Study Abroad

Credits & Grades

General Overview

Students who participate in programs through UW Study Abroad are enrolled in a placeholder course for the duration of their program – FSTDY 300.  Upon return to campus, FSTDY is removed from their registration and replaced with the actual courses, credits and grades that they took abroad, adjusted to the UW system. The process for credit conversion will depend on the type of program in which the student participated. Each process is outlined below as well as the advisers role in the process.

Academic advisers play an essential role in helping students to plan their entire study abroad experience, but it is in the credit conversion process that your role as a departmental expert is most needed. We are grateful for the communication and collaboration we have with our academic partners across campus.

Credit Conversion Process

Students should complete the credit conversion process by the end of the quarter following the student’s term abroad.  Students are not able to graduate with FTSDY on their transcript.

Important Considerations

  • If a student receives Federal Financial Aid for the year after a study abroad program, it will be put on hold if the credits are not converted in a timely manner.
  • The credit conversion process varies depending on the type of study abroad program that the student attended. UW Study Abroad is unable to convert credits until all of the courses taken abroad have been assigned a UW course equivalent.
  • For purposes related to registration, graduation, and financial aid, we recommend that this credit conversion process be completed by the end of the quarter following the study abroad experience.
  • All grades earned abroad will be transferred to a student’s UW transcript, regardless of the final mark or need for credit, and will be calculated into their UW grade point average.
  • Encourage your study abroad students to consult you early and often about the courses they are planning to take on a program abroad and how those courses will fit into their graduation plan.

For more information on specific credit conversion processes, see below:

Credits for UW Faculty-led Programs

Credits for Exchanges, Affiliated Programs

Credits for Independent Learning/Internships

Credits for UW Faculty-led Programs

When the student returns

  • Once the program has ended and all coursework has been evaluated by the program director, the courses and grades will be reported to UW Study Abroad. We will work with Graduation and Academic Records (GARS) to transfer the courses, credits and grades to the student’s UW transcript, usually within a week or two of receipt of the grade report. Early fall (Exploration Seminar) coursework is reported at the end of autumn quarter.

Some important considerations for advisers

  • It is mandatory that students attend and participate in all courses abroad and entirely complete the coursework included in the program. Students are not eligible to drop courses on UW faculty-led programs. In certain instances, they can take courses Satisfactory/Non-satisfactory (S/NS).
  • Students on UW Programs earn UW credit for academic work completed abroad. All grades and credits for courses completed abroad will be reported, regardless of the final mark or need for credit.

Credits for University Exchanges and Affiliated Programs

When the student returns

  1. The student must have an official transcript mailed to the UW Study Abroad Office.
  2. Once the transcript has arrived, UW Study Abroad will prepare a Credit Evaluation Form, which will provide a preliminary evaluation of the number of credits and grades for each course, using country/university-specific grading scales.  Once this form is ready for pick up, we will email the student. This form is usually complete within two weeks of receiving the foreign transcript.
  3. The student brings the Credit Evaluation Form – along with course syllabi and coursework completed while abroad – to the appropriate UW departments in order to have an adviser assigned the UW equivalent course to each foreign course.
  4. Once all courses have been assigned UW course numbers, the student returns the Credit Evaluation Form to UW Study Abroad and we will transfer the credits to the student’s UW Transcript, usually within one week of receipt of the completed form.

Some important considerations for advisers

  • Because credits from study abroad programs are not considered transfer credit, you may not award courses with XX in the course number (e.g. BIOL 2XX).
  • The number of credits is suggested by UW Study Abroad but is ultimately determined by you.
  • It is mandatory that students complete all required academic work for each course taken abroad and submit a transcript to UW Study Abroad in order to receive credits upon their return.
  • Although credit is guaranteed, the type of UW credit awarded is not determined until after the exchange or program has ended and the appropriate UW department has evaluated the coursework completed abroad.
  • Not every university abroad has a process for withdrawing from a course – students need to document any changes (such as adding or dropping a course) they may have attempted to make while studying abroad.
  • In general, undergraduate students earn the equivalent of 20-25 UW credits/semester, 36-45 UW credits/academic year for coursework completed on exchanges, but it is the student’s responsibility to manage the number of credits he or she wishes to acquire or may need for full-time status. Students should be consulting you if they need help.
  • In the unfortunate case that a student does not maintain full-time standing, FSTDY 299 will be included permanently on your official UW transcript. The amount of FSTDY 299 credit appearing on a transcript is the difference between the credits earned and the UW full-time status requirement (undergraduate = 12 credits, graduate = 10 credits). This course will not impede the student’s graduation, nor have an effect on his or her GPA. However, this is a permanent course on the transcript.
  • All grades for courses completed abroad will be reported to the student’s UW transcript regardless of the final mark or need for credit.

If you are looking for a record of courses taken at foreign institutions and their UW equivalents, visit the UW Study Abroad Course Equivalency Database.

Credit conversion for IE3 Internships and Independent Learning

When the student returns

  1. Once a student returns from abroad, he or she will work with his or her sponsoring faculty and departments to have his or her academic performance evaluated on the independent study/internship. The sponsor will then complete the “upon return” section of the pre-approved credit verification form.
  2. The student returns the completed form to UW Study Abroad and we will post the grades to the student’s transcript.
  3. All grades for courses completed abroad will be reported to the student’s UW transcript regardless of the final mark or need for credit.