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Study Away Coursework

Study Away Review Committee (SARC) approval of your Study Away Application includes approval of the course of study that you submitted with your application in the “Study Away Coursework” questionnaire. However, we recognize that coursework options or preferences may change by the time you register for specific study away courses. We recommend that you remain in contact with your academic advisor and relevant department chairs if your study away course choices change. This is especially true if you are hoping to fulfill a requirement in a major, minor, or concentration with a newly selected course. 

Macalester strongly recommends that you register for at least one course of language or area studies during your semester away. Language study cannot be redundant with previous language coursework unless special arrangements are made with the Macalester Registrar and the appropriate language department prior to departure.

Applying Credits to Degree Requirements

Following review and approval of your application, the courses you intend to take during study away will be approved for Macalester credit. The following instructions explain the process for obtaining approval for a study away course to fulfill a requirement for your major, minor, concentration or general distribution credit. You might also find the following Graduation Planning Worksheet to be helpful as you consider your graduation requirements and timeline.


Course approvals can be completed at any time, at the discretion of the department or concentration. However, if you are counting on a study away course to fulfill a specific requirement, we encourage you to seek approval during the application process if at all possible. If you are not able to get detailed information about the course or not sure exactly which courses you will be able to enroll in advance (such as on a direct enroll program), then we encourage you to seek approval as soon as you can once you have detailed course information, such as during enrollment of courses on your program, but before you start the course. This will help ensure that you are indeed able to complete your requirements as planned.


Approval for fulfilling a requirement in a major, minor, or concentration:

  • Meet with the chair of the academic department or director of the concentration and bring as much information as possible about the courses you hope to have approved (titles, descriptions, syllabi, etc.). If pre-approved as an appropriate course to fulfill a requirement, the department chair or director will make a note in DegreeWorks. Students can see these notes by logging into DegreeWorks.
    Note: The chair or director may decide that a course is pending approval, meaning that you will need to bring back information from the course (syllabi, reading lists, written work, exams, etc.) for further review by the department. After finishing your study away program, it is your responsibility to share these materials with the chair or director. 
  • Upon receiving your final grades from study away, the Registrar will incorporate courses that have been approved into your major, minor, concentration plan in DegreeWorks. 

Approval for fulfilling a distribution requirement:

  • Ideally, your distribution requirements will all be met by Macalester courses. However, should you wish to have a distribution requirement fulfilled by a study away course, you should consult with the Registrar.
  • The Registrar will either grant approval or consult with the appropriate academic department to ensure the proposed course meets the expectations of the requirement before granting approval.

In all cases, you must earn a grade of C- or better in order for the course to fulfill a distribution requirement.

Registration and Course Load

You are required to carry a full­ semester course load as defined by your study away program while you study away. This must fall in the range of 12-18 semester credits, however is more typically 14-17 credits (similar to expectations for enrollment when at Macalester in order to maintain progress towards graduation). Course loads greater than 18 credits must have the prior approval of the Registrar and are subject to supplemental Macalester tuition charges. Course loads under 12 credits must have prior approval of the Registrar and are still subject to full-time tuition charges. The study away program or host university must report all credits earned.


A student enrolled at a foreign university must sit at the regularly scheduled times for all required examinations, including those given at the end of individual academic terms and, if the student is on an academic year program, any comprehensive exams that are given at the end of the academic year UNLESS the student makes alternative arrangements acceptable to the university. Failure to do so will in most cases result in a failing grade.

Credits and Grades

All coursework from a semester or academic year study away program, including failed courses, will be reflected as Macalester credit on your Macalester transcript. All grades are factored into your Macalester grade point average.

Taking a Class Pass/Fail

Students studying away are subject to the same pass/fail grading policy as students studying on campus. The declaration of this grading option is usually made according to the policies of your study away program. If your program has no provision for pass/fail grading, or your program’s policy and deadlines differ from Macalester’s pass/fail grading policy, you may declare it to Macalester by submitting the Study Away Course Pass/Fail Form with the required details. The form must be completed and submitted no later than the final day of class for that specific course.

Credit for January or Summer Programs

If you want to receive academic credit towards your Macalester degree for non­-Macalester January and summer programs, verify that the college will accept credit from your chosen program (contact the Center for Study Away or the Registrar for more information). Credit for non­-Macalester January and summer programs are added to your Macalester transcript as transfer credit and grades are not factored into the Macalester cumulative grade point average. A maximum of two credits may be earned each January.


Email your study away advisor and/or the Registrar.