Provided that you satisfactorily complete your approved program of study, you will automatically receive elective credit toward the 128 credits required for graduation. You must earn grades of C- or better (or the equivalent). You may use courses taken abroad to fulfill specific requirements (major, minor, distribution, etc.) with the permission of the appropriate department here. Bring your work (reading lists, syllabi, papers) back with you in case there are questions about the content or level of a course.
Courses abroad are sometimes mistakenly characterized as "pass/fail" because only the courses and credits, not the grades, generally will appear on your Mount Holyoke transcript, and the grades are not factored into your GPA. However, you will receive grades for your work, and you must earn grades of C- or better for credit to transfer; for this reason, you may not elect to take a course ungraded. Remember that you may need to submit a transcript, with grades, from your program abroad when you apply for graduate study, fellowships, employment, etc.
The Registrar's Office evaluates transcripts and posts credits; see Transfer and Advance Placement Credit for details. Note in particular:
- Mount Holyoke awards credit primarily for liberal arts courses, meaning courses of the sort that we teach (humanities, sciences, and social sciences). Credit for non-liberal arts courses (for example, in business, design, etc.) is limited, and should always be approved in advance by the Registrar's Office.
- Liberal arts courses transfer automatically as elective credit and do not require specific approval, with the exception of Computer Science and Music. Each course in CS or Music must be approved in advance by the respective department even if you are not seeking to use the course to fulfill a specific requirement. No credit will be awarded for music performance studies.
- You must register for the normal full-time courseload (not the minimum courseload) for your program (as defined by Mount Holyoke). Successful completion of the normal full-time courseload of transferable credit will transfer as 16 credits for a semester, or 32 credits for a year.
- The normal full-time courseload varies significantly, typically ranging from two to seven courses per semester. Most US programs define the standard semester load as 15 or 16 credits; most European universities define it as 30 ECTS credits; some UK universities define it as 60 credits. Check with the Registrar’s Office or the McCulloch Center if you are uncertain about what constitutes a full load for your program.
- You may not earn more than a full semester (16) or year (32) of credit while studying abroad, but you will earn less if you complete less than the standard courseload.
- Mount Holyoke does not give credit for orientation sessions, internships, pass/fail courses, or independent study or research, even if the program awards credit for them.
- Mount Holyoke does grant academic credit for pre-approved courses that have an embedded internship or other experiential learning component; consult the list of approved courses in advance.
- Your program or host university should send an official transcript directly to the Registrar's Office. If the transcript is sent to you, the Registrar's Office can accept it only if you submit it in its original sealed envelope. Know how to obtain additional copies, as MHC cannot release copies of the one sent to us.
- Some of the study abroad program providers are not eligible for accreditation by the regional accrediting bodies in U.S. higher education. However, Mount Holyoke requires an official transcript from a U.S. or international accredited institution to grant credit for their academic work abroad. To address this requirement, independent program providers partner with accredited higher education institutions which provide the transcript documenting academic work abroad. The accredited institutions providing the transcript act as Schools of Record. Serving as an SOR requires considerable administrative and academic oversight, and a School of Record may attach a fee commensurate with its services. Some programs include the cost for the SOR transcript in their program fees, yet others do not (e.g. AMIDEAST, CET, CIEE, CYA, IES, PRESHCO, SSA). The School of Record fee is included in the total program budget students receive upon receiving approval from MCGI and Laurel Fellowships can be used to cover the required expense.