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Academics and Courses Abroad

Number of courses and units
Depends on duration of program:
  • Short-term/Summer Programs (1-8 weeks) - usually 3 to 6 units
  • Semester/Year Programs - All undergraduate students must take at least 12 units per semester; all graduate students must take at least 9 units per semester
The number of credits taken abroad may be different overseas than at SDSU. For example, in Europe, the equivalent of 12 SDSU units is 24 European credits or ECTS. The number of courses for full-time status may also be different overseas, ranging between about 2 and 5 courses/classes per semester depending on host institution and subject(s).

Courses Abroad
View lists of courses abroad reviewed and pre-approved by colleges and academic departments.

Graduation Requirements
Students should meet with their academic advisors as early as possible to identify what graduation requirements can be satisfied during study abroad.
  • General Education or GEs- these requirements are very commonly satisfied during both short and long-term study abroad experiences
  • Major or Minor - more commonly satisfied during a semester or academic year abroad
  • General Electives - courses that do not satisfy any other requirement and only contribute toward unit total needed to graduate

Depending on the program type and host institution, the letter grades you earn from study abroad may or may not impact your SDSU GPA. You cannot choose to take classes either on a graded basis or on a credit/no credit (pass/fail) basis.

Declaring a minor
Many students declare a minor to have additional graduation requirements to satisfy. The Minor in International Studies is designed to support students satisfying between 6 and 12 units during their study abroad.

Graduating on Time
All students with adequate planning can certainly study abroad and graduate on time. However, students in certain fields of study may need to be flexible concerning the duration and destination if they wish to fit in an international experience.

Foreign Language Study
Take classes taught in the host language and/or learn a foreign language. This is a great way to connect with your host country.
  • English - Take coursework taught in English in destinations all over the world.
  • Foreign Language - Improve your language skills according to your level; most programs offer a placement exam to determine language level.

Majors and Minors Requiring Study Abroad
Approximately 30 majors and minors currently require either study abroad or an international experience for graduation.
Consult with your department to determine if you have a requirement and complete the minimum requirements such as duration of program and number of credits.

Looking for more Academic information?
We encourage you to review the Academics information available on the SDSU Global Education website.

Read what other students are saying about their academic experience overseas!
Check out the Be International Bloggers by major!