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Academic Policies and Procedures

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Academic Advising

Academic Expectations, Attendance & Integrity

Minimum Enrollments

Graduating Seniors

Navigating Academic Cultures

Course Registration & Grades

Placeholder Credits

Pre-Approving Transfer Credit

Failure to Pre-approve Transfer Credit

The International Requirement

Posting Grades to Your U of U Record

Academic Appeals

Earning Internship Credit Abroad

Earning Community Engagement Credit Abroad

Academic Advising

Learning Abroad and the Hinckley Institute can assist you in finding a Program and identifying your course options, but we cannot provide academic advising. If you need information on how a Program or course fits with your major, please contact your academic advisor.  We recommend asking the following questions when you meet with your advisor:

  1. Is this program a good fit for my major?
  2. If applicable, will these courses transfer back to the University?
  3. Do these courses fulfill graduation requirements?
  4. Is there a good semester or timeframe for me to learn abroad?
  5. Are there courses I shouldn’t plan to take abroad?
  6. Are my language skills sufficient to succeed in these courses?

Academic Expectations, Attendance, & Integrity


The academic expectations of your Programs are equal to—and sometimes more demanding than—regular classes.  To succeed during your Program, you should use the following strategies:

  • Use good time management skills to stay on top of your coursework
  • Commit to regular study and form a study group to keep you on track
  • Complete any pre- and post-Program assignments that could impact your grades
  • Determine how or if the length of your Program may increase the workload


The following attendance policies apply to Programs:

  • Attendance is required at all classes, activities, excursions, lectures, and Program activities.
  • You will not be excused from Program activities for independent travel. To avoid scheduling conflicts, contact your Faculty Director, Affiliate, or Host Institution before making travel arrangements.
  • Poor attendance may impact the status of your visa (if applicable).

Academic Integrity-

During your Program, you are subject to the U’s policies governing academic integrity.  These policies are found in the Student Code. Violations of this code—including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism—can result in immediate dismissal from your Program, failing grades, or a permanent citation on your academic record.

If you are attending a Program associated with a Host Institution, Affiliate, or other organization, you will also be subject to their academic policies. Ask about these policies during onsite orientation.  Specifically, rules governing plagiarism can be much stricter abroad than they are in the United States.  Take advantage of writing centers and other Program resources to avoid plagiarism.

Minimum Enrollments

Learning Abroad and Hinckley Programs are academic activities.  You must enroll in the minimum number of U of U credit hours for your Program.  Minimum enrollments are defined below.  Minimum enrollment does not guarantee access to financial aid or scholarships.  Contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for more information.

Before you decide to withdraw from a course while abroad you are required to contact Learning Abroad to discuss this possibility. We recommend you also contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine how withdrawing impacts your financial aid and scholarships. All students are required to meet minimum credit requirements outlined below. Falling below the minimum requirement can have financial aid and scholarship implications and it is imperative Learning Abroad communicates course changes to respective offices on campus.  

  • Students must enroll in the program courses.
  • Minimum enrollment depends on the course options for your program.
Exchanges, Global Campus, & Affiliates
  • Academic & Calendar Year Programs- 24 credit hours (12 credits each semester)
  • Fall & Spring Semester Programs- 12 credit hours
  • Summer Programs- 1 credit hour
Global Internships
  • Fall & Spring Semester Programs- 12 credit hours. If you are taking less than 12 credit hours you are not considered a full time student. This may impact your eligibility for a visa, financial aid, or scholarships
  • Summer Programs- 6 credit hours


Graduating Seniors

You must be a University of Utah student and be able to earn credit in order to participate on a Learning Abroad Program. If you are planning to graduate soon but still want to learn abroad, you have two options:

  1. Delay graduation (recommended): You may still walk in a graduation ceremony but delay graduation. You will not be able to graduate until your grades have been added to your U of U record. Therefore, you must delay graduation until the term of your Program abroad (Faculty-Led or Asia Campus) or the term after your Program abroad (Affiliate or Exchange). If you delay graduation, you will remain eligible for Office for Global Engagement scholarships and other funding opportunities.This is the only option for Affiliate, Exchange, or Asia Campus Programs.
  2. Enroll as a non-degree seeking student: If you want to participate on a Faculty-Led Program, you may choose to graduate as planned and enroll as a non-degree seeking student for your intended term abroad. This requires completing an additional application and paying an additional fee to Admissions.

Navigating Academic Cultures

When preparing to learn abroad, many students focus on differences in day to day life. But one of the most important cultures that you will interact with abroad is academic culture.

Academic cultures can be vastly different overseas than they are in the United States. In order to make a good impression on teachers and peers in your new environment, we recommend that you consider the following aspects of academic culture that may be different.

Syllabi- You may or may not receive syllabi from your faculty members. If you do, it may contain very different information and represent different expectations. In the U.S., we view a syllabus as a sort of "contract" between the student and the instructor. In other cultures, this is a much more fluid document that can change frequently.

Formal vs. Informal Interactions- The U.S. has a relatively informal culture. It is not uncommon to call people by their first names, chat candidly, or show up unannounced at a faculty member’s office for help. In other cultures, the interaction between faculty members and students can be much more formal. Be sure to address your faculty members with the appropriate titles and show of respect. If you are corresponding in writing, it is important to use appropriate grammar and full sentences. Shorthand symbols (i.e. characters used in text messages, emoticons, and slang) would be inappropriate in many cases.

Teaching Methodology and Assignments- Course structures abroad may be very different. American classrooms tend to be highly interactive. Students are expected to participate, give opinions, and debate topics openly. We also tend to have a series of tests, quizzes, projects, and papers that combine to make up the final grade. Many institutions abroad use more traditional lectures to teach course material. Student participation is lower and there are fewer assignments. Students in these cultures are expected to study independently without the added incentive of earning grades for smaller assignments. It is not uncommon to have only one test or assignment for the entire course; which means that you may only have one opportunity to prove yourself academically. In these environments, it’s important that students are disciplined in studying and preparing for tests and papers.

Appropriate Attire- University classrooms in the U.S. do not typically have a dress code. Students come to class in jeans, sweat pants, tennis shoes, and other casual clothes. In other cultures, this is not usually the case. While you probably will not be expected to wear a suit and tie, arriving to class in casual clothes may be highly inappropriate. We recommend that you wear khakis or business casual clothing until you can decipher the dress code at your host institution.

Libraries- Libraries abroad can be very different than in the United States. In many countries, books cannot be removed from a library. Some libraries may not have digital catalogs and you many need to use a card catalog. Depending on the destination, you may not even be allowed to browse the stacks. In some cultures, students are expected to request a topic and librarians will search the stacks on your behalf.

Plagiarism- Despite our best intentions, the rules regulating plagiarism in the U.S. are fairly lax when compared to rules used abroad. It is not uncommon for American students to inadvertently commit plagiarism on Learning Abroad Programs. Be sure to take advantage of writing labs at your host institution and ask professors what citation systems they expect you to use.

Grade Equivalencies and Conversions- Grades from foreign institutions can look very different than they do in the United States. For instance, a 70% in the United Kingdom is an A+. This does not mean that the classes in the UK are easier, it is just a different way of measuring achievement. Be sure to ask about the grading scale at your host institution.

Academic culture can be window to understanding the world around you, but don’t underestimate it as you adjust to your host country. Talk with peers, professors, and your Learning Abroad Coordinator about what to expect.

Course Registration & Grades

You can earn two types of credit:

  • U of U credit
  • Transfer credit

To determine which type of credit is offered on your Program, see the Fact Sheet on your Program webpage.  A description and instructions for students earning each type of credit is found below.

Credit Type Description & Instructions
Programs Earning U of U Credit
  • You will register online through CIS. Program courses do not appear on the regular University class schedule. Special instructions for course registration will be available in the online pre-departure orientation. See the My Classes box in CIS to determine if your registration was success.
  • For intensive language Programs, you will meet with your Faculty Director prior to registration to discuss which courses you will take on the Program.
  • Grades will be available through CIS after the end of the on-campus term. These will be factored into your cumulative GPA and appear on your permanent transcript. 
  • Students participating in TATE Programs should contact their instructor for course, grading, and registration information.
Programs Earning Transfer Credit
  • You will not enroll in classes at the University of Utah for transfer courses. Instead you will enroll in courses through your Affiliate or Host Institution.
  • The course registration process will vary. Contact your Learning Abroad Coordinator for information on enrolling in courses for your Program.
  • You may need to complete course pre-requisites. Course pre-requisites are determined by the host institution or affiliate.
  • The grades you earn will not appear on your permanent transcript and will not be factored into your U of U cumulative GPA. They will be factored into your transfer GPA. Your transfer GPA does not appear on your permanent transcript, but does appear in your Degree Audit.
  • There are limits on the number of transfer credits that you can use toward your degree. If you have already transferred in credits from another institution, contact your academic advisor to determine if your courses will count toward your degree.   


Placeholder Courses

Learning Abroad uses placeholder courses when you participate in an approved Exchange or Affiliate program that earns transfer credit. We add a 0 credit U of U placeholder course(s) to your record before your program begins to “hold” your place here at the U while you are abroad. Placeholder courses do not apply to faculty-led, U Asia Campus, and other types of University-sponsored programs that earn U of U credit. If you plan to participate in an external program that is not approved by Learning Abroad, you will not be assigned placeholder courses.

Learning Abroad uses placeholder courses for the following purposes:

  • Signal that you are approved to participate in a Learning Abroad program
  • Communicate the number of credit hours you are enrolled in during your program to various offices on campus, such as the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid
  • Indicate you have an active enrollment status at the U
  • Provide a permanent record on your transcript that you participated in a Learning Abroad program

Placeholder courses are all titled "Learning Abroad Experience" and will appear on your record as follows:

  • ABRD 1001 through ABRD 1012 for exchange programs
  • ABRD 2001 through ABRD 2012 for affiliate programs

Even though a placeholder course carries 0 credits on your record, it still communicates to various U of U offices the total number of credit hours you are enrolled in during your Learning Abroad program. For example, ABRD 1006 signals you enrolled in 6 credits in your program and that you are enrolled half-time. ABRD 1012 signals you enrolled in 12 credits in your program and that you are enrolled full-time. ABRD 1003 and ABRD 1012 signals you enrolled in 15 credits and that you are also enrolled full-time. We use this process so your Learning Abroad credits are not counted twice once International Admissions evaluates your courses for transfer credit.

After you complete your program, Learning Abroad will receive your transcript and then provide it and your transfer credit pre-approval form to International Admissions. International Admissions will place the U of U equivalent courses, along with the corresponding grades and number of credits earned, to your transfer record. The placeholder courses will remain on your U of U record, but you will not see a grade or credit amount for them on your transcript. You will see this information on your transfer record. Note that International Admissions determines the final evaluation of transfer credit. In some circumstances, the final number of credits that transfer may differ from the original placeholder course designation. 

Before you depart for your program, Learning Abroad will ask you to indicate the total number of credits in which you intend to enroll. We will then ask again when your program begins to confirm the total number of credits in which you enrolled. If your total of number credits changes at any point, you are responsible for communicating this information to Learning Abroad because it can affect your eligibility for and disbursement of financial aid and scholarships.

Pre-approving Transfer Credit

If you are earning transfer credits, complete the Learning Abroad Transfer Credit Pre-Approval Form before departure(available in your Learning Abroad Program application). This form:

  • Identifies what courses you will take abroad
  • Clarifies if these courses fulfill U of U requirements
  • Determines how many credits you will earn

If you fail to pre-approve your courses, you are subject to different criteria.  Information about that process can be found in the section titled Failure to Pre-approve Transfer Credit

Learning Abroad does not approve courses. To get your courses approved, contact your academic advisor. In most cases, course approvals will follow the steps below:

transfer credit process

When selecting your courses, be aware of the following:

  • Course descriptions, class schedules, and syllabi may not be posted online.
  • Pre-approve a few extra classes. This gives you flexibility if your class schedule changes.
  • If you decide to take a class that wasn’t pre-approved, contact your academic advisor or Learning Abroad Coordinator immediately.
  • Make sure that you meet any course pre-requisites.   
  • Credit hours are calculated differently abroad. Be sure that you enroll in the minimum number of U.S. American credits for your Program.   
  • Grading scales are different abroad than they are in the United States. For example, an 80% is considered an A in the United Kingdom. It is not that the coursework in the UK is easier; it is just a different way of measuring class performance.

Failure to Pre-approve Transfer Credit

If you do NOT submit a Course Pre-Approval Form  or if you elect not to get your courses pre-approved: 

  • You will not have any control over how the credits you earn on your Program are posted to your transcript.
  • The Office of Admissions will determine how your credits transfer back to the University after your Program has ended. For more information on how your credits will transfer, visit
  • If you disagree with how credit has been awarded, you may submit syllabi and course descriptions to the Office of Admissions and request that a petition be sent out to a specific University of Utah department for review. Decisions made as part of the petition process are final.  

For questions about how these courses will apply to your degree, contact your Academic Advisor.

The International Requirement

Did you know that you can use your Program to fulfill the University of Utah Undergraduate International Requirement (IR)? The process for ensuring that you receive this credit varies depending on your circumstances. The descriptions below will help you determine what steps you need to take to ensure that your Program will meet the International Requirement

Program Listing Process

Programs listed in the Learning Abroad Program Search

If you earn at least 3 credit hours on your Program, the course automatically satisfies the IR requirement. The IR credit will appear in your Degree Audit after your Program is completed or after transcripts are receive for any transfer credits that you earn.
Program NOT listed in the Learning Abroad Program Search You will have to submit a special petition to receive the IR credit. Contact the Academic Advising Center for more information about this process.

Posting Transfer Credit Grades to your U of U record after the Program

The description below explains the process for transferring credits back to the U.

Explanation of how grades are posted to your degree audit after your program.

Note: The Office of Admissions applies transfer coursework to your degree audit, but it does not determine whether that credit can be applied towards degree requirements or count as upper division credit. These decisions are made by academic departments.  Contact your Academic Advisor for more information.

Be aware that your transcripts from your Learning Abroad Program can take up to a semester to arrive (and up to 90 days to process). Make arrangements in ADVANCE for situations where you might need an official transcript, such as:

  • Graduation Requirements
  • Job Application or Interview
  • Graduate or Professional School Applications

The Office of the Registrar may be able to provide a letter for a potential employer explaining that you are waiting for your learning abroad grades before you can graduate. Please reach out to your Learning Abroad Coordinator to inquire about this possibility if needed.

Academic Appeals

To appeal a grade earned on your Program, follow instructions below.

Appeal Process
U of U
If you earned transfer credit for your program, you will need to appeal the grade through the processes and procedures of your host institution or affiliate. These process and the ability to appeal a grade vary dramatically depending on institution, affiliate, or the host culture. The University of Utah cannot change a grade earned at a host institution or affiliate. Learning Abroad and the University of Utah cannot pass judgement on appeals pertaining to transfer credit. Contact your Learning Abroad Coordinator for information about the appeal process at your host institution or affiliate.
If you earned transfer credit for your program, you will need to appeal the grade through the processes and procedures of your host institution or affiliate. These processes and the ability to appeal a grade vary dramatically depending on institution, affiliate, or the host culture. The University of Utah cannot change a grade earned at a host institution or affiliate. Learning Abroad and the University of Utah cannot pass judgement on appeals pertaining to transfer credit. Contact your Learning Abroad Coordinator for information about the appeal process at your host institution or affiliate.

Earning Internship Credit Abroad

Global Internships are Programs that provide unique workplace experiences abroad.  They are coordinated by one of our Affiliates – partner organizations that have been evaluated and approved by the University of Utah—or the Hinckley Institute. Through direct relationships with companies, organizations, and governments in the host country, our Affiliates and the Hinckley Institute can connect you with your ideal internship opportunity.  Internships are available in both English and the host language, depending on your preference.  Many Programs provide helpful services such as visa support, housing, knowledgeable on-site staff to help you navigate your host country, and cultural field trips and excursions.  Contact the Program Coordinator for more information about support services.

Global Internships offered through Learning Abroad earn transfer credit.  The University of Utah accepts transfer credit for internship courses taken through an approved Learning Abroad Program.  Approved Programs are listed in our Program Search.  Internship credits are subject to the same processes and policies that apply to other Learning Abroad courses that earn transfer credit.  You should pre-approve your courses before departure.  If you fail to pre-approve your courses, you are subject to different criteria.  Information about that process is found in the section titled Failure to Pre-approve Transfer Credit.  Hinckley Global Internships earn U of U credit and do not need to pre-approve transfer credits. 

Earning Community Engagement Credit Abroad

The University of Utah offers a wide variety of community engaged learning (CEL) courses abroad.  The chart below outlines the academic impacts of these Programs.

Credit Type Application

U of U Credit

The course and the CEL designation will be noted on your transcript. These classes can be used toward the Community Engaged Scholars program.

Transfer Credit
The course will be recorded on your transcript, but it will not have the CEL designation and does not count towards the Community Engaged Scholars Program.

Contact the Bennion Center if you have questions about the Community Engagement Scholars Program. 

Last Updated: 4/17/23