Academic Policies

These special academic rules and regulations apply to our programs abroad and are here for your reference.

Academic Advising

To help with academic advising or enrollment overseas, you should bring with you or know how to locate the following resources online:

  • Your school’s course catalog and academic policies
  • Your Student Advising Form; an uploaded copy can be found in OrangeAbroad under Questionnaires. You should have already obtained approval for eight to 10 courses (alternatives are needed in case of scheduling conflicts or course cancellations).
  • Advising or degree check information from your home college
  • Approved petitions for transfer of credit or independent study
  • The email address of an advisor who can assist you with academic questions

Academic Probation

You must remain in good academic standing to participate in our program. If you are placed on academic probation prior to departure, you will be withdrawn from the program.


The unit of credit at Syracuse University is the semester hour. Each three-credit course represents a minimum of 37.5 contact hours.

Transfer Credit

For visiting students: You will earn Syracuse University credit upon successful completion of courses taken through the Syracuse Abroad program. Colleges and universities generally accept Syracuse University courses for transfer credit in their degree programs, but you should check with your study abroad advisor and/or registrar to be certain that you know the minimum grade requirement and any other criteria your institution may have regarding the transfer of credits toward your degree.

To make certain that you will get credit at your home school for the courses you take abroad, Syracuse Abroad requires the completion of the Study Abroad Approval Form as part of the application process. In this form, we ask your study abroad advisor or dean to indicate whether you have received approval to participate the Syracuse Abroad program.

Student Status

Full-time status: If you participate in a semester or academic-year undergraduate program, you are required to enroll as a full-time student, registering for at least 12 credits of Syracuse Abroad courses, excluding credits earned for any Signature Seminar. Due to local immigration requirements, in our Florence, London, and Madrid programs, you may not drop below 12 credits (not counting Signature Seminar credits).

You may register for a maximum of 19 credits each semester, including credits for a Signature Seminar. You may not enroll in more than 19 credits except by special permission. If you receive approval to take more than the maximum credit load, you will be charged an additional per-credit tuition fee for each credit over 19, unless you are an SU student who is eligible and approved for an overload privilege. Information on overload privilege eligibility can be found in the Syracuse University Tuition, Fees, and Related Policies.

Part-time status: Under exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed to enroll in an undergraduate semester program on a part-time basis. Special permission is required. Part-time students are not eligible for study abroad grants or most forms of financial aid.

Summer: Summer students typically enroll in 3 to 9 credits. Six credits is considered full-time.

Foreign Language Study

Because language study is integral to understanding a new culture, all students are required to enroll in foreign language courses while they are participating in a fall or spring semester Syracuse Abroad center-based program (except London, England). Some World Partner programs also require students to enroll in a foreign language course. The number of credits required varies by program.

Syracuse Abroad Registration

Depending on the program, registration for your study abroad courses takes place either online prior to departure or on site after arrival overseas. Your Syracuse Bursar account must be paid in full, or your Syracuse Monthly Payment Plan payments up-to-date, before your registration can be recorded.

Course Add/Drop/Withdraw

After registration, you may change your schedule by adding or dropping courses after consulting with your home college academic advisor. Courses may not be added after the date announced in the program academic calendar. Courses – other than required Signature Seminars – may be dropped at any time up to the date announced in the program academic calendar. Courses dropped by this date are not recorded on your transcript. After this date, and by the withdrawal deadline announced in the program academic calendar, you may withdraw from a course only by petition and will receive a WD on your transcript.

Signature Seminar courses are required for participants in the Madrid, Santiago, Strasbourg, and Central Europe programs and may not be dropped. (However, students who are continuing for a second semester at the same center may opt not to take a second Signature Seminar.)

Undergraduate students requesting to drop below 12 credits must first consult a home college academic advisor and financial aid counselor to ensure this would not have adverse academic or financial consequences. Note that dropping below 12 credits is not possible at all centers due to immigration or program requirements.

NOTE: London program students must maintain a registration of at least 12 credits of courses taught in London throughout the semester in order to comply with UK immigration requirements. Also due to local immigration requirements, Madrid and Florence students must maintain a registration of 12 credits and may not drop below 12 (not counting Signature Seminar credits) at any point during the semester.

Audit Requests for Semester & Full-Year Students

Undergraduate students enrolled in graded courses totaling at least 12 semester credits and graduate students enrolled in graded courses totaling at least 9 credits may request to take one additional Syracuse Abroad center course on an audit basis, subject to the approval and restrictions of the instructor and program director. You must submit the Grading Option form by the published deadline and cannot rescind the selection after the deadline. Audited courses are non-credit, do not meet any degree requirements, and aren’t counted toward enrollment status. Instructors may record a grading symbol of NA instead of AU if you don’t meet stated academic or attendance requirements. Some courses may not be audited including courses offered at a local university, studio courses, applied music and ensemble courses, independent research, experience credit courses or internships, and courses required by the program (exceptions may be made for students enrolled in a graduate degree program).

Class Attendance

Attendance in classes is expected in all courses at Syracuse University. Class attendance requirements are established by the instructor of each course or by center policy. Instructors may set and announce penalties when excessive absences would seriously hinder achievement in particular courses. Instructors overseas may specify class participation as part of the final grade.

One of the benefits of studying abroad is the ability to travel in your country of study. Syracuse Abroad centers plan field trips – some course related, others for general interest – to expand your understanding of the history, arts, and culture of your host country. Sometimes, however, the lure and accessibility of other countries may tempt you to ignore the importance of the classroom experience. It is your academic responsibility to attend classes regularly.

Academic Integrity Policy

The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy is available online .


Passing grades in order of rank are:

A 4.0
A- 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.0
B- 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.0
C- 1.667
D 1.0

Failing grades are F (failure) and I (incomplete). Neutral grades are WD (withdrew), AU (audit), and NA (did not attend and did not withdraw).

Pass/Fail Grades

The pass/fail option allows you to have grades of P (pass) or F (fail) entered on your transcript. Although your instructor will submit a letter grade, the registrar will convert the grade to P or F. Credit is awarded for a grade of P, but the P is not considered in determining your grade point average. No grade other than P or F will be reported on your transcript. Graduate students may only receive pass/fail grades for courses designated as pass/fail.

Not all Syracuse Abroad courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. A notation will appear in the course description or in the academic packet for any course that cannot be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Should you find it necessary to exercise the pass/fail option, you will be limited to one such course each semester.

Pass/Fail Requests for Semester & Full-Year Students

You may take only one course for a Pass/Fail grade each semester while studying abroad. You must submit a Grading Option form together with a supplemental advising form to the resident director or designated staff member by the date announced in the program academic calendar. Pass/fail deadlines are strictly enforced. You may not rescind the option after the pass/fail deadline.

  • Visiting Students: You are responsible for checking with your home school before departure to determine whether credit for courses taken for pass/fail will transfer. Many colleges and universities require that a Pass represent a grade of C or higher and therefore will not accept a Pass from Syracuse University which represents a grade of D or higher. Pass/Fail requests are only accepted with written confirmation of your home school’s approval.
  • Syracuse University Students: The pass/fail option may not be applied to courses for your major, minor, area of concentration, professional option, or specific college requirements. Your home school may have additional restrictions and must approve any request for a Pass/Fail grade (see Pass/Fail section of “Academic Rules” online). Students wishing to major in, or change their major to, a field in which they have previously taken a course under the Pass/Fail option must consult the department concerned, which will determine whether the course can be used to satisfy departmental requirements. Due to the time required for Syracuse Abroad to receive and submit forms on students’ behalf, SU students requesting Pass/Fail grading for any course are strongly encouraged to discuss in advance with their home college academic advisor(s) whether such a request is likely to be approved.

Independent Research

You may propose an independent study project prior to departure if you need to satisfy a degree requirement that cannot be met by any overseas course and to stay on track for graduation. Summer students do not always have this option. You must obtain approval for an independent study project in advance by submitting a Proposal for Independent Study Course to Syracuse Abroad by May 15 (fall semester) or November 15 (spring semester) or April 15 (summer programs). Proposal forms are available on the SU Registrar’s website . Proposals should include your rationale for undertaking independent research during your semester abroad, a description of the project, and the number of credits per semester (generally limited to three credits). Independent projects require the support and endorsement of Syracuse Abroad, the academic department, and your home college.

Independent Research Designed Overseas

Under some circumstances, you may be able to design an independent study project upon arrival overseas, provided the project is approved by the center director, the supervising faculty member, and the appropriate SU department chair and college dean. Such possibilities are limited by the availability of our resources abroad, and cannot be guaranteed.

Online Courses

Syracuse University students may take an online class offered by the main campus or University College (UC) during a semester abroad only if it is necessary to stay on track for graduation. Your academic need to take a main campus or UC online course while studying abroad must be confirmed by your professional academic advisor via an email to Syracuse Abroad by May 15 for the fall semester and November 15 for the spring semester.

Students should consider whether an online course is practical while studying abroad, taking into account differences in academic calendars, internet access (including during the travel portion of the signature seminar, if applicable), time of day (for courses requiring synchronous on-line work), and availability of required and supplemental texts. Syracuse Abroad cannot assist with registration for a main campus or UC online course.


Official transcripts are issued by the Registrar’s Office at Syracuse University. Syracuse Abroad does not send out official transcripts, and cannot give out grades over the telephone or via email.

Syracuse University maintains a permanent academic transcript showing complete information for courses taken and grades earned for every student, matriculated or non-matriculated, who enrolls in credit-bearing course work through any of the Syracuse University programs. Transcripts may not be modified for any reason.

Syracuse University will not release official transcripts if you have an outstanding balance due on your bursar account, unpaid fees or fines at other campus offices such as Parking Services or Bird Library, or a health hold due to missing documentation of immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella.

  • All Students: Grades for courses taken at a Syracuse University center are usually posted within two weeks of the end of final exams. Grades for courses taken at foreign universities, including those connected to our Center programs, and other providers are subject to policies and timelines of those institutions and may take considerably longer (up to 10 weeks from the end of the program) to post. Once posted, you can review your grades online via the MySlice portal at . Be sure to raise any questions about accuracy or missing grades promptly.
  • Visiting Students: Colleges and universities will accept transfer credits from Syracuse University only by official transcript. At the end of your semester abroad you will be reminded to submit a transcript request to the SU Registrar’s office. After checking online, via SU’s MySlice portal, to be sure all of your grades have been posted and that you have no outstanding charges, you should request release of an official transcript to your home college by submitting a Syracuse University Transcript Request Form. This can also be done in your MySlice account. Transcripts are not sent out automatically; you must submit a form.