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 will 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 MyExperientialEd.


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 use the course database find a program that will offer that credit.

This database is not comprehensive. If you do not see a particular 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 Course Is Pre-Approved

The GEO Approved Course Database is a database of courses for which Duke students have previously requested transfer credit.

  • 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 the course is not in the GEO Approved Course Database, you will need to go through the steps below to get it approved.
  • 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.
  • If applicable, be sure you have (or will have) completed any prerequisites for the course.

STEP 2: Obtaining an Official Syllabus

  • To begin the course approval process, 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.
  • Provide a separate course syllabus for every course you wish to have considered for approval.

STEP 3: Requesting New Course Approval

  • Be sure you read fully the instructions and advisement on the main page before clicking the Request Course Approval link at the top of the page.
  • Complete the Request New Course Approval form, upload the syllabus as a file or website link, and click the Submit button at the bottom.
  • You should receive confirmation of your submission at the top of the page as well as a follow-up email.

NOTE: Getting a course approved for transfer credit does not mean that it will automatically count for a major/minor/certificate requirement. You must independently consult with your major advisor or department about how courses taken on study away will count towards your major, minor, or certificate.

STEP 4: Await Posting in Database

  • 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. See: Academics: Types of Credit for information about how transfer courses on study away might satisfy curricular requirements and/or factor into your progress towards graduation, including the FL code. Transfer courses cannot fulfill Mode of Inquiry other than the FL, which is by petitioned approval only.
  • GEO will add newly approved courses to the Approved Course Database, if cleared by the department to do so.

STEP 5: Earn Transcripted Grades of C– or Better

Even though your transfer course grades will not factor into your Duke GPA, the Registrar will only award credit if you have met the following requirements:

  • Courses must be taken for a grade. You cannot take a course Pass/Fail.
  • You must earn the U.S. equivalent of a C– or higher in the course.
  • The course can’t be a duplicate of a course you’ve already taken.

STEP 6: Reconcile Your Transfer Credit

Upon completion of the course(s), you will need to take action to submit your transcript and reconcile your transfer credit.

See: Reconcile Transfer Credit

Special Course Approval Situations

Foreign Language Course Approvals

When you request approval for a foreign language course taught away from Duke, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will generally apply these policies:

  • Foreign language courses at other U.S. schools will not be approved.
  • Courses will not be approved if the language being studied is not an official language of the host country. (e.g., If you are studying at a university in Italy, a course in Japanese would not be approved.)
  • Foreign language courses taught in countries where English is the official language will not be approved. (e.g., If you are studying at a school in New Zealand, a course in French would not be approved.)

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 email to let GEO know which approval you want so that a note can be added to your file.