Planning effectively for studying abroad comes down to detailed academic planning. The decision of where to study abroad should stem from the academic fit to a student’s degree program. Because of this, academic advising, from both a student’s academic advisor and their study abroad advisor, is critical.
The following guide is designed to assist a student as they plan for their study abroad program–it is not designed to replace advising. While a student’s academic advisor can help them plan appropriately for their degree requirements, they typically are not prepared to help a student navigate through the additional steps it takes to understand global education. Among many things, a study abroad advisor can help a student:
- develop realistic goals
- find universities that offer relevant coursework to their degree program
- understand international credit conversion
- understand grade conversions
- request appropriate equivalency approvals
- narrow down programs and universities that may meet their academic, personal, and professional goals
- prepare application materials
- navigate cultural differences, integration, and coping strategies
- process experiences to develop intercultural competencies
Course Transfer Equivalencies
As part of the application to study abroad, students seeking international credit transfer will complete and submit a Course Equivalency Approvals for Credit Transfer form, on which they’ll map courses at their host university with an equivalent HPU course, requirement, or elective before seeking approval from the appropriate approvers. Not only will this help the student plan effectively, it will assist in course registration at their host university, in course registration for their returning semester at HPU, and in the transfer of credit following their studies abroad.
Finding Courses Abroad
Students studying abroad should be advancing their HPU degree by enrolling in relevant coursework at their host university. A student’s credit load should be comparable to their credit load at HPU, typically averaging the equivalent of 15 or 16 U.S. credits.
Studying abroad can be a very academically-enriching experience, especially when students enroll in courses about which they are passionate and can broaden their understanding of their major course of study. Studying courses used to satisfy major and minor requirements often strengthens the student’s undergraduate degree, as they are challenged in the classroom with a more global approach to the content. This diversity often can help solidify a student’s career plans and improves classroom discussions in future classes taken at HPU.
While some universities offer a wide range of courses, other universities offer only a narrow field of study. Where available, students are able to select courses to satisfy requirements for their major, minor, general education requirements, or general electives. A brief academic overview is provided on each program’s website.
A note on General Education Courses
Finding courses abroad to satisfy University Core requirements at HPU can be challenging. Generally, most higher education systems do not include general education study for undergraduate students, as students study only subjects in their major course of study. Because of this, study abroad students may only be able to study courses within one discipline or faculty (e.g., School of Business).
If the university permits students to enroll in subjects across disciplines, it important to understand that local students enrolled in the given class are studying the subject for their major, not for a general education requirement. The thought that taking general education classes abroad will be easier than taking major-specific courses is a common misconception, as these courses are designed to satisfy major requirements at that institution.
A student’s academic success abroad is of top importance. Enrolling in coursework about which the student is passionate can help the student navigate cultural stressors. A relevant topic with diverse classroom discussions can provide a better grasp of the local culture and norms.
Policies on International Credit Transfer
- HPU will award transfer credit only for courses completed abroad at an accredited institution and reflected on an official transcript.
- HPU will award transfer credit only for courses completed abroad earning the U.S. equivalent grade of “C” or better.
- HPU will award a credit value to transferred courses equivalent to the credits earned in the course abroad, even if the HPU-equivalent course is valued at four credits (i.e., a three-credit class from another institution will be awarded only three credits at HPU).
- HPU will not award transfer credit for a course taken abroad which duplicates credit received at HPU for coursework completed prior to the experience abroad.
- The College of Arts & Sciences will not award transfer credit for a foreign language course taken abroad which is lower than, or duplicates, credit received at HPU for coursework completed prior to the experience abroad.
- The College of Arts & Sciences will not award transfer credit for a personal enrichment or vocational skills course (e.g., culinary arts, wine tasting, or floral design) that falls outside of the traditional liberal arts and sciences disciplines.
- The College of Arts & Sciences will not award General Education (Core) credit for a course taken abroad earning less than three (3) U.S. credits.
- The College of Arts & Sciences will waive the Global Studies requirement for students who have completed an academic course of study (whether affiliated, unaffiliated, or Global Experience) outside of the U.S. lasting at least four (4) weeks in length, conducted through an accredited institution, and bearing at least three (3) credits recognized by High Point University. No additional credit is awarded simply for studying abroad.
- Students are not permitted to be dually enrolled at two or more institutions where a formal affiliation (fee-paying, bilateral exchange, or hybrid) agreement does not exist.
- Federal financial aid will be dispersed only for courses required for a student’s degree (i.e., General Education (Core) courses, major courses, and electives necessary to meet graduation requirements).
- Official transcripts can take up to one semester to arrive and be processed by HPU. Registration times for the following semester’s study could be affected if credits are not received within a reasonable time to be processed before enrollment begins.
- Official transcripts from a study abroad program required for application to another institution/program must be requested from the host university by the student. HPU is unable to forward processed official transcripts.