Become a global citizen, the world awaits!
March 16th, 2012
At BSU the best place to start asking about credit for study abroad is the Office of Study Abroad located in the Center for International Engagement and online at www.bridgew.edu/studyabroad. The best time to ask about credit is BEFORE (yes, before!!) you leave to study abroad (during the semester before you leave, after you get accepted into a program.)
The key to this process is that it is student-driven – you need to be in charge of finding out what classes you may take abroad will count for back at your home school. It is essential to know this before you go so that you can make informed decisions on what to take, how many courses to take, and required prerequisites. My suggestion is for students to always get extra courses pre-approved so that if they need to add or drop classes they still have a list of pre-approved classes. We discuss the transfer credit process regularly: in advising sessions, at our mandatory pre-departure orientation for all study abroad students, at program-specific advising sessions like exchanges and affiliates, and at Study Abroad 101 sessions.
One of our required forms for students going on semester or summer programs (not study tours) is the Transfer Credit Form that students are supposed to submit before they leave campus before their program. We strongly recommend that students complete the transfer credit pre-approval process before they leave campus, but you can get this done while abroad via email or even when you return. Your credits cannot be processed on your BSU transcript until we have the original transcript from the host school and the courses approved for transfer credit.
We are working to make the credit transfer process more efficient for students studying abroad, but we do have to work within our University policies. The BSU Study Abroad office does not decide on credit transfers – each academic department at BSU is in charge of approving courses taken off campus for transfer credit in their department – Study Abroad is the central office that helps to facilitate the whole process in conjunction with the academic departments granting credit (they will generally be the ones approving with signature the courses and giving your home school equivalency course numbers) and the Registrar (they will be the office that puts the credits on each transcript) and your major advisor (you will work with your advisor to select host school courses that fit your academic plan, and once you obtain pre-approved courses list, see how pre-approved credit fits in to your degree plan).
- Review and select study abroad program
- Review in advance the available courses online for the program to see if courses you need are available
- Meet with your academic advisor
- Meet with your study abroad advisor to discuss academic credit process for this program and your home school
- Review the academic credit process including printing out forms, steps, contacts for evaluating courses, emails, online forms
- Obtain forms for pre-approval
- Create list of host program courses you want to take with course descriptions or syllabi
- Obtain home university pre-approval (home school graded credit, transfer credit, pass/fail, or otherwise) for each class you intend to take PLUS 3 extra classes
- Keep copies of credit or transfer credit pre-approval forms for your records
- Submit copies to appropriate offices- Study Abroad, Registrar, Major Advisor, host program/university
- Keep your academic advisor’s email handy
- Find out if you can get any additional courses approved while abroad or when you return
- While in country, request to have your transcript from your semester or summer abroad sent to the BSU Office of Study Abroad
- Office of Study Abroad makes copy of your transcript and sends the original to the Registrar
- Registrar matches courses on your transcript to pre-approved transfer credit forms they have received (they contact Study Abroad and the student if they do not have a course approved for transfer credit)
- Registrar processes study abroad credits and they appear on your transcript
While the process can seem daunting, it really is not and there are many people to help you along the way. Please feel free to offer suggestions in how we can further streamline our process, and in the meantime, if you are confused about any of these steps, please come and speak with someone in the Office of Study Abroad. In the future, we are hoping to have lists of pre-approved courses available for students so that they can see what other students have gotten approved so they have an idea of what they might take.
Lisa McAdam Donegan,
Director, Office of Study Abroad