Academic Policies

When studying abroad, students are responsible for attendance at all classes and scheduled activities. If studying abroad during the academic year, students must be enrolled in and attending regularly a full courseload (between 12 and 18 credits or equivalent). A grade of C or higher is required for transfer credit for courses taken abroad in both semester and summer programs  For semester study abroad students must receive faculty approval for a minimum of 12 credits which is required for posting in Degree Works.  

All William & Mary academic regulations will apply while students are enrolled in study abroad.

Study Abroad Eligibility

You must be an active W&M undergraduate student in good standing, not on academic or disciplinary probation during time abroad, and eligible to take classes at the William & Mary Williamsburg campus, to be eligible to study abroad.

If you are not an active W&M student in good standing and eligible to take classes at the W&M Williamsburg campus, you may not study abroad unless you (1) are reinstated through the Office of the Dean of Students before the appropriate registration deadline of your study abroad, and (2) register your study abroad through the Global Education Office.

Any courses that you take outside the United States while you are an inactive student or a student not in good standing cannot be transferred back to W&M.

If you are not an active, eligible student, it’s important that you contact the Office of the Dean of Students in time to allow you to apply for or register your study abroad by the appropriate application or registration deadline.  This also applies to scholarships administered through the Reves Center; if you plan to apply for these scholarships, you must also ensure that your reinstatement is completed with enough time prior to the application deadline to allow you to apply.

If you are abroad during the summer, you are not required to study full-time. However, if you are planning on using financial aid, you must be enrolled in the equivalent of at least 6 W&M credit which is considered full-time enrollment for the summer. Courses are not available for audit. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, including the one-credit spring prep course. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible for study abroad. 

If the program for which you are applying is NOT listed by name in the registration/application portal, you must follow the steps listed on our non-W&M program page in order to register and verify eligibility for transfer credit.

Academic Probation, Suspension, Medical Withdrawal or Underload

Students on academic probation during the time they are abroad are not eligible for study abroad. If you are on academic probation or on a medical withdrawal or underload, you must receive approval from the Dean of Students in order to go abroad.

Students who are on Disciplinary Probation or Deferred Suspension status are ineligible to study abroad during their first full semester in such status. If a sanction endures beyond one full semester (15 academic weeks), the student may petition the Director of Community Values & Restorative Practices for an exception. The Director, or designee, will make the final decision in consultation with the Director of Global Education, and that decision will be final and is not appealable.

If you do not get approval you may NOT study abroad. Students are required to report to the Global Education Office any changes in academic or judicial status, even after acceptance into a program, which may affect their eligibility to participate in a study abroad program, even if such a change results in a financial loss.

Credits and Grades

While abroad, you must enroll in the equivalent of at least 12 credits per fall or spring semester in order to maintain full-time status, and you must return a completed, signed Confirmation of Courses (pdf) form to the Global Education Office no later than 2 weeks after your classes begin.  Failure to do so may result in a hold on your student account which will prevent you from registering for W&M classes the semester you plan to return to campus.

There are no full-time requirements for summer study, except for students receiving financial aid.  These students should contact the financial aid office for enrollment requirements abroad, but are not required to submit the Confirmation of Courses form.

The program sponsor determines the amount of credit awarded for a given course. You cannot transfer more than 18 credit hours per semester from a study abroad program. Of the 120 credits required to graduate from W&M, at least 60 must be credits earned while in residence at William & Mary.

Courses taken on W&M faculty-led summer programs earn both grades and credit that will appear on your William & Mary transcript and be calculated into your GPA. The same is true for W&M's semester programs in Seville (Spain) and La Plata (Argentina). Academic work completed on all other programs, whether through William & Mary or not, will count as transfer credit only, will not carry a grade, and will not be factored into your GPA. In order to receive transfer credit, you must seek and receive transfer credit approval (pdf) from a faculty approver, and you must earn a grade or (or equivalent to) at least C. There is no pass/fail option for these courses.

Students are required to transfer back courses taken while on study abroad. A minimum of 12 W&M credits per semester and all summer/winter credits will need to be transferred back and displayed in your W&M transcript. You will have 1 semester back on campus to transfer all credits before a registration hold will be placed on your student account. For example, students who study abroad in Fall 2019 or Winter 2019 programs will have until Fall 2020 while students who study abroad in Spring 2019, Summer 2019 or Academic Year 18-19 will have until Spring 2020. 

All transfer credit is processed after the transcript is received from the host university. Students will have 1 semester back on campus to approve the required amount of credits after which point a registration hold will be placed on the student's account.

  • Pass/Fail

You may exercise your Pass/Fail option only on W&M La Plata and Seville semester programs, and then only in accordance with the restrictions outlined in the W&M course catalogue under "System of Grading: Pass/Fail." No other courses, including those taken on W&M summer programs, may be taken Pass/Fail.

  • Allowable Use of Transfer Credit

Approved study abroad transfer credit counts towards the graduation requirements of up to 120 academic credits. Courses taken abroad may count towards a major, minor, and any electives. (Keep in mind, you are required to earn at least 60 credits from W&M.)

For semester study abroad, students must transfer back at least 12 W&M credits and no more than 18 W&M credits per semester. Summer study abroad students must transfer back all credits up to 16 W&M credits. 

  • Major Requirements

Once your credit has been evaluated prior to departure, be sure to discuss your options thoroughly with the department chair in your intended field of concentration or with your academic advisor to understand how the approved courses will fit into your intended degree program. The academic advisor should review your degree plan with you to make sure everything is in order.

When course credit is posted to your record in Banner, any courses that fulfill major requirements will automatically appear on your Degree Works. 

COLL 300 is automatically awarded for 3 credit courses taken abroad with a grade of C or higher and faculty approval.

  • Host Institution Transcripts

Remember that even though you may only receive transfer credit at W&M for your courses, your grades will nonetheless be recorded on the transcript of your host institution abroad. While in some cases the W&M transcript showing your transfer credits from abroad may suffice, most graduate/professional schools require original transcripts from study abroad host institutions in addition to other application materials. If official transcripts from your study abroad experience are required, you will have to request them directly from the institution abroad or the program through which you studied. If you would like a letter from our office confirming that 1) you registered your study abroad with the Global Education Office, 2) transfer credit from your study abroad is shown on your W&M transcript, and 3) official transcripts can only be obtained from your host institution abroad, please email


If you plan to do a full time internship while abroad, it must be approved before you leave by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. W&M does not automatically grant credit for internships; however, credit may be granted for an academic assignment or project associated with the internship. Most study abroad provider programs who offer internship opportunities are credit bearing.  However,If your program abroad does not include such an academic component, it is possible to work with a W&M faculty member to design one. Arrange a time before your departure to discuss any internship plans you have with the Dean, and submit an Internship for Academic Credit Request Form (pdf).

Independent Study

Arrangements for earning independent study credit through William & Mary must be made in advance, in consultation with a faculty member. Credit for the independent study project must be awarded in the term following your return to campus because receiving credit from William & Mary and another program simultaneously would constitute dual enrollment, which is not allowed by the university.


All seniors planning to study abroad during the first semester or winter break of their senior year will need to get their Senior Residency Requirement waived by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. To do so, complete and submit a Petition to the Committee on Degrees: Exceptions to Degree Requirements (pdf) to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies Office before applying for a program. This petition also requires a signature from your Global Education Advisor.  Students are not permitted to study abroad during the final semester of their senior year.