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Academic Credit

Your Major

Study abroad represents a valuable complement to your academic major or area of study. This means that you should have a good start on a major or concentration and complete the basic requirements before going abroad. This methodological foundation will serve you well as you explore elective courses in your field while abroad; you will also be in a good position to complete your requirements on time and to take advantage of research opportunities in your field. You should open discussions with your department as early as possible to begin to set goals for the major and to incorporate the international study experience into your curriculum. Faculty members welcome this opportunity to discuss adding an international dimension to your major.

Before you Leave

Most departments will accept courses from abroad as part of the major or concentration. Your major department may also have information related to fellowship and research opportunities in your host country. The Major Worksheet for Study Abroad is a helpful tool to guide this discussion. You will also consult with Senior Assistant Dean Scott Carpenter and your Advising Dean for assistance in planning your semester abroad.

While you're there

Sometimes, you will need to reassess your course selection while you are abroad, due to scheduling issues or other contingencies. When you are abroad, keep Columbia informed of any changes to your curriculum by sending in your Course Approval Form to Senior Assistant Dean Scott Carpenter at Remember to keep all your materials related to the course, including the syllabus, course description, reading lists, assignments, graded papers, and exams. Your department will need to review these materials so that they can assess your progress in the major.

When you Return

If you are seeking credits in your major or concentration for your courses abroad, you must share your materials from each course with faculty members in the appropriate department. Faculty from your department have the responsibility to assess your work abroad and make decisions about how these courses fit into your major or concentration. You should plan to schedule a meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or other appropriate faculty member, soon after your return to Columbia.