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Credit Transfer

Transferring credit is perhaps the most important academic concern you will have as a study abroad participant. Courses successfully completed at the host institution/program abroad for academic credit can be transferred to your degree at Rice upon evaluation and approval by Rice academic departments and The Office of the Registrar. With proper program and course selection, major, minor and university requirements for most degree programs can be fulfilled while abroad.

Student Responsibilities 

YOU are ultimately responsible for the courses you take, providing proper transcripts to Rice University for evaluation, and for any other documentation needed for the proper transfer and placement of credits earned abroad. It is an important responsibility and a major consideration in the application and admission process for study abroad, as well as during your time abroad and upon return to Rice. 

BE AWARE OF RICE GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. Carefully review Rice graduation requirements and consult with the Registrar's Office if you have questions or concerns. 

Study Abroad Course Pre-Approval Process

Academic departments determine whether courses are appropriate for transfer to Rice via departmental Transfer Credit Advisors. The Rice Study Abroad Office requires that students wishing to study abroad have a conversation with these advisors to evaluate potential transfer credit for each course taken abroad and transferred back as Rice-equivalent credit.

Please note the following guidelines for course evaluation and pre-approval:

1) Research course offerings when selecting a program abroad. Collect course syllabi and course descriptions whenever possible.

2)  Look at the Rice University Course Catalog to determine if the proposed course meets major or minor requirements in your field, either as a Rice-equivalent course or as an elective.

3) Complete the Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit form listing all proposed courses abroad. 

4) Schedule an appointment to meet with the appropriate departmental transfer credit advisor for each course. Please see the Academic Advising website for the current Transfer Credit Advisor listing. Bring all course information available (syllabi, descriptions, sample assignments and exams, instructor contact information, etc.) to your appointment(s) along with the Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit form. Discuss with the transfer credit advisor the classes you are interested in taking and identify which requirements they may fulfill.

5)  Transfer credit advisors may or may not pre-approve courses for transfer credit on the Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit Form at this initial meeting. Official approval is often awarded only after a review of all available course materials upon the student's return to Rice.  However, transfer credit advisors will offer valuable guidance to students regarding the likelihood of proposed courses meriting approval. If the form is not signed, ask the transfer credit advisor to document the conversation on the form.

6) Submit all completed forms to the Rice Study Abroad Office by the application deadline. Keep a copy for your records as well.

7) This information is kept on file until the student's return from their study abroad experience, when a final review is completed. The final transfer credit form along with the official transcript from the program abroad will be submitted by the Study Abroad Office to the Office of the Registrar. 

Please note that all forms must be submitted directly to the Study Abroad Office, not to the Office of the Registrar.  

While it is not a requirement to obtain pre-approval signatures on the Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit Form prior to departure, the assessment by the transfer credit advisor is essential, as it is the only way for you to make an informed decision on the program you are considering. Completion of this form does not guarantee final course credit but rather allows you to thoughtfully plan your proposed courses while also leaving room for unexpected events, such as a class being unavailable upon arrival to the host university. The goal of this process is for you to carefully review possible courses that would meet specific academic goals and requirements, with final evaluation of the courses upon return.   

Credit and Grade Transferability

  • Grades: Students must receive a C- or better for courses abroad. Only those courses that have been passed according to the host institution's grading policy (numbers, letter grades) will be considered for transferability. Pass/fail grades will not be accepted.
  • Number of Credits: Total credits awarded will usually not be greater than what you would normally take in the same time period at Rice. Students must be enrolled in and receive credit for at least 12 credit hours per semester abroad (6 for the summer term).
  • Program Approval: Courses are to be completed at a Rice-approved study abroad program.
  • Records: Keep copies of course descriptions, syllabi, and any other records you feel may be important for the proper evaluation of your courses.
  • GPA: Transfer course grades do not appear on the Rice record and have no effect on a student’s Rice grade point average. PLEASE NOTE: Graduate and pre-professional schools may require your transcripts from all institutions attended, so there is incentive to perform well abroad. These additional transcripts must be requested from the program or host university or school of record.
  • Faculty-Led Programs: Rice faculty-led programs may allow for course grades to be included in the Rice transcript and cumulative GPA.  Please consult individual faculty-led program information for specific GPA and transfer credit details.

Types of Credit


Study abroad students studying on affiliate or direct enrollment programs have the AWAY 100 notation posted during the term abroad. Students studying on exchange programs have the XCHG 100 notation. These notations are placeholders and do not post any hours or grade points to your record, nor do they indicate actual transfer hours during the semester abroad. Actual transfer credit will be posted after receipt of an official transcript from the program or institution abroad.


TRAN credit can be awarded as lower-level (TRAN 100) or upper-level (TRAN 300). It can count toward general elective hours required for graduation and upper-level requirements.

Rice Equivalent

Rice equivalent credit satisfies the same university, major, and distribution requirements as Rice enrollment. Rice equivalent credit requires departmental approval. If no direct equivalent Rice course exists, the transfer credit advisor may elect to award Rice elective credit (DEPT XXX) signifying that the coursework was appropriate for the Rice curriculum. Depending on departmental policies, these elective credits may be used for major or minor requirements.

Obtaining a Transcript

Before you leave your host institution, be sure to make arrangements for an official copy of your transcript to be sent to our office: 

Rice University Study Abroad Office
MS-539, Ley Student Center, Suite #132
6100 Main Street
Houston TX, 77005

The host university/program transcript should NOT be sent directly to the Office of the Registrar. The Study Abroad Office will send the transcript to the Registrar upon receipt.

Many students assume that a transcript will automatically be sent by the host university or provider. This is most often NOT the case, so you must make arrangements with your host university/provider. You may also want to obtain two or more personal copies of your foreign transcript. Obtaining official copies in the future may be difficult, and may be required if you transfer to another school for graduate or undergraduate work.

Additional Considerations

School of Record

For students studying abroad through a program provider, Rice requires transcripts from the school of record. Some programs charge an administrative fee for this option.

Graduating Seniors

In order to study abroad during your final semester, you must contact your appointed major advisor and the Senior Associate Registrar in the Office of the Registrar to discuss outstanding graduation and major requirements. Then, you will seek and obtain approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduates and the Rice Study Abroad Office.

Please note: If abroad during your final semester, your degree may not be immediately conferred. If the final semester abroad is in the spring, the degree may not be conferred until the following January. If the final semester abroad is in the fall, the degree may not be conferred until May. Contact the Office of the Registrar for further details.


Students with substantial transfer credit should be aware of the general graduation requirements (see General Announcements for more information). Students must complete at least 60 semester hours, more than half of their upper-level degree work, and more than half of their upper-level major work at Rice University. Students are also required to complete four full-time semesters in residence at Rice; semesters abroad do not count as semesters in residence. Students should also check with specific department requirements.

For further details regarding Transfer of Credit and Transcripts please consult the Office of the Registrar's website concerning Study Abroad.