Skip to main content
Santa Clara University

Choosing Courses Abroad

So you want to learn more about the course planning process for undergraduate study and intern abroad programs...you've come to the right place! Please bookmark this page and refer to it anytime you have questions about courses abroad both before you apply, and after. 

Most students will need to identify their program preferences using the Course Planning Workbook before they can start an application, as this is how they determine which programs work best for them academically, professionally, and personally. 

Academics & Study Abroad

Students applying to study abroad should be prepared to address how their program fits with their overall academic goals and trajectory in their application. Competitive applicants are those who can demonstrate a strong alignment between their programs of interest and their academics. A completed 4-Year Course Plan and Academic Planning Form are application requirements for all scu-approved study abroad programs.

Download Course Planning Workbook

Finding Courses on Programs

  1. It will be difficult to review courses abroad without first knowing the courses you need to take to stay on track to degree at Santa Clara. Prior to searching for courses on programs abroad, please meet with your Faculty Advisor and complete the 4-Year Course Plan section of the Course Planning Workbook. 
  2. After you've created your 4-Year Course Plan, use the SCU program database (also known as the study abroad portal) to review the Program Brochure for each program you are interested in. You can find available courses on the Program Homepage in the brochure under “courses,” "modules," “academics,” or “course catalog.” If you have trouble finding the course page, please contact the program provider or host institution for assistance.
Course Planning & FAQs

All students participating in scu-approved study and intern abroad programs will earn credits and grades for their participation. Courses and internship placements that are not evaluated and approved for major, minor, or core credit will appear on SCU transcripts as general elective credit.

Your faculty advisor through your academic department is the best resource when it comes to course planning for study abroad. Your faculty advisor can help you:

  • Discuss any pre-requisites and which courses may be best to take abroad
  • Create your 4-Year Course Plan, which will better prepare you for finding courses abroad that help you stay on track
  • Inform you of any major or minor rules or regulations that may exist for study abroad
  • Review your Academic Planning Form for study abroad

Please be aware: Study Abroad Advisors are staff members, not trained faculty advisors. Study Abroad Advisors cannot provide relevant information about your major or minor when it comes to course planning for study abroad. However, they can help you determine your next steps if you are getting stuck in the course planning process. 

Major & MinorRules & Regulations for Study Abroad
Asian Studies The Asian Studies minor has a limit of no more than two upper-division courses in the student's major or three in any one department
Art History & Studio Art

Studio art or art history courses taken abroad may be applied to no more than half of the requirements for a major/minor in art history.  For majors, no more than three courses may be taken abroad to fulfill the five upper-division ARTH course requirements.  For minors, only one upper-division course may be taken abroad to fulfill the three upper-division ARTH course requirements.

Only one ARTH course may be taken abroad to fulfill the requirements of a major in studio art.   Studio art courses taken abroad may be applied to no more than half of the requirements for a minor in studio art.  ARTH courses taken abroad are not accepted for the minor in studio art.

Communications The Communication Department will accept no more that two courses taken abroad for the major. Approved courses count as COMM electives. Lower division required COMM courses (COMM 1, 2, 12, 20, 30 or 40), COMM List A (theory), List B (media production), method courses (COMM 110, 111), and thesis/capstone (COMM 196, 197) cannot be taken abroad.
Marketing The Marketing Department will accept only one course taken abroad to count toward a Marketing student's major.
Management Management: MGMT 80 students may request credit for the equivalent of MGMT 80 for courses taken abroad, however, students should note that most study abroad courses equivalent to MGMT 80 do not satisfy the Cultures & Ideas 3 requirement.  Internships and internship classes taken abroad cannot be counted as MGMT 198E.
Neoroscience Neuroscience: The Neuroscience Department will accept no more than two courses taken abroad for the major or minor. Exceptions will be considered only on a case-by-case basis. 
Operations Management & Information Systems  Operations Management & Information Systems (OMIS): OMIS 105, OMIS 106, and OMIS 107 cannot be taken abroad.
Political Science A study abroad course in POLI is most likely to satisfy one of the following requirements for the major: upper-division International Relations, upper-division Comparative Politics, upper-division elective in IR or Comparative. It is less common but still possible to take a Political Philosophy course abroad. Methods courses seldom transfer back to SCU. The Political Science Department recommends that you do not try to take POLI 99 (Political Science Research) or POLI 101 (Applied Quantitative Methods) while abroad.
Psychology  The Psychology Department will accept no more than two courses taken abroad for the major or minor. Exceptions will be considered only on a case-by-case basis. 
Sociology The Sociology Department will accept no more than two courses taken abroad for the major and one for the minor.
Other If you have questions regarding the requirements for your major or minor, please contact a Drahmann advisor or department for assistance.

 

CORERules & Regulations for Study Abroad
Learning Objectives Students, prior to requesting a course approval to satisfy a Core Requirement you should consult the Undergraduate Core Curriculum Guide and confirm that the study abroad course meets the learning objections of the Core requirement being requested.
Religious Studies Only the 2nd of the three RTC Core requirements can be satisfied with a course completed through study abroad. Students admitted as freshmen must complete the three RTC courses in sequence, and RTC 3 only counts for the Core after the student has completed 88 units. Transfer students who matriculate with 44 or more units complete any two RTC requirements in any order.
Diversity The SCU Core Diversity requirement deals with US Domestic multiculturalism. Courses abroad that deal with global diversity, rather that US domestic multiculturalism, do not meet the SCU Core Diversity requirement
Pathways Only one study abroad course can count toward a Pathway
Core-Double Dipping Integrations (ELSJ, Advanced Writing, and Pathways) can be double-dipped with Explorations Core requirements; except for engineering students who can double and triple-dip within the Core and only engineering students can have a course count as both RTC2 & C&I3.
Second Language Students taking a first year language course in its country of origin on a SCU approved study abroad program can receive credit towards their Core second language requirement. If a language is studied abroad, but not in the country of origin, a student, when returning to SCU, can take a language qualifying examination. Students will receive credit according to the level of the course taken.
ELSJ To earn ELSJ credit students must engage directly with the end clients of the community organization as part of the service-learning experience and have direct contact with the community.
IMPORTANT NOTE** If students take language courses abroad equivalent to courses they have already taken at SCU, they will not receive credit.

SCU Study Abroad Language or Culture Course Requirement: When developing their academic plan for study abroad, students need to account for the language or culture course requirment. 

  • If you apply to study abroad through SCU in a non-English speaking country during the Fall, Winter, or Spring term, you must study the local language and list the course on your academic planning form.
  • If you apply to study abroad through SCU in an English-speaking country during the Fall, Winter, or Spring term, you must take a culture course about the local community, and list the course on your academic planning form. 

A wide range of classes can count as a culture course such as history, sociology, psychology, etc. For a course to satify the culture course requirement, all it needs to do is focus on the specific country or city you are studying abroad in. If you're unsure whether a certain course abroad will fulfill the culture course requirement, please email us the course title, course description (and syllabus, if available) to studyabroad@scu.edu. 

Languages speaking 

IMPORTANT NOTE**

Your specific study abroad program provider or host institution may have additional course requirements. For example, it is common for language-intensive study abroad programs to require previous language experience. Please be sure to account for your program's requirements when you are completing your Academic Planning Form. Failure to do so could impact your eligibility to study abroad. 

Fall, Winter, and Spring Programs: Students who apply to study abroad during a fall, winter, or spring term must plan for, and ultimately enroll, in a full-time courseload while abroad. Typically 4 - 6 courses is considered full-time. Students must plan for  language/culture requirements during these terms. 

Summer Programs: Summer study and intern programs are structured differently. Students typically only take 1-2 courses while abroad on summer programs, and the courses may or may not be related to their major/minor. It is more common for students to fulfill core requirements, language courses, or participate in an internship abroad during the summer. 

The Academic Planning Form is located in the Course Planning Workbook for study abroad and should include a student's proposed coursework for all program preferences they wish to be considered for during the application review process.

Form Completion + Submission

SCU Study Abroad provides students with the option to complete the Academic Planning Form digitally using PDF Filler. However, if students have other services already installed on their computer, they can complete it digitally using that method (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, or for Macs: the edit functions available in Preview Mode). 

Important Notes About PDF Filler :
  • You do not need to create an account using PDF Filler. Simply provide your name and email for authentication purposes to get started.
  • You need to be prepared to complete the Course Planning Workbook in one sitting, in a place where you have strong internet connection, as PDF Filler does not allow you to work on it and come back to it later. If you keep the document open in your browser, you will risk losing your progress and have a greater chance of experiencing technical issues. 
  • When you are finished you need to click the orange "done" button. PDF Filler will give you three options: Select the option to download or send yourself a copy. Do not save to PDF Filler, it will disappear and your entry will not be saved.

If you experience technical errors, we recommend printing out the course planning workbook pages you are required to fill, and complete it by hand instead. Students who complete the workbook by hand can either take a photo of the completed copy to upload in their application, or scan the document and upload it into their application that way. 

Course Planning + Internships

Program TermAcademic Planning Form
Fall/Winter/Spring Applicants

Students should plan for:

  • At least 2 major or minor courses 
  • At least 1 language or culture course (per SCU Study Abroad's requirement)
  • Any program-specific requirements for academics (information is located on program homepages)
Summer Study Applicants

Students should plan for:

  • At least 1 course (core, language, general elective, or major/minor)
Summer API Internship Applicants

On summer intern abroad programs through API, you will receive academic credit for your internship placement. On the academic planning form, you should list the internship title and course number, and mark it as "elective credit" unless it is evaluated and approved by your academic department for major or minor credit.


Flexibility is Needed for Study Abroad
 
It is important students applying for study abroad in the fall, winter, or spring understand that flexibility is needed to study abroad during academic year terms. Students who need a very specific course to graduate on time should determine their own level of risk tolerance when moving forward with a study abroad program. The flexibility needed for course planning abroad may not suit their needs. 
 
Why?
 
Courses abroad vary from year to year, and some courses are not offered in every term. Based on faculty availability, study abroad programs cannot guarantee course availability or enrollment for a specific term. Generally, a final course listing is typically available during phase 3 of study abroad (pre-departure & arrival). Nonetheless, please note that study abroad programs reserve the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment, faculty cancellations or circumstances beyond their control.
 
Recommendations:

We typically advise students to select a fall, winter, or spring program with at least eight courses listed that could keep them on track to degree, which will provide some flexibility to their course scheduling in the event a course is not offered, is canceled, or the class hour conflicts with another course. 

Please Note**

  • You do not need to list your backup courses on your SCU Study Abroad academic planning form.
  • Ideally, you should meet with your faculty advisor at SCU prior to submitting your application to discuss the courses you pre-select and how they fit with your overall course plans and graduation requirements.
  • Course enrollment is typically finalized shortly before you depart, or once you arrive on-site.

     

The Unit Grade Conversion is as follows: 

Semester Units to Quarter Units

  • 1 US Semester unit = 1.5 quarter units
  • 3 US Semester units = 4.5 quarter units
  • 15 US Semester units = 22.5 quarter units

ECTS Units to Quarter Units

  • 1 ECTS unit = .75 quarter units
  • 30 ECTS units = 22.5 quarter units

ACU CR Units to Quarter Units

  • 10 ACU CR units =  4.5 quarter units
  • 50 ACU CR units = 22.5 quarter units
Step-By-Step Instructions

The instructions listed below include information about requesting course evaluations, taking classes pass/no pass while abroad, grade appeals, and more. If you have further questions, please reach out to SCU Study Abroad.

Realistically, students can submit a course evaluation request for major, minor, or core credit before, during, and after their program. Sometimes, students go abroad and the courses they originally planned for in their academic planning form are no longer available, or maybe they decide to take advantage of another course opportunity they did not know about until arrival. 

Nonetheless, our advisors recommend submitting a course evaluation for any course abroad not already approved in the course equivalency database as soon as possible, so you are confident in your course plan. Most students begin working on these requests after they are officially nominated to study abroad. 

The course selection process occurs throughout the entire duration of the study abroad process, sometimes taking as long as a year to solidify.  

Study Abroad Process

Course Planning Timeline

Phase 1: SCU Study Abroad Application

Students are working on a tentative academic planning form to ensure they are selecting program preferences that align with their academic needs. They can begin submitting new major/minor/core requests.

Phase 2: Program-Specific Application

Students who are nominated to study abroad by SCU submit a program-specific application and may submit another academic planning form similar to the one they completed for their SCU Study Abroad application. They can still submit new major/minor/core requests.

Phase 3: Pre-Departure

Students begin working with their program provider or host institution directly on course enrollment. They can still submit new major/minor/core requests to SCU. 

You may request new core credit by using the instructions below. We recommended you request approval for as many courses as possible so you have alternatives in case a first choice course is not available. You are not required to take the courses you got approved, but you should always work to ensure the courses you enroll in are approved before returning to SCU from abroad.
 
Step 1: Consult the Core Guide on the Core Curriculum website to review the learning objectives for each area of the Core and determine whether your selected Study Abroad course addresses the objectives of a particular Core requirement. 
 
Step 2: Request syllabi and course descriptions from your program provider or host institution using the program provider/host institution contact list (scu login credentials required for access)
 
Step 3: Complete the SCU Study Abroad Core Equivalency - Request for Evaluation Form. Do not email core@scu.edu or any other faculty members on the Core Committee with requests.
 
Step 4: The Director of the Core Curriculum will evaluate and notify you and the studyabroad@scu.edu of their assessment of your request.

You may request new major or minor credit by using the instructions below.  We recommended you request approval for as many courses as possible so you have alternatives in case a first choice course is not available. You are not required to take the courses you got approved, but you should always work to ensure the courses you enroll in are approved before returning to SCU from abroad.


Step 1: Request syllabi and course descriptions from your program provider or host institution using the program provider/host institution contact list (scu login credentials required for access)

Step 2: Use the email template below to submit a course evaluation request. Course evaluations need to be sent to the academic department you are attempting to request credit in. For example, if you are trying to request a course evaluation for a Political Science course abroad, you will need to contact the Political Science Department Chair at SCU. 

  • Search Department Chairs 
  • Non-departmental Chair Contacts:
    • Interdisciplinary majors and minors: Contact the chair who oversees the requirement
    • Business and Engineering Core: Contact the chair who oversees the requirement
    • Marketing courses: Contact wshi@scu.edu
    • Economics courses: Contact salazzawi@scu.edu
    • English department: Contact pbrown@scu.edu

Step 3: The chair of the department or contact listed above will evaluate and notify you and studyabroad@scu.edu about their assessment of your request. If approved, SCU Study Abroad will add the course to the course equivalency database. 

 
Email Template:
 
Subject Line: Request for Study Abroad Course Evaluation - Program, Term, Year, First Name, Last Name
 
Text: Dear Professor (DEPARTMENT CHAIR NAME),
 
I am writing to request an evaluation of a course that I would like to take while participating in Study Abroad in (TERM and YEAR). I believe that this class could support my (MAJOR/MINOR). I have searched the Study Abroad Course Equivalency Database and this class is not included there.  I am providing the following information to facilitate your evaluation.
  1. Course title and description: (Enter the course number, title and description)
  2. SCU Evaluation Type Requested: (Enter the specific requirement for which you are seeking credit, e.g., major/minor/Core)
  3. Name of study abroad program: (Enter specific details on the study abroad program including the country name and organization)
  4. Term and year you plan to take the course: (Enter the term and year)
  5. Syllabus: (ensure that the Syllabus has a course calendar, prerequisites, a bibliography, information about the language of instruction, and a description of the assignments and assessments.  If you are unsure of how to find the syllabus/this information, please contact studyabroad@scu.edu. Then, attach a file or include a link to the full syllabus.)
Thank you for taking the time to evaluate this class. Please include studyabroad@scu.edu in your reply and the Global Engagement Office will add your evaluation to the Database of Study Abroad Course Equivalencies.  Please let me know if you need any additional information.
 
Sincerely,
(FULL NAME, MAJOR & MINORS, and GRADUATION CLASS)
 
 

Students may elect to take one course off-campus Pass/No Pass (P/NP) per term if this option is available through the program.  Some programs do not offer P/NP grading. The following program providers/host universities do not offer Pass/No Pass grading:

  • API - ISCTE (Portugal)
  • Arcadia Abroad
  • Australian Catholic University
  • Center for European Studies - Maastricht
  • CIEE
  • FIE
  • IES Abroad Language Courses
  • IES Abroad Courses at Local Universities
  • ISEP - UPF
  • Lund University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Sophia University
  • Spring Hill College
  • UMN Learning Abroad Center
  • University College Cork
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Deusto

To request a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) grade for a course, students must complete the Pass/No Pass (P/NP) Request Form by the end of the fourth week of the course. 

  • Students must request authorization from SCU Study Abroad by the end of the fourth week after the first date of a class of their study abroad course abroad.
  • The transcript received by SCU must provide the grade earned in the course and the SCU Office of the Registrar will convert the grade to P/NP upon receipt of the transcript.
  • Students will not receive major/minor/Core credit for courses taken P/NP.
  • Once a P/NP request is approved by the Director of Study Abroad, it is irreversible.

The presumption at Santa Clara University is that the instructor alone is qualified to evaluate the academic work of students in their courses and to assign grades to that work. Students will be graded within the context of local circumstances abroad and SCU respects the integrity of different academic systems internationally; therefore, most grades are not subject to appeal. If a student believes that a grade has been assigned in error, or in the case of extraordinary circumstances, the student may appeal the assigned grade as follows:

  1. The final grade must be initiated by the end of the fourth week following the posting of the overseas grades to the SCU transcript by the Office of the Registrar. The student should communicate with the Director of Study Abroad to initiate the appeal process within the appropriate time frame.
  2. The student should contact the instructor of the course to discuss their concerns and verify the accuracy of the grade, as well as the basis for it. Students should include the Director of Study Abroad in this correspondence with the instructor.
  3. Following communication with the instructor abroad, if the student believes that the grade issue has not been resolved, the student should contact the overseas program administrator so that the grade may be appealed within the context of local circumstances and administrative processes. The student should include the Director of Study Abroad in this correspondence with the program. Santa Clara University respects the differing academic processes of other cultures and therefore supports these processes as part of the academic experience abroad. However, if after participating in the local process abroad the student believes that the error or assigned grade issue has not been resolved, the student may submit an appeal to the Director of Study Abroad to review by completing the Study Abroad Appeal Request form. In the grade appeal the student should include a written explanation of the concern about the grade and copies of all communication with the overseas instructor and program. The Director of Study Abroad is responsible for the decision. 
  4. The student may request that the Study Abroad Director present their appeal to the Associate Provost for International Programs to review. The Associate Provost will review the appeal, and determine a final resolution. The decision of the Associate Provost is final.
  5. A grade appeal based on an accommodation need will be referred to the 504 office and resolved in the disability grievance procedure.
Earning Major, Minor, or Core Credit for Courses Abroad

  1. Phase 1: Students can view whether a course abroad has already been evaluated for SCU credit in the course equivalency database. The course equivalency database is not a listing of all available courses on a program.
  2. If a course from the program homepage is not listed in the course equivalency database, students can submit a course evaluation request to their Academic Department or CORE. Course evaluations do not need to be started or approved prior to completing the Course Planning Workbook, or submitting an application by the deadline. However, students should meet with their Faculty Advisor prior to the application deadline to discuss their proposed study abroad coursework on the Academic Planning Form.
  3. Phases 2 & 3: To officially receive major, minor, or core credit for courses abroad, students must first secure approval from their academic department or CORE for any course not already approved in the course equivalency database. All approvals must be sent to studyabroad@scu.edu to appear in the course equivalency database. Further instructions about submitting a course evaluation request can be found below. 
  4. Once abroad: students must login to the study abroad portal and complete the course enrollment form. 
  5. When you return : your transcripts from abroad, the course enrollment form, and the course equivalency database will be used by the Office of the Registrar to transfer grades and credits to your SCU transcript. Please be aware transcripts from abroad can take 1 - 4 months to arrive to Santa Clara.