Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Academic Matters

Academic Matters

Registering for Study Abroad Classes
While in most cases you will have registered for your abroad classes before your program starts, for students who enroll directly in a foreign university, course registration is mostly done on-site during the first week of orientation at their host university.  Depending on your program, you may get assistance with registration from a general advisor or academic/program coordinator.  Some schools have online systems through which you will register (similar to  In all cases, it is advisable to be both flexible and patient.  Should you have any problems with registering for classes, contact your study abroad program provider (i.e. IFSA-Butler, Arcadia, CIEE, etc.) as well as at the International Student Office at the university you are attending.

Course Approval

For study abroad credits to count towards your academic major or minor, courses to be taken abroad must approved by your major or minor advisor here at Fordham.  If the courses are to be electives, they are approved by Fordham’s ISAP Director.  Make sure that all of your correspondence related to approvals includes the ISAP Director (  Remember too that securing all necessary approvals from abroad will take time (1-2 weeks minimum).  In order to facilitate approvals, be prepared to submit, upon request, appropriate course information (course description, syllabus, etc.). 

Once your schedule has been confirmed and approved, you must send a list of the courses you are taking to the ISAP Office at Fordham University.  Packing the copy of the Course Approval Form provided in your Pre-Departure folder should help you ascertain, from abroad, whether there is discrepancy between your final course list (the courses you are actually taking abroad) and the Course Approval Form you submitted to ISAP prior to your departure.  It would also help you determine what necessary steps you will need to take from abroad to get approval for last-minute-on-site changes to your list of courses.

Academic Credits

While abroad, you must register for a full course load.  A typical study abroad course load is 4-5 courses for a total of 15-16 credits. Please note that you need to meet the minimum Fordham equivalent of 12 credits per semester; otherwise your standing as a full-time student at Fordham will be jeopardized.

+ Core curriculum courses are not to be taken abroad.
+ A grade of C or better must be earned in order for SAB credits to transfer.
+ Credits for duplicate, one-credit courses or courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis will not transfer.
+ Study abroad credits count as “transfer credits;”  make sure you do not exceed the total number of transfer credits allowed to receive a Fordham degree.
+ Students applying to programs in non-English speaking countries will need to take a program language placement test.  A poor placement may require doing course work abroad that amounts to duplication of courses already taken at Fordham. Weigh the situation carefully and avoid a “gap” in language study.

Grades and Transcripts
Grades earned abroad are recorded on a student’s transcript but are not normally calculated in the student’s GPA.  

+ Study abroad participants are not eligible for Dean’s List honors at FCRH and FCLC, as such honors are based on the GPA earned in a minimum of 24 credit hours taken at Fordham;    
+ Study abroad participants are responsible for requesting that an official transcript be sent to ISAP (not the Registrar) upon completion of their study abroad term.

Academic Environments Abroad
It is very important to learn about the educational system you will be part of when you are overseas and to chose a program that meets your academic objectives. The programs in Fordham’s SAB Roster are grouped as follows:

Island Programs

-  Feature smaller facilities and no comparable library (facilities/hours) or level of services offered at U.S. universities.
-  Since all participants are U.S. students from different universities, exposure to students from the host country and to the educational system of the host country will be limited.
-  Methods of assessment and expectations of students will be significantly closer to those you are familiar with.

Direct Enroll Programs
-  Courses are taken at a foreign university.  Syllabi are not the norm, and coursework is assessed differently.  There are differences among the various foreign universities, but most often students take a test at the end of the semester. 
-  You may not be required to buy a lot of textbooks; however, a long list of readings may be suggested from a wide range of resources.  Library facilities and hours may not be as extensive as at Fordham and you will have to use the resources of public libraries addition to your university library.
-  Classmates will be local and international students doing degree work, not SAB participants.
-  Professors may have different assumptions of what needs to be read and researched.  You may have less formal instruction.  Class attendance is required, and work must be submitted on time.
-  You will need to manage your time and adjust to an educational system that relies upon independent study and research.  You will be expected to be self-motivated. 

Hybrid Programs
Hybrid programs are a combination of Direct Enroll and Island programs.  If you are participating in an Island program that offers the possibility of taking courses at a local university, we very much encourage you to pursue this option, as it will expose you a different academic setting and afford you better opportunities to enrich and broaden your academic experiences.  If you are in a non-English speaking country, it is also a great way to improve your language skills.

Learning Outside the Classroom/Research Abroad
You can take full advantage of your experience abroad by participating in learning experiences outside the classroom.  Internships, volunteer work, attending museums and engaging in many cultural activities provide opportunities to deepen your social and cultural immersion, enhance your language skills and gain a better understanding of your host country.  Find out what is available and take advantage of it.

In addition to formally structured coursework, study abroad is also an excellent opportunity to do first-hand fieldwork in a wide variety of fields.  Consider taking advantage ofthe academic and other educational resources abroad for a senior thesis or research project when you return to your home campus.  You should consult with your academic advisor before your term abroad to generate ideas for research projects and methods.

Learning the local language and homestays also ensure a greater degree of cultural immersion, which enhances essential intercultural competencies, and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of critical global issues in a regional context.

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