Consortium for International Education & Multicultural Studies
Facts on Obtaining Academic Credit
The best option is to start at the university, government agency, school, or business which you anticipate accepting your foreign course work for credit. Hundreds of academic institutions routinely accept course work done at various schools for credit or equivalency clock hours. Check with your director of international programs, study abroad advisor, department chair, employee relations supervisor, academic dean, or registrar. If you're working with a state agency, see the director of license renewal, crediting department, or in service coordinator. A relationship may already be set up between your school, business, or agency and the foreign school.
If a relationship is not pre-established, you may find that coursework/credit transfer can be accomplished provided you bring back a complete portfolio of your foreign course materials (copies of homework assignments, course exercises, quizzes, tests, foreign instructor progress reviews/evaluations, etc.) - or take an equivalency test upon your return. Your institution may have provisions for guided reading courses, independent study, or work experience courses which award credit even if the program is taken overseas. Plan ahead and do some research into possible alternatives.
If you're coordinating an international credit transfer, get a written policy statement before you travel abroad. lt's imperative that there be no misunderstanding as to your academic and credit objectives. Most institutions will not accept credit transfer unless defined and agreed upon in advance.
In the United States, if your university or employer does not accept credit transfer from a foreign school, it may accept credit transfer from another U.S. university. Some North American universities may have a credit transfer agreement with the foreign institution you plan to attend. This entails registering with that university in the U.S. while (actually) studying abroad. This type of credit transfer can be costly, because you pay tuition both abroad and at the U.S. university issuing the credits.
An additional option is to get a transcript or certificate of attendance from the foreign school. Be aware, credit issued does not imply credit accepted. Translated this means that earning the credit does not mean that it will be accepted by an institution in your country. Each country has its own unique system of educating and measuring levels of education.
Foreign schools will NOT be familiar with your credit transfer requirements, so it is your responsibility to advise the administration when you arrive at the foreign center as to what you will need and when. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation before leaving the foreign center, so things won't get "lost in the mail." Be prepared to pay an administrative service fee for your transcript and possible photocopies of papers, tests, etc.
The key to a successful credit transfer is research and planning ahead.