Credits & Transcripts

Student Responsibilities

Students are responsible for the completion of courses taken, providing official transcripts to Rice for evaluation, and for any other documentation needed for the proper transfer/placement of credits earned abroad. Once you return, please ensure that your Undergraduate Request for Transfer Credit (URTC) Form is updated. Once it is received by the Study Abroad Office, we will forward it to the Office of the Registrar and they will process your transcript.

Students should be aware of graduation requirements. Carefully review Rice graduation requirements and consult with the registrar if you have questions or concerns.

Credit Transferability at a Glance


Students must receive a C- or higher for courses abroad. Only courses that have received a passing grade 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

The total number of credits awarded will generally not exceed the amount that would normally be taken while at Rice during that time period.

Students must be enrolled in and receive credit for at least 12 credit hours per semester abroad (6 for the summer term). Students must remain within active full-time student status.

Program Approval

Courses must be completed at a Rice-approved study abroad program.


While abroad, students should preserve copies of course descriptions, syllabi, and any other documentation (including completed assignments/exams/etc.) in case they are requested by your transfer credit advisor. This documentation could be used to validate a request for transfer credit approval.


Transfer course grades do not appear on your Rice transcript and have no effect on your grade point average. However, grades will be displayed on the official transcript received from your study abroad program.

Graduate/professional schools and some jobs will likely request submission of all official transcripts and this will include grades earned in your study abroad courses to calculate your overall GPA when your application is reviewed.

Faculty-led Programs

Rice faculty-led programs may allow for course grades to be included in the Rice transcript and cumulative GPA. Consult individual faculty-led programs for more information about their specific GPA and transfer credit details.

Transfer Credit Notation & Types

Away/Exchange Placeholders

Students who study abroad will have the AWAY 100 notation posted to their Rice transcript during the term abroad (students on exchange programs specifically have the XCHG 100 notation instead). The placeholder will show 12 credit hours regardless of the number of hours you enroll in while abroad. AWAY/XCHG 100 indicates your status as a full-time Rice student while abroad.

These notations do not affect credit hours and grades on your record, nor do they indicate actual transfer credit during the term abroad. Courses and approved transfer credit will be posted AFTER receipt of an official transcript from the institution/program abroad as one of the two types below.

Note: Students approved to study abroad by the Rice Study Abroad Office but have not yet received final, official acceptance into their study abroad program by the beginning of the regular Rice course registration period for the upcoming term will still be registered for AWAY/XCHG 100. If a student does not receive acceptance from their program abroad, students should notify their study abroad advisor immediately.

General Transfer (TRAN)

TRAN credit can be awarded as lower-level (TRAN 100) or upper-level (TRAN 300). It counts towards general elective hours required for graduation and upper-level requirements. Students do not need approval for TRAN credit, but must meet the requirements set by the Office of the Registrar in order for credit to transfer as TRAN (as outlined on their website).

Rice Equivalent/Elective

Rice Equivalent credit satisfies the same university, major, and/or distribution requirements as Rice enrollment. Equivalent/Elective credit requires departmental approval. In order to obtain said credit, you must seek approval from each department's Transfer Credit Advisor. If no direct equivalent Rice course exists, the transfer credit advisor may choose 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.

Transfer credit pre-approval process

Individual departments make the final decision as to whether courses are appropriate for transfer to Rice, as determined by departmental transfer credit advisors. Students who wish to use courses to satisfy requirements in their major will need to meet with these advisors to evaluate potential transfer credit for each course taken abroad and transferred back as credit into their major.

The course evaluation and pre-approval process is as follows:

Step 1: Research Course Offerings

When selecting a program, make sure you know what courses are being offered during the term you are looking to go abroad. Collect all available course syllabi and course descriptions.

Step 2: Look at the Rice Course Catalog

It is important to determine what will keep you on track for graduation. If the course offerings meet major/minor requirements for elective or Rice-equivalent credit, you must get a signed URTC form from a Transfer Credit Advisor.

Step 3: Schedule an Appointment with the Appropriate Transfer Credit Advisor

Visit the Office of Academic Advising website for the most current listing of transfer credit advisors. Bring all course information available (syllabi, descriptions, sample assignments and exams, instructor contact information, etc.) along with the URTC Form to your appointment(s). Discuss with the transfer credit advisor the classes you are interested in taking and identify which requirements they may fulfill.

Transfer credit advisors MAY or MAY NOT pre-approve courses for transfer credit on the URTC Form at the initial meeting. Official approval is typically awarded only after a review of all available course materials upon the student's return to Rice. However, transfer credit advisors offer valuable guidance regarding the likelihood of potential courses receiving approval upon return. Outcome of conversation(s) with the Transfer Credit Advisor(s) should be documented on the Study Abroad Portal during the application process.

It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that students seek pre-approval from transfer credit advisor(s) via the URTC Form prior to departure. Completion of this form does not guarantee final course credit unless all minimum requirements are met. Also leave room for unexpected events, such as a course being unavailable upon arrival to your program.

Step 4: Submit a Completed URTC Form

If you are able to obtain a signed URTC form from the Transfer Credit Advisor, it should be submitted to your Study Abroad application portal by the application deadline. If the Transfer Credit Advisor is unable to provide pre-approval, supplemental documentation can be used as a placeholder until you return to Rice.

The URTC Form is kept on file until your return to Rice when a final evaluation is completed. The URTC Form and transfer credit information, along with the official transcript from your program, will be submitted by the Office of Study Abroad to the Office of the Registrar on your behalf.


Obtaining a Study Abroad Transcript
Arrange for your transcript from your program to be sent to the Rice Office of Study Abroad (not to the registrar):

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

Transcripts are not always automatically sent by the host institution/program, so you should plan to discuss transcript arrangements with your program. You may also want to obtain personal copies of your transcript, such as for use with graduate/professional school applications. Obtaining official copies may be more difficult after the program's conclusion.

School of Record (SOR) Transcripts
For students studying abroad through a non-university program provider, Rice requires official transcripts from a SOR. Some programs charge an administrative fee for this option. If your program uses an SOR, you should make sure to request one before the start of your program and include this on your budget worksheet. In addition to your program's grade report or unofficial transcript, please make sure your SOR transcript is sent to the Rice Office of Study Abroad. If you are unsure if you need one, please ask your Study Abroad Advisor.

Transfer Credit Posting Process
Please allow at least 6 weeks after your return for your transcript to be processed by your host university/provider transcript. It may take some time before your office transcript is received by the Office of Study Abroad. Once it is processed by our office, an email will be sent to your Rice account. Be sure to check that the credits appear properly on your Rice transcript.

Note: if the courses you take while abroad differ from those reported on your URTC Form, it will be necessary to contact your transfer credit advisor(s) and submit an new URTC Form to the Office of Study Abroad to obtain Rice-approved credit.