International Credit Transfer Process

Our team is happy to support students in their goals to study abroad and know that they can experience difficulties when it comes to academic planning for their time abroad. We hope that the information on this page can provide advisors, faculty, and all other staff with additional support when discussing studying abroad with students. The information on this page is most helpful for students pursuing a semester or full-year study abroad program, but may also apply to summer programming.

You can contact our team at with any additional questions or points of clarification. For your reference, here is the Credit Transfer page that students are advised to use for guidance. 

Academic Advisement for Study Abroad Students 

Students are advised to always refer to their host institution's website to find available coursework while they are abroad. We encourage students to meet with their academic advisor prior to completing their study abroad application. In this meeting, students should ask about how studying abroad can fit in with their current degree plan and academic goals. 

  • Which courses should a student take while abroad?
    • The Global Education Office requires students to maintain full-time status as determined by the host institution in order to study abroad. Students should work with their academic advisors to determine the type of coursework that should be completed while abroad. 
    • Students should consider their goals for studying abroad whether it be completing Major/Minor coursework, working on General Education Requirements, intensive language study, or taking electives. 
      • If students are working on coursework for their Major/Minor, students should have a conversation with their advisor about the realities of finding equivalent courses abroad. There are often restrictions for study abroad students when choosing classes at their host institution. 
  •  When does the student plan to graduate? 
    • Students should not plan on studying abroad the same semester they intend to graduate if they have not met all their graduation requirements. On average, international transcripts arrive back at UNM 3 months after the student has returned from studying abroad.
    • Seniors studying abroad the semester before they plan to graduate should consider the timeline for when they will receive their transcript and how long it will take to get any courses needed for graduation approved by UNM academic departments. 

Transfer Equivalency and Course Approval

Study abroad advisors have very limited authority when it comes to the academic portion of study abroad. While we can advise students on finding the appropriate host institution contact or UNM department, we do not determine how courses will specifically transfer back to UNM, nor can we guarantee that specific courses will be available abroad.

  • How do students receive pre-approval for their study abroad classes?
    • UNM course transfer equivalency is determined by the Department Chair or Designee of the appropriate UNM Academic Department. 
    • Students should complete the Registrar's TRANSFER-Provisional Exchange Pre-Approval Evaluation Form. Scroll to the bottom of the Student Forms page to find the most up-to-date form. There are instructions on how to complete this form on the first page of the PDF. 
  • How do international credits and/or academic systems compare to the US? 
    • Students are responsible for researching and understanding the differences between the credit and grading systems used at the host school and at UNM. 
    • The number of credits given per class can vary greatly in other countries. Students often need to take the equivalent of 15 US credit hours each semester to maintain scholarships and types of financial aid.
      • Ex. 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is the equivalent of full-time study for a semester at most study abroad schools in Europe. ECTS often transfer to American credits at a 2:1 ratio.
  • How are upper-division vs. lower-division classes determined? 
    • Students looking to meet upper-division elective requirements abroad should carefully research course content and reference syllabi to assess the course level. The appropriate Department Chair or Designee will ultimately determine if coursework will be classified as lower-division or upper-division. 
      • Note: Some countries offer 3-year degree programs or use different methods for classifying the level of coursework in a class. 

Post-Study Abroad Transcript Processing

After students complete their time abroad, their transcript must be sent directly to a study abroad advisor at GEO. We will process the transcript once we receive it and send it to the LoboTrax Team. Students receive general elective credit for all classes that they pass. 

  • How do students receive final course equivalency approval?
    • Students should complete the TRANSFER-Domestic & International Evaluation Form. Scroll to the bottom of the Student Forms page to find the most up-to-date form. There are instructions on how to complete this form on the first page of the PDF. Many departments will ask for syllabi to determine equivalencies for UNM courses. 
    • The Department Chair or Designee should send the completed/signed forms directly to the Registrar at The Registrar will contact the department(s) directly if they have questions.
      • Note: Students must complete a course equivalency form for each academic department they wish to have credits transferred.
    • Students will be able to see their credits in their LoboTrax Degree Audit. However, because the courses are transfer credits, they will not be listed on their UNM transcript. 
  • How do study abroad classes affect UNM GPA?
    • .All study abroad courses transfer back to UNM as Credit/Non-Credit until a formal request to change to letter grades is made with the Registrar. After the request, all coursework will be converted to letter grades. 
    • Students should talk with their academic advisors about if the letter grade request is necessary. If it is, advisors and students should email the LoboTrax team at to request the grade conversion.
  • What happens if a student fails their study abroad classes?
    • We strongly encourage students to reach out for help before they end up in that situation. However, if a student has had difficulty adjusting to a new academic system and is now at risk of losing scholarships or financial aid, they are able to email our office and request a letter of explanation to aid in the petition process.