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Study Abroad Transfer Credits

Study Abroad Transfer Credits

Government majors with an interest in studying abroad are encouraged to consult the Global Education Office (GEO) of the Reves Center for International Studies. The staff at the Reves Center guide students throughout the process -- from program selection through transfer credits.

When and how do I receive pre-approval or post-approval for Government courses?

After carefully reviewing the procedures at the Reves Center’s very helpful website on Study Abroad, you may submit approval for Government courses before or after your study abroad experience. 

Please note the following guidelines for study abroad transfer credit pre- and post-approval.

  • The Department of Government approves transfer credit for political science coursesIf a student seeks approval for courses in other academic disciplines, they should contact the faculty approver for the relevant department.  The Reves Center Global Education Office provides a list of faculty approvers by department.  The faculty approver for Government is Dennis Smith
  • The Government Department does not grant 400-level capstone seminar credit for study abroad courses. 
  • Students are unable to receive study abroad transfer credit for a course they have already taken. 
  • The pre-approval and post-approval process involves two steps. First, complete the Global Education Office’s DocuSign FormFilling out the DocuSign Form begins the approval process.  The Government department cannot pre-approve or post-approve courses without that form being completed by the student. Second, submit relevant syllabi to the Government Department’s faculty approver. 
  • For pre-approval or post-approval, please submit the full course syllabus for a class so we can review that it is equivalent to a Government class and meets our Department’s standards.  It is unlikely that the Government Department will approve a course without a full syllabus. During post-approval, students also may need to submit completed assignments from the relevant courses upon request of the faculty approver. Save your assignments, but do not provide such assignments unless the faculty approver asks for them.  
  • For pre-approval courses, the faculty approver will not review a long list of courses, especially courses in which students never end up registering.  For pre-approval, please indicate whether you are planning to register for the course or already have registered for the course.

 Is credit possible for internship courses abroad or at another U.S. university?

Students seeking credit for a government/political science internship-based course to be taken abroad or elsewhere in the US (including at programs in Washington DC) should submit materials describing the academic/research work involved in advance. Pre-approval will be granted for GOVT ELEC (which counts toward the 120 credits for graduation but not to the Government major).

Upon returning to W&M, students may seek to have that credit converted to Government 498, Internship (which counts toward the 120 graduation credits and the major): doing so requires submitting all academic work completed/submitted as part of the internship course, along with a copy of W&M's Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere Form, to the Department, which will evaluate it based on the criteria for Govt. 498 credit above.

No more than 6 total credits in Government 498, Internship and Government 494, Independent Study (including those transferred in) combined may be counted toward a major in Government; credit beyond 6 may count to the 120 needed for graduation.

Is credit possible for independent studies abroad or at another U.S. university?

Yes (but note as stated above one may not receive transfer credit for 400-level seminars). Please follow the guidelines for undertaking a Government independent study course here. Like one would do for independent study at William & Mary, you need to submit a mini-syllabus outlining the learning objectives, readings, assignments, and meeting times with the professor advising you.