Study Abroad & Transfer Credit

A student standing in a cobblestone plaza surrounded by historical buildings in Cuba
Spanish program students visited Cuba in 2013

One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to spend time in countries where the language is spoken and immerse yourself in its culture. GW is fortunate enough to have partnerships with international programs in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia and Spain, as well as other Romance, Germanic and Slavic-speaking countries around the world.

Talk to your language program’s designated study abroad advisor for more information about choosing a program, transfer credits and more.

Find Your Study Abroad Advisor


The Study Abroad Credit Approval Process

Choose a course.

The first step is finding the course(s) you want to take. One great resource is the GW Office for Study Abroad’s Steps to Study Abroad page, which includes a list of pre-approved courses. You can also make an appointment with the advisors in the Office for Study Abroad or our own study abroad advisors in the RGSLL Department.

Assemble the paperwork.

Once you have chosen a course, you must obtain a syllabus. If you absolutely cannot find a syllabus, then you will need as detailed a course description as possible. You will need to submit every course you wish to obtain credit for through the GW Course Approval Transfer System (known as GW CATS).

Meet with your study abroad advisor.

All study abroad courses must be pre-approved before you go abroad. Find your language program advisor on the Advisors page in your language section of this website, and request an appointment with them. At your appointment, bring the syllabus. Your advisor will talk to you about the course and make sure it is the correct one for you to take. If everything is in order, they will sign off on the course as pre-approved.

Important note: Many of our advisors do not teach during the summer sessions. Because these faculty are the only ones who can approve courses, please plan ahead to make an appointment during the fall or spring semester.

Register for the study abroad program.

Once you have pre-approval, you may enroll in the course. Note: In the past, students have sometimes felt the need to change the course they originally intended to take after they arrive at the study abroad program. If for any reason you need to change to another course, you need to contact your advisor immediately to make sure the new course will transfer.

Transfer in credit.

After you return to GW, you can have your courses approved through CATS or meet with your advisor in person. Please be sure to bring all relevant syllabi to your appointment.

Transfer Credit From Other U.S. Institutions

The process for requesting transfer credits from other U.S. schools is similar to that of study abroad credits. You will need to fill out a Transfer Credit Approval Form (available from the Columbian College Advising site, or the dean’s office of your individual school) and provide the syllabi of the courses. The same advisors who approve study abroad credit also approve transfer credit. As with study abroad transfer credit, you need to get your courses pre-approved before you take the courses. Questions? Talk to your language program advisor.

Summer Courses

Check with your language program advisor before enrolling to make sure you will get credit for summer courses taken at another university. Transfer credit for such courses may be approved as long as the course you want to take covers (approximately) the same topics at the same level of difficulty of the equivalent course at GW. It is unusual for courses at two-year institutions (such as community colleges) or distance-learning courses (such as online classes) to match with GW courses.