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Education Abroad credit can look a little different depending on either the class format/structure, or how the credit is converted back to CU. You are responsible for knowing the policies and credit implications for any of the different kinds of classes or credit you're trying to earn while abroad. 

Different kinds of credit you can fulfill abroad

Coursework completed on a CU Boulder-approved Education Abroad program is considered in-residence credit and counts towards the minimum number of credits taken on the Boulder campus needed to earn a degree from CU Boulder (i.e. the college of Arts and Sciences requires a minimum of 45 hours on the Boulder campus).

In rare situations, a course may be determined to apply towards your general/overall degree hours (towards graduation) but not towards your School/College nor your major-specific total hours.  

Classes taken abroad can fulfill major, minor, and certificate requirements:

  1. Meet with your academic advisor(s) and/or review your degree audit to determine which requirements you need to complete while abroad.

  2. Check the Course Approvals List to see what classes may already be approved for the credit you need. It is your responsibility to verify that any approved class will be offered during the term you will be abroad.

  3. Submit the Major/Minor/Certificate Evaluation Form found on the Submitting Courses for Evaluation page to your academic advisor(s), including both pre-approved classes as well as any new classes you’d like evaluated. Your academic department will evaluate new classes and consider them for departmental approval.

  4. Once abroad, email your academic advisor(s) with your class enrollment, once your schedule has been finalized.

  • A&S Gen Ed requirements are a required component of A&S, Business, Music, and Education students' degree requirements and include requirements such as Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, etc. Review the descriptions of A&S's General Education Requirements to gain a better understanding of the course content needed in order for a course to be approved for a specific Gen Ed area.

  • Courses must be considered an Arts & Sciences course in order to fulfill and A&S General Education requirement. Subsequently, ed abroad courses traditionally taught in other schools/colleges at CU, such as Engineering, Business, CMCI, etc. are unlikely to be approved.

  • The following A&S Gen Ed requirements are difficult to fulfill while abroad and cannot be fulfilled by taking a class that will come back to CU as less than 2.7 credits, even if they are listed as approved on the Course Approvals List:

    • Written Communication - courses must be focused on the technical aspects of writing in order to be approved for Written Communication. Courses that focus on creative writing and/or travel journaling are unlikely to be approved.

    • Diversity Requirements - courses must explore and focus on the ways in which marginalization has occurred and the reasons for this marginalization in order to be approved for a Diversity requirement.

  • Courses already approved for A&S Gen Ed requirements can be found on the Course Approvals List

  • When courses are evaluated for A&S Gen Ed, they are considered for all areas. If a course has been determined to either be not approved for any A&S Gen Ed, or approved for one or more specific areas already, it is not eligible for any other Gen Ed areas.

  • Internships and independent study classes cannot fulfill any A&S Gen Ed requirements.

  • If your program does not have courses already approved for the A&S Gen Ed requirements you're trying to fulfill while abroad, you can submit the A&S Gen Ed/MAPS Evaluation Request Form found on the Submitting Courses for Evaluation page. 

  • CU Boulder students are expected to have completed courses that meet certain minimum academic preparation standards (MAPS) before enrolling at CU Boulder. If you would like to complete a MAPS requirement abroad, you need to have the course evaluated by the appropriate department.

  • If your program does not have courses already approved for the MAPS requirements you're trying to fulfill while abroad, you can submit the A&S Gen Ed/MAPS Evaluation Request Form found on the Submitting Courses for Evaluation page. For MAPS evaluations you must supply a full syllabus, not just a course description.

The vast majority of courses on CU Boulder approved programs are traditional academic subjects and will be accepted by CU Boulder as elective credit at the very least. However, a small number of courses on study abroad programs are not eligible for CU credit. If a course is determined to be non-transferrable/not-for-credit, this means that this course will not count towards any degree requirements (including major or general elective credit) or hours towards graduation. If you still take the class, you will need to enroll in enough additional for-credit courses to maintain your status as a full-time student (meaning at least 12 credits in addition to this course). This course will appear as Not for Credit (NC) on your CU Boulder record.

To ensure that all of your courses transfer, check the Course Approvals List for your program and avoid any courses already listed as NON-TRANSFER. As you explore new courses, use the following criteria as guidelines for what to watch out for that may also be determined to be non-transferrable:

  • Wine, cooking, and food appreciation courses
  • Physical education courses (e.g. yoga, recreational dancing, sports)
  • Outdoor leadership and related courses through Outward Bound, NOLS or similar programs
  • Tourism studies courses
  • Vocational-technical courses that are offered at two-year and proprietary institution
  • Credits earned for work experience (including some internships, see below)
  • Courses in religion that constitute specialized religious training or that are doctrinal in nature
  • English-language proficiency courses (courses designed for non-native English speakers)
  • Applied medical courses
  • Courses or programs identified as college orientation
  • Courses identified by CU Boulder as remedial, i.e. necessary to correct academic deficiencies, such as remedial English, mathematics, science, etc.
  • In addition, some Business classes may not be eligible for any CU Boulder credit for Business & non-Business majors alike. Business majors should work closely with their advisor to get all Business courses pre-approved.

Worried a class might not count for credit? Submit the A&S Gen Ed/MAPS Evaluation Request Form found on the Submitting Courses for Evaluation page if you are considering taking a class that looks like it might not be eligible for CU credit.

Internships, Service-Learning & Independent Study Courses

Some classes that you take abroad may be customized to your interests and experiences. In these cases, courses usually will not receive a blanket approval from the campus because your experience and learning outcomes from the course could be very different from another student taking the same class. See below for what these kinds of classes are and how the credits may come back to CU if you take one of these classes.

See the Internships page for full details on all your internship options and the Internship Credit page for more program-specific information.

  • CU Boulder Global Internships: While you intern abroad you are enrolled in a CU Boulder course that complements the internship and a CU Boulder faculty member teaches the academic coursework remotely. You receive a letter grade for the course you complete and you can work with your academic advisor to determine what degree requirements the course can fulfill.

  • All other internships: An academic department at CU Boulder must approve your internship in order for you to earn CU Boulder academic credit for this course (some students decide to complete internships not-for-credit). See here for more program-specific information on interns

    • A&S students: by default, your internship course will apply towards your general/overall degree hours (towards graduation). It will not count towards your A&S total hours nor your major-specific hours unless you get additional approval from your major department by submitting the Internship Credit Approval Form.

    • All other majors/degrees: connect with your academic department or college regarding your internship plans and complete the Internship Credit Approval Form. If you do not complete and submit the Internship Credit Approval Form or the internship is not approved, you will not receive credit for your internship. Not receiving credit for your internship could mean you are under-enrolled as a full-time student while abroad, which could impact your financial aid and scholarships back at CU.

Credit earned on CU Boulder education abroad for service-learning and independent study courses are recorded as general elective credit only unless approved by your department for specific major credit. Note that some departments restrict the use of service-learning and independent study courses toward meeting major requirements. Use the Major, Minor, Certification Evaluation Form if you'd like your department to evaluate one of these kinds of courses. 

Last Updated January 2023