Earning Credit

DU generally accepts all study abroad credits on DU Partner Programs as general elective credits, so long as the course aligns with a discipline taught at DU. If you need to earn major, minor, or common curriculum credits while abroad you need to complete the course approval process.

Country and program-specific information about how grades and credits transfer back from a DU Partner Program to DU

Global Grading & Credit Scale

Study Abroad Course Approvals

A study abroad course approval is an agreement from the appropriate DU academic department to accept a course taken abroad as a substitute for a DU degree requirement. You will request all study course approvals through the Registrar's online system, the Transfer International Education Reporting (TIERS) system.

If a class does NOT align with a discipline taught at DU, credit will not be awarded.

  • Examples include Fashion Design, Architecture, Forestry, and Veterinary Science.
  • A special exception is made for Physical Education (1 DU credit per class is allowed up to a total maximum of 3 DU credits for both transfer and study abroad credits).
  • When in doubt, students are encouraged to submit a course approval. Completion of abroad coursework which will not transfer back to the University of Denver may affect a student's federal financial aid eligibility.

Note: In most cases, courses taken abroad must carry letter grades (not pass/fail) in order to transfer back to DU. See DU Study Abroad Policies for more info. When in doubt, contact your OIE advisor.

Study Abroad Course Approval Process

  • Step 1: Check if the course is already on the pre-approved list for your program
    • You will find that some courses have previously been approved and appear within the TIERS system*. If a course is already in TIERS, it has been pre-approved** and you can expect it to be applied to your APR once your study abroad transcript is received by the Registrar's Office**.
      • If a course is listed as zero credits, it means that the course was approved before the number of credits was available. You do not need to submit a new course approval for this course, assuming all other information is correct for the approval you are seeking. Please see the Grades and Credits Translation Scale for your program to calculate how many credits you will receive if you take this course.
    • If your desired course is not on the list OR is approved for a different DU course than you need, proceed to step two.

     Review Pre-Approved Study Abroad Course List

    *The list of pre-approved courses found in TIERS is not comprehensive and students should not limit their search to only programs that list the pre-approved courses they are seeking. While generally, you will be looking under the country where the study abroad program is based to see if courses are pre-approved, if the transcript for the program comes from a US university versus a university abroad, you will need to look under the state where the US university is based.

    **In keeping the course approval system current, older course approvals are at times periodically removed from the database. Students should double check the list of approved courses for their programs after December 1st for study abroad programs taking place the following academic year. At that time course approvals found in the system will be honored for the upcoming fall term and subsequent winter/ spring terms (i.e. course approvals listed on December 1st, 2022 will be honored through fall 2023 & winter/spring 2024 but may be subject to change beyond those terms).

  • Step 2: Submit a study abroad course approval request


    • Include as much information as you can about the course you wish to take abroad, including course description number, title, description (required) and a syllabus (if available).
      • Explain exactly what you wish to have the course approved for in the comments section being as specific as possible (e.g., Anthropology AI-Society or biology elective or SPAN 1001). It is better to over-explain what you seek than having your request denied for lack of information.
      • You are limited to submitting five requests at one time. If you submit more than five in one go, they will not be reviewed.

    (You do not need a course approved if you wish it to count towards an elective, so long as the course has a corresponding DU department.)

    Submit a Study Abroad Course Request

  • Step 3: Check the status of your request
    • Depending on the department and time of year, it may take up to five weeks to hear back about a course approval’s status.
    • If it has been more than five weeks email the Registrar's Office (registrar@du.edu) to request an update on the status.

    Check Your Approval Requests

Watch the below video for instructions on how to use TIERS, who to speak to about course approvals and how to submit the Coursework Approval Request for study abroad credit evaluation.

Study Abroad Grade & Credit FAQs

The Global Grading & Credit Scale contains country and program-specific information about how grades and credits are transferred back from a DU Partner Program (DUPP) to DU. If, after consulting the guide, you still have questions about how your grades and credits from abroad will be calculated, please contact your OIE advisor.

Review our FAQs if you have questions before contacting our office

Study Abroad FAQs