Academic Credit

Columbia-Led Programs

If you attend a Columbia-Led Program, you receive Columbia University credit. The courses and grades appear on your academic transcript and impact your GPA.

During the semester or academic year, you can take one course pass/fail that can be uncovered at the end of the semester, if you wish.

During the summer, students are not able to take classes as pass/fail.

Columbia-Approved Programs

If you attend a Columbia-Approved Program, you will receive general transfer credit. Course titles and grades for these programs do not appear on your Columbia transcript. Also the grades are not factored into your Columbia GPA. But, your work abroad is considered part of your academic record at Columbia as it will add into the points that you need to graduate as long as you meet the minimum grades as noted below.

To receive this credit, you must obtain a transcript from the host institution or official School of Record. The transcript must be from a degree-granting institution and must include the notation of earned credits and grades, whether in the U.S. or foreign credit system.

fall, spring, academic year and summer program guidelines:

  • Credit is not granted for courses in business, education, journalism, or other subjects at Columbia that professional schools teach.
  • Credit is not given for courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis. The minimum grade necessary for semester or summer general credit transfer is:
    • Columbia College: C-
    • Columbia Engineering: C
    • School of General Studies: C
  • As a Columbia College or Columbia Engineering student, your last two semesters before graduation must be at Columbia University or on a Columbia-Led Program. For exceptions, you need to submit a Senior Petition to the Committee on Academic Standing.
  • Semester and Academic Year Only: You must take a full-course load while you are abroad according to both Columbia and your program and/or host institution. For CC and SEAS students, a full-course load is a minimum of 12 points. However, most students take on average 13-15 points while abroad. For GS, check with the GS Study Abroad Liaison for more information.
  • You need to complete the academic program of your host institution and may not arrange alternate exams or papers to replace the scheduled exams.

Summer Program Guidelines:

​​In addition to the guidelines above, please note the following for summer study abroad guidelines:

  • ​​Language courses at introductory and intermediate levels are conditionally approved. Credit depends on the results of a placement test administered by the respective department at Columbia University in the fall or completion of a higher level language course. It is the student's responsibility to contact the department for testing. Please note: the German department requires the student to receive a B or better in the higher level language course upon arrival back to campus to receive credit for the study abroad language course.​
  • Some programs have both a language course component and an English language culture component. In most cases, you will not get credit for the course taught in English. If you propose to take courses in English, each course must be approved by the department for major/concentration credit and also must be determined to be "in situ," meaning that the course offers a unique experience where the study abroad site functions as a constituent part of the course. See petition process for further information.

For students on Columbia-Approved Programs, have your program send your transcript to:

Office of Global Programs and Fellowships
Columbia University
606 Kent Hall, MC 3948
1140 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027 USA

Major Credit

General credit earned towards your undergraduate degree does not automatically fulfill requirements for your major. Whether you study on a Columbia-Led or Columbia-Approved Program, you need to work with your department to determine if you are able to receive credit towards your major or concentration. You should have a discussion about the study abroad program with your major departmental representative when you have descriptive information about courses before going abroad. If you do not know which courses you will be taking, discuss the program and your academic goals in general with your department before you leave.

Every department uses different criteria when assessing coursework taken abroad. It is important to understand what your department expects of you before you go so that you can select classes abroad with this information in mind. This is especially important if you plan on doing a senior thesis. Most departments require that you bring all work (essays, syllabi, test) back to campus. Please note that minimum grades listed above for general transfer credit may vary by department in order to obtain major credit. Check with your department for more information if you are seeking major credit.