IU Program Policies

Expectations and requirements for applicants and program participants on IU programs are outlined within the academic and fiscal policies of IU Education Abroad.

IU Education Abroad uses the following criteria and procedures in the screening and selection of program participants on IU programs.

I. Eligibility Criteria
  1. Class Standing
  2. GPA
  3. Academic Progress 
  4. Language Requirements 
  5. Program-Specific Requirements
  6. Lower Age Limits 
  7. Preference to Indiana University Students 
  8. Disciplinary Status 
II. Selection Process
III. Other Factors

I. Eligibility Criteria

1. Class Standing

Students with the appropriate academic background may apply for some summer programs as early as freshman year. Some semester programs also allow sophomores to participate.

The norm for IU semester and academic year programs is for students to complete two years of full-time study on an IU campus before going abroad.  However, for some majors, students may be best situated to go abroad sophomore year or even during the first semester of their senior year. Students are advised to work closely with their major advisor and their education abroad advisor to determine when the best time is for them to study abroad. Then their education abroad advisor can help them identify programs for which they are eligible.  

Students who transfer to Indiana University must have at least one full semester of IU credit on their transcript before they are considered for study abroad.

Graduating high school students, even those who have earned college credits prior to their admission to a degree program at IU, are not eligible to study abroad via IU.

Graduate students who have completed at least one semester at IU may apply to a limited set of programs that allow graduate student participation. Note that most IU Education Abroad programs are designed for undergraduate students and only offer undergraduate courses.

2. GPA

To apply to an IU program, students need the minimum IU cumulative GPA indicated in the program requirements: 2.75 to 3.00. Certain programs are rigid in their adherence to the stipulated GPAs while other programs consider students whose GPAs approximately meet the requirement.

3. Academic Progress

To be eligible to apply for study abroad, students must be making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree, particularly those applying for semester and academic year programs. (Note: Acceptance into a program does not automatically qualify a student for continued financial assistance.)

4. Language Requirements for Programs Taught in the Host Country Language (if other than English)

Completion of prior language coursework with a grade of B or better is expected for participation in programs (or courses) that are taught in the local host country language.

Students who intend to study abroad for a year or a semester in a location where courses are taught in a foreign language are advised to enroll in that language during the semester immediately preceding program participation. 

Summer program applicants who have not taken any language courses in the current or immediately preceding semester may find their language skills have weakened since taking their last course. In such cases, language proficiency must be demonstrated as part of the application process.

Non-native speakers of a foreign language who have placed out of language courses at IU but who have never enrolled in a language course before the program may also have to demonstrate language proficiency as part of the application process.

Students who take an intensive language course prior to a summer program may be accepted conditionally, pending their performance in the course.

5. Program-Specific Requirements

Some programs have requirements in addition to class standing and GPA. Students should pay close attention to the program-specific requirements when selecting a study abroad program.

6. Lower Age Limits

IU Education Abroad does not permit university applicants under the age of 18 or high school students to participate in its programs.

7. Preference to Indiana University Students

Any student enrolled at one of the seven Indiana University campuses may apply to the programs administered or co-sponsored by IU Education Abroad.

Only a very small number of programs are open to students from other institutions.

In some cases the child of an IU employee who attends another institution may be permitted to apply to IU-administered (but not co-sponsored) programs. In-state fee status and dependent fee courtesy are normally applicable in these cases. Additional materials may be required as part of the program application process.

8. Disciplinary Status

Students with sanctions of disciplinary probation or stronger (i.e., deferred suspension, suspension, separation, or expulsion) may not participate in IU Education Abroad programs. IU Education Abroad reviews the disciplinary records of all program applicants, and reserves the right to deny acceptance to students who have problematic disciplinary histories.

II. Selection Process

The Associate Vice President for Education Abroad appoints committees to screen applications for study abroad. A standard dossier consists of an application with demographic information, a transcript, recommendations from instructors (typically, one or two for academic year or semester study abroad and one for summer) and the student's personal statement. Certain academic year and semester programs may require interviews; interviews may be required of other programs at the discretion of committee chairs.

The committee recommends students who not only meet the minimum eligibility criteria but who also show the type of intellectual curiosity, personal maturity, academic rationale and social flexibility necessary for a successful study abroad experience.

The Associate Vice President for Education Abroad has the final authority to accept or reject the recommendations of the selection committees.

In the case of co-sponsored programs, once the Associate Vice President has approved the committee's recommendations, IU Education Abroad forwards the dossiers to the co-sponsoring agencies. In some cases those organizations permit direct admissions in which case the students will receive automatic acceptance letters. In other cases, the organization or the institution makes the final decision regarding admission.

In the event that students wish to appeal the decision of the selection committee, they may send a petition to the Associate Vice President asking that their case be reviewed. The AVP's review will be conducted in a timely manner, and the decision rendered final.

Acceptance into programs is always contingent upon a student's maintaining a level of academic performance consistent with previous work and satisfactorily completing course work in the semester of acceptance. Students who receive Incompletes or Withdrawals for course work during that semester may forfeit final program acceptance.

III. Other Factors 

For many programs, eventual program participation is contingent upon the student's ability to obtain travel documents (i.e., passport, visa, work permit, etc.). These documents are issued at the discretion of U.S. and foreign government offices. While IU Education Abroad and co-sponsoring organizations can provide documentation in support of applications, the government bodies have final authority over issuance of travel documents. Applications may be denied for any reason, including insufficient documentation, pending legal action, past criminal history, etc. Application procedures and requirements may vary based upon citizenship. Non-U.S. citizens may have significantly different conditions to meet to obtain travel documents and should look into the timeline for obtaining the required travel documents prior to applying for a program.  The student is solely responsible for ensuring that they have obtained the documentation required in order to participate in the overseas program.  Failure to do so may result in significant financial loss, as well as have academic implications, for which IU Education Abroad cannot be held responsible.

In a limited number of cases, program providers are prohibited or unable to accommodate citizens or passport holders of a given country. If you will not travel on a U.S. passport, please inquire to IU Education Abroad or the program provider to clarify your eligibility.

Academic requirements for applicants and programs participants on IU programs:

  1. Advising
  2. Course Load
  3. Independent Study and Individualized Readings
  4. Pass/Fail Option
  5. Withdrawal from an Education Abroad Program
  6. Dropping and Adding Courses
  7. Incompletes
  8. Extended-X
  9. Course and Credit Requirements
  10. Course Approval and Course Equivalencies
  11. Residency
  12. Grading Policies
1. Advising

All students accepted to a semester or academic year IU Education Abroad program outline their proposed course plan and degree progress, which their education abroad advisor will review as part of their application (in consultation with the student’s academic advisor, if necessary). All students must confirm with their education abroad advisor their final course schedule abroad.  Any correspondence between the student and the home-campus advisors must be shared with IU Education Abroad, which must approve any changes to the original proposed plan.

2. Course Load

Students participating in summer programs must be enrolled in a full-time course load as defined by their individual study abroad program, even if they do not need all the credits for their degree requirements.

The minimum course load each semester required by most programs is 15-16 credits. Students participating in direct enroll programs at a foreign university, taking standard university courses alongside local students and receiving a transcript from the local host institution, must enroll in the equivalent of 12 U.S. credits, at a minimum. Programs for which exceptions may be granted are outlined in program-specific handbooks and will be discussed at education abroad advising sessions.

Students should not drop below full-time status as stipulated by each program policy. Exceptions are considered only in cases of illness or similar extenuating circumstances. If a student drops below the minimum required hours without having been granted an exception, an F is awarded for the remaining number of credit hours.

Students participating in co-sponsored programs must adhere to the co-sponsor's minimum course load requirement, but Indiana University may impose additional academic requirements.

Graduate students accepted to graduate semester programs must take a minimum of 9 credits and a maximum of 12 credits per semester.

3. Independent Study and Individualized Readings

Students are not permitted to include IU or on-site independent study courses as part of their minimum course load abroad. On-site independent study courses may be arranged with permission from the home campus, but only in addition to the minimum course enrollment requirement.

IU Education Abroad strongly discourages students from taking online courses during their stay abroad. Such courses cannot form part of the term’s minimum course load.

4. Pass/Fail Option

Students are generally not permitted to take courses pass/fail. A very small number of IU programs have procedures in place to allow limited exceptions. The policies for these programs are included in the IU program handbooks. Pass/fail is limited to one course per semester, not including any pre-session courses, required language courses or courses used to complete degree requirements. Pass/fail policies for the student's individual IU school still apply. Students must declare a course P/F by each program's published deadline; they cannot declare a course P/F after receiving a final grade.

5. Withdrawal from an IU Education Abroad Program

If a student withdraws from the program shortly after arrival at the program site (typically during the orientation period), enrollment in the education abroad program is deleted from the student's record instead of recording W's in all courses.

We cannot guarantee that students who complete a pre-session before withdrawing from a semester or academic-year program will receive credit for that portion of the program.

On-site staff monitor students on IU-administered and co-sponsored programs to ensure that they do not fall below required minimum enrollment levels. It is the student's responsibility to keep the program's administrators and IU Education Abroad informed about their enrollment.

6. Dropping and Adding Courses

Reasonable deadlines for dropping classes are established at each program site based on the host country's academic calendar.

Students are encouraged to attend more courses initially than they expect to enroll in so they can drop the least appropriate courses before the registration deadline.

7. Incompletes

Students are expected to complete all course work before they leave the study abroad site. They are not permitted a grade of Incomplete in order to complete an assignment after their return to the U.S. (An exception is made for short-term field school programs in which the analysis of field research is completed by an established deadline shortly after return to the U.S.)

If students do not complete course work prior to departure from the program site, they will receive an F for that course.

If a student has completed all course work abroad, but no grade is reported due to an oversight or delay by the host country faculty or the program administrators, IU Education Abroad temporarily enters an Incomplete until the correct letter grade is determined.

In circumstances beyond a student's control (e.g., closure of the program) IU Education Abroad is permitted to award a permanent Incomplete (one that does not become an F at the end of a year).

8. Extended-X

Students should not expect to use Extended-X for courses taken abroad since the content cannot be exactly replicated on the Bloomington campus.

If a student takes a course with an articulated equivalency that is offered on the Bloomington campus, they should consult their academic advisor about Extended-X policies.

9. Course and Credit Requirements

In awarding credit for course work taken abroad, IU Education Abroad assumes that the contact hours are comparable to those at IU (i.e.12.5 contact hours per credit hour).

In the case of courses taken abroad which follow the ECTS credit model, Education Abroad will convert credits according to the following scale:

1.5-2 ECTS = 1 IU Credit
2.5-3 ECTS = 1.5 IU Credits
3.5-4 ECTS = 2 IU Credits
4.5-6 ECTS = 3 IU Credits
6.5-8 ECTS = 4 IU Credits
8.5-10 ECTS = 5 IU Credits

IU Education Abroad also recommends this conversion scale be used across academic units to help ensure consistent credit transfer for students who take courses across fields of study and IU schools.

Courses taught by IU faculty abroad are expected to include required reading, written course work, examinations and, when possible, term papers. Field study programs typically incorporate journal writing into the assessment process.

Students must enroll in courses abroad that require academic work, can be assessed for a grade, and are credit bearing. Non-credit or unassessed courses will not be considered part of the students’ full-time enrollment; students will not receive credit for such classes. 

10. Course Approval and Course Equivalencies

Courses on Indiana University education abroad programs are reported to the Registrar with IUB course titles and numbers. IU faculty evaluate foreign course descriptions and syllabi and determine what their department's equivalent IU level and number should be. This sometimes takes place before students go abroad, but more often occurs when students return from abroad with course material to substantiate their request for credit. The Registrar has developed a flexible equivalency system (e.g., undistributed courses with the original course titles on the transcript according to a numerical ranking, HIST-OS 100, 200, etc.) to facilitate accounting for courses with no exact equivalent in the IU system. Please note that course equivalencies are based on the content of the courses and not the language in which they are taught.

Education Abroad keeps a record of courses that have approved IU equivalents. Students are given guidelines for selecting courses abroad when there are no pre-established equivalencies. Students are guaranteed credit for all completed IU study abroad course work, but the amount and level of the credit for each course is determined by campus departments with the assistance of IU Education Abroad.

The Registrar allows courses taken abroad to be reported as 1 credit more or 1 credit less than is listed in the IU Bulletin.

Once the IU grade and course equivalency information has been verified, Education Abroad produces grade reports for the Registrar and, in some cases, the Recorder. Education Abroad lists the unarticulated courses as 100-level undistributed course work. When a department decides that those courses should be listed as upper-level undistributed credit or as an IU course, Education Abroad needs the department to submit documentation to that effect via the Course Approval Memo.

It is important to note that until the equivalent IU courses and grades are posted, the student's One.IU degree audit will not be a reliable indicator of the student's requirement or credit situation. Therefore, since the One.IU report may be temporarily inaccurate, it is advised that students check with Education Abroad to verify actual standing vis-a-vis requirements and degree completion.

Study abroad courses may count towards major, minor or elective requirements, based on departmental policy. In addition, participation in a program in and of itself may satisfy a requirement as is the case for: 1) IUB majors in the College of Arts and Sciences who can satisfy the Global Civilizations and Cultures requirement by participating in a semester or year-long program; and 2) IUB International Studies majors who may be required to study abroad for six weeks or longer.

The IUB General Education Requirements, instituted during the summer of 2011, include an international experience option as part of the World Languages and Cultures requirement. An international experience may satisfy the World Languages and Cultures requirement only if it meets specific criteria. For detailed information about how to satisfy this requirement, see IU Bloomington's general education website as well as the IU Education Abroad website.

11. Residency

Most departments are flexible in permitting courses taken overseas to count toward degree requirements. However, IU Education Abroad respects a department's requirement that students who study abroad still need a number of actual home campus credits (typically 10 for the major and 6 for the minor) before they receive a major or minor from that department.

All students on Education Abroad programs are registered at IU-Bloomington. However, credits earned by students who reach senior standing (usually 86 credits) on Education Abroad programs satisfy the residency requirement on their home campus (e.g., IUB, IUPUI, IPFW, etc.). This policy facilitates study abroad for students unable to go abroad until their fourth year of college.

When a transfer student to IU decides to go abroad after only one or two semesters on an IU campus, the student's school reserves the right to re-evaluate the student's "residency" credits from abroad so that the transfer student will have enough on-campus credit to justify a degree from that school.

Students from an IU campus other than Bloomington are registered administratively as special non-degree students on the IUB campus for their time abroad, but they earn credits toward the home campus degree. Consequently, if a student wishes to pursue an IU-Bloomington degree after the study abroad program, the student will have to fulfill the senior residency requirement on the Bloomington campus before qualifying for the degree. The student may have to satisfy the major department's residency requirement in Bloomington as well.

Likewise, if an IUB student who spends a year abroad wishes to complete his or her studies on another IU campus, he or she will have to determine the impact on the residency requirement with the degree-granting campus.

12. Grading Policies
  • IU Education Abroad includes grades for all IU overseas course work in the student's cumulative GPA.
  • On many programs, particularly summer and short-term faculty-led programs, IU faculty are responsible for assessing the student's work. In these cases, the faculty use the same rigorous, discriminating grading criteria they use at home. In cases of field study experiences, the faculty are necessarily diligent in establishing clear criteria to evaluate non-classroom academic exercises. Education Abroad course work abroad is as rigorous as on-campus course work and Education Abroad assumes its faculty abroad takes special care to devise discriminating criteria to assess students' work. IU programs award grades following standard IU protocols.
  • When grades are given by faculty from the host country using that country's grading scale, equivalency scales are used to translate the grades to U.S. grades. These scales are not a mere adaptation to the U.S. percentage or letter grade system, but rather are designed to match the spirit of the host country grading system with the U.S. one. The same variation that occurs between the differing demands of professors here at IU is likely to occur with teachers abroad and IU Education Abroad does not make adjustments to the grading scale on this count.
  • IU Education Abroad does not include A+ on equivalency scales and awards an A+ for courses abroad only in rare circumstances. A+ grades are reserved for exceptional cases and are awarded the same GPA weight as an A.
  • After departure from a program site abroad, should students have questions about how a final grade was achieved they may submit an inquiry. Inquiries should be directed either to the co-sponsoring agency or IU Education Abroad.

    The co-sponsoring agency, host university and/or IU Education Abroad will seek feedback from the faculty member of record and verify that grading procedures that are considered the norm for that particular institution, country and/or program were followed.

    IU Education Abroad recognizes the professors as the primary authorities in matters of grading. Education Abroad will NOT adjust grades; only corrections for calculation or recording errors will result in a grade change.
  • Should students believe that there has been professorial, academic-based misconduct with regard to grading and evaluation they should file a formal petition. Evidence about such misconduct must be provided to support such petitions, not hearsay, subjective impressions, or remarks of a personal nature. Dissatisfaction with a grade, based on the student perspective of their own performance, will not constitute acceptable grounds for an appeal. 
Inquiry/Petition Process

Filing an Inquiry/Petition

  • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from a co-sponsored program, the student must follow the specific procedures of the co-sponsoring agency (e.g., IES, CIEE), within the agency's specified time lines.
  • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from an IU-administered faculty led program, the student must write directly to the professor and send a copy of the statement to IU Education Abroad.
  • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from any other IU-administered program, the student must send a formal statement and any supporting documents directly to IU Education Abroad. 
  • Inquiries must be filed within 2 months of student notification of the final grade. Review/investigation may take up to 60 days to complete.

Appealing the Outcome of a Petition

  1. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the response to a petition, a student may file an appeal.
  2. The appeal must be submitted in writing to IU Education Abroad and should include ample documentation or evidence.
  3. The appeal is forwarded to members of the Overseas Study Advisory Council’s Appeals Committee along with all relevant correspondence and documentation collected by Education Abroad in investigating the initial petition.
  4. The Appeals Committee convenes (in person or virtually), and may uphold the decision of the initial petition or determine an alternate outcome. Alternate outcomes may vary, depending upon focus of the petition and actions permissible within the purview of IU Education Abroad. Appeals Committee decisions are final and become effective when the Committee issues its decision.
  5. The Appeals Committee issues a written decision within seven (7) calendar days after convening. The decision sets out the committee's conclusions and the findings of fact and reasoning supporting those conclusions. The presiding officer of the Committee sends the decision to the student, with a copy to the Associate Vice President for Education Abroad.

The Appeals Committee of the IU Overseas Study Advisory Council

The Appeals Committee is appointed by the Vice President for International Affairs and includes two current members of the IU Overseas Study Advisory Council and one senior member of the IU faculty.

All students on IU programs must respect and abide by the academic regulations of both IU, any co-sponsoring agency and the local host institutions. Any acts of academic misconduct, including cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules or facilitating academic dishonesty, will be adjudicated by local academic officials and then be referred to the judicial process on the student's home campus.

All students on IU programs must respect and abide by the laws and customs of the host country, the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, and any rules and regulations for student conduct made or adopted by IU, its employees, agents, consortium partners, and partner institutions abroad, from the published official program arrival date through the official program completion date, including but not limited to host institution rules and regulations for student conduct designed to safeguard health, well-being and safety.