Education abroad programs are designed to complement the academic, graduate or professional goals of every student. Depending on the education abroad program selected, students can enroll in courses that fulfill major or minor, elective, foreign language, or UK Core requirements. Participating in education abroad will not delay graduation as long as students plan early and carefully. In some cases, studying abroad can help a student get ahead or catch up on his or her degree.
Types of Credit
There are two ways to earn academic credit while abroad. The type of credit earned is determined by the type of program that a student selects:
1. UK Credit
Students who participate on UK Sponsored and some UK Consortia: CCSA programs will be taught by UK faculty members. Therefore, students will be enrolled in courses at UK as if they were taking classes here on campus. The grades earned on these programs will be factored into a student's GPA. Because students will be enrolled in ISP 599 during their time abroad, students participating on UK Sponsored and UK Consortia: CCSA programs will not be charged regular tuition for the associated UK courses. Please see ISP 599: Study Abroad Course for more details.
2. Transfer Credit
Students who participate on a UK Exchange, UK Consortia: KIIS, UK Direct, or UK Partner Program will be enrolled in courses at a university or institution other than UK. A transcript will be generated by the host institution and the credits earned will be transferred back to UK. Transferred course credit can still be applied to degree requirements at UK. Grades earned through transfer credit will not be factored into a student's UK GPA and will not be visible on a student's UK transcript. Only the title of the course and number of hours earned via transfer credit will be visible on the UK transcript.
It is important to understand that selective admissions programs, majors, colleges and scholarships at UK may still use the transfer grades earned abroad when determining eligibility. Additionally, graduate or professional schools may require the submission of all original transcripts (i.e. the foreign transcript) in the application process for their programs. Therefore students must still make every attempt to be academically successful while abroad even if the grade earned will not impact their UK GPA. Student may not elect to take a course on a pass/fail basis as those credits will not be applicable to a UK degree requirement. If a course is only offered pass/fail, the credit may be applied to a UK degree requirement.
Academic Course Approval
There are two important elements to consider when deciding which courses to take abroad: course equivalency and applicability. Course equivalency is the evaluation of the content of a course to determine its equivalent course number at UK. Course equivalencies can be exact, such as "PS 210." This means the content of the course abroad is delivered at a similar depth and breadth to how we teach PS 210 at UK. Course equivalencies can be generic to a discipline, such as "HIS 3--." This means that the course has been established as taught at a certain level within a particular department. In this example, "HIS 3--" indicates a history course at the 300 level. In some cases it might not be possible to determine a course equivalency because no such discipline exists at UK. In those situations students may receive a generic equivalency, such as "GEED" or general academic credit.
Course applicability refers to how a course may be used in a particular major, minor or degree program. Exact course equivalencies may be applied to a degree in the same way the course would be applied if it had been taken at UK. For generic course equivalencies, i.e. "Hist 3--" or GEED, students must speak with their academic advisor to determine how the credit may be applied towards their degree.
All students participating an a UK Exchange, UK Consortia: KIIS, UK Direct or UK Partner programs must complete and Education Abroad Academic Approval Form (AAF) [PDF] prior to departure. To complete this form, students must take the syllabus or course description of each class to be taken abroad to the course department at UK to determine the transfer course equivalency. For example a history course would need approval from the Department of History, a computer science course would nee approval from the Computer Science Department, etc. This is not required for students enrolling in UK-taught coursework.
Unfortunately, there are times when courses cannot be evaluated in advance. This is most commonly done for courses in which students must take a language placement exam upon arrival at the host institution or when the anticipated courses may not be known until arrival. When courses cannot be pre-approved, students should keep all course materials including syllabi, course descriptions, coursework, textbook information, etc. so that the course may be evaluated upon return to UK.
UK Core Exceptions
If you plan to or have taken a course abroad that is not a designated UK Core, you may petition the General Education Exceptions Committee to grant an exception to allow the course to satisfy a UK Core requirement. Some courses may not meet the requirements of the UK Core and it is important to note that exceptions are not guaranteed. This process requires significant planning on the part of the student prior to the beginning of an education abroad program.
In order for courses that are considered transfer work, an exception will not be reviewed until an Academic Approval Form (AAF) has been completed by the corresponding department and a UK course equivalency has been established. Please note, a specific UK course equivalent is not required; generic discipline specific equivalencies, such as “HIS 3- -“, can be approved for UK Core exceptions. It is possible to submit a request prior to the program beginning and the committee may grant conditional approval for the exception pending proof of completion of the course. The transfer credit must appear on the student’s UK transcript before final UK Core Exceptions will be granted.
To submit a UK Core request, you must complete the online UK Core Exceptions Form and attach an electronic copy of the course syllabus and/or description to the post. If you are unable to provide an electronic copy, you may bring a hardcopy to the Division of Undergraduate Education office in 113 Bowman Hall.
If a conditional approval for a course was granted by the committee prior to the program beginning, it is the responsibility of the student to maintain a copy of the conditional approval and follow-up with the committee once the course credit has been transferred to the UK transcript. The final decision of the committee will be shared with the student and the student’s college. After notification from the committee, any changes will be reflected in 7-10 days in APEX Degree Planner.
All education abroad transcripts should be sent to:
UK Education Abroad
310 Bradley Hall
Lexington, KY 40506-0058, USA.
The Education Abroad staff will interpret the foreign transcript and work with the UK Admissions Office to add the credits to the UK transcript. A scanned copy of the foreign transcript will be uploaded to the student's myEA application and may be accessed at any time. The original education abroad transcript will be kept on file in the UK Registrar's Office.
Please note that is may take up to six months for UK Education Abroad to receive and process a student's foreign transcript. Students who anticipate graduating immediately following an education abroad experience should inform their Education Abroad advisor and academic advisor of their graduation plans when initially planning their experience abroad.