General Study Abroad Units

When students are accepted into a study abroad program, they will be registered for 15 generic study abroad units. These units initiate the billing process and are considered temporary “placeholders” until students’ course schedules are confirmed abroad. Once course schedules are confirmed, students are required to complete the “Course Confirmation Form” (see below) to inform their study abroad advisor of their final course enrollments.

Completing the Course Confirmation Form

While abroad, students will be emailed a Course Confirmation Form by their Study Abroad Advisor. Once students have finalized their course enrollments upon arrival, they will need to complete the Course Confirmation Form and list all courses taken abroad along with the USD equivalents. The Study Abroad Advisors will then work with the Registrar to replace the 15 general study abroad units with the actual courses that students are taking.

NOTE: Students are advised to complete their Course Confirmation Form as soon as their schedules are finalized. If students are still enrolled in general study abroad units (rather than the actual courses they are taking abroad), there will be a hold on their account and the students WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REGISTER FOR CLASSES IN THE SUBSEQUENT SEMESTER.


Maintaining Full-Time Enrollment While Studying Abroad

Students must be enrolled full-time while participating in a USD semester-long study abroad program. Students participating in USD-affiliated semester programs must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester units while abroad. Students wishing to take more than 18 units must obtain approval from the Dean’s Office prior to departure. Students will also be charged the USD rate for these additional units as outlined by Student Accounts.

Program Approval Form

As part of the semester application process, students complete a Program Approval Form where they list the preferred classes they would like to take as well as alternatives. Students must list alternative courses as a precautionary measure so that they will have options in the event that a preferred course is not available upon arrival abroad. Academic advisors review course selections and approve students to take the course listed by signing the Program Approval Form. Please note: Students are ONLY approved to take the courses listed on the Program Approval Form.

Declaring Major Prior to Studying Abroad

All students studying abroad for a semester are required to declare their major prior to departure. Majors must be declared before students are accepted into the study abroad program.

Making Changes to Pre-Approved Courses on Program Approval Form

If students would like to make changes to their pre-approved courses after they have been submitted to the Study Abroad office, they should contact their Academic Advisor and their study abroad advisor to request that such changes are approved. This approval process can be done via email. If students do not inform these offices, credit may not be given for courses not listed on the Program Approval Form.

Enrolling in a Course that has NOT YET been Pre-Approved

Because class schedules may change upon arrival or may not be released until arrival, students may need to enroll in a course that was not pre-approved and thus not listed on their Program Approval Form. Students who would like to enroll in a course that has not yet been reviewed for credit should contact their Study Abroad Advisor immediately. Students will need to provide the course name (and possibly the course syllabus) to their Study Abroad Advisor. The Study Abroad Advisor will work with the Department Chair to ask that the course be evaluated. Please note that this evaluation process may be lengthy and students should be prepared to be patient while the Study Abroad Advisor communicates with the Department Chair. Completion of the review process does not guarantee that the course will be approved. Students will not receive credit for courses that are denied for credit. No exceptions.

Courses Denied for Credit

Each course taken abroad is carefully reviewed by a USD Department Chair to determine course transferability. The Office of International Studies Abroad has a database of pre-approved courses for each program and these pre-approved courses can be found on the brochure page of each program. If the Department Chair denies USD credit for a course, this means that this course will not transfer back to USD. Students should NOT enroll in courses that have been denied credit.

Other Important Academic Policies

Students are responsible for adhering to all Academic Policies related to study abroad. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Course Pre-Requisites
  • Six-Unit Restriction
  • Restrictions by Major
  • Language Courses Abroad
  • Taking Courses Pass/Fail While Abroad


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