Courses must be approved before you can earn transfer credit.

For every study away course for which you plan to request transfer credit, you will need to obtain Duke’s approval and the corresponding Duke course number. Ideally, you’ll obtain approval before you leave for your program. You can begin working to obtain approval for transfer credit courses as soon as you have completed an application in MyGlobalEd.


Find Courses Pre-Approved for Transfer Credit

The GEO Approved Course Database is a searchable database of pre-approved courses for study away. If you have a specific course or subject area you'd like to take as part of your study away experience, you can find a program that will offer you that credit.

This database is not comprehensive. Generally, if a course is not already in the database, it means that no student has taken it yet. If you don't see a course listed, it simply means you will need to seek approval for the course yourself using the process outlined below.

GEO Approved Course Database


STEP 1: Check whether the course has been pre-approved

  • If the course you plan to take is listed in the GEO Approved Course Database, you do not need to take any further action.
  • If you obtained approval directly from a Duke department—but the course is not in the Approved Course Database—you still need to go through the steps below to get credit.
  • Be sure you have (or will have) completed any prerequisites for the course.

STEP 2: Provide GEO with an official, detailed course syllabus

  • If the course is not in the GEO Approved Course Database, obtain an official syllabus. The syllabus should contain a detailed description of the course, structure, required readings, etc.
  • Course syllabi may be found on the study away program website or the course catalogue/bulletin. If not, you will need to request them from the program or host university.
  • Send a separate course syllabus for every course you wish to have approved.

STEP 3: GEO will seek approval on your behalf

  • GEO will consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the appropriate department at Duke.

STEP 4: Await confirmation from GEO

  • The DUS will determine the Duke course number under which each course will transfer. This number will be either an exact Duke equivalent or a generic course number: 100 (lower-level) or 300 (upper-level).
  • The course credit value of the course will also be determined at this time.
  • Any Areas of Knowledge codes, if applicable, will also be determined at this time.
  • GEO will add newly approved courses to the Approved Course Database.
  • Cathy Penny will follow up with you by email if further clarification is needed and/or when the process is complete.

STEP 5: Reconcile your transfer credit

Special Situations

Applying for course approval retroactively

If you did not obtain approval for a course before your program started, you will need to apply retroactively for approval. If you postpone approvals until after you return, there is no guarantee of credit.

In some instances, you will not have been able to make course selections before leaving Duke to study abroad, or your courses may change after you arrive at your program abroad. Even in these cases, you will need to apply retroactively for approval in order to request transfer credit for the course(s). You should obtain course approvals before your local drop/add period ends.

Courses approved by multiple departments

On occasion, a course in the Approved Course Database is approved by more than one department. If this is the case, please let GEO know which approval you want so that a note can be added to your file. Email Cathy Penny in GEO,