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Academic Credit

Academic Credit for Study Abroad

You will receive academic credit for classes you take abroad on any OU approved study abroad program if you submit the necessary documents.  All courses from OU approved programs are guaranteed lower division elective credit – Upper division, Department-specific course equivalencies, and General Education credit are frequently available depending on the course, and course materials should be submitted for departmental review before or after the course is taken internationally.

Information about obtaining academic credit for study abroad courses:

  • Approval can be sought before or after a study abroad program and will depend on the content of the course and the availability of course information (see course equating process below). Requests for a study abroad course to be equated with an OU course will be accepted only within the first year after a study abroad program has been ended. Requests made after a year will not be reviewed.
  • Failed courses from a study abroad program will be shown on your OU transcript of record as either U (unsatisfactory, no GPA impact – on all programs where a non-U.S. transcript is issued) or F (courses recorded on transcripts issued by U.S. institutions, calculated into GPA)
  • In most cases your minimum workload should be the same as on the OU campus: 12-15 hours for semester programs, 3-6 hours for summer programs. All coursework taken abroad and recorded on your study abroad program transcript gets transferred to your OU transcript – therefore you will want to pay attention to studying and your grades the same way you would if you were in Norman.
  • Tuition and fees are paid to either OU (OU in Arezzo, Journey Programs, College Sponsored, and University Exchanges) or to a partner university or affiliated program provider (Transfer Credit Programs).  For scholarships and financial aid check with the appropriate department or adviser to assess what is applicable. 
  • Most OU approved programs qualify for Financial Aid through OU. Your eligibility is dependent on completing your paperwork by the appropriate deadlines, full-time enrollment status and final approval by OU Financial Aid Services Office.

Process for getting international courses equated and credits on your transcript:

Please follow the steps below and submit all paperwork on time to makes sure you receive the proper credit for your study abroad work. 

Here is a flow chart (PDF) of the process for getting courses equated.  

Students studying abroad on Journey, OU in Arezzo or College Sponsored programs do not need to follow these steps as you will enroll in OU courses and therefore do not need to get courses equated.

  1. Once you have a selected a program to attend, consult the Course Equivalency Table linked to the Education Abroad online brochure for the program you have selected. If the courses you would like to take abroad are on this table and are within their approval period during the time you will study abroad then you can proceed to step 3 – your courses are already equated.
  2. If some or all of the courses you want to take are NOT on this table then you will need to fill out the Study Abroad Course Equivalency Request Form (PDF) - one form for each course.  Take the form to the appointed person for the department you would like the course to be equated with (e.g. history) and ask them to fill out the Faculty portion of the form.  In some cases the designated Faculty may ask that you bring a syllabus or other course materials*.  When the form is complete you should bring it to the OU Education Abroad Office.
  3. If your course does not equate as a specific OU course then you will receive lower or upper division elective credit to be determined by admissions based on the level of the course at the host university.
  4. Once your course is equated or elective credit is determined then you may consider General Education credit.  If your international course is equated to an OU course that is approved as a General Education credit then the international course will automatically count for General Education too.  If your course abroad does not equate as a General Education credit and you think it meets the General Education requirements you may petition the Provost’s office by the use of the form and directions here.
  5. You must fill out the Credit Agreement Form (PDF) listing the courses you plan to take by the deadline listed each semester on the Academic Credit page.  This allows the study abroad office to enroll you in placement hours so the university knows you are still a full-time student. 
  6. During your first few weeks at your international university you will need to fill out the Enrollment Verification Form (PDF) to show what course you are actually taking during your time abroad. 
  7. When you return from studying abroad you should bring (or have sent to the study abroad office) your international transcript to the Study Abroad Office and preferably bring syllabi for your courses as well.**
  8. If you need to submit materials discussed in step 2 to the appointed faculty approval person you should do this quickly upon your return to finalize and submit the Study Abroad Course Equivalency Request Form (PDF).
  9. If you have any questions or concerns you can work with your academic adviser and your study abroad adviser to get help with course equivalencies and academic credit.    

* If these materials cannot be obtained before you are studying abroad then you will need to wait to submit this paperwork and materials once you return from studying abroad.  Materials may include syllabi, assignments, exams, readings and any other materials deemed necessary by the faculty designated to make a decision. 

**Please note that sometimes international transcripts take weeks or months to be sent to the United States and therefore the process of getting credit assigned accurately to your transcript for the courses you take abroad can take some time.