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Courses & Credit

Courses & Credit

  • All majors can study abroad! Plan ahead to stay on track for graduation.
  • Your Academic Advisor and Study Abroad Advisors can help you come up with an academic plan for study abroad.
  • Use the "Areas of Study" feature in the program search to find programs that offer the general subjects/major you need.
  • Use the course approval search to determine if courses are already approved for the relevant degree requirements you need.
  • Check program webpages for credit conversions, upper/lower-division policies, and course descriptions.
  • Most courses on CU Boulder approved programs are traditional academic subjects and will count as CU Boulder elective credit at the very least.

It is possible to fulfill requirements for your Major, Minor, and/or Certificate abroad. Check the growing list of pre-reviewed courses or submit new courses for evaluationStudy Abroad Major/Minor Guides are an another good resource for understanding how study abroad fits with your major, minor or certificate.

It is possible to fulfill A&S Core requirements abroad, especially Historical Context, Contemporary Societies, and Literature & the Arts. A&S Gen Ed requirements are also feasible, especially Arts & Humanities and Social Science. The Global Diversity requirement is also feasible, but depends on the exact course and not all programs offer the right types of courses.  

Natural Science requirements are possible to find abroad, though less common. Written Communication is rarely approved and should usually be taken on the Boulder campus. MAPS is required only if you did not take enough high school coursework in certain areas - Geography, Foreign Language, etc.

Check the growing list of pre-reviewed courses or submit new courses for review.

It is possible to intern abroad and earn academic credit.  Visit the Internship page to see what options are available.

While most courses will count for at least general elective credit, a small number of courses taken on some study abroad programs are not eligible for CU credit, such as physical education, tourism, and cooking courses.

Depending on the program, your study abroad courses will be assigned letter grades or a pass/fail designation on your CU Boulder record. Students cannot opt to take courses for pass/fail credit when their grading system has been assigned to letter grades, and visa-versa.

Letter Grades: Faculty-led Global Seminars and a few internship programs award letter grades. These grades appear on your CU Boulder transcript and are averaged into your CU Boulder GPA.

Pass/Fail: For all other programs, foreign grades are converted to pass, no credit, or fail grades on the CU Boulder degree audit.  The CU Boulder transcript will contain the name of the study abroad program and total credits passed/earned.  Based on a conversion formula developed by the Study Abroad Committee, the converted grades are defined as:

  • Pass (C- or better)
  • No Credit (D+ to D-)
  • Fail (F)

The pass/fail credit earned on a study abroad program is exempt from college limits on student-elected pass/fail credit and passing grades are eligible to count for various major/degree requirements (per approval from the relevant department). 

Keep in mind that you may be asked to provide your original study abroad transcripts in the future (i.e. for graduate/professional school admissions). The actual grades you earned abroad will always display on the transcript from your study abroad program, so be aware of this for the future.

Credit earned on a CU Boulder study abroad program is considered "in residence" credit. This means all course work you take abroad is guaranteed to appear as at least elective credit on your CU Boulder transcript unless:

All students should discuss their course selections with their Academic Advisor well in advance of their program start date to ensure that their course selections are credit-bearing and will count for intended requirements. For more information about how courses can be approved for various requirements, visit the links in the chart above.

In order to receive credit for your courses, Education Abroad must receive a copy of your transcript from abroad. This could be an automatic process, or you may have to request that your transcript be sent to Education Abroad. Check your Program-Specific Handbook to find out if you must request your transcript from abroad.

Your courses will appear on your CU Boulder degree audit approximately 1-2 weeks after your transcript is received, and you will be notified about this via an automated email from It usually takes an additional few days for the overall credits earned and study abroad program name to appear on your CU Boulder transcript.  The exact courses will not appear on your CU Boulder transcript (but do appear in your degree audit).

For an estimated time of arrival of your transcript, see Education Abroad Transcripts.

Occasionally, students will enroll in a CU class while abroad, such as an online course offered through Continuing Education, a special Independent Study course arranged directly with a department, or a course via special distance technology (Kubi). This is allowed, though students should consider this carefully and understand the following:

  • CU courses cannot substitute for your full-time course load abroad. Any CU courses you take while abroad will be additional credits on top of your minimum required course load abroad.
  • The cost of tuition/fees for any CU courses will be added to your bill for the relevant term (on top of your study abroad program costs). The cost of taking a CU course is not included in the cost of your study abroad tuition/fees. Usually the Continuing Education cost is between $1,500-$2,300 for a 3-credit course, though non-resident students may pay an additional fee. Contact Continuing Education for more details. 
  • Also keep in mind issues such as the time difference and your overall workload.