Obtaining Brandeis Credit

As you are researching and applying to programs and universities abroad, please observe the following guidelines in order to receive Brandeis University credit for work successfully completed abroad.
Carry a Normal, Full Course Load
You must carry a normal, full course load while abroad; the flexible rate of work option does NOT apply to study abroad. 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. Being a full-time student on an overseas program is not necessarily the same as taking a full course load. Failure to attempt a full course load abroad may result in a loss of all potential credit for the semester/year.
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.

In most cases 1 and 2-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. 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 the Committee on Academic Standing. 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.
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, pre-professional, 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.

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.

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.

Geography and Geology

Geography and Geology courses are appropriate for Brandeis credit even though they are not taught at Brandeis University. You may submit a Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form if you wish to have the course assessed to fulfill the Science general university requirement.

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.

Physical Education

You may receive credit for PE while abroad if the course is at least 22 contact hours. Please contact Jeff Ward, Interim 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.

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.
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.

Intensive Courses

Brandeis cannot approve courses under five weeks in length. Any intensive courses (for example, intensive language courses held at the beginning of the semester) will not count toward a student's full load of courses.

Using Study Abroad Coursework for Major or Minor Credit

If you wish to receive credit towards your major or minor for courses taken abroad, you should contact the appropriate department or program directly. Click here to obtain list of Study Abroad Faculty Liaisons in each department. 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.

Some appropriate questions to discuss with your major/ minor advisor and the Study Abroad Liaison:

  • What major/ minor requirements do I still need to complete?

  • Will study abroad courses be accepted to fulfill degree requirements in this department/ program?

  • I have course descriptions for courses I am considering taking while abroad that I obtained from my study abroad program. Can you review these with me and see if these courses meet any of my major/ minor requirements? (It may also be a good idea to get this pre- approval in writing. You can email your advisor and ask him/her to confirm what you discussed, for example.)

  • If I arrive in my host country and discover that I cannot take these classes, may I email you for guidance in making alternate choices?

  • What do I need to do when I return to follow up with you? What should I bring back with me? (course syllabi, coursework, etc…)

  • Am I on-track with my graduation requirements?

If you would like to obtain major or minor credit for a field study project, internship, or independent study project, you will also need to work with the Study Abroad Liaison within the academic department. It is highly recommended that you talk with the Liaison before and during those independent projects.

Using Study Abroad Coursework for General University or CORE Requirements
If you wish to use a course abroad to fulfill a general university requirement or CORE requirement, you will need to complete the Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form. Following Brandeis academic policy, a single course may be used toward school distribution in only one school.

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 cannot guarantee credit to fulfill such requirements after you return.

Please note that the policies listed in the Brandeis Bulletin apply to study abroad and requirements requested from courses taken off-campus.
Obtaining Brandeis Credit for an Off-Campus Internship, Practicum, Independent or Field Study Project
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.

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 an online survey when they return to campus.