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Courses and Credit: Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions and answers regarding credit and course planning for study abroad can be found below. For questions regarding academic policies, like credit/no credit and dropping a class, please see our Academic Policies page. 

How will studying abroad affect my graduation plan?

With careful planning, most students can study abroad for a semester and still graduate on time. Students should plan to take courses required for their degree. These may include classes for your major, your minor, your KU Core credits, and/or other classes required for graduation.

How do I find classes offered abroad?

Faculty-led program courses can be found in our Program Database.


For enrollment at foreign institutions, you can find lists of classes that are have already been pre-approved and these lists using the course equivalency database


You can also look for courses using our partner institutions' course catalogs (links to these are available under the "Academics" or "Further Reading" sections of the program page), or a peer advisor in the Study Abroad Info Center can help you find available courses.

How do I get classes approved?

All faculty-led program programs include KU classes. You will not need to obtain course approvals for these courses.

For programs at foreign institutions or approved non-KU programs, you will need to get your courses approved for KU equivalent courses. For detailed instructions, please see the Credit Approval for Study Abroad page.

As part of your online application, you will be asked to submit an Academic Plan and Approval Form. Work with your academic advisor and study abroad program coordinator to select appropriate classes. List the classes you plan to take on this form, choosing from the list of courses available at your study abroad institution.

What classes should I take before I study abroad?

Students should speak with their academic advisor and study abroad program coordinator to determine if any coursework should be completed prior to studying abroad. Students should meet all eligibility requirements for their program and complete any necessary pre-requisites for the courses they plan to take abroad.

Notes: Students may need to be admitted to their major to earn major credit abroad. 

Spanish: Students who wish to take 400+ level Spanish courses should complete Spanish 340 prior to studying abroad. Students may only fulfill Spanish 340 abroad during the spring semester in Salamanca, Spain.

Are there any classes that I am not allowed to take abroad?

You should talk to your academic advisor about course restrictions. Many majors and disciplines require that specific courses be taken at KU. Host universities may restrict access to some courses as well, so speak to your study abroad program coordinator about the courses you wish to take abroad.

Can I take electives/KU Core classes abroad?

You are able to fulfill some KU Core requirements abroad, and you may take elective classes with approval. For more information, please see KU Core guidelines below.

How many classes do I need to take abroad?

On semester & year programs, undergraduate students are expected to enroll at the foreign university in the equivalent of 12 to 15 KU credit hours per semester, or fewer in the summer. All students are expected to maintain full-time student status while abroad. Unless special arrangements have been made in advance, study abroad participants will be granted KU credit for no more than 18 hours per semester. Graduate students will usually earn no more than six to nine graduate credits for the semester, although exceptions are possible with prior approval of the student’s academic department.

On summer & short-term programs, the number of credit hours offered will vary. Generally all participants on a specified program will take the same total number of credit hours.

Can I take graduate level classes abroad?

Upper-level undergraduates may be eligible to take graduate level courses at a foreign institution with prior approval from KU and the host institution. Students should review pre-requisites. 

Graduate students may be able to study abroad and take graduate-level courses abroad. Please speak to your academic advisor and Study Abroad & Global Engagement for more information on program options and courses available.

How will my study abroad credits appear on my transcript?

All approved study abroad courses will appear as KU credit on your transcript, not as transfer credit. Specifically, all credit earned on programs approved by Study Abroad & Global Engagement prior to departure, including KU-sponsored study abroad programs and student-initiated programs, will appear as KU credit on your transcript. 

How will I be graded, and when will my grades be posted?

The course grade is determined by the student’s overall academic performance and according to the host institution grading standards.

KU Faculty-led Programs and Internships: Students on KU faculty-led programs and internships will be graded by their instructor within the standard KU grading system.

Credit from foreign institutions or student-initiated programs: Grades will be assigned within the grading system of the host institution or program provider. Students on KU programs can find the grading scale in their program handbook or by consulting their Program Coordinator. Students on student initiated programs should ask their program provider about the grading scale. After receiving your transcript, Study Abroad & Global Engagement will evaluate your grades and post the equivalent KU grade based on grade conversion standards. For an example of grading equivalents, please speak with your program coordinator.

Grade Posting

  • Summer grades are posted at the end of the summer term on the KU Lawrence campus (late July) or at the end of your program.
  • Semester grades are posted afterStudy Abroad & Global Engagement has received an official transcript from your host university and your KU equivalent courses have been approved. We cannot post grades until all courses are approved. In some cases, grades may be delayed pending receipt of academic information from the host institution. If you view your grades, Advising Report, or DPR and a course is listed as "I" (incomplete) or zero credit hours instead of a grade, please do not panic! Grades may take up to two weeks to be processed after the transcript is received and will be posted as soon as possible. Your program director or Study Abroad Program Coordinator will be able to tell you whether they have submitted grades for your program.
  • Winter Break and Spring Break program credits are recorded on the Spring semester academic record. Grades and credit will appear on your spring grade report at the end of the spring term.

Within a few weeks after grades have been submitted by Study Abroad & Global Engagement to the Registrar, they will appear on your Advising Report and DPR. You can obtain a copy of your Advising Report and DPR through the MyKU portal.

Will my study abroad credits impact my GPA?


You may not eliminate classes or grades from your foreign transcript. All credits and grades will be posted on the KU transcript. Once grades are posted on the KU transcript, changes will not be made.


Fall 2020 & Academic Year 2020-2021 programs now accepting applications !

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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times