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Courses & Credit

Rome's colosseum

Courses & Credit

To get started:

  • The vast majority of courses on CU Boulder approved programs are traditional academic subjects and will count as CU in-residence credit and towards your overall graduation hours.
  • Your Academic Advisor and Education Abroad Advisors can help you come up with an academic plan for while you are abroad.
  • The "Areas of Study" feature in the Program Search can help you find programs that offer the general subjects/major you need.
    • Check program pages' Academics tab for credit conversions, upper- v. lower-division policies, and course descriptions
    • The way subjects and majors are categorized in the U.S. may be different than the categorization for ed abroad programs - talk to an Ed Abroad Advisor for more info

Have more questions?

Course evaluation forms:

Not finding what you need on the Course Approvals List? Use these tips & forms to get new classes evaluated:

Here is some other academic stuff you should know:

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

Depending on the program, your education 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, Global Internships, and Global Intensives 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 education abroad program and total credits passed/earned.  Based on a conversion formula developed by the Education 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 an education 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 education 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 education abroad program, so be aware of this for the future.

Credit earned on a CU Boulder education 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 pre-departure application checklist 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 education 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 education abroad program costs). The cost of taking a CU course is not included in the cost of your education abroad tuition/fees. see Continuing Education Tuition & Fees for more details (note that  a single rate is charged regardless of a student’s in-state or out-of-state classification). 
  • Also keep in mind issues such as the time difference and your overall workload.

"Colosseum at Sunrise" photo by Laura Vogel