Before You Study Abroad...
Are you a CSUN student looking for a study abroad experience? If so, you may be planning to participate in the California State University International Programs (CSU IP), one of CSUN’s campus-based exchange programs, or in an external program that is not affiliated with the CSU system or CSUN. You should know the difference between university-affiliated and non-affiliated programs before you go.
Because CSU IP and the CSUN campus-based exchange programs have established agreements with international institutions of higher education, the programs are university affiliated. These programs offer many benefits, but you should plan ahead to ensure your overseas course work will fulfill the requirements in your plan to graduate.
- California State University International Programs (CSU IP): When you attend a CSU IP overseas school, you are still considered enrolled at CSUN and your course work is considered "in residence." When you finish your studies abroad, CSU IP translates and reports all courses, units attempted and grades back to CSUN. However, you should consider the course selection planning tips at Admitted Students: Before You Go.
- CSUN campus-based exchange programs: Courses taken in a campus-based exchange program are not "in residence" at CSUN. When you finish your studies abroad, you must arrange for CSUN to receive your foreign transcripts. Before you go, obtain pre-approval from CSUN for all the courses you plan to take abroad by completing the “Campus-Based Exchange Program Course Approval Form” at campus-based exchange programs.
Non-affiliated study abroad programs have no formal agreement with the CSU or CSUN, so you'll need to do some additional planning. Please review “External Study Abroad Programs” below.
External Study Abroad Programs
If you plan to study abroad in an external study abroad or exchange program that is not university affiliated, you should take the following steps before you depart:
- You will be considered "on leave" from CSUN during the time that you study abroad and until you re-enroll at CSUN. Be sure you understand the university policy on academic leave of absence.
- Confirm in advance that CSUN will accept credit not only from the overseas institution you plan to attend but also for the courses you plan to take. To do so, contact a CSUN International Admissions advisor.
- General Education Credit - Work with the CSUN International Admissions advisor to determine in advance whether or not General Education (GE) credit can be transferred from the overseas school to CSUN. If possible, provide the advisor with a course description or syllabus for the overseas GE course(s) you plan to take.
- Major Credit - Contact your CSUN academic advisor in the department of your major to determine in advance whether or not the overseas courses you plan to take can be used to satisfy a requirement in your major. You'll need to submit a course description or syllabus for the overseas course(s) you plan to take so that it can be considered for course substitution.
- Ask the overseas institution how long it will take to have your official transcripts sent to CSUN. Even when credits are transferable, it may take time for the overseas classes to appear on your CSUN transcript. For example, it will take time to determine course equivalencies if you'd like an overseas class to count as a CSUN prerequisite to satisfy a major requirement on your return. If you have applied for graduation, such delays can postpone your graduation date.
When You Return
Upon your return to CSUN, request credit for your non-affiliated overseas course work by submitting an official foreign transcript to the CSUN Office of International Admissions. Please note the additional requirement to request major credit.
- For General Education Credit - An International Admissions advisor will review your foreign transcript and, where possible, place the GE courses into your Degree Progress Report (DPR). Any transferable overseas courses will be added to your DPR even if they do not advance you toward graduation.
- For Major Credit - An International Admissions advisor will review your transcript and, where possible, place the courses into your DPR. Then contact your CSUN major advisor to request that the overseas course be substituted for a CSUN course in your major.