Receiving Credits

In order to help ensure credit transfer for your external study abroad experience it is important that you read all of the information in the sections below. If you have specific questions about the policies or procedures pertaining to external study abroad credit transfer, please consult the Assistant Director for External Programs at BU Study Abroad, David Lamitie (nonbusa@bu.edu).

Before Applying to a Study Abroad Program

You will need to meet with the Program Manager for External Programs to determine if the program you have selected is eligible for transfer credit to Boston University.  The Program Manager for External Programs will discuss the study abroad process and sign your study abroad approval form confirming transfer credit acceptability for your chosen program.

After receiving approval for your study abroad program choice you will need to consult with your academic advisor about your plans.  When you meet with your academic advisor, bring an unofficial transcript with you as well as the most complete program/institution information you have, including course descriptions and syllabi if available.

Discuss with your advisor the following questions:

  • What requirements will course credit taken abroad fulfill? Major requirements? School or college requirements? Electives?
  • Will you meet your residence requirements if you study abroad for a semester? A year? Does your major require that you spend a portion of your senior year in residence?
  • If you have not completed all requirements before studying abroad, will you be able to do so while overseas? If not, will the courses you need be available at BU when you return?
  • Are there courses in your major which you can only take at BU?
  • How will you register for your return semester? Make arrangements to receive your advising code during your semester away. You will be registering via WebReg.

Turning Forms Into the Study Abroad Office

In order to receive credit for your study abroad experience you must submit a number of documents to BU Study Abroad by the appropriate deadline:

Spring Semester: December 1
Fall Semester and Academic Year:
June 15
Summer Semester:
May 1

Transfer credit is handled by the Study Abroad office on your return to BU once an official transcript is received in addition to the documents listed below.

You need to turn in all required forms to the Study Abroad office. If we do not receive the completed forms, you will not receive transfer credit. These can either be emailed to nonbusa@bu.edu or turned into the Study Abroad office at 888 Commonwealth Ave. 2nd Floor.

Your complete file must include all of the following documents:

Ensuring Credit Transfer

BU requires that students are in good academic standing in order to be eligible for transfer credit.

Many of the colleges and schools at BU have set additional GPA standards for Study Abroad transfer credit. Please be sure to consult with your college advising office for information about additional standards.

Complete Transfer Credit Approval Form.  Email or send to External programs office.  This form must be signed by the appropriate staff member from your college.  Often your advisor or  academic counselor will sign this depending on the rules of your school.   Individual courses need to be signed off by the appropriate advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies for that department.  See “Course Approval Signatures” section for further details.

Submit completed form to BU Study Abroad.  Failure to ensure BU Study Abroad receives this will delay transfer credit on your return to BU.

Ensure your program supplies a transcript from a degree granting college or University.  If you’re not sure email nonbusa@bu.edu

At the end of your time abroad make sure your official transcript is sent to Boston University Study Abroad at 888 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02115.  Course titles on your transcript must exactly match course titles that were approved on the transfer credit approval form.  If they differ you will need to get approval when you return to BU prior to credit transfer.

Course Approval Signatures

Study abroad advising and course approval is handled differently depending upon your BU school or college.  In all schools and colleges you must obtain a signature approving each individual course, then the signature of your advisor, Director of Undergraduate Studies or academic counselor.  Finally you will turn the signed forms into the Study Abroad office where the Program Manager for External programs will sign them.

How to obtain signatures:

  • All language courses: All students should see the appointed foreign language advisor in the CAS Advising Center at 100 Bay State Road, for approval of any language course.  If you hope to transfer credit for advanced courses toward a major or minor, see your language advisor.
  • CAS declared students: Consult an advisor in your department.  Some departments have a designated study abroad advisor.  The Transfer Credit Approval Form will also require the signature of the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) from the appropriate department for coursework outside the department of your major.
  • CAS undeclared students: Advising for study abroad is conducted in the CAS Advising Center at 100 Bay State Road.  The same signature procedure applies to undeclared students as outlined above for CAS declared students.
  • SMG students: Have your courses evaluated by the appropriate department. For example, if you’re taking a philosophy course, have the syllabus of that course evaluated by the philosophy department. When finished, drop your signed course evaluation form at the SMG Undergraduate Program Office, Room 102, 595 Commonwealth Avenue for Faith Nussbaum. She will verify that the course(s) you plan to take are allowed for your degree progress. Please note that SMG courses must be completed at BU.
  • COM students: Students must obtain a signature from one of the academic counselors in COM Student Services (COM Rm. 123)  Faculty advisors may not sign the transfer credit form.  Please note coursework can only count for liberal arts requirements, CAS concentration/minor requirements, and electives.
  • CGS students: You must successfully complete one semester in the BU college from which you intend to graduate before studying abroad.  For course approval, consult the advising office of the college you intend to graduate from (not CGS).
  • CFA students: Theatre students should consult with Paolo DiFabio.  Visual Arts students need to consult with Jeanette Guillemin.  Music students should consult with Sarah Bellott.  All advisors are located at 855 Commonwealth Ave.
  • SHA students: Students should consult Abby Raspallo to discuss their plans and sign the external credit transfer form.
  • ENG students: Engineering students should follow the attached protocol to receive credits.
  • SED students: Consult with school advising center or Dean.
  • SAR students: Consult with school advising center or Dean.

Overseas Credit Hour Requirements

  • Students must carry a full course load during the academic year (12-18 semester hour credits). This is especially important for students transferring Federal financial aid.
  • Students who undertake the normal course load recommended by the sponsoring institution should expect to receive 15-16 credits for each semester of foreign study.  Depending on the academic system this can be anywhere from 2-8 courses per semester.  Verify with your program to see what a normal course load is.
  • Students who take a lighter course load than is normal at the institution but no less than 12 semester hours will receive proportionately less transfer credit.  Do not assume the normal class load at BU e.g. four courses is the same at foreign institutions.
  • No more than 18 credits can be transferred for one semester.
  • Courses at most U.S institutions operating on the semester system are granted either 3 or 4 credits.  If you hope to have a 3-credit course count toward a major or distribution requirement, check with your advisor to make sure this is acceptable.  If the sponsoring institution awards 3 credits for a course, BU will transfer only 3 credits for that course.
  • For study abroad programs that operate on quarter systems, credits are totaled, then multiplied by 2/3 to obtain the number of transfer credits awarded under BU’s semester system.  In most cases you will need to take 24 quarter hour credits to obtain 16 BU credits.
  • Foreign institutions will have different systems for recording credit.  Do not assume that a course worth 15 credits is the same as 15 BU credits.  Review this carefully with your advisor and BU Study Abroad before you study abroad to figure out the correct amount of courses you need.

    Requirements for Study Abroad Credit Approval

    • Transfer credits are given only for programs at a degree-granting foreign institution recognized by the host country’s ministry of education or for those sponsored by an accredited, degree-granting U.S. university.  (No credit will be given for non-recognized programs such as language schools.)
    • No credit will be given for coursework taken at an institution where BU already sponsors a program (e.g., Instituto Internacional, Madrid; Universidad Autonoma, Madrid; Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy; Technische Universität Dresden, Germany; Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador; University of Haifa, Israel — consult BU Study Abroad for a comprehensive list of our programs).
    • Coursework already given credit at BU cannot be duplicated abroad.  For example if you have already taken Introduction to Spanish at BU and take it again while abroad you cannot receive transfer credit for the course.
    • No credit will be given for adult education or extension division courses.
    • No credit will be given for courses not creditable at BU such as fashion, home economics, prayer.  It is strongly recommended that you gain course approval prior to departing to avoid taking a course which will not be approved.
    • Students will not receive credit for courses taken Pass/Fail or for audited courses.
    • Students must earn a C or better in order to receive transfer credit.  A C- or lower will not be counted.
    • Independent study may be taken overseas.  However, it must be approved prior to your study abroad by your advisor and evaluated for credit upon your return to campus.

    Prior to Leaving Campus

    • All students are urged to complete course requirements for any incomplete grades at BU before studying abroad as these ‘I’ grades could be changed to ‘F’s’ during your absence.  Check with your professor or college regarding requirements and related paperwork.
    • Complete your external program file by turning in all forms into the BU study abroad office. 
    • Ensure that you will be receiving a transcript at the end of the semester from an accredited US or overseas institution.  This transcript MUST be sent to BU Study Abroad at 888 Commonwealth Avenue

    Summer Programs

    • Boston University will accept credit transfer for no more than two (2) courses completed during a single summer session or program lasting 5 to 6 weeks.
    • For summer sessions and short programs lasting fewer than 5 weeks transfer credit approval will require additional review by the CAS Senior Associate Dean.  This will be facilitated by the study abroad office.  Please ensure that if your program is shorter than 5 weeks that you submit all syllabi to the study abroad office.