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Photo: Samantha Olsen, Florence, Italy '13

Course Selection

As part of the application process, IWU students complete a Course Approval Form (CAF). To do so, they will consult published lists of courses offered through their program and, in conference with their academic advisor, put together a tentative schedule of classes. If a student seeks to have courses fulfill major, minor, or the Shared Curriculum requirements, they must seek appropriate approval, which is indicated on the form by the signature of the appropriate department chair(s), program coordinator(s), and/or the Registrar (for the Shared Curriculum courses).

When approval is granted for study abroad courses, the approval is for the specific course of study listed on that approval form. This means that, once abroad, students are expected to take the course of study outlined on their Course Approval Form. If you must change courses for valid academic reasons (e.g., scheduling conflicts or course availability issues), they should contact the academic advisor and the International Office as soon as possible to discuss the change. If a student is seeking credit in the major, minor, or the Shared Curriculum program for a course not on the Course Approval Form, they need to contact the appropriate department chair(s), program coordinator(s), and/or the Registrar by e-mail. We advise students to save copies of all such electronic exchanges and to forward copies to the International Office. When you return to campus, you will be asked to complete another Course Approval Form for any courses not on the original form.

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Course Load

Students studying abroad are required to carry a full-time load of coursework. At IWU, a full course load consists of 4 IWU units -- or the equivalent of 16 semester hours.  Students are advised, however, to also check with their program to see what constitutes a full course load. Your off-campus study program must report all credit earned abroad.  Under no circumstances can you take fewer than 12 semester hours of credit on a semester-long program: if you do, you are no longer considered a full-time student, which may affect your financial aid.

Participation in an off-campus study program precludes simultaneous registration for IWU coursework (e.g., independent study, internships, etc.). If you do register for on-campus coursework, you must drop those courses before the end of the semester before you depart. If on the first day of the semester you are registered for on-campus classes, you will be charged IWU’s tuition for those classes.

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If you are enrolled at a foreign university, you must sit at the regularly scheduled times for all examinations that are required of you, including those given at the end of individual academic terms and, if you are on an academic-year program, any comprehensive exams that are given at the end of the academic year. Failure to do so may result in a failing grade.

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Grades and Credit

IWU does not allow students to take their study abroad coursework on a credit/no credit (i.e., pass/fail) basis. For affiliated programs, all coursework -- including failed courses -- from a semester or academic year off-campus study program will be reflected as IWU credit on your university transcript and will be factored into your IWU cumulative grade point average.

Upper- or lower-division credit is determined by the teaching institution. The International Office determines whether upper-division credit will be awarded and records this on your Course Approval Form.

The amount of credit awarded is determined by the teaching institution. A course unit at IWU is defined as the equivalent of 4 semester hours. Therefore, a 3-semester-hour study abroad course earns the equivalent of 0.75 IWU course units. A student carrying a 15-semester-hour course load while abroad will earn 3.75 IWU units for the semester’s study. In order for a course to fulfill a major, minor, or the Shared Curriculum requirement, it must carry at least 3 semester hours of credit.

Credit earned through off-campus study is degree credit for graduation, but this does not guarantee that it may be applied towards major, minor, or the Shared Curriculum requirements. As part of the approval process, you are required to consult with the appropriate department chair/program director or the Registrar (for the Shared Curriculum courses) to determine how your off-campus study credit will apply towards your degree program. You must complete the Course Approval Form, obtain the signatures of relevant department chairs and/or the Registrar, and return it to the International Office by the required deadline.

It is the prerogative of each department or program at IWU to determine whether or not to apply credit from off-campus study toward its requirements. Not all coursework is necessarily approved in advance; departments can require evaluation of certain courses upon your return from the program. It is always a good idea to return to IWU with copies of the course syllabi, reading lists, papers, and exams from off-campus study.

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