Credit

Transfer Credit Policies & Guidelines

General Course Guidelines

  • You may earn concentration, secondary field, language citation, and/or elective credit for courses taken abroad

  • You may earn up to 16-credits for one term abroad, and up to 8-credits for a summer study abroad. You may not earn more than 32-credits of transfer credit from study abroad toward your Harvard degree

  • You are encouraged to take a full course load of academic credit while abroad as determined by the study abroad institution. If you choose to underload, you must notify the OIE, and are responsible for informing yourself of, and understanding the potential ramifications of doing so. Prior to studying abroad, you should discuss your study abroad academic course load and study plan with your Resident Dean and concentration adviser

  • You must complete the Request for Course Approval form within the OIE application portal by the appropriate Request Course Approval link, found under each program

  • While you are encouraged to pursue an internship or service learning and/or volunteer opportunity for personal enrichment, they are not eligible for transfer credit, and may not be considered as a part of your full academic load

Transfer Credit Policies

  • Your concentration, secondary field and/or language advisers will review each course taken abroad for approval. Courses for elective credit will be reviewed by the director in the OIE, in consultation with the Office of Undergraduate Education and/or faculty in the relevant academic department. 

Credit Eligibility

  • Courses must meet for at least four weeks and 36 hours of classroom instruction

  • Courses must fall within the parameters of a liberal arts curriculum as defined by Harvard College and should be similar in content and scope to those offered by the College, not the professional schools

  • Courses with a professional focus in accounting, agronomy, education, business, marketing, communications, journalism, clinical medicine/psychology etc. are not eligible for transfer credit

  • Courses in studio arts, design, and other art-making courses will be reviewed carefully by the relevant department and may not be eligible for transfer credit 

  • Courses in research methods may be ineligible for credit. Speak directly with the relevant concentration adviser(s) for pre-approval

  • Courses are ineligible for transfer credit if they duplicate those for which you have already received credit at Harvard, or if they are taken pass/fail when a letter grade is an option.

Elective

  • The OIE manages the elective credit review process in consultation with the Office of Undergraduate Education and/or faculty in the relevant academic department. For more information on transferring elective credit, please contact the OIE.

Concentration Credit

  • It is your responsibility to consult with the appropriate departmental adviser(s)  regarding concentration or secondary field credit prior to studying abroad to understand course eligibility.

Language Instruction Course Credit

  • If you are studying in a non-Anglophone country, you are expected to take a language instruction course or a subject-matter course taught entirely in a language of the host country. You will need to consult with the appropriate language department adviser regarding approval of any language courses.
     
  • Beginning language courses are not always eligible for credit, and some language departments will not allow you to fulfill the language requirement abroad. For more information, review the specific guidelines (below) for earning language credit abroad, and consult the relevant language department adviser prior to studying abroad to understand their policies.
     
  • In order to receive credit for language courses taken abroad in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese, you must take a placement test upon return administered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. You must place into a course level higher than the course taken abroad. Please contact the East Asian Language Adviser for more information.

Below, please find information regarding the College policy on language courses taken during a student's term (or summer) abroad.

Language Level / Program Approval

Fulfill language requirement

Receive elective credit

Receive concentration credit

Beginning language       

(program on pre-approved list)

Possible*

Possible*

With concentration approval

Beginning language (program not on pre-approved list)

Possible*

Possible*

With concentration approval

Second-year language or above (program on pre-approved list)

Yes

Yes

With concentration approval

Second-year language or above (program not on pre-approved list)

Possible*

Possible*

With concentration approval

 

*Will require students to pass a departmentally administered examination upon return to campus

  • For students taking courses listed on the East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) website, regardless of level, the above policy for receiving credit does not apply. Students must take a departmentally administered placement examination upon return to campus, and pass into the next language level, in order to receive credit.
  • Students taking beginning language courses abroad are required to pass a language placement exam administered by the language department, if seeking elective credit, even if taken as part of a pre-approved program
  • If a student receives a minimum of a B- or equivalent while participating in a program included in the pre-approved list of programs on the language department site, the student will earn both elective credit and credit toward fulfilling the language requirement (only for second year and above language study)
  • If a student participates on a program not included in the list of pre-approved programs, the student will be eligible for both elective credit and credit ward fulfilling the language requirement for beginning or second year (or above) language study, if they receive a minimum of a B- or equivalent in the course, and a passing grade on a language placement exam administered by the language department

Language Citation Course Credit

  • The OIE does not advise on language citation credit
  • Reach out to the relevant language adviser to understand the specific departmental processes for receiving language citation credit

Secondary Field Credit

  • It is your responsibility to consult with the appropriate departmental adviser(s) regarding concentration or secondary field credit prior to studying abroad. 
  • Credit will be applied toward your secondary field upon completion of your study abroad experience

General Education and Divisional Distribution Requirements

Courses taken abroad cannot be counted towards General Education Requirements but may satisfy Divisional Distribution Requirements . For more information, please see the Harvard College Handbook for Students.