Study Abroad

Credit Conversion


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 adviser’s role in the process.

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

Conversion Process

University Exchanges and UW Partner Programs

Credits for University Exchanges and UW Partner Programs

When the student returns

  1. The student must have an official foreign transcript mailed to the UW Study Abroad Office.
  2. Once the foreign 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, we will email the student. This form is usually complete within two weeks of receiving the foreign transcript.
  3. The student shares the Credit Evaluation Form – along with course syllabi and coursework completed while abroad – with the appropriate UW departmental advisers.
  4. The departmental advisers evaluate the submitted coursework, and assign UW equivalent courses to each foreign course.
  5. Once all courses have been assigned UW course numbers, the student submits the Credit Evaluation Form to UW Study Abroad.  UW Study Abroad will transfer the credits to the student’s UW transcript, usually within one week of receipt of the completed form.

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. Our office may reach out to you if the amount granted has grand differentiation.
  • 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 they 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 their 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 a student’s graduation, nor have an effect on their GPA. However, this is a permanent course on the transcript.

UW Faculty-led Program and Exploration Seminars

Credits for UW Faculty-led Programs and Exploration Seminars

When the student returns

  1. 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. Therefore, as an adviser there is nothing you have to do towards grade reporting these type of programs.

Important considerations for advisers

  • Our office can report courses as “W” credits or “DIV” credits, if approved by the Program Director. However, UW Study Abroad cannot initiate a DARS exception for Areas of Knowledge (AoK). For example, if a student is granted a course that can count toward multiple AoK, we do not choose which AoK it will count toward. If the student desires a change, the academic advisers can initiate that change.
  • 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 Faculty-Led Programs earn UW credit for academic work completed abroad.

Internships and Independent Learning

Credit conversion for Independent Learning

When the student returns

  1. Once a student returns from abroad, they will work with their sponsoring faculty and departments to have their 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.


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.
  • 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 grade 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.

Credit Evaluation Forms FAQs