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University of Northern Iowa Study Abroad University of Northern Iowa Study Abroad

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Getting Academic Credit

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Instructor-led Programs

Students will be enrolled directly into UNI classes by the Study Abroad Center. These classes are taught by the program course leader.  The Study Abroad Center will instruct participants about details.  Normally, there will be 4-8 mandatory academic meetings the semester prior to departure -- and often you will complete work, such as a reflection essay, to be submitted after your return.  Remember to direct questions regarding readings and/or homework for the course to your course leader.

Semester, Summer, and Short-term Programs

Students will receive letter grades for all courses taken abroad and may use credit earned abroad to satisfy graduation requirements in major, minor, certificate, Liberal Arts Core, or UNI elective categories.   ALL courses need to be approved prior to departure.

The Study Abroad Transfer Course Approval Form (found on your iUNI portal page) must be completed before departure to apply foreign academic credit toward your UNI degree. This Transfer Credit Approval Form, after signatures are obtained, constitutes an agreement that courses you complete abroad will count toward your degree at UNI. 

How do I get foreign courses approved?

  1. Research to determine which programs offer the appropriate academics.
  2. Select your program.
  3. Print off syllabi for each foreign courses.
  4. Fill out Transfer Course Approval Form identifying your requested UNI course equivalencies.  Remember, to attach the foreign course syllabi to your Transfer Course Approval Form.
  5. For major, minor, or certificate courses:  Have foreign course syllabi assessed by the appropriate UNI Department Head and obtain approval signatures for UNI equivalencies.  College of Business Administration approvals need to go to Christine Schrage and Foreign Language approvals need to go through Jennifer Cooley.
  6. For LAC or electives: Submit course syllabi and approval form to Study Abroad (28 Gilchrist).  Course equivalencies will be evaluated by the Office of Admissions.

Remember: Approval Signatures are Required!

Once your Transfer Course Approval Form is completed, the original will be housed in your Study Abroad Center file -- but it's good to keep a copy for yourself!  After you complete your program, the foreign institution will mail your official transcript to the Study Abroad Center (this can take time). 

After your foreign transcript has arrived at UNI, the Office of Admissions will be posting your final grades to your Campus Solutions account under the tab "Transfer Credit".  All foreign grades will be converted into U.S. equivalencies (i.e. 2 ECTS = 1 U.S. credit) per the Office of Admissions.  For spring or summer participants, foreign transcripts typically arrive between June-October, and for fall participants, foreign transcripts typically arrive between January-April.  All transcripts are to be sent to the UNI SAC. 


Modern Language Agreement

Students who will be participating in an intensive language program abroad (Spanish, French, German, etc.) and are typically placed in a specific level via placement test, will need to complete the Modern Language Agreement Form from your iUNI portal application page. You will need to receive a signature from a faculty member in the Department of Modern Languages. After the signature is obtained, the form constitutes an agreement that courses you complete abroad will count toward your degree at UNI.  This form also needs to be returned to the Study Abroad Center prior to departure.


Graded Courses vs. Pass/Fail Credit

According to the Office of Registrar, your grades transfer back as “graded credit” unless you request this requirement to be waived before you leave to go abroad and following the academic dates/deadlines of the Registrar.  Permission for the waiver must be sought and received from the Office of Admissions.  At present, a request to change graded credit to pass/fail (or pass/fail to graded credit) must be made by the mid-semester deadline published in the UNI Schedule of Classes.

UNI allows students to take pass/fail courses that are elective credit only. As a result, you are unable to change Liberal Arts Core classes and major courses to pass/fail status.

Non-UNI Programs

If you are participating in a non-UNI program and wish to transfer the credits back to UNI, your program and your participation in the program must first be approved.  After approval is secured, you may proceed to submit your application to the program provider.  Contact the Study Abroad Center after you receive your letter of acceptance to make arrangements to enroll for the duration of your program.