Semester or Academic Year
Academic Advising for Study Abroad
Students must speak with their academic advisor or academic department regarding semester study abroad or off-campus study. Students should discuss academic matters such as: major/minor requirements, course sequencing, and flexibility of course sequencing. Note that some academic departments have rules, regulations, or guidelines regarding what courses can/cannot transfer back to Lafayette. It is the student’s responsibility to understand and remain within those academic parameters.
Registering for Abroad Courses
When registering for courses abroad or off-campus students should keep in mind two processes.
Lafayette – In order to have course transfer back to Lafayette, students will complete the Course Approval Process. This process typically takes place after a student has been accepted to a program. You can learn more about the Course Approval Process here. Students will not register for courses at Lafayette for the semester they are abroad.
Abroad Program – A student’s abroad program will require them to register for program courses either before they depart or after they are on-site. Please note every program/university has a different course registration process and so the registration process and timeline will most likely look different from what students experience at Lafayette. Students should regularly check program-related e-mails to ensure they are not missing any deadlines or important tasks.
Transfer of Credit & Grades
Please be aware that all credits and all grades that students earn on affiliated semester and academic year programs abroad will transfer back to Lafayette. There are no exceptions to this rule. Even if no specific department has “signed off on” or “approved” a course, it will still be counted as general credit toward graduation (although it will not fulfill any specific requirements such as those for a major, minor, or Common Course of Study), and both the credit and the grade will appear on students’ Lafayette transcript. Students may not take courses abroad/off-campus for Pass/Fail nor will the Academic Progress Committee allow students to convert letter grades to Pass/Fail retroactively.
Please know that there is sometimes a time lag between the receipt of a student’s grade report from their program and the appearance of those same credits and grades on their Lafayette transcript. In order to minimize this delay, students should request in writing that a transcript copy be sent from the affiliated program to the Office of the Registrar at Lafayette. Copies should be requested prior to completion of the abroad semester by following the guidelines established by the affiliated program. Transcripts should be sent directly to:
Office of the Registrar
730 High St.
Easton, PA 18042
Keep in mind that assessment of academic performance in other countries can be different from the grading system used in the US. If a student direct-enrolls in a foreign university, for example, they may find that their entire semester grade is based solely on the final exam or on one midterm and a final. Students may also discover that A’s or their equivalents are much harder to earn; in some countries it is assumed that merely passing a class is a mark of high achievement.
Course Load and Conversion of Credit
The number of transfer credits a student receives at Lafayette is calculated based on the system used by the affiliated US institution that manages the study abroad program. If the program uses a course-based system, then one course abroad will typically transfer as one full credit (one course) at Lafayette. If it is a semester credit-hour system, a 4-credit course is typically equivalent to 1 full Lafayette credit, and a 3-credit course will typically count as 0.75 Lafayette credits. Lafayette students are expected to carry a four course credit load or a 15-16 semester credit-hour load while abroad. If all or most of the courses a student plans to take abroad are 3-credit (semester-hour) courses, the student will have to take 5 courses to carry a full load. Any variations must be approved by the Director of International and Off-Campus Education and the Lafayette Registrar.
Each interim course is coded in the course catalog as fulfilling some requirements (e.g., Common Course of Study requirements such as GM1, GM2, LANG, SS, H, NS, etc.; or interdisciplinary program requirements such as Asian Studies, Classical Civilizations, etc.). That information can be found on the Banner catalog, or on the program brochure pages. Please see the Interim Programs page for more information.
Summer Study Abroad with Non-Lafayette Programs
Lafayette College students who wish to participate in other summer study abroad programs are free to choose any program they want, provided they have a department head approve the program and sign off on the “Committee on Academic Progress Off Campus Study Authorization Summer/Interim/Miscellaneous” (the form is available at the Registrar's office) prior to their application. More information on the Course Approval Process can be found here. If the program is not pre-approved by a department head, the credits may not be accepted by Lafayette. Grades earned on summer study abroad programs do not transfer and will not be factored into a Lafayette student’s GPA.
Summer study abroad with Non-Lafayette programs is typically a more independent process and students work directly with the program for most matters, including financial payments. The Office of International & Off-Campus Education is available to complete program approval forms for summer study abroad programs granted a student meets the eligibility requirements for summer study abroad.