Eligibility & Academics

Eligibility & Academics


To be eligible for education abroad, UMass Amherst students must be in good standing academically with the University and in compliance with the Code of Conduct.  Please review the International Programs Office and Dean of Students Conduct Clearance Process and email your Education Abroad Advisor if you have any questions or concerns.

The earliest a first-year student can go is after completing two UMass semesters.  Transfer students can go abroad as early as their second UMass semester.

You must meet the GPA and minimum class standing requirements for your program.


All courses on approved study abroad programs will count as residency credits towards total graduation credits.  You must get pre-approval during the application process for any courses you hope to take that will fulfill GenEd, major, minor, or other specific requirements.

Review these tips about academics in education abroad.

Course Restrictions

  • Junior Year Writing (JYW) and the Integrative Experience (IE) cannot be taken abroad.  
  • Your major may have additional restrictions on what you can take abroad, and it is your responsibility to confirm this with your Academic Advisor.

Full-Time Status

  • If you are going abroad for a semester, you must maintain full-time enrollment at your host institution or program. Undergraduates must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits.  Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of 9 credits.
  • Students who drop below full-time status may lose financial aid, scholarships, insurance and may delay graduation.

Grades and GPA

  • Courses abroad must be taken for a letter grade; they cannot be taken pass/fail. Grades and credits earned abroad 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 may evaluate your transcript and grades from abroad and 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 SPAN230, 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.

» Now that you have a UMass Abroad profile and understand Eligibility and Academics, it’s time to Identify your Goals! »

No matter where you are in your journey to Be UMass Abroad, here are some resources to help you plan:

Still have questions? We’re here for you!