Skip to content


Academic Policies and Procedures

Going abroad will be an integral part of your SHU experience!  If planned carefully it will enhance your education significantly without increasing the number of semesters required to graduate.  While studying abroad through SHU's Office of Global Affairs, on a SHU-Affiliated program you remain registered at SHU and thus receive SHU grades and credits.  

As early as your first year in college, discuss study abroad with your academic advisors, specifically how it fits into your overall academic plan.

See below for specific information regarding academic advising, course approvals and equivalencies, registration abroad and upon return, and transcripts.

Academic Advising

Be sure to meet with your academic advisor early on to discuss your study abroad plans, especially if you are going abroad for a semester. Good discussion points include:

  • When is the best semester to go abroad?
  • What courses in your degree can be taken abroad?

For example, if you plan to take your last history course in Rome Junior year, then you should not take said History course Freshman year in Fairfield. Some departments may have specific recommendations on when you should (or should not) study abroad depending on your majors, minors, and certificates (and combination thereof).

It is always your responsibility to meet with your Academic Advisor(s) or Department's study abroad Faculty Liaison and review your major check sheet early on to ensure that you are staying on track towards graduation.

Course Approval and Equivalencies

As mentioned in the Program Types section, the program type you choose will affect what kind of credit (direct credit vs. transfer credit) you will receive. Please review this information carefully and refer to the SHU Course Equivalency  Database.

SHU and SHU-Affiliated Study Abroad Programs

Most courses* completed on a SHU study abroad program may fulfill general education, elective, common core, or major/minor credits, enabling you, no matter your academic plan, to study abroad and graduate according to your schedule. SHU approved courses taken abroad will count towards your general graduation total. Courses will also factor into your cumulative Grade Point Average. You will be awarded letter grades for each course (courses are not available for Pass/Fail). The maximum number of credits that you can take per semester is 18 unless you have received approval from the Registrar.

*Please remember that while abroad you should not enroll in a course or its equivalent that you have already completed at Sacred Heart.

A database of host university and SHU course equivalencies will be available shortly.  For now, please speak with your Study Abroad Coordinator to determine which courses taken abroad transfer back as SHU courses.

Non SHU-Affiliated Study Abroad Programs

You are responsible for working out the transfer of credits with the appropriate academic departments at SHU using a Transfer Request Permission form, available to you during the application process. Please obtain all of the signatures indicated on the form except for the Registrar’s signature. As a final step, bring the completed form to the OSA. We will then sign the form and take it to the Registrar. Grades obtained on a non-SHU Affiliated program will not factor into your SHU GPA. These grades might transfer with a C or better.

Visiting Students

If you are a visiting student, we encourage you to consult with your Academic and Study Abroad Advisors regarding your university’s transfer of credit policy.


Once you have accepted your admissions letter from the Office of Global Affairs and have been fully admitted into your study abroad program - i.e. successfully completed the second phase of your admission process – the OGA will register you for the study abroad program.  The SHU registration process is automatic; there is nothing you need to do. In order to register you, we use a “placeholder” course. The placeholder course will say, “Study abroad, 12 credits.”

For programs held during the fall, spring, and academic year, the number of placeholder credits will be 12. For summer programs, the number of credits you are registered for will depend on the summer program you are attending. Summer students, who are applying for summer financial aid, should check carefully that they will be registered as a full-time student for the summer.

It is important for you to know that once we have registered you for study abroad, all other courses for which you might be registered for that term will be deleted. Thus, if you have been accepted into a study abroad program but you do not wish to participate, it is vital that you let us know in writing immediately. If you do not, there is a good chance that we will register you for study abroad and delete all of your other courses for that term. Please remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that your status with us is clear. We cannot fix any problems that occur with your courses if you fail to alert us as soon as possible that you do not wish to participate in the study abroad program.

Registering for classes at your Host Institution

Depending on the program you choose, you may also have to register for courses at your host institution. This process may be completed online or via paper registration, prior to departure, or upon arrival. Your host institution will provide you with further instructions closer to the registration date.

CCIS Study Abroad Programs

You will remain a matriculated Sacred Heart University student throughout your CCIS term abroad. You will not have to take a leave of absence or withdraw from SHU. You are responsible for registering at your host institution.

Non SHU-Affiliated Study Abroad Programs

You will have to take a leave of absence from SHU. You are responsible for registering at your host institution. Semester students that fail to comply with this procedure or that do not qualify for a leave of absence will be withdrawn from Sacred Heart University and will have to reapply for admissions via the normal process.


Registering for Courses for Your Return

Many semester students ask how to register for courses for the semester when they return to Sacred Heart. While you are abroad you will be able to register for next semester’s courses just like you always do, through Web Advisor.  Keep in mind, you will have to factor in the difference in your study abroad time zone and the SHU time zone — Eastern Standard Time.  A useful time zone calculator can be located here

For non-SHU students, you will need to contact your academic advisor at your home university for instructions on how to register for courses.


While we are used to having our grades and updated transcripts here in the U.S. almost immediately after taking final exams, this is not the case for institutions abroad. In many of our program locations, your grades will not arrive at the OSA for up to 8 weeks after the program end date. Your host institution will send via mail, fax, or email your grades as soon as they are available. Once we submit your grades to the SHU Registrar’s Office, you are then responsible for obtaining a copy of your updated official SHU transcript.

When you have completed your program, and once we receive your study abroad grades, we will submit your actual courses, credits, and grades to the Registrar’s Office. The placeholder will remain on your transcript, but the course(s) you actually took and the grade you received will show up on your transcript. Your study abroad grades calculate into your cumulative GPA.

Once we receive your study abroad grades it can take 5 to 7 business days for the grades to be entered. You can request a copy of your SHU transcript through the Registrar’s website.