While studying abroad, you can fulfill Gen Ed, major, minor or graduation requirements by obtaining prior approval. This is part of the Education Abroad application process. You can begin by checking your Academic Requirements Report on SPIRE and discussing your plans to study abroad with your academic advisor(s) to determine how and when study abroad will best fit into your academic plan.
You must maintain full-time enrollment at your host institution or program. UMass considers 12 credits to be full-time enrollment for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduates. Academic approval is required for credit earned abroad to count toward specific degree requirements. However, all courses on approved study abroad programs will count towards total graduation credits.
Once you have started a program application, you must gain approval for specific degree requirements and obtain the appropriate signatures on your International Course Approval Form (ICAF) found on your UMass Abroad program application.
- Major Credit - your Chief Undergraduate Advisor
- Minor Credit - your Minor advisor
- Gen Ed Credit - Cristina Sosa, International Registrar
- Global Education Credit (SBS majors) - Thompson 128
- Graduation Clearance/Credit - your Chief Undergraduate Advisor
Students who drop below full-time status may lose financial aid, scholarships, insurance and may delay graduation. Please speak with your Education Abroad Advisor for more details.
Courses abroad must be taken for a letter grade; they cannot be taken pass/fail. Abroad grades and credits will be converted into UMass equivalencies and the grades will appear on your UMass transcript with course titles but they will not be averaged into your GPA, with the exception of UMass Amherst faculty-taught programs. Future employers and graduate schools will evaluate your transcript and your abroad grades will influence their decisions or when making an offer. Graduate schools may recalculate your GPA based on the grades you earned abroad.
Minimum Passing Grade: The equivalent of a C- or better is required for any courses taken abroad for specific graduation requirements in a major, minor, certificate or general education. Students will receive UMass elective credits for any grades below a C- but these cannot be used toward specific graduation requirements. Grading scales vary across countries and institutions. Make sure you understand the grading system and UMass interpretation of grades/credits toward your UMass degree and record.
Foreign Language Credit Policy: UMass credit will only be granted for foreign language courses taken abroad at or above the course level already completed at UMass. Credit will not be awarded for courses at a level lower than that already received at UMass or the 5-Colleges (i.e. if you received credit for SPAN203, you may not earn credit abroad for any 100-level equivalent Spanish language course). Repeated courses follow the repeat policy. We cannot guarantee placement in specific levels. For additional information on this policy, please check with the Language Departmental Advisor during the application process as well as with your Education Abroad Advisor.