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Year or Term Abroad: Academics & Credit

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Academics Abroad

By choosing to spend a semester or year abroad, you are taking advantage of the opportunity to explore a different academic system. You’ll be exposed to new perspectives and will often be given the chance to engage in hands-on or experiential learning in a way that would not have been possible in New Haven.

These academic differences do not mean that your studies abroad will be separate from your Yale education. Instead, we hope you'll find that these experiences are an essential part of your Yale degree. Studying abroad might provide insight as to the types of courses you want to take when you return or guidance on your post-graduation plans. Academic systems and teaching styles vary around the world, so we encourage you to discuss your options with a study abroad adviser to help identify a program that meets your academic goals.

TOC: How Credit Works

Getting Credit for a Year or Term Abroad

To receive general transfer credit from a term-time study abroad program, you must:

  • Submit a Year or Term Abroad credit application or petition by the relevant deadline 
  • Take all courses in-person and for a letter grade and earn the U.S. equivalent of a C- or greater
  • Have an official transcript sent directly from your program to Yale Study Abroad after completion of your program 

These transfer credits count toward the 36 needed for Yale graduation. With careful planning, it may also be possible to fulfill major and/or distributional requirements with courses taken abroad.

Note:You cannot petition to earn credit for study abroad after the deadline has passed. Also, once transfer credit for study abroad has been added to your Yale College transcript, it cannot be removed.

Credit Transfer Amounts 

Term Abroad Credit Amount
1 semester* 4.5 transfer credits 
2 semesters on different programs 9 transfer credits
Full year on one program 9 transfer credits

*A spring semester at Oxford or Cambridge is an exception to this policy. If you choose to study for a spring semester at either of these universities, you will be completing two trimesters abroad and will be eligible to earn 5 transfer credits. Students who study abroad for a full year on one program, or for two semesters on different programs, continue to be able to transfer up to 9 credits toward the 36 credits needed for Yale graduation.

Note:The maximum number of credits you are allowed to transfer to Yale is 9.

Students who have already transferred in 1 or 2 credits from summer and who wish to study abroad for a full academic year may request that the University Registrar remove such credit from the transcript by petitioning the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing through their dean’s office. If that petition is approved, this prior coursework may continue to be applied toward major and distributional requirements even though it will no longer count toward the number of Yale graduation credits.

Course Load Requirements

You must enroll in a full course load abroad. Most study abroad courses follow a credit system that is different from Yale's system. Depending on your program, you may need to enroll in anywhere from 3 to 6 courses during a semester. In general, you should expect to take 4 or 5 courses each semester you spend abroad.

Your study abroad adviser will confirm the full course load for your program once your application for credit is approved, but please contact us if you have questions about your course load before applying.

Choosing Your Courses

Yale Study Abroad can grant transfer credit for courses that are offered within the academic disciplines available here at Yale. Some students plan to take courses within their major while others use this time as an opportunity to explore different academic interests. When possible, we encourage you to select courses that will help build on your learning of your host community and offer you the chance to engage in learning outside the classroom.

Note:When selecting your study abroad courses, please note that credit cannot be granted for:

  • Any course in which the grade earned is lower than a C-
    Any course taken Pass/Fail
  • Internships or service
  • Pre-professional courses, such as business, marketing, management, communications, and law courses or other courses in disciplines that are not offered at the undergraduate level at Yale
  • Courses abroad that duplicate the content of courses already completed at Yale and for which credit has already been awarded
  • Courses that are taken outside of the program (e.g., an independent study with a Yale professor or an online course)
  • Courses that are not completed

As part of the Year or Term Abroad application, you will be asked to list your potential courses for an initial eligibility review. Since these courses may change, your study abroad adviser will work with you once you arrive abroad to confirm that your courses are all eligible for transfer credit.

Grades & GPA

Your Yale transcript will list your program, course titles, and number of credits earned. Grades from your Year or Term Abroad will not be listed on your transcript; therefore, they are not factored into your Yale cumulative GPA nor used to calculate eligibility for General Honors (cum laude, etc.) and Phi Beta Kappa. 

Even though your study abroad grades will not be listed on your Yale transcript, they do matter. You will receive an official transcript from your study abroad program with your grades listed. Yale Study Abroad reviews these grades for transfer credit eligibility, and some Yale departments may factor in these grades when determining Distinction in the Major. In addition, future employers, fellowships, and graduate schools may ask you to include your study abroad transcript in your application.

These transfer credits (TR) will not count toward the total number of Credit/D/Fail courses you are allowed.

Point: Your Year or Term Abroad will appear on your Yale transcript as:

Fall 20XX
Transfer credit awarded for course work at Name of Study Abroad Program/University

****    **              Total Credits     TR    4.50    4.50

INTL  STUDY    Course Title
INTL  STUDY    Course Title
INTL  STUDY    Course Title 
INTL  STUDY    Course Title

                          Enrolled Credit: 4.50         Graduation Credit: 4.50

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you will need academic accommodations during your Year or Term Abroad, we encourage you to visit our Disability-Related Accommodations page for resources and guidance. 

Fulfilling Major, Language, and/or Distributional Requirements Abroad

Fulfilling Requirements with Outside Credit

It is possible, but not guaranteed, to fulfill major and/or distributional requirements with courses taken abroad. Approval of these requirements is awarded at the discretion of the relevant academic department or academic dean.

Learn More