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Earning Credit

Study Abroad Course Approvals

DU generally accepts all study abroad credits as general elective credits, as long as the course aligns with a discipline taught at DU. If you need to earn major, minor, or common curriculum credits while abroad you need to complete the course approval process. A study abroad course approval is an agreement from the appropriate DU academic department to accept a course taken abroad as a substitute for a DU degree requirement. If you receive a course approval, including a foreign language level course, but take a different course or level abroad, it is the student's responsibility to resubmit a new course approval through the online system. You will request all study course approvals through the Registrar’s online system, the Transfer International Education Reporting (TIERS) system.

If a class does NOT align with a discipline taught at DU, credit will not be awarded. Examples include: Fashion Design, Architecture, Forestry, and Veterinary Science. When in doubt, students are encouraged to submit a course approval. Completion of abroad coursework which will not transfer back to the University of Denver may affect a student's federal financial aid eligibility.

Study Abroad Course Approval Process:

Step 1: Check if the course is already on the pre-approved list for your program.

  • If a course is already on the list (must have exact course title and course number), you can expect it to be applied to your APR once your study abroad transcript is received by the Registrar’s Office. For a more information on study abroad transcripts, click here.
  • If your desired course is not on the list OR is approved for a different DU course than you need, proceed to step two.
  • If a course is listed as zero credits, it means that the course was approved before the number of credits was available. You do not need to submit a new course approval for this course, assuming all other information is correct for the approval you are seeking. Please see the Grades and Credits Translation Scale for your program to calculate how many credits you will receive if you take this course.
Review Pre-Approved Courses Review Pre-Approved Study Abroad Course List

Step 2: Submit a study abroad course approval request.

  • You do not need a course approved if you wish it to count towards an elective.
  • Include as much information as you can about the course you wish to take abroad, including course description (required) and a syllabus (if available).
  • Explain what you wish to have the course approved for in the comments section (e.g., AI-Society or biology elective or SPAN 1001). Please take advantage of the students comment section of the request form. It is better to over-explain what you seek than having your request denied for lack of information.
  • You are limited to submitting five requests at one time. If you submit more than five at one time, they will not be reviewed.
  • Choose Student - Student Records - Request Coursework Approval.
Submit Approval Request Submit a Study Abroad Course Request

Step 3: Check the status of your request. 

  • Depending on the department and time of year, it could take four to five weeks to hear back about a course approval’s status.
  • If it has been more than five weeks since you sent the original request, you should email the Registrar’s Office for an update on the status.
  • Choose Student - Student Records - View Coursework Approval Status.
Check Approval Request Check Your Approval Requests

The Global Grading & Credit Scale contains country- and program-specific information about how grades and credits are transferred back to DU. If, after consulting the guide, you still have questions about how your grades and credits from abroad will be calculated, please contact your OIE advisor.

Study Abroad Grade & Credit FAQs

My APR / transcript lists 16 credits for my study abroad – that isn't the right number of credits! How do I get this fixed?

Remember that the 16-credit Study Abroad course is not a reflection of the actual number of credits that you took abroad. It is merely a placeholder course so we know that you were registered as a full-time student during that term and that we have not yet received your study abroad transcript. When we receive your transcript (which can be several months after the completion of your program), we will remove the placeholder course and replace it with the actual classes you took, their credit value, and the equivalent of the grade that you earned (allow 3 weeks for this process to be completed). For unaffiliated programs, the credit is listed for the courses, but no grades will appear on your transcript.

How do I know how my classes will come back to DU?

Credits earned will automatically come back to DU as general elective credits as long as the course aligns with a DU department (resident credit for all DU Partner Programs and transfer for AUP/UPPs). In order to have a course approved for major/minor/common curriculum credit, follow the study abroad course approval process outlined above. 

How many credits do I earn abroad?

It depends on what type of program you do and what types of classes you take. Just like at DU, classes can be worth different amounts of credits. You'll want to be sure you understand how many credits each class you take abroad is worth at DU. For undergraduates, if you plan to attend a semester-long program, it's likely you'll earn between 18-24 credits. This is because a semester is 15 weeks, while a quarter is 10 weeks, meaning that you're earning more credits. Please see the Global Grading & Credit Scale to understand how your credits from your DU Partner Program translate to DU.  Some departments at DU have restrictions on how many credits you can transfer in for a particular requirement, so please check with your department to find out!

Study abroad courses are "pass/fail," correct? Will my GPA transfer from abroad?

Study abroad courses are NOT pass/fail. You must earn a letter grade in order for DU to accept the credits. When you participate in a DU Partner Program, your grades from abroad will not be factored into your DU GPA, but they will be displayed on your transcript. No exceptions can be made to this rule. Graduate schools will often refigure your undergraduate GPA to include the grades that you earned abroad. If you have questions about credit or grade equivalencies for your study abroad program, please check with your OIE advisor.

If you participated in a DU faculty-led program, courses taught by DU faculty members will be factored into your DU GPA.

If you participated in an unaffiliated program, your classes will be listed in the transfer credit portion of your DU transcript without the grades.

Do I have to earn a certain grade in order for a course to transfer to DU?

On DU Partner Programs, you must earn a "D" or above for a course to count toward a general elective or as fulfillment of a university requirement other than your major. The department of your major or minor often require that you earn a higher grade to satisfy one of their requirements with a course taken abroad, which is most commonly the equivalent of a "C" or above. Check with your department for their policy.

For all courses taken on an unaffiliated program, you must earn the equivalent of a "C" or above to receive credit at DU for the course. Again, the department of your major or minor may require an even higher grade for the class the transfer.

If I fail one of my courses abroad, can it be omitted from my DU transcript?

No. If you participate in a DU Partner Program, all attempted coursework will be reflected on your DU transcript, including any "F's." You will not earn credit for failed courses.

If you participate in an unaffiliated study abroad program, you may only transfer courses for which you earned the equivalent of a "C" or above. Courses with grades lower than a "C" will not transfer to DU and therefore will not appear on your DU transcript.

Do I have to get a DU's approval for a course taken abroad to count as a general elective at DU?

No. As long as the course aligns with a discipline taught at DU, you do not need to get explicit approval for it to count towards general electives. To have a course applied toward another degree requirement such as a major elective or a Common Curriculum, you must have the approval from DU (see above steps for course approval process).

When will the courses I take abroad appear on my transcript and APR at DU?

For fall quarter programs, most grades for Southern Hemisphere study abroad programs will be posted in January and February, and most Northern Hemisphere grades will be posted in February and March. Generally, it takes 2-3 months after the completion of your study abroad program for the credit to transfer to DU. A few programs may take even longer.

I ended up taking a class abroad that I did not have preapproved by DU. Is it too late to get an approval now that I've completed the program?

It is not too late to get a course approved for a DU requirement; however, remember that the course may not transfer as you were hoping. Follow the steps above to submit your approval request as soon as possible so that you can adjust your academic schedule accordingly.