A growing number of study away programs offer – even require – coursework with a practicum component such as an internship, independent study, service learning, or research project. Learn what steps you need to take before, during, and after your study away program to ensure you receive academic credit for your practicum coursework. 


Duke-In Programs 
If the practicum course is offered for Duke credit as part of a Duke-In program, you are not required to complete the practicum course approval process. Examples include Duke in New York Creative Industries, Duke in Los Angeles, Duke in D.C., etc.

Non-Credit Internships
If you are taking a practicum course for which you do not expect to earn academic credit, you do not need to complete the practicum course approval process.

Practicum Course Approvals Are Required

For practicum courses on Duke-Approved and petition programs, a multi-part approval process is required before transfer credit can be awarded for the course. See exceptions below.

Do not assume the course is already approved.
Because each practicum experience is unique to the student participating, practicum courses must be individually approved for each and every student. There are no standing approvals for practicum courses, and practicum courses will never be listed in the GEO Approved Course Database – even when the course is required by the program. This is true for petition programs as well as programs included on the Duke-Approved program list.

You risk not meeting your continuation requirement if you fail to obtain course approval. 
On some programs, the practicum course is a required component for successful completion of the program; on other programs, the practicum course is optional. In either case, if the practicum course is included in your semester credit calculation, you must complete all the steps of the practicum course approval process to earn credit and avoid potential academic dismissal. Review Duke's continuation requirement policies here: Trinity College, Pratt School of Engineering.

You should obtain approval before you commit to the program. 
Before you commit to a program offering a practicum course for academic credit (including internships, independent study, research, service learning, etc.) – especially for programs that require the practicum course – you should begin the practicum course approval process outlined below.

You need pre-approval before the program, and final approval after the program.
To be eligible to earn academic credit for a practicum course on Duke-Approved and petition programs, you must first obtain conditional pre-approval for the course from a DUS, ideally before departing for the program. Upon completion of the course, you must follow up to obtain final approval, providing documentation to demonstrate fulfillment of the conditions outlined during the pre-approval stage.


Before Your Program

To be completed the semester before your study away program. If you need help completing any of the steps outlined below, please email Hayley Broadhead.

STEP 1 of 4: Obtain conditional pre-approval for the practicum course

  1. Gather a copy of all course materials, including a course syllabus, and a brief summary of your research proposal for any term paper requirements for the practicum course.
  2. Complete step 1 of the Transfer Credit for Practicum Course Form.
  3. Submit items (1) & (2) to GEO will forward these documents to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the appropriate department for their review. 

NOTE: Approval at this stage is conditional. You must also complete steps 2-6 below.

STEP 2 of 4: Await confirmation of pre-approval

Await confirmation from the DUS, who may have further questions or instructions.

In most cases, your DUS will send the Transfer Credit for Practicum Course Form to GEO directly, and you will receive confirmation from GEO.

If your DUS sends the final approval form back to you, you will need to email it to for your pre-approval to be complete.

During Your Program

To be completed during your study away program.

STEP 3 of 4: Document fulfillment of the conditions for final approval

  1. Save course materials. Keep copies of all course materials throughout your semester, including assignments completed, updated syllabus, rubrics, work samples, and any additional work you agreed to complete during the pre-approval process.
  2. Consult your DUS about any changes in project parameters. Sometimes a student’s intended practicum experience changes when they arrive to their program, or their research topic shifts when they begin working in the field. Before proceeding with any changes in project parameters, immediately consult your DUS. Sometimes, the new topic fits better within another department, and you may need to seek conditional pre-approval with that DUS instead.

STEP 4 of 4: Earn transcripted grades of C– or better

Even though your practicum course grade will not factor into your Duke GPA on Duke-Approved and petition programs, the Registrar will only award transfer credit if you have met the following requirements:

  • The course 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.

After Your Program

To be completed upon return from your study away program.

STEP 5: Obtain final approval for the practicum course

  1. Request a copy of the academic transcript issued by your host institution. 
  2. Organize a file for your DUS containing the course materials you saved. 
  3. Locate your copy of the Transfer Credit for Practicum Course Form that contains the DUS's pre-approval signature. If you do not have this document, email, to request a copy.
  4. Submit items (1)-(3) to GEO will send these materials to the DUS on your behalf.

STEP 6: Await confirmation of final approval

In most cases, your DUS will send the final approval form to GEO to complete the process of getting the course listed on your transcript, and you will receive confirmation from GEO.

If your DUS sends the final approval form back to you, you will need to email it to to complete the process of getting the course listed on your transcript.



If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the GEO Advisors at


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