Transferring credits

A page within International Education & Engagement


Before you start this process, meet with your academic advisor to start planning. They are NOT responsible for finding courses for you at the host institution, but they will guide you on what courses from UWL you can save for your term abroad.


If your placement through NSE is at another institution in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands), please follow the process outlined by Records & Registration here to transfer classes to UWL. If your placement through NSE is in Canada, follow the process below. 


Submit an Academic Plan

In order to receive specific UWL credits for your study abroad/away experience, you MUST submit an Education Abroad Academic Plan and get approval from the academic department on campus. If you do not submit an Academic Plan and/or do not have departmental approval for a particular course, that course will transfer back to UWL as General Education credits.

NOTE: IEE is aware that students participating in a UWL or ISEP Exchange/Direct Enroll Program might not be able to complete their Academic Plan by the preferred deadlines below. In some cases, students might not be able to complete it until they arrive at their host institution abroad or when they return to UWL after their semester abroad. If this is your case, you MUST communicate with your Education Abroad Advisor.

Instructions to Complete your Education Abroad Academic Plan

  1. Print or download the Academic Plan
  2. Research courses abroad/away offered through your program 
    • Gather information (course description, syllabus, etc.) about the courses you plan to take abroad/away.
    • List the courses you plan to take abroad/away on your academic plan.
    • Note: try to find several back-up classes abroad/away in case you cannot get into your first choices.
  3. Communicate with your academic and/or language advisor
    • Discuss courses you need for graduation and how studying abroad fits into your degree requirements.
    • Your Academic Advisor should also sign your Academic Plan. 
    • Note: If you are planning on taking a course abroad that is a prerequisite for a course you are planning on taking when you return to campus, you must get an override before you leave. If you do not get an override, you won’t be able to register for that course while you are abroad.
  4. Meet or communicate with department chair(s) or language faculty. 
    • You must get approval from the academic department at UWL for your course to transfer as a specific credit. For example, if you need your course to transfer as an ART credit, you need to meet/communicate with the ART department on campus for their approval.
    • Provide the department chair and/or language faculty with your academic plan, the information you obtained about the course abroad/away (course descriptions, syllabus, etc.) AND the UWL course you are requesting as an equivalent.
    • Note: IEE will accept e-mail approvals if the department chair/language faculty is unable to sign the academic plan and/or the student is currently abroad.
    • Language Courses: If you are taking courses abroad that you want to transfer back towards your language major or minor, you need to get approvals from the language faculty assigned to the specific country.
      • French: Prof. Anna Keefe  
      • German: Prof. Shelley Hay
      • Chinese: Prof. Hongying Xu
      • Russian: Prof. Natalia Roberts
      • Hmong: Prof. Tony Yang
      • Spanish: depends on specific country (on backside of Academic Plan).  
  5. Ask the department chair and/or faculty to approve your courses on your Academic Plan.
    • Each department may approve study abroad/away courses differently.
    • Please be patient, respectful, and well-organized when communicating with the academic departments.
    • It is your responsibility to get your courses approved and follow any additional instructions/procedures from the academic department.
  6. Submit your Academic Plan to International Education & Engagement (IEE) at 1140 Centennial Hall or scan and email the form to
    • IEE cannot approve courses for you.
    • It is your responsibility to submit your course approvals to IEE and update them on any course changes.
  7. Keep a copy of your Academic Plan
    • You might need to refer to this list when you are registering for courses after your arrival at the institution abroad.

Recommended Deadlines to Submit your Academic Plan

Winter and Spring Programs DECEMBER 1
Summer, Fall, and Academic Year Programs MAY 1

Previously Approved Courses

IEE maintains a "Course Equivalency Database” of courses that have been previously approved for students to take abroad/away

  • This list is not comprehensive and does not take the place of meeting with your Academic Advisor and/or the appropriate academic department for course approval.
  • The database is meant as a guide to give you a sense of what courses may be appropriate for your studies.
  • You still need to get approval even if all the courses you choose are from the Course Equivalency Database.

Enrollment at UWL While you are Abroad

IEE will enroll you in the UWL300 International Study Abroad course for the duration of your study abroad program.

If you are participating in an Faculty-led Program, you will be enrolled in the actual course(s) by IEE.

Potential UWL Registration Issues: HOLDS!

If IEE can't enroll you in the study abroad course for the semester abroad, it could be due to any of these issues:

  • Current balance must be paid in full.
  • Meet with your academic advisor to remove advising holds.

You can find instructions on how to determine what kind of hold you have and what to do on the WINGS webpage (click on "Holds and To Do List).

Grades & Credits

Grades come back as A, B, C, etc., and are NOT pass/fail.

If the grading system is different in the host country, your grades will be converted to U.S. letter grades. You can view common grading systems in your host country here.

Different countries around the world may use a different credit system than the United States.  Please consult an International Credit Equivalencies page to learn more about how your credits from abroad may transfer back.


Update your Education Abroad Advisor with any changes in your schedule or courses.

  • If you change a course abroad, you will need departmental approval for your new course to transfer back to UWL as specific credit. 

Make sure to attend classes and take final exams. Sometimes you must register for finals.

Request Transcripts

In some cases, students will need to request their transcript be sent to IEE. Be sure to check with your institution abroad/away or program provider to ensure IEE will receive your transcript.  

We highly recommend students obtain original copies of their international transcripts if they plan on transferring or attending graduate school in the future.

All transcripts should be sent electronically to your Education Abroad Advisor or mailed to:

International Education & Engagement
1140 Centennial Hall
1725 State St.
La Crosse, WI 54601

It may take up to 90 days after the completion of you program for IEE to receive your transcript and then additional weeks to evaluate and process it; therefore, your courses may not show on your WINGS account for several months after your return.

Register for the Following Term

Don’t forget to register for your next semester at UWL during UWL registration period.

Remember, an override is required if you are taking a course abroad that is a prerequisite for a course you plan to enroll in the following semester. 

Grades & Credits

Remember that grades come back as A, B, C, etc., and are NOT pass/fail.
If the grading system is different in the host country, your grades will be converted to U.S. letter grades. You can view common grading systems in your host country here.
Different countries around the world may use a different credit system than the United States.  Please consult an International Credit Equivalencies page to learn more about how your credits from abroad may transfer back.

How your Credits Transfer from Abroad

  1. It may take up to 90 days after you complete your program for IEE to receive your international transcript. Be sure to follow-up with your host institution or program provider to ensure your transcript is sent to IEE. In some cases students MUST request a transcript to be sent to IEE. 
  2. IEE will evaluate your transcript and match your courses to your course approvals on your Education Abroad Academic Plan. Courses that do not have approvals will transfer back as general education credit.
  3. Once the evaluation is complete, IEE will forward your transcript and evaluation to UWL Records & Registration.
  4. Records and Registration will process your transcript evaluation and courses will show up on your transcript record under transfer credits.


  • Grades count and will come back as A - F letter grades.
  • Education abroad credits are considered transfer credits.
  • Education abroad grades will factor into your transfer GPA and cumulative GPA (see example below).
  • Faculty-led programs. Study abroad credits are considered UWL credits and grades will factor into the UWL GPA.



Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if I took courses that I didn't get approved on my academic plan prior to my departure? 

You should contact IEE regarding any course changes/additions. You can e-mail the appropriate Dept. Chair(s) or language faculty to gain approval while abroad or after you return. Alternatively, you can submit a new Education Abroad Academic Plan with the new course(s) approvals.

2. What if I don't get course approvals for courses I took abroad?

If you do not get approval for your courses, credits will transfer as GEN (general education). If you need courses to transfer as specific UWL credits, you must get approval from the academic department on campus.

3. Do my grades count while I'm abroad?
Grades will factor into your Transfer GPA and Overall GPA. All international grades will be converted into the UWL/U.S. grading system. Grades from faculty-led programs will count towards the UWL GPA.
4. What happens if I don’t submit an Academic Plan?
Your Academic Plan will determine how your courses from abroad will transfer to UWL. If you do not submit an Academic Plan, credits will transfer as GEN.
If you need specific UWL credits, you MUST submit an Academic Plan.
5. Can I take a class abroad that I failed on campus?
No. You cannot retake a failed course abroad. You must repeat the failed course on campus.
6. Do classes I take abroad count towards the UWL tuition plateau?
No. Your education abroad courses will not count towards the UWL tuition plateau

7. How many credits do I need to take?
All students on semester programs need to be enrolled in at least 12 U.S. credits to be full-time.

8. How do I know if I have enough credits?
International institutions have different credit systems. If you are unsure as to how many courses you need to be enrolled in, please consult and International Credit Equivalencies page and/or contact your Education Abroad Advisor.
For Example: UK Programs: 5-6 ECTS = 3 U.S. credits. 15 British Credits = 3 U.S. credits. AUS Programs: 10-12 = 4 U.S. credits.