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Education is at the heart of the programs abroad experience. Studying abroad encompasses any type of overseas academic experience—from traditional classroom-based learning at a foreign university, to faculty-led learning opportunities, to independent field research.

It’s essential to plan ahead and incorporate your experience into your degree completion plan. Use the Course Transfer Database to help plan your academic experience. Keep in mind that your academic advisor and college requirements are your primary resources for your academic questions and planning.

Transfer Credit and Grades

Studying abroad does not have to delay your time to graduation. Planning early with your academic advisor is important.

If you study abroad on a UT-approved program (see below for the faculty-directed program exception), your courses will transfer back to UT, provided that you: (1) earn an equivalent grade of “D-” or better (grades of C or less may not be sufficient for major, minor, college, and general education requirements; consult your college and/or department for details); (2) the courses are not remedial or vocational/technical in nature; and (3) do not duplicate already completed courses.

Grades earned on an approved study abroad program will not be calculated into your UT grade point average (GPA). Please note all grades and attempted hours are calculated in the Hope Scholarship GPA. Your official UT transcript will reflect that you studied abroad, the timeframe, the number of credits earned, individual classes, and grades. Keep in mind that if you plan on applying to graduate or professional school, the original transcripts from your study abroad program may be examined during the application process. Thus, you should be sure to remain academically responsible while abroad.

NOTE: You are strongly encouraged to return from study abroad with course materials, which document the content covered (i.e., course syllabi, list of reading materials, papers, exams, etc.). These materials will facilitate the award of appropriate transfer credit.

Faculty-Directed Program Exception

If you participate on a UT faculty-directed program, you will receive a grade and specific course credit just as you would if you enrolled in the same class on campus. Grades received on faculty-directed programs will be calculated into your Hope Scholarship GPA.

Continuing Enrollment

When you study abroad on a UT-approved program, the Programs Abroad Office will register you for a temporary study abroad “course” to maintain your full-time enrollment at UT Knoxville. The credits you earn while studying abroad will be substituted for this course after your program ends and your transcript is received.

Courses Abroad

You must take a minimum of 12 UT credits per semester to maintain full-time status, a requirement for most student visas and financial aid recipients. Be aware that foreign educational systems frequently differ from the U.S. system, so you may be required to function more independently. You cannot receive more than 19 credit hours each semester and 12 hours for the summer term. Enrollment that exceeds the maximum must be approved by the dean of your college before you begin your program.

Course Petitions

By participating on a UT-approved program, you can also apply your foreign credits earned while studying abroad to your major and/or minor, use them to fulfill general education requirements, and/or earn general electives.  Depending on your UT course of study and the type of credit you are receiving, the course petition process differs. The Programs Abroad Office coordinators will advise you in more detail about the process when you meet with them.

Transfer Credit Database

Before you depart for your study abroad program, you will be required to complete a Request for Transfer Credit Form. You will receive this form after you have been accepted to your program.

The Course Transfer Database contains a list of study abroad courses that have been previously reviewed and approved for use toward UT degree requirements. Be sure to read the Guide to Using the Transfer Credit Database before starting a search.

NOTENot all courses for all programs are listed. 

If your program/courses are not found in the database, it doesn’t mean that you will be unable to transfer credits. All students participating in a non-faculty-directed program must complete the Request for Transfer Credit Form with their academic advisors after acceptance to the program. With permission from your academic advisor, you may enroll in courses not listed in this database and/or petition courses already listed to fulfill different UT requirements.

Studying Abroad During Your Last 30 Hours

Many academic departments allow you to study abroad during your final year as an undergraduate. You should speak to your academic advisor about completing a petition to take your final 30 credit hours abroad.

If you are studying abroad during your final semester, it is very likely you will graduate the following term. Study abroad transcripts often do not arrive until midway through the following semester, and the transfer credit process can take two to three months to complete.