Transferring Credit

Semester Abroad Transfer Credit Process

 Transferred Credits | Study Abroad Transcripts

Credit transfer for GW Study Abroad is processed through the Course Approval Transfer System (CATS).

If you are studying outside of GW and not through a GW-approved Study Abroad program, including studying in your home (non-US) country or participating in a non-GW summer program, this is not considered “GW Study Abroad” and you will not use CATS. In this case, please see the Office of the Registrar’s website for transfer credit information. If you are unsure whether your program qualifies as GW Study Abroad, please click here


Students receive transfer credit for most courses taken on study abroad programs. It is vitally important that students speak with their academic advisor when selecting programs for study abroad. Study abroad advisors can assist in identifying programs that might meet a student’s academic needs, but ensuring that the courses a student will take abroad will keep them on track to graduate is essential.

Academic issues to think about when selecting a program include:

  • What types of courses do you need to take abroad (major/minor, general requirements, electives)?
  • Do you want to take courses in the local language or in English?
  • Are you going to take a language class abroad?
  • How much flexibility do you have in the courses you will take abroad?

Watch this video for Course Approval and Transfer Credit Step-by-Step explanation.

Course Approval and Transfer Credit Process

To receive transfer credit for study abroad courses, a student must:

  1. Apply for and receive GW Study Abroad Eligibility Clearance through GW Passport
  2. Apply and attend an approved study abroad program.
  3. Submit a GW CATS* request for each course.
  4. Take a course for a letter grade and receive a passing grade of C or higher in each course.
  5. Not duplicate coursework (especially language levels) already completed at GW.
  6. Ensure that an official transcript is sent to the OSA by the program provider.

The credit value for courses taken abroad is determined by the abroad program/host university and will NOT always be the same credit value as the equivalent GW course as offered here on campus even if the course is approved in CATS. For students on direct enroll programs, please be aware that most countries do not follow the same credit system as GW. When transferring courses from programs that offer credits under a different system, your credits will be converted into GW credits. For example, in many European countries, schools follow the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), where ECTS credits transfer back as half GW credit (ex. 3 ECTS credits will come back as 1.5 GW credits). Please keep these conversions in mind when selecting classes to ensure you stay between the minimum 12 GW credits and maximum 18 GW credits.

*Please note that GW courses taught at GW Madrid, the GW Paris Business Studies program, GW Short Term Faculty-Led programs, and select courses on the GW Chile Program receive letter grades for their courses and do not need to complete course approvals. Additionally, WID courses must receive approval from the WID exemption process by the University Writing Program. GW policies prohibit undergraduate students from taking online courses in the Fall or Spring semesters. As such, study abroad transfer credit for online courses will not be approved for Fall or Spring semesters.  

Study Abroad Credit Posted on GW Transcripts

Once the OSA transfers credit to a student's transcripts, the courses will be listed under the "Transfer Credit" portion near the top of the transcript, rather than under the semester or term that the student studied abroad. Under the semester a student studied abroad, the transcript will show that they were registered for 15 credits of undergraduate study abroad.

*Please note that the processing time for transfer credit is 4 weeks for those who have submitted all course approvals and official transcripts.

Study Abroad Transcripts

A student’s transcript from study abroad should be sent to the Office for Study Abroad. Upon the student’s return to GW, a student can check to see if the OSA has received their transcript by logging in to the OSA website and viewing their application.

Often, students are asked to provide copies of their study abroad transcripts when applying to graduate school and even for some job applications. The Office for Study Abroad can NOT give students copies of their study abroad transcripts.  If students need an official copy of their study abroad transcript, they should contact their program provider or host institution and follow their procedures for transcript requests. Please note that this process can take several weeks at some institutions, so do not delay in requesting these documents if needed for applications.