Guidelines for Course Selection

Once you're abroad and have decided on your courses, be sure to fill out the Course Report Form for the appropriate semester and return it to abroad@brandeis.edu as soon as possible. You may email your course selection and then fax a copy of the form before sending it snail mail with the appropriate signatures. Failure to send this form back to Brandeis may put your credit from abroad in jeopardy.

Once we receive your Course Report Form in our office we will email you to confirm which courses will be accepted for general Brandeis credit. If a course you wish to take proves to be unacceptable, you will need to select another course.

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Appropriate Courses for Brandeis Credit

Brandeis will give credit for liberal arts classes only. You will not receive credit for non-liberal arts courses, which may include topics such as ceramics, engineering, drafting, jewelry-making and certain types of accounting courses.

Please refer to the guidelines below for specific rules on certain classes. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a course, please contact a study abroad staff member.

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Auditing Courses

No credit will be given for audited courses. You will only receive credit for those courses for which you receive a grade on your transcript or tutor's report.

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Foreign Language Requirements Abroad

You must take at least one course each semester in the language of the country in which you are studying. This course may be either an academic subject course taught in the language of the country, or an appropriate language/grammar course. Failure to complete a language course during each semester you are abroad will result in loss of all credit for the semester. Learn more.

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General University Requirements

If you wish to use a course abroad to fulfill a general university requirement (Writing Intensive, Quantitative Reasoning, Foreign Language, Non-Western, or School Distribution), you will need to complete the Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form available on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

You may do this before you leave, while you are abroad or after you return. Please note that we strongly encourage you to make these types of requests before the end of your add/drop period for your program as we can not guarantee credit to fulfill such requirements after you return.

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Grades and GPA

Courses taken abroad are counted as transfer credit according to the following guidelines:

  • You must receive a grade of C- or better in order to earn credit.

  • No credit will be given for pass/fail work.

  • Grades will not be figured into your GPA and will not appear on your Brandeis transcript.

  • Subjects studied will appear on your Brandeis University transcript, although exact course titles will not appear.

Note: Students who receive a course grade below a C- (i.e. a D, F, or the equivalent) may be placed on advising alert or probation as dictated by the Committee on Academic Standing (COAS). These courses will be marked with an NC (no credit) on a student's Brandeis transcript.

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Internships, Independent Study Projects, Practicums, and Field Experience

Internships, independent study courses, practicums, and fieldwork experience must have approval from the Office of Study Abroad in order to be accepted for credit. Not all internships offered by programs on the approved list meet the Brandeis criteria. Therefore, it is very important to discuss your proposed internship course with a member of the study abroad staff.

If you wish to have an internship or independent study course accepted for credit, there must be an academic component to the course and you are required to be on-site for at least 100 hours. To ensure an experiential learning experience is appropriate for credit, you should send a short email to the Office of Study Abroad describing the course. and include a syllabus if available.

If you wish to receive major/minor credit for an independent study, internship, practicum or field research project while abroad, you must contact the Study Abroad Faculty Liaison in the appropriate department for their guidelines. It is wise to request guidance from the Study Abroad Faculty Liaison in advance since not all internships may be approved by a particular department. Please see the major/minor credit section for more information.

Students who complete an independent study, internship, practicum or field research project while abroad will be required to submit a short summary of their work via and online survey when they return to campus.

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Major and Minor Credit

If you wish to receive credit towards your major or minor for courses taken abroad, you should contact the Study Abroad Faculty Liaison for the appropriate department or the program directly. The Office of Study Abroad can only transfer general course credit, not major or minor credit. Study Abroad Liaisons make final decisions about major/minor credit once students return from abroad.

To request major/minor credit upon returning from abroad, you should complete a Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form on the Registrar's website. After filling out the form and gathering the necessary paperwork, you may want to make an appointment to meet with the Liaison in each department where you are seeking credit. Since this form requires you to submit a syllabus from the course you are petitioning, be sure to save your syllabi and course descriptions.

If you have any questions about what may count for major/minor credit you should contact your department Study Abroad Faculty Liaison; provide a complete course description and a syllabus. Keep records of the written approval or permission by a professor or department for credit transfer to minimize confusion/conflict upon return to Brandeis. Some departments may require additional materials, such as copies of your assignments, so check with your department if you have questions.

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Photography Classes

Questions about photography classes should be addressed to the Office of Study Abroad. Photography courses that have no creative or historic component are not appropriate for Brandeis course credit. An appropriate photography course will not rely solely on use of a smartphone for the course. Only a few photography courses are eligible to fulfill the School of Creative Arts requirement.

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Physical Education

You may receive credit for PE while abroad if the course is at least 22 contact hours. Please contact Lynne Dempsey, Director of Athletics, with a detailed course description if you have further questions. Please note that club team participation, or attending a yoga studio on your own, will not count for PE credit.

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Rate of Work and Credit Awarded

You must carry a normal, full course load while abroad; the flexible rate of work option does NOT apply to study abroad. Only documented medical illness or severe personal hardship warrant a petition for a reduced rate of work. The fact that a course turns out to be too advanced or not as interesting as you had hoped is not sufficient. Taking a "W" is not permitted. Please speak with the Office of Study Abroad staff if you have any questions.

A normal, full load of work abroad is defined individually by each program or university together with the Brandeis Office of Study Abroad. A four-course rate abroad may not be equivalent to a full load (four courses) at Brandeis. In some programs you must take five courses, in others three. At Brandeis, the normal course load is 4 courses per semester. The minimum is 3 and the maximum is 5.5, but the "normal" is 4.

15 U.S. credits is the minimum course load for all Brandeis study abroad students. 12 U.S. credits is not considered a full load. If, for example, the program literature states that the range is between 14-18 credits, the "normal" load would be 16. If you are not sure what constitutes a normal, full course load at your program or university, check with the Resident Director or International Student Office and then confirm these details with the Brandeis Office of Study Abroad. Be sure to do this before the end of your add-drop period so that you can make any necessary changes to your schedule. Being a full-time student on an overseas program is not necessarily the same as taking a full course load.

In most cases 1-credit courses are not appropriate for transfer credit and will not count as part of a normal full load abroad. There are certain exceptions to this rule, please reach out to the Office of Study Abroad with any questions. (Exception: Sarah Lawrence/ BADA)

If students take the normal course load overseas and earn a C- or better in each class, they will receive credit for the equivalent of the normal load at Brandeis: 16 credit hours for the semester and 32 credit hours for the year. Failure to attempt a full course load abroad may result in a loss of all potential credit for the semester/year.

We do not transfer credit earned abroad on a course-for-course basis. Additional Brandeis credit can be earned only if the student takes a substantial overload, as defined by COAS. Credit for an overload will only be given if a student enrolls in 150% of the normal full-time load. If you have any questions, please consult a member of the Study Abroad staff.

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Repeat Classes

When selecting classes abroad, be careful not to repeat a class that you have already taken at Brandeis. You will not receive credit for a class you take twice. If you have any questions, please consult a member of the Study Abroad staff.

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Online Courses
As part of the Brandeis philosophy of study abroad, students are expected to take courses abroad taught in-person by faculty instructors. This would preclude students from taking online courses while abroad. Please see a member of the study abroad staff if you have any questions.