Academic credit is the basis for your study abroad experience. After all, it is study abroad, right? To ensure that your participation in your chosen study abroad program provides you with maximum academic success, you should work closely (and early on) with your academic advisor.

Academic Credit is awarded for successful completion of your coursework while abroad. To receive credit you will need an official transcript from an accredited institution displaying courses, letter grades, and credit amounts.

If you would like your classes abroad to count as specific UWM courses (or as upper-level electives), you can use use the Course Equivalency Approval Form.

For more information about the Course Equivalency Approval Form & process, visit the Course Equivalency Approval Form page.

Enrollment: No action required!
  • CIE will enroll students into a study abroad placeholder that matches your study abroad program.
    • Study Abroad program: Global 297
    • Exchange: Exmural 100 ;  Exchange (graduate) Exmural 700
    • Non-UWM program: Exmural 099 ; Non-UWM program (graduate) Exmural 799
  • Students participating on Faculty-led programs will be enrolled in actual courses based on the specific program.
    • Potential Issues for registration:
      • Holds, details of holds can be seen on your PAWS account. These holds can include but are not limited to, Bursar Holds, Advising/Academic holds, Fees, etc. — Check your PAWS account, check in with your academic advisor or your study abroad coordinator for any questions.

Grades & Transcripts:

  • Grades count and will be applied to your GPA!
  • Grades will be converted into U.S letter grades; to get an idea of what the grading system is like your host country please visit: Foreign Credits Grade Conversion
  • Grades can take up to 6-8 weeks to be processed; please be aware that all universities have different timelines on sending transcripts so this may slow the grade posting process.
Where to send Transcripts

There are some cases where students will have to request their transcripts to be sent to their home university, for most CIE affiliated programs, this process has already been arranged.

If your program requests that you fill out a form, or is unsure of where to send the transcript upon completion of your program, the address is:

UWM CIE Study Abroad Office
P.O. Box 413
Garland Hall 138
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

How do students receive credit for studying abroad?
On UWM-sponsored exchange and study abroad programs students will be registered as a UWM student and earn 3 to 18 UWM credits depending on the length of the program. Non-UWM program students will receive transfer credit. This is a very important distinction in many majors and minors, so it is important that students speak with their academic advisor. All courses taken abroad will come back as electives; if a student needs a course taken abroad to count as a specific UWM course, they must complete the Course Equivalency Approval Form. This form will allow them to have courses approved by the appropriate department/faculty prior to departure.

Credit for non-UWM programs will transfer as long as:

  1. The program is sponsored by an accredited institution
  2. Passing grades are earned in courses taken abroad
  3. Grades are verified by an official transcript from the host university
  4. Work done overseas does not duplicate previous work
  5. UWM departmental approval was obtained for all completed coursework
Where can I find my unofficial transcript?
UWM students can find their unofficial transcript on their PAWS account.

External applicants will need to submit an official transcript from their home college/university.

How will grades earned abroad affect a student’s GPA?
All the grades that a UWM student receives while abroad on a UWM program will appear on their transcript and be calculated into their grade point average. If they participate in a non-UWM sponsored program they will earn transfer credits and their grades will not count toward their GPA.

Do keep in mind, however, that graduate schools typically request a transcript from any courses taken abroad to recalculate an applicant’s GPA.

Will students have to delay graduation if they study abroad?
Not necessarily. With careful planning, students can remain on track to graduate in four years. Some of our study abroad students have even finished their undergraduate education in less than 4 years!

CIE advises students to start planning early and to work closely with their academic advisers to design the best course of study that will ensure that they remain on track toward graduation. Some students find that it is best for them to remain at UWM for an extra semester or year after studying abroad (which is why many choose to study during their junior year) because of the new focus they gained as a result of their time overseas.

How do students register for their next semester at UWM while abroad?
UWM students may register for the next semester’s courses via PAWS the same way they would at home. They should maintain contact with their UWM academic advisor for course selection and advising. When registering for classes students must take into account any time differences between Milwaukee and where they will be studying.

Maintenance is often scheduled late at night in Central Standard Time and therefore they may have to plan their usage accordingly. Furthermore, PAWS will work only on computers that are in the English language, so you must set your computer to the English language to use PAWS. Alternatively, you can change the three-letter code in the URL for PAWS to “lang=ENG” to trick the computer and use PAWS.

For more academic FAQs, please visit CIE’s FAQ page