In order to ensure credit transfer for your external study abroad experience it is important that you read all of the information in the sections below.
You are required to received approval from the study abroad office, your academic advisor and individual departments on campus to receive approval for study abroad transfer credit.
Your final transcript must be sent to the Program Manager of External Programs at 888 Commonwealth Ave. 2nd Floor Boston, MA 02215 in order to be evaluated. Transcripts sent to other offices will not be evaluated for transfer credit.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In order to receive credit you must turn in a completed Participation Policy Acknowledgement Form and External Transfer Credit Form to the study abroad office along with a final transcript from your host university or program provider’s School of Record. The External Transfer Credit Form must be filled out appropriately in order to receive transfer credit. Please refer below to the points below regarding this process.
- Your study abroad program needs to be approved by the study abroad office prior to any other transfer credit being approved. If you do not get approval from the study abroad office first, all other approval will be considered invalid.
- Your program needs to issue a final transcript from an accredited degree granting University. Certificate programs and language schools (even those associated with universities) will not be considered eligible for transfer credit.
- The transcript must state both credit and grades for your courses. Failure to illustrate either of these criteria will result in no transfer credit.
- Programs at universities where BU already has programs will not be eligible for transfer credit. e.g. Copenhagen University, Auckland University, Sciences Po, etc.
Individual Course Approval
- You will need to have each course that you intend to transfer back to BU approved prior to studying abroad once your program has been approved. If registration will not occur until you are on-site then you should seek approval for more courses than you intend to take.
- You will obtain the syllabi for your courses from your host university or program provider. Then you will need to bring them along with your external transfer credit form (signed by the study abroad office) to the appropriate department here on campus. The acting Director for Undergraduate Studies will review your syllabus and approve the course if it meets BU criteria.
- 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.
Course Approval Requirements by BU Colleges
You should speak with your academic adviser to determine your graduation requirements prior to applying to study on an external program. Each school has different restrictions on what can and cannot be counted towards your degree at Boston University. Below are the protocols for who to speak with by school.
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.
- Questrom students: Questrom 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 Questrom Undergraduate Academic and Career Development Center (Suite 104), 595 Commonwealth Avenue. They will verify that the course(s) you plan to take are allowed for your degree progress. Please note that Questrom courses must be completed at BU.
- COM 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 off at COM Student Services (COM Rm. 123) for an Academic Counselor. They will verify that the course(s) you plan to take are allowed for your degree progress. Please note that coursework can only count for liberal arts requirements, CAS Focus/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: CFA students should consult with the Academic Advisor for their respective School (Theatre, Music, or Visual Arts).
- SHA students: Students should consult the Director of Student Services in SHA to discuss their plans and sign the external 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.
How Many Courses to Take Abroad
- You must maintain a full course load while studying abroad during the academic year. A full course load would be 12-18 US credits. This is especially important if you will be using federal financial aid or student loans for your external study abroad.
- Overseas institutions may award credit differently than BU, you may need to enroll in more than 4 courses to maintain a normal 16 credit course load at BU. A normal course load overseas may range from 2-6 courses. Check with your program provider or host university to verify what is a normal course load at their institution.
- No more than 18 credits can be transferred for a semester abroad. If you enroll in more than 18 credits you will have to choose which courses to transfer when you return up to the allowable amount.
- A course must minimally be worth 2.5 US credits to count as a course at BU. Classes taken abroad worth less than this amount can be transferred as elective credit but will not fulfill a course requirement. For example, a course worth 2 credits cannot count for a major, minor or elective requirement.
- If your program is operated by a US university or uses a US university as the School of Record then your courses will appear in the US credit system. 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. If you take 4 courses that are worth 3 credits each you will only receive 12 credits for the semester.
- 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.
Course Approval Restrictions
- You will only be eligible to receive transfer credit if the program you attend issues a final transcript from a degree-granting foreign institution recognized by the host country’s ministry of education or for those programs sponsored by an accredited, degree-granting U.S. university. You will NOT receive credit for certificate programs, language schools (even those associated with an accredited University), or for courses that do not state a final grade or credit awarded by the institution.
- Internship, adult education, and extension school are not eligible for transfer credit.
- No credit will be given for coursework taken at an institution where BU already sponsors a program or exchange (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, University of Copenhagen — 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.
- You will not receive credit for courses on an external program which would not be given credit at BU such as fashion, home economics, prayer. You need to find a department which will accept credit at BU so courses in department that do not exist at BU will generally not receive transfer credit.
- 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.
Summer & Short Term Programs
- Boston University will accept credit transfer for no more than two (2) courses completed during a single international summer session or program lasting 6 weeks.
- Only 1 course can transfer for programs that are 4 weeks long. Programs shorter than 4 weeks will not be granted transfer credit.
- Please see the University policy on Transfer Credits from non-Boston University International Programs