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Course Planning

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Course Planning

Education Abroad by definition includes an academic component. In order to have a successful time abroad, it’s important to understand the academic aspect of your upcoming experience. As you develop a course plan for your time abroad, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How many classes do I need to take in order to meet the minimum enrollment requirements of my program? How many classes do I need to take in order to stay on track with my CU degree?

  • What are the maximum number of classes I can enroll in on my program? What is my threshold for when taking too many classes would detract from the non-academic opportunities I want to take advantage of during my program, such as exploring my host city and getting to know locals and other students on my program?

  • How rigorous are the academics on my program? Will the differences in the academic system be challenging for me? If so, what strategies should I use to balance my course selection in a way that gives me the best chance to be academically successful?

  • What kinds of degree requirements can and should I fulfill while abroad? What degree requirements can I only complete at CU Boulder? (Hint: check your degree audit and talk to your academic advisor if you're unsure.)

  • Does my program have courses on the Course Approvals List that fulfill the degree requirements I need? Will they be offered while I'm abroad? If not, does my program offer other viable courses that I could submit for evaluation?

Program-Specific Academic Considerations

Use your resources to make sure you understand how the courses you take abroad will come back to CU. Your program page's Academics tab is a go-to spot to find info on the following:

  • How the credits you earn abroad will convert back to CU
  • Which courses are considered upper- v. lower-division 
  • Links to course searches and course syllabi/descriptions

Pro-Tip: Working with your Academic Advisor

As you plan for studying abroad, your Academic Advisor and Education Abroad advisors will both help you along the way. Here is a general overview of when to work with your Academic Advisor versus Education Abroad:

Your Academic Advisor can help you...

  • Help you plan out how education abroad can fit into your degree
  • Provide guidance on what kinds of degree requirements are best to complete abroad v. what needs to be taken at CU
  • Facilitate the evaluation of your submitted major/minor/certificate forms
  • Figure out how courses taken abroad will count for your degree requirements
  • Map out the classes to take when you get back to complete your degree

Education Abroad can help you...

  • Give advice on which programs may be best suited to your academic needs
  • Understand the academic details of your program including academic systems, credit conversions, and upper/ lower division credits
  • Navigate your program’s class search and find courses you wish to enroll in for the term you’ll be abroad
  • Figure out how to register for your classes abroad
  • Access and complete EA course planning forms

Academic Accommodations

The level of academic accommodations provided on Education Abroad programs can vary widely by program. Some programs may provide accommodations that are similar to CU. Other programs will not provide the same level or type of academic arrangements as you may expect in the U.S. Sharing your accommodations in advance of your program will allow Education Abroad and your program to best support you and to make any arrangements necessary for your success. Inform your Ed Abroad Program Manager, program, and/or host university regarding your need for academic arrangements, and submit the Medical & Disability Needs Abroad form in your MyCUAbroad checklist if applicable.

If you have accommodations through the Office of Disability Services on campus, planning ahead will be key in determining what support you can get while abroad and how you can access that support.  
  1. Before You Leave: Get a letter from Disability Services that covers your requested accommodations while abroad. You can access your accommodation letter within the Disability Services' Accommodate portal. If you need any assistance requesting these forms, you can reach out to your Access Coordinator within Disability Services.
  2. When You Arrive: Connect with on-site staff and bring the letter from CU’s Disability Services. 

Taking CU Online Courses While Abroad

You may enroll in an online class while abroad, such as an online CU course, an online Continuing Education course, or a special Independent Study course arranged directly with a department. Before choosing this option, carefully consider the following financial and workload implications:

  • 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 and 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). 

  • Keep in mind issues such as the time difference and managing your overall workload.