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Study Abroad Course Review

Effective January 1, 2015, the Office of the University Registrar began facilitating the course evaluation process for coursework taken abroad through Vanderbilt approved programs.

Check the YES Study Abroad Course Search Tool to find courses that have already been reviewed by the faculty. These evaluations are in effect until the expiration date listed. Students are responsible for working with their academic adviser to ensure courses taken abroad will satisfy specific requirements in the degree or major.

Courses undergo regular re-evaluation by Vanderbilt faculty, and new courses are frequently added to the database. For questions regarding the course evaluation process, please contact

If a course is not in the YES Study Abroad Course Search Tool it must be submitted for evaluation. Students are responsible for finding and submitting a detailed and if necessary, translated syllabus. Use the Global Education Office's website and the host institution's website to find the course catalog and syllabus. If a syllabus is not provided online, contact the acting professor or department directly. [At some universities, the syllabus may be referred to as a "course outline" or "module description." (See Glossary of Terms below.)]

NOTE: Courses taken through programs that are not facilitated through the Global Education Office are not evaluated through this process. Please see the transfer credit page for more information. 

All courses taken abroad are subject to the provisions of the Study Abroad Course Evaluation policies.

  1. Typically, faculty evaluators are looking for the following types of information about the course (most of this can be found in a syllabus, so that is the best single document one can provide):
    • A course description/overview (usually a few paragraphs in length)
    • Course credit value
    • Course contact hours
    • Course timeline
    • The assessment information (e.g., exams, homework, participation points, how much weight each assignment is worth toward the overall grade)
    • Course bibliography
  2. If a syllabus for the intended term is not yet available, provide a syllabus from the previous term/year.
  3. Complete and submit the Course Equivalency Evaluation Request form. A separate submission is required for each course requested.
  4. Once a course is evaluated by the appropriate faculty member, the Office of the University Registrar will send the results via email to the student’s Vanderbilt email account. This form will detail how the foreign coursework will be articulated at Vanderbilt. NOTE: Processing time for evaluations is variable and highly dependent on the evaluating department at Vanderbilt. Please allow 30 days for the evaluation process.

Spanish 2203 in Bilbao and all Maymester programs are exempt from the course evaluation process.

Upon acceptance to the program, the student is enrolled in a placeholder course during the time abroad. Upon receipt of the official transcript (received directly from the abroad institution or program provider), the courses taken, approved credits, and grades are posted to the student record. Please allow 5-10 business days for processing.

Grades awarded are reflective of the local grading practices of the host institution and do not count toward the Vanderbilt grade point average. All courses taken abroad will be posted to the Vanderbilt transcript, but credit will not be awarded for a failed course. Students are not eligible to earn Dean’s List honors for the semester in which they study abroad.

If it is determined upon review of your transcript that you completed a course that has not been evaluated by Vanderbilt faculty, a new course evaluation request must be submitted for that course. Please be aware that this will delay updates to your student record regarding your courses and grades from your study abroad program.

Academic Requirements: Questions regarding how coursework might be used to fulfill major, minor, AXLE, or Liberal Arts Core should be directed to the student's academic adviser. Courses taken abroad will not count towards the College of Arts and Science AXLE core.

If a student wishes for a course to count toward the major/minor in a department other than that in which it was evaluated, he or she must request a variance through either the director of undergraduate studies (for majors/minors offered in the College of Arts and Science), or the school's Office of Academic Services (for majors/minors offered in Peabody, Blair, or Engineering).

Credits: Please be aware that credit amounts and grading scales differ dramatically around the world. The grade and credits earned at the host institution are not necessarily what the student will receive at Vanderbilt.

Repeated Credits: Students are advised to have all coursework evaluated prior to their semester abroad in order to avoid registering for courses abroad that repeat credit they have previously completed at Vanderbilt, or registering for a course at Vanderbilt for which they will earn credit from abroad. In cases where a repeat does occur, the course and grade from abroad will be posted to the record, but only the grade and credit earned at Vanderbilt will count toward the degree.

Module: another term for a "course." In the United Kingdom, all information regarding specific courses will be listed as a "module."

Non-Equivalent Credit: There is no direct equivalent at Vanderbilt. This is the most common result for course equivalency evaluations. In most cases, departments will still grant credit for the course, either toward the major and/or minor, or only for general graduation credit. The title of the non-equivalent course should define how the course is used in requirements.

HIST 2061- Non-Equivalent Credit (HIST-United States), for example, means this course has no direct equivalent at Vanderbilt, but may count toward the United States history concentration of the History major/minor.

No Credit at Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt will not award credit for this course. These are displayed as: GNEL NOCR-No credit at Vanderbilt.

For questions regarding the course evaluation process, please contact:

  • For questions regarding a study abroad program please contact a Global Education Adviser.
  • For questions regarding academic requirements, please contact your academic adviser.
  • Official transcripts from the abroad program should be sent to:  

    Vanderbilt University
    Office of the University Registrar 
    PMB 407701 
    Nashville, TN 37240-7701 
    Secure Fax: 615-343-7709