Study Abroad


  • As long as you complete all post decision requirements and registration materials prior to your departure, you will be enrolled by our office in a FSTDY 300 placeholder course during your time abroad. See our Registration page for more information.
  • Upon your return, this course will be converted to regular UW resident credits (not transfer credits), which reflect the actual course names and numbers that you completed during your study abroad program.
  • All credits and grades earned abroad will be transferred to your UW transcript, regardless of the final mark or need for credit, and will be calculated into your UW grade point average.

Click below for more specific information about earning credit during your study abroad program:

S/NS Grading Option

  • There is an option to change the grading for one or more of your courses to a Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory (S/NS).
  • An “S” grade is automatically converted from a numerical grade of 2.0 or above for undergraduates.
  • Courses graded with an “S” can only be used as general electives and cannot be used to satisfy a university, college or department course requirement.
  • No more than 25 S/NS credits may apply toward an undergraduate degree.
  • An “S” is not computed in GPA calculations.
  • A grade less than 2.0 for undergraduates is converted to “NS.”
  • “NS” is not included in GPA calculations.
  • No credit is awarded for courses in which a “NS” grade is received.

Affective Autumn 2021, requests must be submitted to UW Study Abroad by the last day of your program. If you are participating in a University Exchange program a request must be submitted by the last day of the host university’s term.

The S/NS Request can be found in your study abroad online program application.

Find your program application to submit an S/NS Request

Pre-Approving Credits

  • Most study abroad options do not require that you pre-approve your credits in order to guarantee that you will receive UW credit for coursework taken abroad.
  • Independent Learning students must receive credit pre-approval from the sponsoring UW academic department(s).
  • We recommend that you meet with your academic advisor to discuss your study abroad plans and how your courses will fit into your UW degree.

Credit Conversion

  • Credit conversion changes the generic FSTDY placeholder course you will be enrolled in into the actual and relevant UW course names and numbers after you have completed your foreign study program.
  • Refer to our When you Return section for a more detailed explanation of the Credit Conversion Process.
  • Below, are things to think about before you leave for the various program types.

Credits for UW Faculty Led Programs

Some important considerations

  • You MUST attend and participate in all courses abroad and entirely complete the coursework included in the program.
  • You may NOT drop courses on UW faculty-led programs. In certain instances, you 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 UW Partner Programs

Before you go

  1. Review course information from your host university.
  2. Gather as much course information as you can about the courses that you are interested in.  Take this information to the corresponding UW department(s) to inquire about UW course equivalencies. 
  3. Register for courses following the instructions of your host university.
  4. While abroad, keep a file of your coursework: syllabi, exams, homework, etc.


  • 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 your responsibility to maintain full time status (12 credits for undergrads, 10 credits for grads) for each term in which you are enrolled at the UW. Ask your study abroad advisor if you need help!
  • In the unfortunate case that you do not maintain your full time standing upon your return to the University of Washington, 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 your graduation, nor have an effect on your GPA. However, this is a permanent course on your transcript. This course may have an impact on your financial aid, so be sure to consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).

Some important considerations

  • You MUST complete all required academic work for each course taken abroad and submit a transcript to the UW Study Abroad Office in order to receive credits upon return.
  • Not every university abroad has a process for withdrawing from a course – be sure to document any changes (such as adding or dropping a course) you attempt.
  • If you are on exchange in the term you hope to graduate, you may find that the receipt of your foreign transcript and the timing of credit conversion may not allow for adequate time to turn in credits earned abroad to the registrar, and may delay your graduation by a quarter.  Please plan accordingly.
  • Remember, all grades for courses completed abroad will be reported to your UW transcript regardless of the final mark or need for credit.

Credits for Independent Learning

Before you go

  1. You will need to obtain a faculty sponsor – a faculty member who is willing to oversee an academic portion of the work that you will complete abroad.  For example, the sponsor could be your graduate advisor if you are doing dissertation work, or a faculty member in the Foster School of Business if you are completing a business-related internship.
  2. Have your sponsor complete the credit verification form. You will find this document in your online study abroad application.