UMD: A Globally Connected University

Academics & Study Abroad

Academics & Study Abroad

As an academic experience, study abroad offers you tremendous value.

Program Discovery  |  Pre-Departure Course Selection & Approval  |  Finalizing Course Enrollment Abroad  |  Transcripts and Credits on Your UMD Record  Types of Credit 

You will make important decisions throughout the study abroad process that will impact the way study abroad advances your degree progress, academic and professional objectives. 

This page outlines key considerations for your academic planning as you navigate different phases of study abroad. Don’t forget that you have your EA advisor and your academic advisor to help you through each step of this process.


Program Discovery 

As a UMD student, the world is your classroom with a range of study abroad program options readily available to you through a program or course search. 

Finding a program that is best for you requires the consideration of various program elements and deciding which are most important to you. Deciding on a specific study abroad program should be informed by the answers to these questions:

  • What am I hoping to accomplish through study abroad? (e.g. skills, knowledge, experiences)
  • What courses do I want and need to take? 
  • When (what year/term) do I want to study abroad?
  • What other needs do I need to consider when selecting a program? (e.g. financial, health, social identity)

EA’s Program Selection Tools & Resources 

  • Study Abroad Course Database (SACD) provides detailed course evaluation information for courses offered on study abroad programs. Using the SACD you can:
    • Find study abroad programs that offer equivalents of courses you need to stay on track for your major or minor.
    • Look for study abroad courses that satisfy Gen Ed requirements.
    • Verify how courses offered by a program of interest have been evaluated by a UMD department.
  • Study Abroad Program Search allows you to find programs that match your needs like the topics of courses or term offered. 

Your Team of Advisors will work with you each step of the way to help you make informed decisions.

  • Your academic/major advisor(s) will help you.... 
    • Figure out how study abroad fulfills your academic goals.  
    • Determine which term(s) in your academic plan are good candidates for study abroad.
    • Select coursework for your time in College Park and abroad that allow you to stay on track. 
    • Questions to ask your academic advisor: 
      • When is a good time in my academic plan for me to study abroad?
      • Which degree requirements can I plan to satisfy abroad? Which degree requirements do I need to satisfy on campus at UMD?
      • Where is there flexibility in my academic plan for elective courses I might want to take abroad?
    • Final 30 Credits: Study abroad is permitted in the final 30 credits of your UMD degree subject to approval from the dean of your college. With approval from your academic unit(s), you may also study abroad in your final semester at UMD.
  • Your Education Abroad Advisor will help you understand study abroad program details such as course offerings, housing options, and cultural immersion opportunities and be able to answer questions about the study abroad process from start to end. 

Note: *The following sections apply to all study abroad students except those on Maryland Short Term programs. Academic information for Maryland Short Term programs can be found on the Maryland Short-term programs page. 

Back to top


Pre-Departure Course Selection & Approval

Once you’ve been accepted to a study abroad program, you will work closely with your EA and academic advisors to document how credits earned abroad will apply to your degree requirements during the Study Abroad Course Pre-Approval process.

Your Education Abroad Advisor will provide you with a Study Abroad Course Pre-Approval (SACA) form to list courses you plan to take (including alternate options). You will share and discuss this form with your academic advisors, who will sign off on this academic plan. This process ensures that:

  • You have strong academic plan for study, which includes contingency plans with alternate courses.
  • You and your advising team have documentation about how the courses you plan to take abroad will apply to your degree program.
  • You understand how the credits you earn abroad will appear on your transcript and impact your GPA.
  • You understand the policies associated with earning credit through your study abroad program:
    • Foreign Language Credit Policy: UMD credit will only be granted for foreign language courses taken abroad at or above the course level already completed at UMD. Credit will not be awarded for courses at a level lower than that already received at UMD.
    • Experiential Learning Credit Policy:  You may earn credit for experiential learning (internships, service learning) for resident credits only on select Maryland-in semester programs and SIT Study Abroad programs. No transfer credit will be awarded for internship, externship, practicum, or co-op work experiences that are not supervised by UMD faculty. In addition, transfer credit is not awarded for these types of experience completed through other institutions.
    • Repeat Policy: With the permission of your academic college, you may take courses abroad that would be considered repeat courses. UMD's standard repeat policy applies, including any grade replacement if applicable. 

When considering what courses to take and preparing for your SACA meeting: 

  • Check if a course offered at your host institution has already been approved by searching the SACD
  • If a course is not listed in the SACD, you can use the EA Transfer Credit Evaluation Request form to request an evaluation by the appropriate UMD department. 

Back to top


Finalizing Course Enrollment Abroad

You will likely confirm your class schedule after you’ve arrived on site. During that process, you should also be sure to check for the following:

  1. Know what type of credit you are earning and how the grading applies to your UMD record.
  2. Finalize your course enrollment.
    • Make sure your final registration matches what was included and approved on your SACA form. If not, you will need to:
      1. Search the SACD to check if the new course has been approved for credit at UMD.
      2. If a course is not listed in the SACD, use the EA Transfer Credit Evaluation Request form to request an evaluation by the appropriate UMD department.
      3. Notify your EA and Academic Advisor of any updated course selection.
    • You are expected to maintain a full time student status when you study abroad for an academic semester or year. This means you must be enrolled in the equivalent of at least 12 UMD credits.

Learning in an Abroad Setting

Make the most of your studies and get to know the academic culture of your study abroad program.​

  • Be mindful that course instruction, faculty advising, and grading may all be different from what you are used to at UMD. This is an important part of your cultural experience. 
  • If needed, ask for help early on. Talk to you faculty instructors, and make use of academic services like study groups and on-site tutoring to help you do well. ​

Back to top 


Transcripts and Credits on Your UMD Record

Education Abroad facilitates the transfer of study abroad coursework to your UMD record. Take the proper steps to make sure your study abroad coursework is properly included on your UMD record.

Request Transcript from Your Host Institution/Program Provider (For Transfer Credit Programs)

Host institutions/program providers should send transcripts directly to Education Abroad at the request of the student. For students on Maryland-in programs, Education Abroad facilitates this process directly. For students on other programs, look for instructions from your host institution/program provider on how to request a transcript. Make sure it is sent to the following address: 

Education Abroad
University of Maryland
1118 H.J. Patterson Hall
4065 Campus Drive
College Park, MD 20742

Timeline for your Study Abroad Credits to Post to your UMD record

  1. You will receive an email from EA once we have received your study abroad transcript from your host institution/program provider. 
  2. EA will evaluate your study abroad transcript and send it to the Registrar within 5 days.
  3. The Registrar will post credit to your UMD record within 4-6 weeks. 
    • Please note that RC and TC may not post at the same time. 
  4. If credits are not posted to your UMD record within 6 weeks of EA receiving your transcript, please contact your EA Advisor.

Back to top 


Types of Credit

There are two types of credit you can obtain through study abroad: resident credit and transfer credit. The type of credit for each course is noted in the Study Abroad Course Database (SACD), designated by RC/TC.

Type of Credit Description Can credits count toward my degree requirements? Will the course appear on my UMD transcript? Will my grade appear on my UMD transcript? Will my grade factor into my UMD GPA?
Resident Credit (RC) You can take courses for RC on Maryland Short-term, Maryland Semester, and USAC programs. These courses carry a UMD course number and title. Yes Yes
Credits and grades appear on your unofficial transcript listed in the term you studied abroad
Yes Yes
Transfer Credit (TC) You can take courses for TC on Exchange Programs, Affiliate Programs, and Other Approved Programs Yes Yes
Courses and credit appear toward the top of your transcript
No No*

*Many graduate schools and some employers will recalculate your GPA to include transfer credit. 

General Education Credit: Some study abroad courses carry General Education credit. Use the Gen Ed Category in the SACD to confirm Gen Ed credit.

Back to top