Learn how your credit abroad can transfer back home

Choosing the perfect study abroad or international program is more than simply finding a fantastic location, or a school with the courses you need, or the perfect placement abroad...

You (and/or your parents/advisors) no doubt have questions such as:

  • Will I earn credit for this experience?
  • How much credit can I earn, and how will it be transferred back to my home institution?
  • Which academic institutions does API partner with abroad?
  • What about the quality of the academics at the institutions I'm considering?

If you are asking these kinds of questions, then you are on the right track!

You can find the answers to these questions in the sections below:

Transfer Credit for Academic Programs

We know that determining how credit will transfer is an essential part of the application process for students, parents, and advisors. To minimize any potential stress, we have compiled some guidelines to follow to facilitate credit transfer from our host institutions abroad (listed below by country).

Your home university will dictate whether or not you can receive credit for courses taken on an API program. Every university operates differently, and many require that you seek approval for each class by submitting a course description or syllabus to the department head at your university. Start by asking your study abroad or academic advising office if API is an approved program and what the process is for transferring credits.

API’s university partners in Argentina structure courses in terms of contact hours. The number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class with a professor.

At the Universidad de Belgrano, each contact hour is equivalent to 45 minutes, rather than the standard 50 minutes in the United States. API recommends the number of credit hours to be awarded per course by translating the total number of Argentine contact hours into U.S.
contact hours.

At the Universidad Torcuato di Tella (UTDT), each contact hour is 40 minutes. The majority of UTDT classes meet for a total of 68 Argentine contact hours. API generally recommends that these UTDT courses be transferred as the equivalent of 4 U.S. semester credits.

At the Universidad de Salvador, each contact hour is 60 minutes. The majority of courses meet three times per week, for eighteen weeks, for a total of 54 hours per course (generally equivalent to 3-4 U.S. semester credits). Some courses may have as few as 36 total hours (generally equivalent to 2-3 U.S. semester credits) or as many as 108 hours (7-8 U.S. semester credits).

Griffith University (Brisbane/the Gold Coast) in Australia operates on a credit ‘point’ system. A typical course at Griffith is equal to 10 credit points. Full-time status is 40 credits (typically 4 subjects). 1 subject at Griffith University is equivalent to 3-4 U.S. semester credits or 4-6 U.S. quarter credits.

La Trobe University (Melbourne) issues credits that are equal 0.25 U.S. credits; in other words, to determine U.S. semester credit equivalency from La Trobe credits, divide by four. A full-time workload at La Trobe is typically 60 La Trobe credits per semester (or 15 U.S. credits). As courses at La Trobe can equate to varying amounts of U.S. credit hours, all students should verify that they will complete the required amount of credit for their home university upon their arrival. Students usually complete 3-4 modules per term.

Macquarie University (Sydney) operates on a credit ‘point’ system. Credit values per course at Macquarie may vary (generally, 3 credit points equals 4 U.S. credits), so students should be sure to check equivalencies with their home university in order to maintain their full-time enrollment. Students will select 3-4 courses for a total of 9-12 credit points, or approximately 12-16 U.S. semester credits.

While API's standard credit conversion practice is to assign one U.S. semester credit for every 15 contact hours, most courses in Thimphu at Royal Thimphu College (RTC) are worth 12 RTC credits. These credits are calculated as follows: 1 RTC credit equals 10 hours of study (consisting equally of in-class contact hours and self-study hours). This equates to a total of 120 hours per course, and 60 in-class contact hours, or 4 U.S. semester credits. Students typically take 3 courses and one transcripted internship for a total of 16 U.S. semester credits.

API’s university partners in Chile operate according to the contact hour system; the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class with a professor. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. semester credits, similarly, divide the Chilean contact hours in a given course by 15.

The Global China Program at East China Normal University (ECNU) offers a credit structure which is identical to the majority of North American universities and colleges. Course contents are carefully designed to meet the requirements of North American universities and colleges, and courses are generally 3 U.S. semester credits each.

The Chinese Language Semester Program operates on the contact hour system, wherein the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class. ECNU calculates contact hours differently than many of our other partners, and it is our recommendation that students in the Standard Track expect to transfer 12 U.S. semester credits, while students in the Intensive Track can expect to transfer up to 18 U.S. semester credits.

The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) issues credit according to the American system; the majority of courses are equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits. Some language courses meet for a total of 60 contact hours and are equivalent to 3-4 U.S. semester credits.

The Instituto San Joaquín de Flores and the Universidad Veritas both operate on the contact hour system; the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class with a professor. To determine the conversion of Costa Rican contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours per course by 15. Almost all courses at the Instituto are the equivalent of 3 U.S. semester credits.

At the Universidad Veritas, elective courses vary between 3 and 4 U.S. semester credits and language courses can equate to 3-5 U.S. semester credits.

Libertas International University in Dubrovnik issues credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits semester each.

The Universidad de La Habana and the Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas operate on the contact hour system, wherein the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours available by 15.

The Universidad San Francisco de Quito operates on the contact hour system; the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class with a professor. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours for each course by 15.

The University of Leeds operates on the British credit system. Two British credits are equal to 1 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credit, which in turn is worth 0.5 U.S. credits; in other words, to determine U.S. semester credit equivalency from British credits, divide by four. A full-time workload at Leeds is generally around 60 British credits per semester, (or approximately 30 ECTS, or 15 U.S. credits). As modules (courses) at the University of Leeds can equate to varying amounts of U.S. credit hours, all students should verify that they will complete the required amount of credit for their home university upon their arrival. It is advised that students choose at least one alternate for every module selected for pre-approval from their home university, to ensure that they have a full course load should there be any cancellations, time conflicts, etc. Students usually complete 3-4 modules per term, each valued at 10 – 20 British credits.

Florida State University’s London Study Center is accredited by Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, and issues credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits each.

The colleges that make up the University of the Arts, London - or UAL - (including Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion, and Wimbledon College of Arts) has offered recommendations for converting its alpha grades to American grades. Students who have enrolled full-time receive 40 credits at UAL each term. API awards 3 U.S. semester credits for every 10 UAL credit hours (e.g., a course representing 20 UAL credits would be awarded 6 US credits on the API translation.)

Students at University College London (UCL) take up to 16 U.S. credits per semester. Course credits at UCL are determined based on how many “units” they are worth. Most UCL courses are worth .5, 1, or 2 units, and a UCL unit is the equivalent of 8 U.S. semester credits – in other words, a .5 unit course is worth 4 U.S. semester credits; a 1 unit course is worth 8 U.S. semester credits.

Students at the University of Westminster who are enrolled full-time receive a total of 60 UK credits (the equivalent of 12 US semester credits or 30 ECTS credits) in one semester. Students generally complete 3 modules per semester (with a 4th semester module available for an additional fee), or 1 module per summer, as the majority of modules are worth 20 UK credits (the equivalent of 4 US semester credits or 10 ECTS credits) each.

Most API partner universities in France operate on the contact hour system, wherein the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours available by 15.

The Grenoble École de Management (GEM) operates on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2.

Parsons Paris is the European campus of The New School, an innovative university based in New York City. Building on the curriculum of Parsons School of Design, a globally acclaimed art, and design school established in 1921, Parsons Paris students are part of a modern atelier where interdisciplinary learning and small classes prepare them for careers in fashion, management, digital innovation, and curatorial practice. The Registrar’s Office at Parsons (NY) issues credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits each.

The FU-BEST and FUBiS programs, hosted at the Freie Universität Berlin, issues credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3-4 U.S. credits each.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin operates on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). In addition to the ECTS credits listed, Humboldt also provides the number of contact hours on the transcript. It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2. Operating on this assumption, we recommend 3-4 U.S. credits per course at Humboldt. However, given that both units of measurement are provided by Humboldt, we leave it up to the home university’s discretion as to which one they choose to use.

Corvinus University of Budapest operates on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits.

Reykjavik University operates on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits.

API partner universities in Ireland operate on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits.

API partner universities in Italy issue credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3-4 U.S. credits each.

API partner universities in New Zealand operate on a credit ‘point’ system. Courses in New Zealand are commonly referred to as “papers.” The credit point weight per paper varies from 15-20, depending on the course with 18 credit points most common. Generally speaking, one 18 point paper is generally equivalent to 3-4 U.S. semester credits. Most students take 3-4 papers per semester for 54-72 credit points per semester or 12-16 U.S. semester credits. Given that point values vary, the way in which credits completed abroad will transfer to a student’s home campus will be under the discretion of the student’s home institution, and should be verified in advance.

Jagiellonian University in Krakow operates on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2.

Both the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa (ISCTE) and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (NOVA) in Lisbon operate on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits.

Both Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh) and the University of Stirling (Stirling) operate on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF); however, each interprets the credit translation slightly differently.

At Heriot-Watt University, students are encouraged to take 60 SCQF credits per semester. Each course is normally worth 15 SCQF credits, meaning that students would take four courses per semester. Heriot-Watt recommends that each course is roughly equivalent to 3.75 U.S. credits (if students are taking 30 U.S. credits in an academic year).

At the University of Stirling, students are also encouraged to take 60 SCQF credits per semester; however, Stirling advises that each course is roughly the equivalent of 5 U.S. semester credits. 3 Stirling modules (60 SCQF) is considered a full-semester load.

The University of Edinburgh operates on a different system than the other two API locations in Scotland. Most courses at U. Edinburgh are worth 20 “Edinburgh” credits. 20 Edinburgh credits are roughly equivalent to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), or approximately 5 U.S. credits. Students should aim to take 60 Edinburgh credits per semester. Three Edinburgh modules (60 Edinburgh credits or 15 U.S. credits) is considered a full semester load.

Most API partner universities in Spain operate on the contact hour system, wherein the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours available by 15.

Suffolk University (Madrid), which is a branch of the U.S. university by the same name located in Boston, MA, issues credit as U.S. university credits.

Universidad Nebrija (Madrid) and Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville) operate on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It is generally accepted that in order to convert from ECTS to U.S. credits, one should divide the ECTS total by 2, whereby most courses are worth 3 U.S. credits.

The American University of Sharjah issues credit according to the American system, whereby most courses are worth 3-4 U.S. credits each.

Transfer Credit for Non-Academic Programs

THERE ARE TWO OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR PARTICIPANTS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN EARNING ACADEMIC CREDIT FOR AN API INTERN ABROAD EXPERIENCE.

  • Siena College credit - Only available for the 8 -Week Fixed Date Internship Program
  • Home university credit

SIENA COLLEGE CREDIT

API has partnered with the Center for International Programs at Siena College to offer participants the opportunity to earn academic credit for the 8-Week Fixed Date Intern Abroad Program. Siena College is a private liberal arts college located in Loudonville, NY. Throughout the program, participants will be in contact with a Siena College professor and will be given various assignments to complete in conjunction with the intern abroad placement. At the end of the program, an official Siena College transcript will be issued to the student.

  • Course: BUDV781 - Global Career Development Internship
  • Credit: 6 credit hours issued as a letter grade
  • Tuition: $500
  • Course description: This course explores the role of culture and international work experience in shaping participants personally and professionally for their future careers. Through assignments and reflection exercises, participants will learn about global communication, competence, cultural understanding, and soft skills gained through the challenges and opportunities of living and working abroad. The course encourages participants to integrate their academic coursework with their work experiences, career development goals, and their personal skills and values.

HOME UNIVERSITY CREDIT

Participants may be able to arrange academic credit for the intern abroad placement directly through their home university by speaking with their academic department and the study abroad office. At the time of application to the program, participants choosing this option will need to provide API with the details of the credit and any special requirements as it relates to the intern abroad placement. Participants are responsible for paying their home university for any tuition or fees associated with the credit.

API encourages participants to discuss the academic credit options with their home university early in the application process. Academic credit for internships must be approved and arranged before the internship begins, as credit cannot typically be retroactively arranged.

API’s Teach, Work, and Volunteer programs do not typically offer the opportunity to earn academic credits. That said, you may be able to count the program towards an international experience requirement, depending on your home university and your degree requirements. If you are a current university student, be sure to talk to your home university about your plans. API is happy to provide a letter upon request verifying the hours served and general tasks and responsibilities.

API gap programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credit. Students who know which U.S. college or university they will attend after their API program should check with the admissions office of their future school to see if they are eligible to earn transfer credits. Post-program, API will retain an official copy of the transcripts that can be forwarded directly to each student's college of choice whenever they are ready.

Several API high school summer study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credit. Students who know which U.S. college or university they will attend after their API program should check with the admissions office of their future school to see if they are eligible to earn transfer credits. Post-program, API will retain an official copy of the transcripts that can be forwarded directly to each student's college of choice whenever they are ready.