talking to the appropriate DU academic department.
  2. Once you understand the spirit of the DU degree requirement that you want to try to fulfill abroad, take a good look at course listings and descriptions posted on the program's website (links are posted on the DU Program Summaries) and look for courses that might fulfill the DU requirement. Your OIE advisor can help you understand how to translate the course levels and credit loads of the courses abroad.
  3. If you think you've found a good match of a DU requirement, you will then need to determine which faculty advisor is able to approve the course.
    1. For major/minor requirements, contact the major/minor's department(s) to see who is responsible for study abroad course approvals. It will usually be the department chair.
    2. For common curriculum requirements, you must first determine whether the course abroad is an exact match to a DU course that already fulfills a common curriculum requirement. If you believe it is an exact match, then contact the DU department that teaches the course to see who is able to approve the course as an equivalency.
  4. Once you determine the faculty advisor who can do the study abroad course approval, you will need to provide them with the following:
    1. Full course code and title*
    2. Full course description or syllabus
    3. The degree requirement this course might satisfy
    4. Your term and year abroad
    5. Number of credits that the course would be worth at DU
  5. If the faculty advisor approves the course, they may either sign your approval form or send you an approval email.
  6. Make a copy to save the approval for your records.
  7. You must submit all of your approvals to the Office of International Education (OIE) in order for them to be applied. Emailed approvals should be forwarded to

*Note that if the title of the course changes from what was approved at DU, the approval is invalid and must be re-approved.

Course approvals should be gathered well in advance of study abroad; preferably, they should be gathered even before you apply to the program. By getting a course pre-approved, you're not committed to actually taking the course, but you have the option; therefore, we encourage you to get more classes approved than you plan on taking so that you have the most amount of flexibility possible for your study abroad program (in case a class gets cancelled, for example).

There are some study abroad programs that won't provide course options in advance. If this is the case for you, talk to your academic advisor about what types of classes the department can accept, what the limit is for credit transfer, and what criteria will be used to evaluate the courses. That way, when your course options do become available, you'll be able to make educated guesses as to what is likely to be accepted by your department. You will still need to email your advisor to obtain explicit approval for each class.

DU Partner Programs

All credit earned on DU partner programs will transfer back to DU (except courses on topics that are questionably academic; click here for further explanation). If you do not get pre-approvals for your courses, by default they will come back as elective credit. If you want credits from abroad to count towards a degree requirement (major, minor, etc.), then you will need to have the courses approved by the appropriate person for that requirement. Please refer to the Undergraduate Study Abroad Course Approvals Form for a list of advisors around campus that are designated to approve study abroad classes.

Unaffiliated Programs

All credits earned on unaffiliated programs require pre-approval and a minimum grade of "C." Some DU departments require a higher grade for credits to count towards a major or minor. All course approvals must be submitted with the DU application for unaffiliated study abroad by the deadline.

Graduate Students

Please use the Graduate Student Study Abroad Credit Approvals form. Detailed instructions are on the form.