Course Approval

Tufts Programs Abroad Course Equivalencies

All courses taken on Tufts Programs Abroad, including host-country university courses, will be awarded Tufts credit in the corresponding department (or as “All-College” credit if there is no corresponding department at Tufts). However, it is up to each department to decide which courses will count and how they will count toward the major. You should consult with your major department regarding specific courses you wish to take on a Tufts Program Abroad to fulfill major requirements. You may request formal approval for a course taken through a Tufts Program Abroad to be designated either as a direct equivalent to a Tufts course or as upper- or lower-level major credit. You can do this by submitting an Equivalence Request for Tufts Programs Abroad via SIS

Non-Tufts Programs

Each course not taken at Tufts must be approved by an academic department on the Medford campus for transfer credit (courses are approved by content, not by the language in which the course is taken). Please read carefully Tufts's policies on transfer credit, as well as additional policies specifically related to internships and summer or January-term study abroad (found at the bottom of this page). Please also consult your major department regarding any specific departmental policies or restrictions on how many or which major requirements you may fulfill abroad. Once you have selected the courses you will take abroad, you may submit online transfer of credit approval requests via SIS. It is wise to get approval for alternate courses, since program changes are common.  Be sure, however, that you do not enroll in a course similar to one for which you have already received credit at Tufts or one that is taught through a department that does not have a corresponding department here at Tufts.

Make every effort to get courses pre-approved for transfer credit in advance of your time abroad. While we prefer that you complete the transfer of credit request process before you depart, we realize that you may not receive final course listings and descriptions until shortly before the program begins and occasionally not until your arrival abroad. (This is most likely to happen if you are enrolling directly in a foreign university.) In such cases, you should discuss the types of courses you plan to take with your adviser and the department from which you will request credit, even though you do not yet have exact descriptions and numbers. As soon as you obtain the final listings, you should submit your requests for approval online via SIS. Upon completion of your studies abroad, be sure to have an official transcript of your work sent directly from the university or program provider to the Student Services Desk in Dowling Hall, not to the foreign study adviser. Transcripts handed in by students, even in a sealed envelope, are not acceptable for awarding transfer credit. Under no circumstance can the Office of Programs Abroad approve courses for transfer credit if you are not able to find an academic department to do so. Once the transcript from your study-abroad program arrives at Tufts (presuming that you have already received transfer-credit approvals for each of the courses that appears on that transcript), it may take up to 3 or 4 weeks for the transfer credits to appear on your Tufts transcript. 
                                                
For more detailed information about Tufts' transfer of credit policies (including restrictions on transfer credit for certain types of courses, and a guide to credit conversion), please refer to the Registrar's website. While the same policies and procedures apply to study-abroad transfer credit as to other transfer credit (so please review these policies carefully), the following transfer of credit conditions and policies are worth highlighting here:

  • Transfer of credit requests must be submitted for each course through SIS and approved online by the appropriate departmental transfer credit representatives. (If you wish to receive credit towards your MAJOR for pre-approved courses, you must discuss this with your major advisor before going abroad.)
  • If courses are not pre-approved, it is sometimes possible to get courses approved after the fact (although this practice is strongly discouraged). Be sure to save course descriptions, syllabi, assignments, reading lists, or exams — enough material to show what you learned in the course.
  • You will need to receive a grade of C- or better in any course to qualify for transfer credit. Courses taken abroad may, with the approval of the appropriate departments, be used to satisfy foundation, distribution, and concentration requirements. Remember that courses may not be taken pass/fail on non-Tufts programs.
  • You will not get credit for pre-session courses, orientation courses, introductory seminars, or other courses that take place before the semester begins.
  • Grades earned on non-Tufts study abroad programs will not appear on your Tufts transcripts, be included in your cumulative grade point averages, or be used for honors. However, professional and graduate school admissions committees and employers may require submission of your study abroad program transcripts along with your Tufts transcript so that they can calculate a composite GPA. (If you are planning to apply to medical, dental, veterinary, or other health professions graduate programs, those schools will require transcripts from study abroad programs. Therefore it is safest to choose a program sponsored by an accredited U.S. college or university.)
  • Due to the wide variety of academic schedules, course loads and credit systems in use at colleges and universities throughout the country and abroad, Tufts does not automatically transfer credit on a course-for-course basis. Therefore, the total number of transfer credits you may count toward your Tufts degree may not equal the number of courses taken abroad. All students, in order to earn a full semester’s credit at Tufts, must take a full semester’s course load as defined by the foreign institution. It is recommended that engineering students consult with the foreign study adviser.                 

NOTE: If you participate in a non-Tufts study abroad program, you must make sure that official transcripts of your work abroad are submitted by the program to Student Services in Dowling Hall so that your requests for transfer credit can be processed. The Office of Tufts Programs Abroad cannot assume responsibility for obtaining transcripts from non-Tufts programs.

A&S Students: Foundation and Distribution Credits 
 

World Civilization Credit

If a course has been approved as the equivalent of a specific course at Tufts, it will count for World Civilizations credit just as the Tufts course would count.  This information is available on the SIS class search.  Otherwise, the petition for World Civilizations credit is available on the Registrar website. The completed petition and supporting materials should be submitted to the Student Services Desk in Dowling Hall.

Foreign Culture Credit

If a course has been approved as the equivalent of a specific course at Tufts, it will count for Foreign Culture Credit just as the Tufts course will count. This information is available on the SIS class search.  For other courses, the transfer credit representative will determine the culture area for the course at the same time the course is approved online for transfer credit.

Distribution Credit

Please keep in mind the following:               

  • Courses approved for credit by the departments of History or Religion will count for Humanities distribution.
  • Courses approved for credit by the departments of Art and Art History, Drama and Dance, or Music will count for Arts distribution. Please note: Dance performance and Music performance courses are not eligible for transfer credit.
  • Courses approved for credit by the departments of History or Political Science will count for Social Science distribution.
  • Courses approved for credit by the departments of Astronomy, Chemistry, or Physics will count for Natural Sciences distribution.
  • Courses approved for credit by the departments of Mathematics or Computer Science will count for Mathematical Sciences distribution.
  • Courses approved as equivalents of specific Tufts courses will count for distribution credit accordingly (see Tufts Bulletin).
  • For other courses, the transfer credit representative will determine the distribution area at the same time the course is approved online for transfer credit.

Engineering Students: Course Approval Guidelines

There are two considerations in making sure that a course taken abroad will transfer to your degree sheet as needed:

  1. Obtaining approval for university credit for the course via a transfer of credit request on SIS; and
  2. Slotting the course on your degree sheet. This may require a second approval via a Petition. Please review information about Transfer Course Considerations for special considerations about using transfer courses on your degree sheet.

More Information about Course Approval for Engineers

Additional Policies
 

Summer Study Abroad Policies

Please keep in mind the following policies for summer study abroad programs:                   

  • You may not transfer more than three courses earned in one summer.
  • You may transfer a maximum of five summer courses toward a Tufts degree.
  • To be eligible for transfer credit from summer study abroad, you do not need to take courses at institutions or programs on our list of Recommended Programs, but courses must be transcripted by degree-granting institutions of higher education that are recognized by the government of the country in which they are located or accredited according to the U.S. system of accreditation.
  • As with all transfer credit, you must receive individual course approvals in SIS from the relevant academic department(s) at Tufts, and such approvals are subject to departmental transfer-credit policies, including those pertaining to course duration. Consult the department(s) directly about such policies.
  • Summer school courses may be used, with approval, to satisfy foundation, distribution, and concentration course requirements.
  • You should give the Office of Programs Abroad at least one week's notice if your application to the study-abroad program requires home-school authorization.
  • As with semester- or academic-year study abroad, you should notify the Office of Programs Abroad of your summer study-abroad plans and register those plans (or other university-affiliated travel) through the Tufts Travel Registry.
January Term and Winter Break Study Abroad Policies

Please keep in mind the following policies for January-term and winter break study abroad programs:                       

  • January-term study-abroad programs must end prior to the start date of spring semester classes at Tufts (for students who plan to take classes at Tufts in the spring semester).  Tufts will not approve a student to participate in a January-term study-abroad program if the dates conflict with Tufts classes.
  • Courses must be taken at institutions of higher education that are recognized by the government of the country in which they are located or accredited according to the U.S. system of accreditation.
  • Students attending non-Tufts January-term programs are asked to notify the Programs Abroad Office of their destination.
Internships Abroad

Please keep in mind the following policies for internships abroad:   

  • You may earn a total of 3.0 credits for internship programs listed below. All coursework, as well as the internship component, must be pre-approved by the appropriate departmental representative for credit to be transferred. Once pre-approved, the internship component yields 1.0 credit; the coursework yields a total of 2.0 credits.
  • Summer internship programs must offer a minimum of two accompanying academic courses to be eligible for credit; the internship component yields 1.0 credit and the coursework yields a total of 1.0 credit.
  • Other programs which offer an internship opportunity in addition to or in lieu of a class, such as IES and CIEE, yield no credit for the internship or for courses that frame or support the internship. The same policy applies for volunteer opportunities.

Programs that offer internship opportunities: