Academic Matters

Registration for Study Abroad

Once approved to study abroad, your Study Abroad Advisor will provide registration instructions.

  • All undergraduate students (with the exception of faculty-led participants) will register for IPS 197 credits as a temporary registration during the term abroad.  OGE-Study Abroad will approve registrations.
  • Upon receipt of the final transcript, IPS 197 will be removed and the courses and credits approved by your faculty advisor will be posted.
  • It is VERY IMPORTANT that you turn in your Faculty Advisor Approval form to OGE-Study Abroad prior to your departure.​

Please be sure to check that you have no outstanding charges on your CMU billing account.  Some registrations have been held up because of outstanding parking tickets or library fines. You can check your account online or contact the Student Services Court.   Please remember that your financial aid will only be disbursed if you are registered.

Grades on CMU Transcript

Courses taken through a CMU study abroad program will appear on your transcript with the grades.  The grades will count in your CMU GPA.​ In some rare cases, host universities may offer a course pass/fail rather than with a specific grade.  CMU will count this class as credit/no credit.

Credit/No Credit Request

If you wish to take courses on a credit/no credit basis, please submit a credit/no credit request form to OGE-Study Abroad prior to your departure or by the designated deadline (a credit/no credit request form is available below.) A written request must be submitted by the deadline; this policy is strictly enforced.​

It is your responsibility to:

  • Ensure that the course for which you intend to earn credit at CMU is offered on a credit/no credit basis.
  • Ensure that a course for which you receive credit/no credit will count toward your major or minor (if this is how you intend for the course to be counted).
  • Ensure that you have not exceeded the maximum number of credits allowed by CMU as credit/no credit.

CMU's credit/no credit policy is explained in the CMU bulletin, if you would like further information. You are strongly encouraged to review the policy.

NOTE: Courses taken for International Program Studies (IPS) credit may be taken as credit/no credit.

Transcripts from Host Universities

Upon completion of your program, please ensure that you request that a copy of your transcript be sent to the OGE-Study Abroad.  Once received, courses will be evaluated and added to the CMU transcript.​

 If a course has not been pre-approved, you will need to request approval from a faculty advisor in the appropriate academic department or request International Program Studies (IPS) credit upon your return. Please ensure that you have no outstanding balance at your host university to avoid a delay in the issuance of your transcript.  Grades for faculty-led participants will be awarded by the faculty-leader; no action is required by the student.

NOTE: It can take several months to receive transcripts from your host institution. ​

University Program IV-B Credit

Students who participate in a CMU study abroad program may be able to fulfill their University Program IV-B Studies in Cultures Outside of the Anglo-American Tradition requirement. In order to fulfill the requirement, students may:

  • Complete at least three credits of study at any institution of higher education located outside the United States.


  • Complete at least three credits of study in a CMU faculty-led course that has been approved by the General Education Committee of the Academic Senate to fulfill the IV-B requirement. (Not all faculty-led programs fulfill this category; to see if a specific faculty-led program fulfills the IV-B requirement, please see the individual study abroad program brochure pages for the program on the study abroad website).


  • Complete three credits of applied coursework (e.g., internship, practicum, service-learning project) outside the United States and approved by OGE- Study Abroad. After completing the course, submit an appeal to the General Education Committee of the Academic Senate to request approval.

NOTE: A study abroad course may not double count for credit in both Subgroup IV-B and another subgroup.

Academic Credits and Requirements

Pre-Departure Course Selection

You are strongly encouraged to meet with your faculty advisor as well as your academic advisor prior to departure to discuss courses and credit.​

  • To receive credit toward your major/minor or University Program requirements, written approval from a faculty advisor or department chair in each academic department (the Faculty Advisor Approval Form is available in your My Study Abroad account) is required.  Faculty-led program participants do not need to submit this form.
  • Meet with a faculty advisor prior to departure to obtain course credit approval. Without prior approval, you have no assurance that you will receive the course credit you want or need.
  • Please be aware that faculty advisors reserve the right to review work completed abroad before awarding CMU credit. Therefore, be sure to keep all your work including course descriptions and/or syllabi.

If you have not yet signed a major or minor, it is recommended that you meet with an Academic Advisor to learn what courses will be required to fulfill a particular major or minor.  Please be aware that Academic Advisors do not have the authority to approve course credit but do provide valuable guidance in course selection.

International Program Studies (IPS) Elective Credits

IPS credits are elective credits that count toward graduation requirements. Three IPS credits taken during study abroad fulfill the University Program IV-B (Global Cultures) requirement (exception: not all faculty-led programs fulfill the UP IV-B requirement. Please check with the OGE-Study Abroad or the faculty leader to learn if the program offers course credits that fulfill the UP IV-B requirement). ​

You may take some or all of your courses as IPS elective credits with permission of OGE-Study Abroad.

Some faculty advisors may award IPS credit for major or minor electives. This is certainly permitted and you must make sure that your faculty advisor completes the appropriate course substitution form.

Credit Load

In order to maintain full-time status, semester students must enroll in courses that, at a minimum, are the equivalent of 12 CMU undergraduate credits or 9 CMU graduate credits. It is important to note that full-time status in some countries may by three courses (i.e. Australia and New Zealand).  However, to be considered full-time at CMU, you will need to be enrolled in four courses (12 credits). ​

Contact the OGE-Study Abroad if you have any questions about the number of courses in which you must enroll.

Pre-Registration for Semester After Study Abroad

If you are studying abroad during fall and/or spring semesters, you will naturally want to pre-register for the semester after your study abroad experience. All the information that you need for registration, including your registration time, is available on the Registrar's website:  You will register on-line as you would if you were on campus.  If you have questions or difficulties with the registration process, you may contact the Registrar's Office for assistance.

Pre-graduation Audit

Students participating in a semester program abroad are encouraged to schedule a pre-graduation audit with the Registrar's Office. Students may schedule an appointment for an audit once their major(s) and/or minor(s) are signed. An advisor will review your individual courses of study and inform you of all remaining graduation requirements. This will help to ensure that you can stay on schedule for graduation.​

Adjusting to a Different Educational System

While participating in your study abroad program, you may be surprised by how much free time you have outside of class or you may be unsure of the expectations that your new professors have of students. Many educational systems outside of the United States focus more on a final project or exam, giving the appearance that there is little to be completed throughout the semester. The expectation is that you will manage your time reading the suggested materials and researching the topics discussed in class. Here are some tips that may help you to have a successful academic experience abroad:

  • Although it may not be specifically stated in the syllabus, attendance is important! Attend all classes.
  • Read all required and suggested readings that your professor assigns.  Don't wait until the end of the semester to try to read it all!
  • Start early! Don't wait until the end of the semester to begin working on your final project, or you may quickly become overwhelmed. You'll want to enjoy your last few weeks and not be stressed.
  • Introduce yourself to your professor at the beginning of the semester. Establishing this connection early will create an open line of communication, which will be especially helpful if you find yourself having difficulties in the course.
  • Establish contact with students from your host country. These students will know what to expect in terms of coursework and may be able to offer advice throughout the semester. It is also a great way to make friends in your host country.​
  • Ask for help if you need it. Tutors or other forms of assistance are usually available.

Note to Graduating Seniors

Before departing from your host institution, inform the appropriate office that you are graduating and ask that your transcript be expedited to OGE-Study Abroad. Inform your Study Abroad Advisor so they will know to process the transcript quickly once it arrives. Please be aware that OGE-Study Abroad cannot guarantee that your transcript will arrive in time to graduate on the intended date.