Academic Affairs

Role of Director

The GEO may ask the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval at any of several steps in students’ planning for study abroad. For more information about the policies and procedures governing undergraduate study abroad at Duke, see

Minimum GPA requirement for Study Abroad

Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 to be eligible for study abroad during the academic year. Individual programs may require a GPA of 3.0 or higher. A student with a GPA lower than 2.7 may receive a GPA waiver from his/her academic dean under certain circumstances. Students studying on Duke summer programs must meet continuation requirements and have an overall GPA of 2.0 or above.

1. Approval of transfer credit

Regular Courses: Students on non-Duke programs (and Duke in Berlin, Duke-in programs that involve courses taught at the host university) must verify that all the courses they plan to take while on study abroad leave are listed in the Database of Approved Courses. If courses are not contained in the Database of Approved Courses, students will need to provide the GEO with a Transfer Course Approval form along with an official description of each course. The GEO will consult the DUS of the appropriate department to determine the Duke equivalent of the course not approved. The DUS may assign 100 (lower-level) or 300 (upper-level) as an approved course number if there is no exact Duke equivalent. The DUS will also recommend a course credit value (cc) for the course and an Area of Knowledge equivalent where applicable. Transfer course credit from study abroad is only coded for Areas of Knowledge. Students may apply for the FL mode of inquiry, if appropriate, immediately following their term abroad. No other modes of inquiry may be applied to transfer courses. (For the application for the FL mode of inquiry on study abroad transfer courses.

ARTSVIS/ARTHIST, Independent Study, Field Studies, and Academic Internship Approvals

For Art and Art History courses, Independent Study courses, Field Studies and Academic Internships, students must obtain not only tentative approval through the GEO before going, but also final approval from the DUS of the relevant department after they return. To receive final approval, students must bring back evidence of their written work in the course, namely a syllabus, papers, exams, portfolio. To facilitate receiving more than 100 (lower-level) credit at Duke, it is recommended that students write a term paper for the course, even if the instructor does not require it. The required Final Approval of Study Abroad Courses form is available in the GEO.

Independent study courses may not be arranged in the first semester of the study abroad sojourn. Only students who study abroad for the full academic year in the same program are allowed to enroll in an independent study a course at a foreign institution in their second semester. They will have to submit a proposal to the GEO to prove that the independent study course has academic merit and fits in their curriculum. They also have to submit the name and full address (with fax and e-mail) of the foreign faculty member who agrees to work with them. The GEO will then forward to the foreign faculty member the Duke guidelines for independent study as outlined in the most current undergraduate bulletin. If the foreign instructor agrees in writing to adhere to these guidelines, the student will be able to do the independent study project under the supervision of the foreign faculty member. The independent study course must be one of the courses constituting the full study abroad course load and must be listed with a grade on the foreign transcript. The student should be aware that credit is not guaranteed for the independent study course until s/he has submitted all academic work (with substantive paper) completed in the course for retroactive credit approval by the appropriate department at Duke. Any compensation for the instructor, if required by the foreign institution, has to be borne by the student.

The Maximum Number of Transfer Courses Permitted

To receive the maximum amount of transfer credit at Duke (generally four course credits for a full semester, eight for a full academic year, two for a summer session), a student is expected to take a normal, full course load, as defined by the foreign institution. If the normal full course load at a foreign institution consists of more than four courses per semester, the student must take the full load; however, not more than four cc may be transferred to Duke per semester or may count towards graduation. Overloads are not transferable.

At certain British, Irish, and Japanese universities that are on the trimester system, only three course credits may be transferred for the single fall trimester. Students attending such universities in the spring are required to attend the two remaining trimesters and may transfer a maximum of five course credits.

All approved courses that a student takes abroad will appear on the Duke transcript as transfer credit and can be used to satisfy Area of Knowledge. At the DUS’s discretion, courses taken abroad may be used to satisfy major, minor, and certificate requirements. Upon special request, transfer credits for foreign language courses taken abroad may be considered for the FL code, after completion of the study abroad experience. Information and a request form can be found at Note that specific materials are required and must accompany the request and that such coding is not guaranteed upon request. Transfer courses are not eligible for any other than the FL mode of inquiry.

2. Approval of new Duke courses for Duke-administered programs

If GEO establishes new Duke-administered study abroad programs and/or courses, the DUS will be asked by GEO or individual program directors or coordinators to evaluate the course proposals and CVs of instructors proposed to teach the new course(s), and if acceptable, to assign a regular Duke course number or study abroad special topics number. If the DUS decides to create a new number for the course, a course form must be submitted by the DUS to the Committee on Courses. Duke courses taught abroad cannot be assigned the numbers 100 and 300 as those numbers are reserved for transfer credit.

Duke-administered programs are designed to adhere to the credit guidelines established for study abroad in general. Students earn only four course credits each semester or a total of eight during an academic year. Duke courses approved for Duke-administered programs earn full Duke credit, including all curriculum coding for which they are deemed eligible.

3. The Study Abroad Packet Form C

Form C is a Final Request for Study Abroad Status questionnaire completed online by students participating in both Duke and non-Duke programs. The DUS or, if the department decides, the student's major advisor reviews the information provided in the spreadsheet by GEO and responds by email as the representative of the student's major department, after reviewing requirements for the major and the student's study abroad plans. The person reviewing the student’s proposed course types/subject areas also needs to remind the student of any departmental restrictions on transfer credit toward the major. Students are requested to submit this questionnaire by the end of the semester preceding the period of study abroad. Students should be reminded that they must take a full load of classes while abroad and that all classes must be taken for graded credit. Credit/Non-credit (Pass/Fail) courses will not be recognized for credit.

4. Role in approval of Petitioned Programs

Students who wish to receive academic credit from Duke for programs not approved by Duke for study abroad will need to file a formal petition for approval with the Global Education Committee prior to the study abroad leave. Petition packets are given to students by advisors in the Global Education Office, only after consultation. Petition deadlines are posted online. The petition includes the approval form for courses the student plans to take. The signature of the DUS on the form(s) for the Approval of Study Abroad Transfer Credit Courses indicates to the Global Education Committee that the department would approve the program and the courses, provided the student earns grades of C- or better for the courses offered in the program. Once the petition of the non-approved program has been approved, students must, upon completion of the program, bring back all course materials, syllabi, exams, and papers. Only after students obtain a program evaluation letter from the GEO and submit it together with all course materials to the responsible DUSs who will review their work and submit the completed forms to the GEO, will the courses be entered on the student’s Duke transcript. The DUS’s comments on the evaluation form usually do not affect the individual student’s credit, but rather assist GEO and Global Education Committee in determining whether the program should be added to the list of programs approved by Duke.