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Receiving Course Credit

The process for receiving credit for your study abroad program varies depending on your program type. Learn more about types of study abroad programs to determine which type of program best suits your study abroad goals. Students should also be aware of study abroad academic policies that apply to all students regardless of program type. 

All students participating in third-party programs will need to apply/register with the Global Education Office PRIOR to studying abroad and complete the transfer credit process within one semester of returning to campus. The transfer credit process involves three processes: Reflection Essay, Official Third-Party Transcript, and Course Approval.  Please click through the drop-down tabs below to learn more. Any questions can be directed to [[abroadtranscript]]

{{youtube:large|WOsrOwPyGZE, Course Credit Workshop}}

instructions on getting credit
Faculty Approvers Per Department

For '23 - '24 academic year:

  • Africana Studies - [[cathelwell, Chinua Thelwell]]
  • American Studies - [[cfmcgo, Charlie McGovern]]
  • Anthropology - [[blweis, Brad Weiss]]
  • Art History - [[acbraddock, Alan Braddock]]
  • Art (Studio) - [[njmcco, Nikki Santiago]]
  • Asian & Pacific Islander Studies - [[dssoho, Dennesh Sohoni]]
  • Asian & Middle East Studies - [[agwright, Andrea Wright]]
  • Biology - [[laalli, Lizabeth Allison]]
  • Business - [[m|, Susan Grainger]]
  • Chemistry - [[dcbebo, Deborah Bebout]]
  • Classical Studies - [[vxpano, Vassiliki Panoussi]]
  • Computer Science - [[kcoogan, Kevin Coogan]]
  • Data Science - [[rdsmith, Ron Smith]]
  • Economics - [[cemood, Carl Moody]]
  • Education (School of Educ.) - [[dsosbo, Dorothy Osbourne]]
  • English - [[ekmine, Erin Minear]]
  • Environmental Science/Policy - [[bzkaup, Brent Kaup]]
  • European Studies - [[khlevi, Kathrin Levitan]]
  • Film Studies - [[jltay1, Jennifer Taylor]]
  • Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies [[cmckinney,Claire McKinney]]
  • Geology - [[rxlock, Rowan Lockwood]]
  • Global Studies - [[rturits, Richard Turits]]
    • *A course syllabus MUST be emailed to Professor Turits in additon to the DocuSign submission
  • Government - [[dasmi2, Dennis Smith]]
  • History* - [[ampetty, Adrienne Petty]]
  • Interdisciplinary Studies - [[jlzema, Janice Zeman]]
  • International Relations - [[epoliquin, Etienne Poliquin]]
  • Kinesiology/Health Sciences - [[mbharr, Michael Brennan Harris]]
  • Latin American Studies - [[miyanaga, Michael Iyanaga]]
  • Linguistics - [[ahogoboom, Anya Hogoboom]]
  • Marine Science - [[nbalascio, Nick Balascio]]
  • Mathematics - [[fge, Fan Ge]]
  • Medieval/Renaissance Studies - [[aangelov, Alexander Angelov]]
  • Modern Languages - [[mllstudyabroad]] *different approval submission instructions listed in Departmental Requirements
    • Languages not taught at W&M - [[mnlaurenzo, Shelly Laurenzo]]
  • Music - [[rcmarcus, Richard Marcus]]
  • Neuroscience - [[caforestell, Cathy Forestell]]
  • Philosophy - [[cstucker, Chris Tucker]]
  • Physics - [[ixnovi, Irina Novikova]]
  • Psychological Sciences - [[jschug, Joanna Schug]]
  • Public Policy - [[esmcbe, Elaine McBeth]]
  • Religious Studies - [[madais, Michael Daise]]
  • Russian & Post Soviet Studies - [[evprok, Elena Prokhorova]]
  • Sociology - [[jbmend, Jennifer Bickham Mendez]]
    • Note: Approvals will not be processed May 20-August 20 - any approvals sent in during this time will be addressed upon the beginning of the next academic year
  • Theatre, Speech, & Dance - [[ljwolf, Laurie Wolf]]

*Students taking history courses who only require elective credit (HIST299) please read the Departmental Requirement instructions

Some courses taken abroad may not have an obvious academic department to contact for course approval. Below is a list that may be helpful:

  • Languages not taught at W&M – See above
  • Fashion – Art History or Business
  • Urban Development/Planning – Art History
  • Geography – Art History
  • Creative Writing – English
  • Nutrition – Kinesiology
  • Journalism – English or Film & Media Studies
  • Communications – English or Film & Media Studies
  • Hospitality – these are usually not approved and should receive pre-approval, students can try Business or a culture course within the language department.
Course Approval Process 

Students who attend W&M faculty-led programs (W&M Summer, W&M Winter, or W&M Embedded programs) do not need to receive course approval. This process is the same for pre- and post-approval.


Step 1: Review the Departmental Requirements for each academic department. Some departments will not pre-approve, some will require specific materials, and some will want to speak with students prior to them choosing their courses (especially if students are hoping to receive major/minor credit). Gather all required documents or materials for each department. *Any course materials in a language other than English submitted for a non-language course must include a translated summary for faculty to review. 

Step 2: Identify the currently assigned faculty approver from the dropdown tab above and save their email. 

Step 3: Email faculty approver the required materials gathered in step 1. If you are hoping to receive a specific W&M equivalent or major/minor credit mention this in your email. Faculty may request additional information or may require you to submit coursework if you are seeking pre-approval before they can award the desired course. 

Step 4: Complete the DocuSign form for each course. Course titles will need to appear EXACTLY as they do on your official host transcript. **BE SURE TO CLICK "FINISH" AFTER DIGITALLY SIGNING THE DOCUMENT. THAT WILL SEND IT TO THE FACULTY APPROVER**

Once we receive your official transcript, course approvals, AND reflection essay your approved courses will be sent to the Registrar for posting. Please allow 3-4 weeks between approval submission and posting (for post-approval). You will receive an email from our office once we have received the course approval confirmation.  Additionally, your course approval forms will be posted in the Document section of your online application/registration on the website.  

Step 5: Reflection Essay (effective for those studying abroad in winter 2021-22 or later; does not apply to students who studied abroad in Fall 2021 or Full-Year 2021-22)

As part of the transfer credit process, you will be prompted to submit a reflection essay about your study abroad academic experience. Credit and COLL300 cannot be transferred and applied until the reflection essay has been reviewed and accepted.

  • After your program is complete, you will be asked to submit your reflections in the study abroad portal ( which you used to register or apply for your program. Essays are due 4 weeks after the end of your program.
  • You will be asked to respond to the following prompt: “Using specific examples, reflect on how your academic experience abroad deepened your engagement with the culture in which you studied, ways that you see similarities or differences with your own lived experiences prior to study abroad, and/or any connections to your previous academic experiences” (800-1000 words) Academic experiences may include your coursework, academic setting, teaching methods, interactions with faculty and classmates, course excursions and other experiences outside the classroom which relate to your academic studies and the goals of COLL300.
  • This is a personal reflection essay, not a research paper. It is not graded but must be reviewed and approved. Essays will be reviewed by the Global Education Office staff and ISAC faculty, with a special emphasis on critical reflection and examples you provide related to your study abroad experience.
  • Once the reflection is reviewed and deemed satisfactory, you will be notified. Should it be necessary to submit a revision, you will have the opportunity to do so and will be provided feedback.

Transcripts and course approval forms are posted to applications/registrations on the website.   For questions, contact [[abroadtranscript]]

Deadline to Complete Transfer Credit Process 

Students are required to complete steps 1-5 of the transfer credit process for required courses within one semester of returning to W&M. Students must receive approval for at least 12 W&M credits for each semester abroad or all credits for a summer or winter program. The maximum number of credits that can be transferred is 18 credits per semester or 16 for a summer program. 

If this requirement is not met, a hold will be placed on the student's account. This will prohibit the student from registering for courses the next semester or conferring their degree if they are graduating.

This means a student participating in a Spring, Academic Year, or Summer program will need to complete all transfer credits during the following Fall semester. A student participating in a Fall or Winter program will need to complete transfer credits during the following Spring semester. 

*Important note for seniors: you may need to complete your transfer credits sooner if your commencement date is before the transfer credit deadline. Speak with your advisor to determine your unique timeline.

Eligibility: Student and Program Requirements

In order for programs to be eligible for transfer credit and/or COLL300 and for student participation, the program and student must meet all the qualifications below. Additional information can be found in our Academic Policies.

  • Program must receive an official transcript from an accredited institution (certificate not eligible)
  • Each course must receive a letter or number grade (pass/fail not eligible*)
    • *Seville and La Plata Program exceptions only - 1 course identified PRIOR to the start of the program may be taken pass/fail
  • Each course must show a number of contact hours or credits on the official transcript
  • Students must register their course by each term's registration deadline prior to studying abroad
    • If the program is not listed, students must complete a Petition to Attend a Non-Approved Program to have the program vetted for approval
    • Students wishing to study abroad at any time during their final year must also receive COD approval and discuss their plans with their study abroad advisor
  • Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing to attend their program
  • Students must attend both the General and Regional Pre-Departure Orientations (instructions sent to registered students after the registration deadline)

Students who successfully complete a global education experience and transfer credit, including receiving course approvals and grades of C or better as well as satisfactorily completing the reflection essay, will receive COLL 300 credit. All courses taken on a registered study abroad program through the Global Education Office are eligible for COLL300.

W&M Faculty-Led Programs 

W&M Faculty-Led Programs refer to W&M Summer, W&M Winter, and Embedded programs. These programs are led by at least one W&M faculty member. All courses are listed as W&M courses and you will receive a grade that appears on your W&M transcript and will be calculated into your GPA. Students are automatically registered for these courses after acceptance and course selection (where applicable). Some courses may be taught by host faculty at our partner institutions; however, these are still considered W&M courses.  Students may not use study abroad courses to fulfill another attribute or COLL requirement beyond what is already listed in the course descriptions. There is no official study abroad transcript associated with these programs and all courses will appear on your W&M official transcript. 

 Sponsored Semester Programs  (Oxford, Sevilla, and La Plata) 

Sevilla and La Plata
Students who study abroad with the La Plata or Sevilla programs will receive a letter grade on their W&M transcript that will be calculated into their GPA. Students may select one course to take as Pass/Fail and will receive a P or F mark on their transcript. This selection must be done prior to departure from the program. Students also receive a list of pre-approved courses offered. These will automatically transfer back once the official transcript is received by our office. Students may not use study abroad courses to fulfill any other attribute or COLL requirement (other than COLL300) such as ALV. If a student chooses to take a course not listed on the pre-approved list, the student must receive faculty approval in order to transfer the course back. A course is only guaranteed to transfer back if the student receives pre-approval from W&M faculty. For more information, please select the Course Approval Dropdown Tab.

Oxford Students who study abroad on the Oxford program will need to seek faculty approval for their courses. Please select the Course Approval Dropdown Tab for more information. Courses receiving a C or higher and faculty approval will be transferred back and will receive a “T” and the course will not be calculated into their GPA. Students will have one semester back on campus to transfer back at least 12 W&M credits for each semester abroad. If the requirement is not met, a registration hold will be placed on the student’s account. Students may not use study abroad courses to fulfill any other attribute or COLL requirement (other than COLL300) such as ALV.

Tuition Exchange and Third-Party Programs

Students studying abroad with tuition exchange programs and third-party provider (direct enroll or provider) programs will need to seek faculty approval to receive transfer credits. For more information on this process, please read through the Course Approval dropdown tab. All third-party or direct enroll programs must receive an official transcript that lists the final grade and number of credits received for each out. A certificate of completion will not be accepted.  Students may not use study abroad courses to fulfill any other attribute or COLL requirement (other than COLL300) such as ALV.

For these programs, it is possible that credits and grades may be issued on a scale that differs from the US scale. For example, many European schools use ECTS, where 3 W&M credits would be equal to 6 ECTS credits. Students should communicate with their host university or provider to determine the credit and grade scales and how they will be converted to the US grading and credit system. Students must earn the equivalent of a W&M “C” or higher for courses to be eligible for transfer. Once approved, courses will be added to their W&M record and will appear with a “T” for a grade. Study abroad course grades will not be calculated into student W&M GPAs. Students should be aware that most graduate schools still require a copy of their study abroad transcript, which will list all grades received and courses taken.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they are enrolled in the correct number of credits. Students who study abroad for an academic year or semester programs will need to transfer back between 12-18 W&M credits per semester abroad and will have one semester back on campus to complete this requirement before a hold is placed on their student account. Students participating in summer study abroad programs do not have a minimum, however, they must take at least 6 W&M credits to receive financial aid. Winter programs do not have a minimum. For both summer and winter programs, all courses taken abroad must be transferred back within one semester of returning to campus. A registration hold will be placed on the student account if the requirement is not met. The exception for this would be if a student does not receive a “C” or higher in one or more courses and would not have at least 12 W&M credits that would be eligible for transfer. In this case, the student would need to transfer all eligible courses to fulfill the requirement.

For more information on course approvals, please click on the dropdown tab below. 

COLL's And Attributes 

All courses taken abroad are eligible for COLL300. Students participating in study abroad programs after Fall 2021 will need to receive additional approval for COLL300. Information regarding this new process will be released as soon as possible and advisors will be in touch with their students. 

Courses taken as part of a study abroad program cannot be used to fulfill any course requirements or COLL's such as ALV unless specifically listed in a W&M Faculty-Led Program course. 

Study Abroad Transcript 

All non-W&M faculty-led programs will receive an official transcript reflecting their courses and grades taken abroad. W&M Students will need to check with their host program or university to make sure they do not need to request to have an official transcript sent to the Global Education Office. Students can have transcripts sent either digitally (if encrypted or password protected) or hard copy. Digital transcripts should be sent to . Hard copy transcripts should be mailed to:

Reves Center for International Studies
William & Mary
200 S Boundary St
Williamsburg, VA  23185

If for some reason you receive your transcript, DO NOT open the envelope and bring the sealed envelope to the Global Education Office. Opened transcript envelopes are not considered official and will not be accepted to process transfer credits. Similarly, digital transcripts cannot be forwarded from the student. Transcripts are only considered official if they are received directly from the issuing institution

Please note, students must receive an official transcript that lists both the final grades and the number of credits or contact hours. A certificate of completion will not be accepted.

If you need a copy of your transcript for course approvals or graduate school applications, please email

Credit Conversion 

The number of credits issued by foreign universities varies considerably from country to country. The Global Education Office will determine the number of credits upon completion of the program, receipt of the official transcript, and either pre or post-approval for each course. If a student is unclear about how credits will transfer, contact your study abroad advisor in the Global Education Office.

W&M (and all US universities and providers) bases credits on the number of contact hours in each course. The charts below are subject to change, but a general rule of thumb is:

  • 24-36 contact hours = 2 W&M credits
  • 40-45 contact hours = 3 W&M credits
  • 50-60 contact hours = 4 W&M credits

Universities who issue ECTS credits (mostly in Europe), the conversion is:

  • 3 ECTS = 1.5 W&M credits
  • 4 ECTS = 2 W&M credits
  • 5 ECTS = 2.5 W&M credits
  • 6 ECTS = 3 W&M credits
  • 8 ECTS = 4 W&M credits

Many UK universities use a point system for credits, which usually converts as follows:

  • 10 points = 3 W&M credits
  • 15 points = 4 W&M credits
  • 20 points = 5 W&M credits
  • 30 points = 7.5 W&M credits

University of St. Andrews credits transfer as follows:

  • 10 St. Andrews points = 2.5 W&M credits
  • 15 St. Andrews points = 3.75 W&M credits
  • 20 St. Andrews points = 5 W&M credits
  • 30 St. Andrews points = 7.5 W&M credits
Additional Support 

Before reaching out to faculty for course approvals, students should check the Departmental Requirements to determine what documents are required for approval.

If you run into any problems or have any questions, please reach out to your study abroad advisor. You have access to our office and advisors through all stages of the study abroad process.

Questions? Email [[abroadtranscript]]