Credit & Registration

Academic Credit

Remember that you will get UNC Charlotte (NOT transfer!) credit for every course you take abroad. It is essential that you understand how academic credit works when you study abroad, which depends on in which type of program you are participating. Refer to our Academic Credit page for more information:

Preparing to Go Abroad

The following are resources intended to assist students while they consider how course registration will work and how they can expect their study abroad courses and grades to be processed upon their return from abroad.


You may or may not be able to choose your course schedule (the days and times of your classes). This will depend on the specific program you are participating in. It could also be possible that you do not register for courses or receive your course schedule until you are on-site. It is important that you do not plan any personal travel until you know what your course schedule will be. Faculty-led program participants can consult with their faculty director for information about their course schedule and expectations abroad.

Language Courses Abroad

It is likely that students taking language courses abroad will be required to take a placement exam to determine which course level of that language they will take abroad. This placement exam will either be administered online by the 3rd party, host university or in-person upon arrival; it is also possible that part of the language placement will need to be taken before departure abroad followed by a second component upon arrival. Students will need to consult with their academic advisors, Program Directors, and/or their faculty director or program provider (as applicable) to determine what their options are if they place significantly lower or higher than expected.

Course Availability

Just like at UNC Charlotte, registering for specific courses abroad are never guaranteed. Courses can close due to capacity or for a variety of other reasons. Students should always be prepared with alternate courses in the event that their first choice course(s) are not available abroad. However, this does not apply to faculty-led program participants, as the courses you take are pre-specified.

taking online courses while abroad

Students may be able to take an online course at UNC Charlotte while abroad in addition to the courses they take abroad, but the Office of Education Abroad discourages students from doing so. Some students have done this in the past because it was the only way they could ensure they were staying on track with their graduation and curriculum requirements. Students considering taking a UNC Charlotte online course while abroad should consult with an OEA Advisor and their Academic Advisor.


  • You will be billed for the applicable UNC Charlotte tuition & fees associated with taking the course(s)
    • Exchange participants: This will factor into the total amount of credit hours for which you are billed for the semester of travel
    • Faculty-Led, Affiliate Provider, or Direct Enrollment participants: You will be billed for the tuition & fees associated with the online course(s) in addition to your study abroad program fees (remember that, otherwise, you would not be paying tuition and fees to UNC Charlotte during the term you study abroad)
  • You may not have reliable access to internet at all times while abroad
  • The online course should not conflict with the courses you are taking abroad (i.e., cause you to miss class or keep up with your coursework abroad)
  • Remember that there will likely be a time difference of at least a few hours between your location abroad and Charlotte: you would have to always be sure that you account for that difference when reviewing meeting times, due dates, etc. for your online course and could encounter conflicts of having to be logged on or to submit assignments by a certain time
  • Learning and adapting to a new academic environment may increase your workload. As educational systems abroad differ from the academic environment at UNC Charlotte, students need to be prepared for this adjustment, which may require more work and attention as you adjust to the new environment. This may limit they amount of time you have to do courework for an online course at UNC Charlotte. 

who needs to complete an advising agreement?

Only students participating in an exchange, affiliate provider, or direct enrollment program will be required to complete an Advising Agreement form (AA) before departure. Students will be given access to this form only once they have they have been approved by the OEA to go abroad. The form will be available for download from the approved student's OEA study abroad application.

Faculty-led program participants do not need to complete an AA (unless directed otherwise), as the pre-approved UNC Charlotte course(s) for which they will receive credit is already listed in their program's brochure on the OEA website.

What is an advising agreement?

An Advising Agreement is a form that students fill out before departure abroad to determine for which UNC Charlotte courses they are approved to get credit for the courses they take abroad. Completing an AA is one of the pre-departure requirements for exchange, affiliate provider, and direct enrollment program participants.

Students will need to download the AA from their OEA application, research the courses available at their host institution, and list the courses they may want to take abroad. After listing courses, the student submits the form to all corresponding academic departments at UNC Charlotte as needed (i.e., if you have a history class and a Spanish class listed on your AA, you would take the document to both those departments). Each Department Chair or Graduate Program Director will then assign a UNC Charlotte equivalent course for the course(s) listed as appropriate.

Which Other Documentation Does the Student Need to Provide With their AA?

In addition to listing the host institution courses on the Advising Agreement, students will need to print out a course description or syllabus for each course they listed on their AA to submit to the Department Chairs/Graduate Program Director. This is what the Department Chair/Graduate Program Director will use in order to determine which UNC Charlotte equivalent credit the student will receive if they take that course abroad.

Who Determines the UNC Charlotte Equivalent Course Credit?

The OEA does not determine course equivalencies or assign course credit. The Department Chair of each corresponding academic department or the Graduate Program Director will evaluate the host course description or syllabus and assign a UNC Charlotte equivalent course. If no exact equivalency is available, the department may assign an elective credit or notify the student that they will need to work with another department in order to receive equivalent course credit.

How Long Does it Take to Have the AA Completed?

Students have access to begin completing their Advising Agreement as soon as they receive approval to study abroad, which, in theory, will be very early in the semester before they go abroad. As long as the student is proactive and begins working on it immediately upon receiving approval, academic departments will hopefully be able to sign off on the AA within a few weeks. However, this process can sometimes take more time - students should get started on the AA right away to avoid delays.

What is The FRST course?

While students are abroad, they will not be registered in the specific courses for which they will receive credit. Instead, this placeholder course will appear on students' UNC Charlotte transcripts while they are abroad and will remain there until their study abroad grades are processed in the months following their return from abroad. The only exception to this is participants in embedded faculty-led programs

Students are registered in the FRST so that other UNC Charlotte departments can see that the student is still active at UNC Charlotte, but currently abroad, and so that students are able to receive their financial aid or scholarship funding for the term of travel (if applicable). For exchange program participants only, the placeholder course will bill the student for full-time tuition & fees at UNC Charlotte.

Who Will Be Enrolled in this Placeholder Course?

Any student studying abroad and receiving academic credit for their program, EXCEPT for embedded faculty-led program participants.

Exchange Program participants

Students participating in an exchange program will pay full-time tuition & fees according to their residency rate (in-state or out-of-state) to Student Accounts at UNC Charlotte for the semester they are abroad. 

Affiliate Provider, Direct Enrollment, & Freestanding faculty-led program participants

Students participating in these types of programs will NOT pay tuition & fees to UNC Charlotte for the term of travel.

Affiliate and direct enrollment program participants will either pay a program fee to the affiliate provider that includes tuition & fees at the host institution, or pay tuition & fees directly to the host institution. Freestanding faculty-led program participants cover the cost of their study abroad courses via the program fee they pay to the OEA.

Because of this, the Study Abroad Placeholder Course will not charge these students for tuition & fees, but will still keep them full-time and active at UNC Charlotte while abroad.

Important Notes

The OEA will not enroll the applicable students in the Study Abroad FRST placeholder course if the student is or has:

  • Holds on their Student Account
  • Incomplete/past due Pre-Departure Requirements (including advising agreements!)
  • Enrolled in courses at UNC Charlotte for the term they will be abroad

Although students will be in the middle of their study abroad program, they will need to be thinking about the courses they will need to register for for the semester they return at UNC Charlotte. As usual, students will receive emails from their academic departments discussing the registration process and will enroll in courses the same way they normally do; online through their account.

At this time, students should be corresponding with their Academic Advisor(s) accordingly to ensure they know what types of courses they should be registering for the subsequent semester at UNC Charlotte based on what they're currently taking abroad. In some cases, students will be taking a course abroad that is a prerequisite course for another courses they need to take that subsequent semester; students should communicate with their Advisor to determine how that process will unfold.

exchange, affiliate provider,  & direct enrollment participants

host university transcript

It can take anywhere from 1 - 6 months to receive the student's official transcript from the host university or affiliate provider. For this reason, students are not eligible to graduate the same semester they participate in an exchange or affiliate provider program because grades are not received in time to process for commencement. The Office of Education Abroad requires the original transcript to be sent to the office directly from the host university or provider in a sealed envelope. Electronic transcripts downloaded by the student or opened envelopes containing the transcript handed in by the student will not be accepted. 

Grade Processing

Once the official host university transcript is received, OEA will check to see that all of the courses the student had approved on their Advising Agreement matches the courses listed on the official host university transcript. Then, OEA will translate all host grades into A - F letter grades using a standard conversion. The official transcript, Advising Agreement(s) and grade conversions will then be sent to the Office of the Registrar, who will then list the UNC Charlotte equivalent courses and A-F letter grades on the student's UNC Charlotte transcript. All A-F letter grades earned from abroad will be calculated into the student's cumulative UNC Charlotte GPA.

faculty-led Program participants

All participants will be graded by their Faculty Director(s) and potentially on-site Host Faculty (the OEA does not award grades).

Embedded Programs

Your grades will be processed per the same processes and timelines as any other on-campus course.

Freestanding Programs

Once the OEA receives all grades from all Faculty Director(s) and the transcript from the host university (if applicable), it is then a 4-5 week processing time before grades will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, who will then list the UNC Charlotte equivalent courses and A-F letter grades on the student's UNC Charlotte transcript. Students planning to graduate immediately following their program need to let their faculty director and the OEA know that right away.

All A-F letter grades earned from abroad will be calculated into the student's cumulative UNC Charlotte GPA.


The OEA will not process students' grades (if applicable) who:

  • Owe the OEA a balance
  • Owe OEA scholarship requirements
The OEA Assistant Director teaches an online UNC Charlotte course for eligible students while abroad. The course counts as LBST 2102 Global Connections. This is a legitimate online course that students will complete throughout the duration of their semester abroad. Students interested in taking this course must set up an Advising Appointment with the Assistant Director prior to the semester the student will be abroad. The student will need written approval from the OEA in order to enroll in this special section of the course (you cannot enroll in the course via normal registration processes). Only students participating in a fall or spring program are eligible to take this course. Students participating in a year-long program are only eligible to take this course their first semester abroad.
  • Students receive UNC Charlotte equivalent academic credit for the courses they take abroad, not transfer credit
  • Courses will appear as UNC Charlotte courses on the student's UNC Charlotte transcript. The semester they went abroad will be designated as "study abroad."
  • Students will receive an A-F letter grade for each grade they earn abroad. OEA Staff will convert host country grading systems into the A-F letter grade system using a standard conversion, which takes into account the difference in the scale
  • All courses taken & grades earned abroad will be reported to the Office of the Registrar and listed on the student's UNC Charlotte transcript. Even if the student:
    • Fails the course
    • Does not need the course to graduate
    • Does not want it to be reported
    • OEA is obligated to report all coursework and cannot remove any courses at the request of the student 
  • All grades earned abroad will be factored into the student's cumulative UNC Charlotte GPA
  • Courses abroad will not be awarded pass/fail credit (unless exceptions are given by the student's academic department for a particular course(s) OR that course is listed in the UNC Charlotte Catalog as a Pass/Fail course)
  • The OEA does not award grades and does not determine UNC Charlotte equivalent academic credit
  • As students are issued resident credit and NOT transfer credit, study abroad does not affect the last 30 hours of residency credit rule for graduation. (See Transfer Credit from Other Insitutions
  • Pass/Fail: The Office of Education Abroad processes credit as UNC Charlotte equivalencies with an A-F letter grade. Unfortunately, courses graded on a Pass/Fail basis cannot be issued as UNC Charlotte credit, as it will require a letter grade to do so. As you register for courses abroad, please review the course description carefully to ensure the course is not evaluated on a pass/fail system. If so, you will need to find an alternative course that uses the university's grading system.