Academics

Earning credit is an important part of your study abroad experience. Here are some frequently asked questions about how to receive credit for your time abroad and ensure it will be applied to your degree program.

Do I receive direct credit or transfer credit from my study abroad program?

Direct credit programs are typically UA faculty-led summer programs, but there are exceptions.  Direct credit courses show up as UA courses in UAccess during the term a student is abroad. Direct credit programs give students UA-specific course credit because the courses offered abroad are equivalent to UA courses. Grades earned in direct credit programs are calculated into the University of Arizona GPA. Internship and research credits earned abroad are also direct credit.

Transfer credit programs mean that you take courses at a foreign institution and then transfer the courses back to UA as transfer credit. In order for UA to give you credit, you must earn the equivalent of a "C" grade or higher. (If you are a graduate student, then you must earn the equivalent of a "B" grade or higher.) Grades earned are not calculated into the University of Arizona GPA.

If you don't know whether your program receives direct credit or transfer credit, then ask your study abroad coordinator.

How many credits should I take when I am abroad?

This depends on your program. Most programs require that you take the equivalent of 12 units for semester programs or 6 units for summer programs. This said, there are some programs which require that you take more than this minimum requirement.

If you are going on an exchange or direct enroll program, then it's important that you understand the equivalency of your study abroad credits. For example, if you study in Europe, 2 ECTS credits equals 1 UA unit; however, in Japan, 1 credit usually equals 1 UA unit. Understanding the credit equivalency for your program will help you know how many courses you need to take.

How do I register for my study abroad courses?

You do not register for your study abroad courses in UAccess. 1-2 months prior to the term you are going abroad, SASE will register you either directly in your courses (direct credit) or in SA units (transfer credit).

SA (study abroad) units are a transfer credit placeholder to keep you active in the UA system. They do not indicate credit already earned nor the exact number of units you intend to take while abroad; it is simply a placeholder showing that you are registered as a full-time study abroad student. This is a non-unit bearing, non-gradeable holding category.  After the UA receives your transcript, International Admissions or the Registrar will evaluate the credits for equivalent transfer credit.  

Before you leave, double check that either your UA courses or SA units appear in your UAccess account and that you are not still registered for UA courses in Tucson! 

How do I change the courses that I selected on my Course Selection Sheet?

By now, you have already met with your academic advisor(s) who have approved your study abroad courses by signing your Course Selection Sheet. If you would like to add a class that has not been signed-off on your Course Selection Sheet, then you should contact your academic advisor who can re-approve the course. Make sure to show your academic advisor a course description for the course. Your advisor can sign a new Course Selection Sheet, or you can do this via email. In either case, make sure to keep any changes to your course approvals in writing and submit such written approval to your study abroad coordinator who will keep it in your file.  

For helpful academic advising information including course selection sheets, upper versus lower division credit, general grade conversion information, and a list of direct credit programs, please see the Academic Advisors and Staff page.

Where do I buy the textbooks that I will need for my study abroad program?

It depends on the program, but for most exchange and direct enroll programs, you will buy your books after you arrive in your study abroad country. If you are going on UA faculty-led or third party-provider programs, then you will most likely buy your books in the U.S. prior to your departure.

What type of grading system will be used while I am abroad?

UA direct credit courses, as well as internships and research courses, will be under the UA grading system and will earn regular UA grades of A, B, C, D, or E.  Some courses may also receive Alternative grades of S, P, F.  See the UA course descriptions for exact course grading systems.  

Exchange, direct enroll, and third-party provider programs will be graded according to the grading system of the country or university to which you are going. It is important that you understand your study abroad country or university's grading system. Remember that for these programs, you must earn the equivalency of a "C" grade or higher (or "B" grade or higher if you are a Graduate student). If you are unsure of your country or university's grading system, check with your study abroad coordinator.