Course Approvals

Requirements and instructions for course approvals vary by college, so please read all instructions carefully.


Choosing Your Study Abroad Courses

By choosing a program that aligns with your academic goals, fits your major requirements, and complements your plan of study at Illinois, you will enrich your study abroad experience. Start by investigating the classes you could take abroad and discussing them with your academic advisor. The classes you can take during your education abroad experience can be found under the “Courses” section of the online program page within My Study Abroad. This section will explain what courses the program offers and will provide a link to the host institution’s course catalogue. The host institution website may include course syllabi, which may help you better understand the course content in advance of registering for the course. Keep in mind that you can get many courses approved before departure, even if you don’t take all of these classes while abroad. As a result, you will have less work to do to get approval for classes you have added while abroad.


Study Abroad Course Approval Process

  1. Download and print the Course Approval Summary Form
    The Course Approval Summary Form is used to track approvals from various academic units who evaluate study abroad coursework and ensure credits will be applied to your degree. The Course Approval Summary Form must be submitted either as part of the pre-departure process and/or upon return to the University of Illinois depending on your college’s specific rules. Requirements and instructions for course approvals vary by college, so please read all instructions carefully. Keep copies of your course approvals until all your grades and credit hours have been processed and posted in the University of Illinois system. We recommend you scan and email copies of your course approvals.
  2. Determine Grading Designation
    Discuss grading options with your academic advisor so that you can ensure your study abroad credit transfers correctly and contributes to your major requirements.
    • On column 3 of the Course Approval Summary Form, declare if you want letter grades or CR/NC (CR = Credit / NC = No Credit) for coursework abroad.
      • If column 3 has no entries, the default is designation is letter grades.
    • Courses taken for a grade will count toward your cumulative GPA. Courses taken for CR/NC will not, but are included as part of the total credit hours.
    • You must take all courses abroad for letter grades even if you elected CR/NC. The conversion to CR/NC will be done at Illinois upon your return.
    • P/F (Pass/Fail) and S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) grading options are not allowed for courses taken abroad, unless you can prove a course is only offered as such.
      • If proof is not provided, the course will be processed as non-transferable course work and will not appear on your University of Illinois transcript. If proof is provided, the University of Illinois will process the course with S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory).
    Check your college’s instructions about policies regarding changing your credit declaration during your education abroad experience. Investigate grade and credit equivalencies of your host university so that you can plan the number of credits you need and select the best grading option while you are abroad.
  3. Check the Course Approval Database
    Once you know the classes you will take abroad, and have downloaded the Course Approval Summary Form, check the Course Approval Database to see if your selected courses have been pre-approved for Illinois credit. If you find a course in the Course Approval Database that has an Illinois equivalent, indicate so on the Course Approval Summary Form. Keep in mind that the Course Approval Database is not comprehensive; it does not include all available study abroad programs and may not include all courses offered on a specific program. A course may not have been taken by an Illinois student yet, or the department wants to review the course each time an Illinois student takes it in order to ensure that the appropriate equivalency is determined. The colleges are ultimately responsible for adding new courses to the database, and this process is ongoing.
    Course Approval Database
  4. Consult with Study Abroad Course Advisors (299 Advisors)
    For courses not found in the Course Approval Database, you must get courses approved by a Study Abroad Course Advisor (299 Advisor). Each department has a designated faculty/staff member to evaluate courses and determine Illinois course equivalents for courses taken abroad. When you contact a Study Abroad Course Advisor, you should provide as much information as you can about the course abroad (e.g. course description, syllabus, etc.).

    For example, if you are taking an Economics course abroad, you will have to go to the Economics Study Abroad Course Advisor and present a course syllabus from the study abroad or exchange program/institution in order to get your course approved. If you plan to take courses in more than one department, you will need to consult with the Study Abroad Course Advisor for each corresponding department.

    Important note: The College of Engineering maintains a list of Chief Advisors rather than Study Abroad Course Advisors. The College of Engineering’s course approval instructions contain the list of Chief Advisors.

    The timeframe of completing the course approval process varies by department, depending on their specific instructions, and will also depend on how quickly the Study Abroad Course Advisor can look over your request. We advise you reach out to Study Abroad Course Advisors in a timely manner so that you are prepared for possible delays.
  5. Submit your Course Approval Summary Form
    Sign and submit your Course Approval Summary Form to the college to which you belong during your study abroad term(s). A completed Course Approval Summary Form will list and have approvals (from a Study Abroad Course Advisor from the corresponding academic department or from the Course Approval Database) for all courses you plan to take abroad, and signatures from your academic advisor and college office. This form must be submitted either as part of the pre-departure process and/or after return, depending on your college’s specific rules. Each college will have specific submission guidelines, so read all instructions carefully.

  1. Notify your program or institution to send the original transcript directly to the Office of the Registrar at the following address:
    • Office of the Registrar
      ATTN: Pam Santic, Assistant Registrar
      Study Abroad, Graduation and Graduate Support
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      901 West Illinois Street, Suite 140
      Urbana, IL 61801-3446
      USA
  2. Make sure you have paid all bills at your host university abroad. Outstanding financial obligations may prevent your transcript from being released from your host institution abroad.
  3. If you are planning to apply to graduate, medical, or law schools in the future, and/or need additional transcripts for your own use, please make the proper arrangements with your host institution to have them sent directly to you. Our office will not be able to provide any copies of your international transcript to you or any third party.
  4. You may want to find out from your program coordinator abroad when your transcript will be mailed to Illinois upon completion of your study abroad program. The timing varies significantly from program to program. This information will give you an approximate timeline for your record processing at Illinois. The processing of your study abroad record at Illinois cannot start until your international transcript is received.

Important note: Bring all your course materials, artwork, syllabi, etc. back to the University of Illinois. They may be needed to determine the exact equivalency of the courses you took abroad. Do not discard them until you see your courses posted on your University of Illinois academic record.