Education Abroad, U.Va.

Education Abroad

A Division of the International Studies Office


Things to Consider

Your study abroad experience has the potential to be a life (and perspective) changing experience.

Selecting from the wide array of program options can be daunting, but such an experience deserves thoughtful consideration and a great deal of planning. The following are questions to prompt you in the process. Take your time in considering your preferences, goals, areas in which you wish to challenge yourself, and the priority of each factor. You are encouraged to make an appointment with an Education Abroad Advisor after completing the online Education Abroad Workshop to review your thoughts and begin identifying appropriate program matches.


  • Am I interested in a program that is related to my major/minor, or do I want to explore elective areas?
  • Do I need to fulfill any specific requirements for my major or minor? Can I fulfill these abroad?
  • Do I have the flexibility to take electives? How many?
  • What kind of academic setting do I prefer (lecture vs. experiential, large institution vs. small)?
  • What is the language of instruction? Do I have the requisite language skills (if the language of instruction is not English)?
  • Will the credit type (direct vs. transfer) impact my graduation?
  • Do I want to enroll as a visiting student at a university abroad or attend a program designed specifically for International/American students overseas?


  • Why do I want to go abroad?
  • What do I really want to get out of this experience (i.e. language skills, new perspective on major/career, resume builder, cross-cultural experience, etc.)?
  • How will I challenge myself through this experience?
  • When do I plan to graduate?
  • How long would I like to study abroad?
  • What is my budget?
  • Consider needs related to your identity abroad



  • At what level of immersion am I interested?
  • Do I want to live with a host family, in an apartment or house with other Americans/international students, or in a university residence system?
  • What services does the program provide (housing, accommodation for special needs, social gatherings, excursions, etc.)?
  • How much support/independence do I need?


Academic Credit FAQ

What is academic credit?

Official certification by an accredited academic institution that a student has successfully completed a course of study. All UVA study abroad courses must be taken for credit (they may not be audited).

What is the difference between direct credit and transfer credit?

  • Direct credit is credit awarded by the University of Virginia. It works exactly the same way whether you earn it in Charlottesville or abroad. Direct credit factors into your GPA.
  • Transfer credit is awarded by another institution, but can still be applied toward your UVA degree and your major/minor/language requirements. Transfer credit does not factor into your GPA and a grade does not show up on your UVA transcript.

How can I use the credit I will earn on my education abroad program?

There are a few differences in the uses of direct credit vs. transfer credit:

Credit Counts for






Major / Minor Requirements



Elective Requirements



Language Requirement



Area Requirements

  Schools: YES

  Schools: YES

Calculated in GPA



Do I need direct credit?

There are only a few reasons why you might benefit from direct credit when you study abroad:

  • You have reached or are very close to reaching the 60 transfer credit maximum that the University allows you to use toward your degree.
  • You are in the college and need to fulfill an area requirement which you will not be able to fill at any other time at UVA.
  • You need to earn more credits toward your major/minor than the department will allow you to fill with transfer credit.
  • You need to raise your GPA.

Otherwise, transfer credit will work every bit as well as direct credit for you.

How do I go about getting transfer credit applied to my degree/major/minor/language?

  • One of the main components of the application for transfer credit programs is the Transfer Credit Approval Form.
  • Before your application can be reviewed, you must get transfer credit approval for the courses you expect to take abroad.
  • CLAS students: For elective credit, look in the Study Abroad Transfer Credit Equivalency Database for prior approvals. If it is not in the database, include a course description or syllabus when you submit the Transfer Credit Approval form to Abigail Holeman. If your course is in this database, you do not need to include additional information when you submit the form.
  • If you discover the courses you want to take abroad are not available upon arrival, or you change your mind, obtain approvals while abroad via email from the same individuals who approved your initial courses. Provide those email approvals to the appropriate person for your school and keep copies for yourself.
  • All of the instructions for filling out and turning in the Transfer Credit Approval Form are located on the form, which is found within your application.




Major / Minor Approval

Academic Advisor or Dean

Department DUP, then Abigail Holeman

Elective Approval

Dean or Registrar

Abigail Holeman, Transfer Credit Evaluator

Language Requirement Approval

Language Department

Language Department,  then Abigail Holeman

Area Requirement Approval

Dean or Registrar


Submit forms to



Minimum Grade you must earn in each class

SEAS, COMM, Curry & Batten: C


UVA study abroad courses may not be audited. All UVA study abroad courses must be taken for credit.