Study Abroad Policies and Credits

Criteria to Apply

  • Be a registered, full-time student.

  • Be in good academic standing and meet the GPA requirements of the targeted program.
  • Apply by the stated deadlines 
  • Apply and register through Office of Global Learning; there are no exceptions to this rule. Credit is not awarded retroactively after a return from a leave of absence during which you may have studied abroad independently.
  • Receive approval on the “Engineering Study Abroad Participation & Course Approval” form from both their faculty advisor and the College advisor for study abroad in the Engineering Advising Office.

Program Requirements

  • Be an “Engineering-approved” accredited study abroad program or university. Search “approved by ENG” on the Marketplace for a list of options.
  • Run a minimum of 14 weeks for full credit.

Student Requirements While Abroad

  • Required to study the language of the host country in non-English-speaking countries.
  • Expected to enroll for a full course load (equivalent to 15 credit hours at Cornell).
  • Subject to College of Engineering good academic standing requirements. Failure to meet the requirements may result in academic action upon return.

Credit Received for Courses

  • For which a grade equivalent to a “C” or above is earned; and
  • That are recorded on the official transcript from abroad (e.g. certificates are not eligible for credit).

Credit Not Awarded For

  • Courses taken on a “pass/fail” basis.
  • Duplicate courses for which you have already received credit at Cornell.
  • Physical Education (PE) courses.
  • Courses completed outside the United States in the fall or spring semester while on a leave of absence*
  • Courses taken online or by distance learning at the host university.

*If you are a transfer student and studied abroad while at your former university, or an incoming first-year student who studied abroad at the university level prior to matriculation, you may be eligible to seek pre-matriculation study abroad credit.

Transcript Recording Procedures

  • The name of the program or university will be noted on the Cornell University official transcript.
  • Course titles and grades will appear on official Cornell transcript.
  • For most programs, grades will not figure into your cumulative GPA (exceptions include the Nilgiris Field Learning Program (NFLP), Cornell in Rome, and SEA Semester).
  • Credits may fulfill Engineering requirements if approved by the relevant department or faculty advisor.
  • If a grade of C- or lower was earned, or a course was taken pass/fail, the Cornell transcript will note zero (0) credit and a grade of “U” for unsatisfactory.

Transfer Students Studying Abroad

Transfer students can participate in many of the same study abroad opportunities as all other Engineering students. For students with 45 or fewer transfer credits, studying abroad for a semester can fit into a Cornell degree quite seamlessly. However, students with more than 45 transfer credits should discuss their individual situation with the College advisor for study abroad in the Engineering Advising Office.

Seniors Studying Abroad

Students wishing to study abroad during their final semester may petition to do so through Engineering Advising and should work with that office to complete all the necessary steps. The following issue should be kept in mind:

  • Students must stay in contact with the College Registrar before and while abroad to discuss the timeline of graduation.
  • It can take around two months for study abroad transcripts to arrive at Cornell University and additional time for credits to be posted and applied towards your degree program, which may delay your actual date of graduation.
  • Some programs do not end until after Cornell’s semester is over, and students are required to complete all courses, coursework, and final assessments on-site. If a program does not end until after Cornell’s graduation, students are not permitted to return early to walk in the graduation ceremony.
  • For students hoping to apply to graduate schools for the semester immediately following a study abroad program and Cornell graduation, students should ensure graduate schools understand that his/her final diploma and transcript from Cornell may not be available until a later time.
  • Study Abroad is approved on the basis that it does not extend time to graduation.  As a result, any study abroad plans or applications that delay graduation will not be approved.

Graduate Schools and GPA

While grades for most coursework completed abroad do not affect the Cornell GPA, it is important to remember that graduate schools (including medical, business, and law schools) generally instruct applicants to provide study abroad transcripts and then recalculate the GPAs so that they include study abroad grades.

Official Copies of your Study Abroad Transcript

Contact your study abroad program or host university for an official copy of your study abroad transcript. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), Cornell University cannot request or issue one. We recommend that students request multiple official transcripts for future use soon after completing their semester abroad. 

Summer Credit from Abroad

The College of Engineering deals with summer/short-term abroad credit the same as transfer credit from U.S. institutions.  Engineering students must fill out the Transfer Credit Application Form (pdf). If it is a technical course, it must also be approved by the department offering the course here at Cornell. Students are encouraged to get the application approved beforehand to reduce the risk of complications.

Contact Information

Engineering Advising