Information for Advisors

Frequently Asked Questions

Study abroad is open to students in all majors, but for students in more structured degree programs, it may take more academic planning. In terms of when students study abroad, students can go abroad as early as the summer after their freshman year. For semester programs, there are some programs that are open to second-semester sophomores, but most students go abroad their junior or senior year. Most IU programs require an approximate minimum GPA of either 2.75 or 3.0. A few programs do not permit for flexibility on the GPA requirement and this will be noted on the program page. More information is also available on the GPA eligibility requirements page. Students who are unable to meet GPA requirements for IU programs may find suitable options with non-IU providers.

Students can study abroad and fulfill residency credit requirements if they are on IU administered or co-sponsored study abroad programs. However, students on non-IU programs do not earn credit towards the residency requirement. Nevertheless, most students can spend one semester abroad on any type of program and still have enough residency credits to graduate.

Eligibility, including GPA, class-standing, and course prerequisites are stated on each individual program page. Advisors should also look at our Academic Policies and Procedures to see what criteria the selection committees use when evaluating student applications.

Education Abroad maintains course equivalency lists with previously approved equivalencies for courses taken on IU administered or co-sponsored programs. The Office of International Admissions maintains the Credit Transfer Service with previously approved equivalencies for all other programs. If a student takes a course that has not previously been evaluated they can submit a syllabus to the advisor in that particular academic department for evaluation before departing. However, students can also petition for specific credit from a department upon their return from the program when they have ample materials to show the nature and level of the course and their work.

Once the course has been evaluated by the department, the advisor can then complete a Course Approval Memo to show the IU equivalency and whether or not it is an exception for that particular student or has been approved for all students. If the course is approved for all students, the course equivalency will then be listed on course equivalency lists.

All IU administered and co-sponsored programs count the grades in the student's cumulative GPA. Non-IU programs result in transfer credit which means the grades do not factor into the student's cumulative GPA. Nevertheless, students should be reminded that when they apply to graduate school or for jobs they may be required to submit a transcript from all previous institutions where they have studied so they will be accountable for the GPA they earned on an external program.

Prior to their going abroad, you can check Education Abroad's website to see if a program appears as one of ours. If not, it is presumably a non-IU program. After registration begins at IU, if a student is going to be abroad on an IU program, they will register in an OVST placeholder course that carries credit hours and notes the program location. After the program has concluded, the OVST course number will remain on the student's record to reflect that they were abroad on their official transcript. The credit hours associated with the placeholder course will be replaced by the course equivalencies and credits earned on the program.

Students participating on Non-IU programs are registered in a 0-credit placeholder course: OVST-Y 496 (Non-IU Overseas Study Program) or OVST-Y 498 (Non-IU Overseas Study Program II).Students must transfer the credit from their study abroad program through the Office of International Admissions. More information on this process is found on our Non-IU Procedures page.

Students from the College of Arts and Sciences (including the Media School; the School of Art, Architecture, and Design; and the School of Global and International Studies) automatically satisfy the Global Civilization and Culture (GCC) requirement with a semester or academic year program, if they select among IU administered or co-sponsored programs. IUB students can automatically fulfill their World Languages and Culture General Education requirement provided the program is at least six weeks and six credits in length. Kelley School of Business students who are International Business co-majors can also fulfill their Cross Cultural Awareness (CCA) requirement by participating in an approved program that is least 6 credits (other ways to satisfy the CCA can be found on the Kelley Bulletin).

Students studying abroad typically cannot fulfill the required CASE Critical Approaches, English composition, Intensive Writing, Mathematical Modeling or Public Oral Communication courses abroad. While students can complete their Global Civilization and Culture requirement by studying abroad on a semester length program, the Diversity in the U.S. requirement needs to be completed at IU. Math and science courses should not be taken abroad unless the student is majoring or minoring in that area. General education requirements (i.e. arts/humanities, social/historical), major, minor, and elective credit can be fulfilled abroad, with appropriate permission. Some schools have restrictions about receiving credit for major requirements abroad (i.e. Education and Kelley School of Business—unless it is a Kelley School of business program.).

Business majors can go on any study abroad program, but can only fulfill upper-level business requirements on programs sponsored by the Kelley School of Business

Some programs have detailed program handbooks or partner websites that contain additional information about courses, credits, housing, etc. You can also contact the study abroad advisor for that program for more information.

Education Abroad has a First Steps Info Session. Learn more about signing up for that session, as well as how to meet with an Education Abroad advisor, on our Meet with an Advisor page.  

Review our FAQs for Education Abroad Applicants page, which describes the application components, timeline, and more.