Earning Credits Abroad

Most students fulfill major or minor requirements, general education requirements, or their foreign language competency requirement while they are abroad. Here are important instructions for how to go about ensuring that your work will apply toward SPU requirements.

Major/minor requirement(s)

You’ll work directly with your major or minor faculty advisor to determine if any of the coursework you plan to complete while abroad will fulfill a major or minor requirement. Requirements can be fulfilled either through direct equivalency — a course offered through your trip is directly equivalent to a course we offer at SPU — or through an approved course substitution — a course offered through your trip is approved to fulfill a requirement in your major, even if the course isn’t directly equivalent to a course we offer at SPU.

Your faculty advisor will likely need a course syllabus, or at least a detailed course description, for each course you ask him or her to review.

You’ll work with your faculty advisor to fill out the course equivalency section of your form. Where indicated, include the course number, course title, and number of credits you’ll earn for the course according to the host institution.

This may be different from SPU’s quarter credit system. In the SPU Course Equivalent column, have your faculty advisor write in the SPU-equivalent course or course substitution and initial their approval. SAS will confirm the number of SPU credits you’ll receive for the course and determine whether each course is upper- or lower-division.

General Education requirement(s)

You’ll work with Alison Howard (howara@spu.edu) in SAS to confirm whether or not a course you’ll be taking abroad can fulfill one of SPU’s general education requirements (CUE, WK, or WE requirements). While you’re identifying possible options, review SPU’s Undergraduate Catalog to familiarize yourself with the kinds of courses that fulfill the different general education categories. Courses taken abroad do not necessarily need to be equivalent to general education courses offered at SPU, but content should be similar.

When you’re ready to submit your academic approval form, fill out the left column with the course number, course title, and number of credits you’ll earn according to the host institution. Note that this may be different from SPU’s quarter credit system. You may indicate your desired application of the course in the SPU Course Equivalent column (as WKA, WKSS, etc.). Course application will ultimately be determined by SAS; include copies of syllabi or course descriptions to assist with course review.

Foreign language competency requirement

You may fulfill your foreign language competency requirement by studying abroad, provided your experience meets the following minimum qualifications:

  • Your study abroad must be at least 10 weeks.
  • It must include a significant language component of at least 5 semester/7.5 quarter credits.
  • You must study in a non-English-speaking country.

Note: You may also fulfill your foreign language competency requirement by building on elementary language skills you’ve already established. Students who earn a grade of C or higher in the third quarter or second semester of a non-English language while studying abroad may complete the requirement.


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Academic counselor appointments

Make your appointment by using the scheduling link in your academic counselor’s profile. You can also call our office at 206-281-2031 or stop the front desk of Demaray Hall 151.

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