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Santa Clara University

Courses Abroad

So you want to learn more about the course planning process for undergraduate study and intern abroad'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. 

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

Introduction to Course Planning for Study Abroad

As you navigate the study abroad process, your Faculty Advisor at Santa Clara is the best resource when it comes to course planning for study abroad. Your Faculty Advisor can help:

  • Discuss which courses may be best to take abroad (such as upper division major or minor elective credit)
  • Let you know if certain SCU courses have pre-requisites you need to take before you can enroll in the course
  • 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
  • Determine how study abroad may impact your credit requirements for graduation (review unit conversions)

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, or approve your proposed study abroad coursework in your Academic Planning Form. However, Study Abroad Advisors 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.

When completing the Academic Planning Form for study abroad, students should be sure to account for SCU Study Abroad's language/culture course requirement. Failure to do so could negatively impact their applicaton. 

  • Summer applicants do not need to enroll in a language or culture course.
  • Applicants applying to study abroad in a non-English speaking country during a Fall, Winter, or Spring term must study the local language and list the course on their Academic Planning Form.
  • Applicants applying to study abroad in an English-speaking country during a Fall, Winter, or Spring term must take a culture course about the local community, and list the course on their 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 
  • **IMPORTANT NOTE: Your specific study abroad program 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. Please verify program requirements for courses with the program provider or host institution prior to submitting a study abroad application using the program contact list.

English Speaking Countries: 

  • Scotland
  • England
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Australlia
  • Ghana

Non-English Speaking Countries:

  • Italy
  • Spain
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • China 
  • South Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • Portugal
  • Senegal

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.

The Unit Conversions are 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

Many classes will come back as 4.5 quarter units.  You can still receive upper-division credit for a 4.5 unit class.  If you are trying to fulfill a unit NUMBER requirement, such as 10 units of upper-division Spanish, you may need to take more than 2 courses abroad to successfully complete that requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

What is the Academic Planning Form?

The Academic Planning Form shows the Application Review Committee that student's have priortized academic alignment when selecting their program(s). It should include a student's proposed coursework for all program preferences they wish to be considered for during the application review process. It is a student's responsibility to meet with their Faculty Advisor at SCU prior to the application deadline to discuss their proposed coursework on the Academic Planning Form.

Where can I access the Academic Planning Form?

You will not have access to the Academic Planning Form until you officially start your application (learn more about the application process here) in the Study Abroad Portal. To apply, students need to press the red "apply now" button located on the program's digital brochure in the Study Abroad Portal.

If you are not ready to begin an application, please use the Course Planning Workbook (specifically the Course Comparison Chart) to help you narrow down programs that work for you based on your academic needs. 

How do I complete the Academic Planning Form?

Program TermAcademic Planning Form
Fall/Winter/Spring Applicants

On the Academic Planning Form, 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, such as the number of courses that are considered a full-time courseload on that particular program. More information about program-specific requirements for academics can be found on the program homepages for each program located in the Study Abroad Portal. 
Summer Study Applicants

On the Academic Planning Form, 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, students will receive academic credit for their internship placement. On the Academic Planning Form, students should list the internship title and course number (INTD470 – Global Studies Internship), marking it as "elective credit" unless it is evaluated and approved by their 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. 
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.

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.


Realistically, students can submit a course evaluation request for major, minor, or core credit before, during, and after their program.Most students begin working on these requests during phase 2 of the study abroad process (after they are officially nominated to a program). However, students can begin submitting requests before they start/complete an application. 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.


Step-by-Step Instructions
Selecting Courses Abroad & Earning Credit

Phase 1 (August - December): It will be difficult to review courses abroad and ultimately select a program without first knowing the courses you need to take to stay on track to degree at Santa Clara.

Step 1: Create Your 4-Year Course Plan

Prior to searching for courses on programs abroad, be sure to meet with your Faculty Advisor to discuss your 4-Year Course Plan, based on the courses you would take here at SCU to graduate on time. 

You must discuss your proposed study abroad coursework for all program preferences listed on the Academic Planning Form with your Faculty Advisor at SCU prior to submitting your study abroad application***

Step 2: Use Your 4-Year Course Plan to Determine Your Program Preferences

After you've created your 4-Year Course Plan with your Faculty Advisor at SCU, Explore Study Abroad Programs you may be interested in. Once you've narrowed down a few programs of interest, use the Study Abroad Portal to review the Course Catalogs listed under the Academics section of each program brochure in the portal. If you have trouble navigating the Course Catalog, please reach out to the program provider or host institution using the program contact list.

Step 3: Compare Courses on Study Abroad Programs to Your 4-Year Course Plan 

You can then view whether a course abroad has already been evaluated for SCU credit in the course equivalency database. If a course from the Course Catalog is not already approved in the course equivalency database, you can submit a course evaluation request.

Getting a Head Start: Course evaluations do not need to be started or approved prior to completing the Academic Planning Form, or submitting an application by the deadline. However, submitting course evaluations prior to completing an application will help you feel more confident about your course plan!

Phases 2 & 3 (February - May): 

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 by submitting a course evaluation request. All approvals must be sent to to appear in the course equivalency database.

Once Abroad: 

Students must Login to the Study Abroad Portal and complete the course enrollment form.

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

Upon Return to SCU: 

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 SCU.

If you believe that a grade you received from a course abroad has been assigned in error, or in the case of extraordinary circumstances, you may appeal the assigned grade by submitting a grade repeal request.