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The Undergraduate Program

Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad?

Studying abroad can have a valuable impact on students academic, personal, and professional growth. While abroad students learn a lot about themselves and what they are capable of, help them improve their academics, and may help guide their future professional goals. A global experience enhances your academic career and can provide real-world experience tied to their career path. Nearly 40% of UNC College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates study abroad, and adding this type of experience offers students competitive advantages and cross-cultural competence that open up a wealth of immediate personal and long-term professional opportunities, allowing them to gain new skills and traits that employers seek in their employees, such as:

  • Curiosity
  • Flexibility
  • Increased confidence
  • Independence
  • Initiative
  • Interest in diversity and international issues
  • Maturity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Self-reliance
  • Willingness to step outside their comfort zone

Going abroad during your college career is a fantastic, and highly recommended experience. Financial aid and scholarships can make your experience affordable, you can travel with peers and UNC faculty, have time to devote to your studies, and significant support from the Study Abroad Office and our partners abroad to ensure your safety.

Academics Abroad

It is a common myth that study abroad “does not count” in your studies at UNC. This could not be further from the truth! Study abroad courses can count toward general education credits, major and minor credit, or electives towards graduation!

The Basics

  • UNC faculty-led programs offer graded credit that factors into your UNC GPA.
  • Non faculty-led programs offer transfer credit, noted as TREQ on your transcript. This does not impact your UNC GPA.
  • Meet with your Academic Advisor before applying to discuss academic planning and degree requirements.
    This is imperative if you have a high number of transfer credit hours at UNC.
  • Do your research on course and credit information for your study abroad program, including online course catalogues. Familiarize yourself with the academic system of the host institution, including credit and grade equivalencies posted on the program brochures.
  • Save all course materials and work produced, such as syllabi, reading list, papers, artwork, et cetera, to support your credit transfer requests.


  • You must take courses abroad for a grade, not pass/fail, at your host institution.
  • You must receive the equivalent* of a C or higher in each transfer credit course to earn any credit, including elective hours, toward your UNC degree. If you receive a grade below C, or if you take a course pass/fail, you will not receive ANY credit toward your UNC degree.
  • You must enroll in the equivalent of 12-18 UNC credit hours* per semester. You may transfer a maximum of 18 credit hours per semester abroad.

A Note on Credit Hour and Grade Conversions:
*  Many of our partner institutions, especially exchange partners, do not use the credit hour and grading scales used by U.S. universities, including UNC. Click here for more information.