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Receiving Credit

With proper planning, courses taken while abroad may fulfill graduation requirements. Furthermore, it may be possible to receive major, minor, or Ways of Knowing credit.

Authority for approving transfer credit rests with the Registrar’s Office, who also may determine whether a course satisfies a non-major graduation requirement. As part of the Davidson application, all students will submit a Pre-Authorization to Transfer Credit form (scroll to the Registrar Forms section at the bottom of the linked page) to the Registrar's Office (Chambers 1197). Often, specific course schedules will not be available in advance, but students may use schedules from previous years to list up to six probable courses on the form. If students later decide to switch to a course not on their initial list, it can be approved by emailing the Registrar’s Office at
Initially, most transferred courses are given the course number 199 (a generic number for transfer) or 199C (also generic but counting as distribution or the like). The chair of a department or director of an interdisciplinary minor may ask the Registrar to assign a different number for courses likely to count toward a major, minor, or interdisciplinary minor. If there is no matching Davidson department, the course will transfer as UNS (Unspecified). Such courses may count towards distribution requirements in some cases.

Authority for determining whether a transfer credit will count toward a major, a minor, or an interdisciplinary minor rest with the appropriate department chair. If this is not clear from the Registrar’s Office preauthorization form, students should consult with the appropriate department chair in advance. (Department chairs are found on the respective website for each department.) After review, the department chair will inform the Registrar’s Office if a course can potentially count toward a major, minor, or interdisciplinary minor requirement. Final approval typically occurs after the student has returned and the department chair has reviewed the course syllabus and the student’s submitted work. For this reason, students must remember to bring their academic work back to Davidson when returning from studying abroad.

Students studying abroad for a semester or academic year will need to take the equivalent of 14-17 transferable semester hours (U.S. credits) each term in order to receive four Davidson credits. Depending on the program and its institution of record, this could be as few as three courses or as many as six courses.
Students participating in summer programs typically cannot transfer more than two courses, although three may be permitted if approved in advance for special circumstances.

In general, 3-5 semester hours yields one Davidson credit, 6-9 yields two credits, and 10-13 yields three credits. A course rated as fewer than three semester hours may be included as part of a total but will not transfer separately.

Students’ selections do not have to match specific Davidson courses, but they do need to be consistent with the academic objectives of a liberal arts curriculum and the mission of Davidson College. Courses in business, management, marketing, advertising, and computer skills not strongly based in theory are not transferrable.

Credit for internships does not transfer, but many study abroad programs offer internships and experiential learning options that deepen cultural engagement and learning abroad. Internship work completed as part of a course on a study abroad program may be included in the total number of credits earned abroad; however, students must take care to be enrolled full-time in courses in addition to the internship course. If a student is doing an unpaid internship that requires academic credit as a condition of participating in the study abroad program, they should follow the
guidelines for receiving XPL 099 credit. While it will appear on a student’s transcript, it will not count as one of the 32 courses required for graduation. Grading will be pass/fail. All course requirements must be met to pass Davidson’s XPL 099 course equivalents for transfer credit. Please discuss any plans regarding internships with an Education Abroad Adviser and the Registrar’s Office in advance.

Courses must be completed with a grade of C- or better, and “pass” grades (or similar) are accepted only if the transcript indicates that the grade represents work of C- or better. Study abroad transfer credit does not count toward the limit of P/F.
Students on a Davidson program earn
  • letter grades or P grades for courses taught by Davidson faculty.
  • P grades (pass/fail, do factor into Davidson GPA) for courses taught by non-Davidson faculty. 

Students on a partner program
  • earn UG grades (ungraded transfer credit, does not factor into Davidson GPA).
  • must request an official "school of record" transcript from the partner program. The fee associated with obtaining this document is considered part of the academic fees, and it is included in expenses when determining the full cost of attendance for financial aid purposes. Students must request to have this sent directly to the Registrar’s Office at Davidson College.