Credit & Registration

Remember that students will receive UNC Charlotte equivalent (NOT transfer!) credit for each course they take abroad. It is then a matter of determining what UNC Charlotte course each course abroad will count as. To better understand this process, which will vary depending on the program type, please refer to our Academic Credit tab.

Overview of Academic Credit Process

The following resources are intended to assist students with better understanding the academic credit process, course registration and other important information related to academics abroad.

After Receiving Approval

Once students receive approval from the OEA to go abroad, they often ask if they need to enroll in courses at UNC Charlotte the semester they will be abroad. The answer will depend on the program type:

Embedded Faculty-Led Programs

The following information pertains to students who are participating in an embedded faculty-led program: Once students receive acceptance into the program, submit their program deposit and once the program is confirmed to run, students will be communicated with by the program's Faculty Director with their next steps on how and when to enroll in the UNC Charlotte course that corresponds with their study abroad program.

All Other Program Types

The following information pertains to students who are participating in an exchange, affiliate provider, direct enrollment, or freestanding faculty-led program: Once students receive approval to participate in the program, they will be enrolled in a placeholder course by the Office of Education Abroad the semester they will be abroad. It is not necessary for students to enroll in course or courses at UNC Charlotte for the semester they will be abroad. However, this will not occur until November (Spring participants) or May (Summer & Fall participants). Some students choose to enroll in courses at UNC Charlotte the semester they will go abroad because they have not yet received their official acceptance letter and would like to remain in courses as a precaution until they're officially accepted. If students choose to enroll in courses at UNC Charlotte the semester they will be abroad (for whatever reason), they must ensure they then drop the courses prior to the add/drop date of that semester once they receive their official acceptance so that the OEA can enroll them in the FRST placeholder course. 

Course Schedule Abroad


Students may or may not be able to choose their course schedule (the days and times of their classes). This will depend on the specific program they are participating in. It could also be possible that students may not register for courses or receive their confirmed course schedule until they are on-site. Students will be communicated with by the appropriate entity (the host university, affiliate provider, Faculty Director, etc.) with further information regarding course registration. It is important that students do not plan any personal travel until they know what their course schedule will be. 

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.

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.

Academic Credit Reminders

  • 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.

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.


  • Students 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: Students will be billed for the tuition & fees associated with the online course(s) in addition to students study abroad program fees (remember that, otherwise, students would not be paying tuition and fees to UNC Charlotte during the term students study abroad)
  • Students may not have reliable access to internet at all times while abroad
  • The online course should not conflict with the courses students are taking abroad (i.e., cause students to miss class or keep up with the students coursework abroad)
  • Remember that there will likely be a time difference of at least a few hours between the students location abroad and Charlotte: students would have to always be sure that students account for that difference when reviewing meeting times, due dates, etc. for the students 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. 

LBST 2102: Global Connections

The Office of Education Abroad offers an online version of LBST 2102 (Global and Intercultural Connections) for study abroad students and is taught by the Assistant Director. This course will satisfy one of the four LBST courses required by the "Themes of Liberal Education for Private & Public Life" of UNC Charlotte's General Education requirements.

Students interested in enrolling in this course must meet with the Assistant Director prior to the semester the student intends to 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 semester or year long program during the fall or spring are eligible to take this course. Students participating in a year-long program are only eligible to take this course during their first semester abroad. This course is not taught over the summer and therefore not available for students participating on summer study abroad programs. 

Advising Agreement (Course Equivalency Form)

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.

FRST Placeholder Course

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

Planning for Return to UNC Charlotte

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.