With language, liberal arts, fine arts, science, business, engineering, and internship programs in over 30 cities and 20 countries, we offer study abroad opportunities for students from all majors and interests. As you begin to plan your study abroad experience, it is important to select a program that aligns with your academic goals.

  1. MEET WITH AN ACADEMIC ADVISOR: Once you find a program or even before, when you start to think about the possibility of study abroad, it is crucial to check with your academic advisor to discuss how study abroad will fit into your academic plan. BU Study Abroad is not able to advise on course equivalencies or substitutions, or courses counting toward majors and minors—only your advisor and school can do thatso plan to meet with your advisor early in the thought/planning process.
  2. CHECK SYLLABI AND COURSE INFORMATION: Once you find a program that interests you, check the program page on the BU Study Abroad website to see the course offerings; often, sample syllabi will be posted. For direct-enroll programs, the course offerings for the program will be communicated to you by the program manager or program staff.

Boston University–administered study abroad programs offer fully accredited Boston University courses taught by highly qualified and experienced faculty. All courses taught directly by Boston University at one of our program sites carry an official Boston University course number. This means that the course has been approved through Boston University’s rigorous curriculum-approval process, including review and approval at the departmental and college levels at Boston University.

A semester of study abroad is an integral part of a BU undergraduate experience. While abroad on a BU program, students are able to fulfill their major and minor degree requirements and beginning in Fall 2019, students will also be able to fulfill HUB requirements on many BU-administered programs. Exchange Programs and Direct Enrollment courses offered at other universities will not carry HUB credit.

The BU HUB and Study Abroad are meant to integrate with a student’s major studies. Through the learning experience that a BU Study Abroad program provides, students continue to develop the HUB’s essential capacities including those that:

  • equip students to engage with complexity, diversity, and change
  • develop the ability to apply knowledge in diverse settings
  • encourage a sense of social responsibility and engaged citizenship

Together with an academic advisor, students will select programs and courses abroad that align with their academic, personal and professional goals.


Students are expected to attend each class session, tutorial, field trip, internship/practicum, and any other course-related event. Attendance and class participation will influence grades for the course. If a student has been absent from a course excessively, he or she may be required to withdraw from the course without credit or may earn a failing grade. If a student expects to be absent from a class, he or she must notify the class instructor and the resident director in advance, preferably in writing.


Students must make every effort to be on time for all scheduled meetings and class sessions and should notify the appropriate persons by phone or written message of extenuating circumstances that result in tardiness.

Absence for Religious Reasons

According to Chapter 151C of the General Laws, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day, shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement that may have been missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examinations or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said students such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to students because of their availing themselves of the provisions of this section. Students who have questions about practicing their religion while abroad should contact Boston University Study Abroad.

Language Policy

In non-English-speaking programs, students are expected to speak the host language exclusively in the classroom, at the university, at their internship site, in the program office, and on excursions. Students should also speak the host language when in public places and as much as possible when with other students. Speaking in the host language will improve students’ abilities as well as ease cultural adjustments.

Course Load Policy

The Study Abroad course load policy is as follows:

16 Credit Semester-Long Programs

Study Abroad students are expected to enroll for 16 credits in the Fall and Spring semesters and must maintain full-time status while abroad. Student visa requirements for some overseas programs may not allow for a reduced course load below 16 credits. Any request to withdraw from a course must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and on-site program director.

Most study abroad students do not enroll for greater than 16 credits. Any request to overload must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and on-site program director.

In all cases, students must be registered full-time: a minimum of twelve credits.

16-20 Credit Semester-Long Programs

While most study abroad programs require students to enroll in 16 credits, some require up to 20. Students should review the credit load for their specific program. Any request to withdraw from a course must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and on-site program director.

Students may not enroll for more than 20 credits.

In all cases, students must be registered full-time: a minimum of twelve credits.

Note: CAS IP 101: The Global Learning Experience carries one credit but is not considered an overload.


For Boston University students, grades earned on your off-campus program will appear on your Boston University transcript and will be averaged into your grade point average as normal.

For non-Boston University students, you should check with your home campus to determine whether or not the grades you earn will appear on your home institution’s transcript, or if the coursework will be transferred as pass/fail grades. Regardless of whether the actual grades you earn will appear on your home institution’s transcript, you should keep in mind that you will have a permanent record at Boston University. Should you apply to graduate school at a later date, you most likely will be required to submit an official transcript from each institution you have attended.


Students are expected to turn in all course assignments on time; turning in assignments late will have a negative effect on your grades. All academic commitments must be completed before students leave the program site; no incompletes are permitted. Students who do not complete a course on time will earn an F (failing grade). All courses must be taken for credit; students are not permitted to audit courses or to take courses on a pass/fail basis. For students on internship programs, unsuccessful completion of any course preceding the internship period may make them ineligible for placement in an internship.

Students enrolled in an internship program must complete the internship and all the academic work related to it, regardless of the transfer credit policy of their home institutions. The internship is a serious academic endeavor, requiring the completion of all assignments. Students are expected to fulfill all the requirements of the program, including the internship and the academic component attached to it.

Students will be informed at the program site of additional academic policies, such as deadlines for adding or dropping a course.

Course Information

All courses offered by Boston University Study Abroad are fully approved by the appropriate curriculum and faculty committees at Boston University. The academic designation for each course is drawn from the following schools/colleges and departments on the Boston University Charles River Campus:

CAS College of Arts & Sciences
CFA College of Fine Arts
COM College of Communication
ENG College of Engineering
Questrom Questrom School of Business
SED School of Education
SHA School of Hospitality Administration

Course Designations

Boston University applies the following numbers and subject designators to its courses offered overseas:

100-199 Introductory or general undergraduate
200-299 Intermediate undergraduate
300-399 Advanced undergraduate
400-699 Advanced undergraduate, graduate
AH Art History
AN Anthropology
AR CAS, Archaeology; CFA, Art
BI Biology
CM CAS, Chinese Language (Mandarin); COM, Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
CO Communication Studies
DR Theatre Arts
EE Environmental Studies
EK Engineering
EN English
FR Francophone Studies
FT Film & Television
GE German Studies
HI History
HL Israeli Studies
IP Interdisciplinary International Studies
IR International Relations
IT Italian Studies
JO Journalism
LA Hausa Language
LD Zarma Language
LF French Language
LG German Language
LH Hebrew Language
LI Italian Language
LS Spanish Language
MA Mathematics
MG Management Policy
MK Marketing
MU Music
NG Nigerian Studies
PH Philosophy
PO Political Science
PY Physics
QU Ecuadorian Studies
RU Russian Studies
SO Sociology
SP Spanish Studies

Course Credit Information

Upon successful completion of courses taken through our programs, students earn 16–20 Boston University credits per semester, depending on the program. No work can be left outstanding, to be finished after a semester has ended. Thus, no award of “incomplete” is allowed for a course taken on a Boston University international program. Additionally, coursework may not be audited; all students must complete their courses for a letter grade.

The unit of credit at Boston University is the semester-hour. Each 4-credit course represents a minimum of 42 contact hours. Colleges and universities generally accept Boston University courses for transfer credit in their degree programs, provided the student passes each course with a grade of C or C–, or better. Students should check with their home institutions to determine all credit transfer policies.

To make certain students get credit at their home school for their courses abroad, we require the completion of an “Approval of Participation Form” as part of the application process. In this form, we ask the study abroad advisor, dean, or registrar (whoever is responsible for approving transfer credit) to indicate whether the student received approval to study off campus and whether he/she will be permitted to transfer credit for courses taken on our program.

While transfer credit is generally assured, we urge students to obtain approval from their advisors for the courses they intend to take—especially if they want these courses to fulfill specific requirements (divisional, major, minor, concentration, elective). Students should obtain approval in advance for more courses than they will actually take, because in rare instances we have had to cancel classes due to faculty illness or lack of demand by students.

Consultation with their advisor beforehand will help students make informed choices should they deviate from their original plan. Students should provide their academic advisor with full information about the course offerings on the program in which they will be enrolled. Students will want to confirm which courses they may take to fulfill major, minor, and departmental requirements and which courses they may take for elective credit. Therefore, should they need to change their course enrollment, they will know which alternate courses they may take. Boston University students should also use this advising session to obtain approval for the courses they will take the semester following their time abroad.


Each student receives an official Boston University transcript upon successful completion of the program. Transcripts are released for fall semester programs starting in January, and for spring semester programs after Boston University’s Commencement date (late May).

Transcripts are sent to non-Boston University students at their permanent addresses. Non-BU students will receive an unofficial transcript for personal use and a sealed, stamped official transcript that should be sent or delivered to the appropriate individual at the home institution so credits may be transferred.

Transcripts are mailed only to students whose accounts are paid in full. Arrangements can be made to send the official transcript directly to the student’s home institution.

Students who enroll in a course or courses at a university whose policies, teaching methods, and grading systems differ from Boston University’s must read carefully the academic policies in place when studying at a foreign university.  

Academic Policies for Direct Enroll/Exchange Programs


Each student receives an official Boston University transcript upon successful completion of the program. Transcripts are released four to six weeks after the conclusion of a study abroad program.

Upon acceptance to the program, non-BU students complete a Transcript Release form, which grants permission to release the official transcript to a third party and which specifies where the transcript should be sent. Students must confirm with their home institution the office and address to which the transcript should be sent.

Transcripts are mailed only to students whose accounts are paid in full. Arrangements can be made to send the official transcript directly to the student’s home institution. Transcripts are released to students once their Boston University student account is settled and all charges are paid in full.

Students will also receive an unofficial copy of their transcript at their home address.

For more than 30 years, Boston University Study Abroad international internship programs have combined coursework in a particular academic area with a professional work experience. These two strategies—classroom (or theoretical) training and professional (or practical) experience ground students in the reality of daily life in the host culture, while also enabling an increased understanding of international professional culture.

The internship placement is a component of a larger, integrated academic experience, typically a 4-credit course in a 16-credit semester.

The internship itself exhibits these characteristics:

  • It is academically directed. The internship is a discrete course, supervised by faculty members, and carrying academic requirements.
  • Its grades and academic credit are based on explicit requirements detailed in a course syllabus.
  • It is credit-bearing and unpaid. The internship placement itself cannot otherwise be conceived as part of an academic program.
  • Whenever possible, its language (both in the workplace and in the classroom) is the language of the host culture.
  • Its scheduling is meant to allow the student to carry out projects of significance for his or her employer while allowing normal contact hours for the accompanying classroom-based courses.


Assessment is a combination of written work, participation in the internship seminar, and the internship supervisor’s evaluation. The internship course syllabus will indicate the specific grading and assessment criteria.

All assessment is performed by qualified teaching faculty, the resident director, or a qualified academic contracted specifically for this purpose.

Upon acceptance to an internship program, students will be provided with materials stating the academic expectations and requirements of the internship. These include:

  • The placement process
  • Suggestions on how to prepare résumés and how to conduct oneself during an interview
  • An introduction to daily work life in the host culture and the behavioral expectations placed on the student

Study Abroad Student Learning Outcomes

Boston University Study Abroad assesses student learning outcomes for each of its programs on an ongoing basis. Study Abroad faculty review student learning and achievement with respect to program goals and outcomes. While assessment takes place regularly at the course level as faculty evaluate and grade student work, program assessment takes this evaluation to the next level to ask how the various parts of the curriculum are working together to promote student learning.