IU Program Policies

Expectations and requirements for applicants and program participants on IU programs are outlined within the academic and fiscal policies of the Office of Overseas Study.
  • Eligibility and Selection

    The Office of Overseas Study uses the following criteria and procedures in the screening and selection of program participants on IU programs.

    I. Eligibility Criteria
    1. Class Standing
    2. GPA
    3. Academic Progress 
    4. Language Requirements 
    5. Program-Specific Requirements
    6. Lower Age Limits 
    7. Preference to Indiana University Students 
    8. Disciplinary Status 
    II. Selection Process
    III. Other Factors

    I. Eligibility Criteria

    1. Class Standing

    Students with the appropriate academic background may apply for some summer programs as early as freshman year. Graduating high school students, even those who have earned college credits prior to their admission to a degree program at IU, are not eligible for summer programs.

    Some semester programs allow second-semester sophomores to participate, but the norm for IU semester and academic year programs is for students to complete two years of full-time study on an IU campus before going abroad.

    Students who transfer to Indiana University must have at least one full semester of IU credit on their transcript before they are considered for study abroad.

    Overseas Study does not encourage students to prolong their academic experience simply to study abroad. Students pursuing a second degree may be given lower priority in the selection process. Students will have to show an academic rationale for participating in more than one Overseas Study program. However, students are not permitted to remain a second year on the same academic-year program.

    Graduate students who have completed at least one semester at IU may apply to a limited set of programs that allow graduate student participation. Note that most Overseas Study programs are designed for undergraduate students and only offer undergraduate courses.

    2. GPA

    To apply to an IU program, students need the IU cumulative GPA indicated in the program requirements: 2.75 to 3.00. Certain programs are rigid in their adherence to the stipulated GPAs while other programs consider students whose GPAs approximately meet the requirement.

    3. Academic Progress

    To be eligible to apply for study abroad, students must be making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree, particularly those applying for semester and academic year programs. Students for whom study abroad is not deemed directly relevant to their degree may be given lower priority in the selection process. (Note: Acceptance into a program does not automatically qualify a student for continued financial assistance.)

    4. Language Requirements

    Completion of prior language coursework with a grade of B or better is expected.

    For programs that require five or six semesters of foreign language background, the minimum language requirement must be completed during the regular academic semester preceding the program. That is, the required language may not simply be taken during the summer prior to program participation.

    Students who intend to study abroad for a year or a semester in a location where courses are taught in a foreign language should be enrolled in that language during the semester immediately preceding program participation.

    Summer program applicants who have not taken any language courses in the current or immediately preceding semesters may have lower priority in the selection process than students who have had the requisite language courses more recently. Language proficiency in such cases must be demonstrated.

    Non-native speakers of a foreign language who have placed out of language courses at IU but who have never enrolled in a language course before the program may also have lower priority in the selection process for programs that require language proficiency.

    Students who take an intensive elementary language course prior to a summer program may be accepted conditionally, pending their performance in the course.

    5. Program-Specific Requirements

    Some programs have requirements in addition to class standing and GPA.

    6. Lower Age Limits

    The Office of Overseas Study does not permit university applicants under the age of 18 or high school students to participate in its programs.

    7. Preference to Indiana University Students

    Any student enrolled at one of the eight Indiana University campuses may apply to the programs administered or co-sponsored by the Office of Overseas Study.

    Only a very small number of programs are open to students from other institutions.

    In some cases the child of an IU employee who attends another institution may be permitted to apply to IU-administered (but not co-sponsored) programs. In-state fee status and dependent fee courtesy are normally applicable in these cases.

    8. Disciplinary Status

    Students with sanctions of disciplinary probation or stronger (i.e., deferred suspension, suspension, or expulsion) may not participate in Overseas Study programs. Overseas Study reviews the disciplinary records of all program applicants, and reserves the right to deny acceptance to students who have problematic disciplinary histories.


    II. Selection Process

    The Associate Vice President for Overseas Study appoints faculty committees to screen applications for study abroad. A standard dossier consists of an application with demographic information, a transcript, recommendation letters from instructors (typically, two for academic year and one for summer) and the student's personal statement. There are interviews for all academic year programs and may be interviews for other programs at the discretion of committee chairs.

    The committee recommends students who not only meet the minimum eligibility criteria but who also show the type of intellectual curiosity, personal maturity, academic rationale and social flexibility necessary for a successful study abroad experience.

    The Associate Vice President for Overseas Study has the final authority to accept or reject the recommendations of the selection committees.

    In the case of co-sponsored programs, once the Associate Vice President has approved the committee's recommendations, the Office of Overseas Study forwards the dossiers to the co-sponsoring agencies. In some cases those agencies permit direct admissions in which case the students will receive automatic acceptance letters. In other cases, the agency or the institution makes the final decision regarding admission.

    In the event that students wish to appeal the decision of the selection committee, they may send a petition to the Associate Vice President asking that their case be reviewed.

    Acceptance into programs is always contingent upon a student's maintaining a level of academic performance consistent with previous work and satisfactorily completing course work in the semester of acceptance. Students who receive Incompletes or Withdrawals for course work during that semester may forfeit final program acceptance.


    III. Other Factors 

    For many programs, eventual program participation is contingent upon the student's ability to obtain travel documents (i.e., passport, visa, work permit, etc.). These documents are issued at the discretion of U.S. and foreign government offices. While the Office of Overseas Study and co-sponsoring agencies can provide documentation in support of applications, the government bodies have final authority over issuance of travel documents. Applications may be denied for any reason, including insufficient documentation, pending legal action, past criminal history, etc. Application procedures and requirements may vary based upon citizenship. Non-U.S. citizens may have significantly different conditions to meet to obtain travel documents and should look into the timeline for obtaining the required travel documents prior to applying for a program.

    In a limited number of cases, program providers are prohibited or unable to accommodate citizens or passport holders of a given country. If you will not travel on a U.S. passport, please inquire to Overseas Study or the program provider to clarify your eligibility.

  • Academic Requirements

    Academic requirements for applicants and programs participants on IU programs:

    1. Advising
    2. Course Load
    3. Independent Study and Individualized Readings
    4. Pass/Fail Option
    5. Withdrawal from an Overseas Study Program
    6. Dropping and Adding Courses
    7. Incompletes
    8. Course and Credit Requirements
    9. Course Approval and Course Equivalencies
    10. Residency
    11. Grading Policies
    1. Advising

    All students accepted to a semester or academic year overseas study program meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss the courses that are appropriate for them to enroll in abroad.

    An advising form signed by the student, the advisor(s) in the major(s) and minor(s) and, in most cases, the study abroad advisor reflects the common understanding by all signers of what course work the student will take abroad. It is understood that enrollment patterns abroad may require some last minute changes.

    All students, but especially those on co-sponsored programs, must contact Overseas Study directly regarding any changes to their schedule to ensure IU credit for course work overseas. Any correspondence between the student and the home-campus advisors must be shared with Overseas Study which must approve any changes to the original schedule.

    2. Course Load

    Students participating in summer programs are required to take a fixed number of credits offered, even if they do not need all the credits for degree requirements.

    15-16 credits are the minimum course load each semester required by most programs [the few exceptions are outlined in program-specific handbooks and will be discussed at Overseas Study advising sessions.] Students should not drop below full-time status as stipulated by each program policy.

    Exceptions are considered only in cases of illness or similar extenuating circumstances.

    Graduate students accepted to graduate semester programs must take a minimum of 9 credits and a maximum of 12 credits per semester.

    If a student drops below the minimum required hours, an F is awarded for the remaining number of credit hours.

    Students participating on co-sponsored programs must adhere to the co-sponsor's minimum course load requirement, but Indiana University may impose additional academic requirements.

    3. Independent Study and Individualized Readings

    Students are not permitted to include IU or on-site independent study courses as part of their minimum course load abroad. On-site independent study courses may be arranged with permission from the home campus, but only in addition to the minimum course enrollment requirement.

    Instead, Overseas Study encourages students to arrange ahead of time with an IU faculty member to do research while abroad but register for the independent study credit for the semester of their return.

    Overseas Study strongly discourages students from taking online or correspondence courses during their stay abroad. Such courses cannot form part of the term’s minimum course load.

    4. Pass/Fail Option

    Overseas Study does not permit the declaration of P/F for IU-administered summer or semester programs or on co-sponsored programs.

    Overseas Study permits students on IU-administered academic year programs in mainstreamed foreign language environments to take two courses during the year P/F with the exception of pre-session courses, required language courses and courses used to complete degree requirements. P/F policies for your individual school still apply.

    Students must declare a course P/F by each program's published deadline and never after receiving a final grade.

    5. Withdrawal from an Overseas Study Program

    If a student withdraws from the program shortly after arrival at the program site (typically during the orientation period), enrollment in the Overseas Study program is deleted from the student's record instead of recording W's in all courses.

    We cannot guarantee that students who complete a pre-session before withdrawing from a semester or academic-year program will receive credit for that portion of the program.

    Resident directors monitor students on IU-administered programs to ensure that they do not fall below required minimum enrollment levels. It is the student's responsibility to keep the program's administrators and the Office of Overseas Study informed about their enrollment.

    6. Dropping and Adding Courses

    Reasonable deadlines for dropping classes are established at each program site based on the host country's academic calendar.

    Students are encouraged to attend more courses initially than they expect to enroll in so they can drop the least appropriate courses before the registration deadline.

    7. Incompletes

    Students are expected to complete all course work before they leave the study abroad site. They are not permitted a grade of Incomplete in order to complete an assignment after their return to the U.S. (An exception is made for short-term field school programs in which the analysis of field research is completed by a deadline shortly after return to the U.S.)

    If students do not complete course work prior to departure from the program site, they receive an F for that course.

    If a student has completed all course work abroad, but no grade is reported due to an oversight or delay by the host country faculty or the program administrators, the Office of Overseas Study temporarily enters an Incomplete until the correct letter grade is determined.

    In circumstances beyond a student's control (e.g., closure of the program) the Office of Overseas Study is permitted to award a permanent Incomplete (one that does not become an F at the end of a year).

    8. Course and Credit Requirements

    In awarding credit for course work taken abroad, Overseas Study assumes that the contact hours are comparable to those at IU (i.e.12.5 contact hours per credit hour).

    Courses taught by IU faculty abroad are expected to include required reading, written course work, examinations and, when possible, term papers. Field study programs typically incorporate journal writing into the assessment process.

    When enrolling in courses taught by host country nationals, students are expected to select courses that require work that can be assessed for a grade or to arrange for special assignments that can be evaluated. If no such academic work can be arranged, the student will not receive credit for the class.

    9. Course Approval and Course Equivalencies

    Courses on Indiana University Overseas Study programs are reported to the Registrar with IUB course titles and numbers wherever feasible. IU faculty evaluate foreign course descriptions and syllabi in order to determine what their department's equivalent IU level and number should be. This sometimes takes place before students go abroad, but more often occurs when students return from abroad with course material to substantiate their request for credit. The Registrar has developed a flexible equivalency system (e.g., undistributed courses with the original course titles on the transcript according to a numerical ranking, HIST-OS 100, 200, etc.) to facilitate accounting for courses with no exact equivalent in the IU system. Please note that course equivalencies are based on the content of the course and not the language they are taught in.

    The Office of Overseas Study keeps a record of courses that have approved IU equivalents. Students are given guidelines for selecting courses abroad when there are no pre-established equivalencies. Students are guaranteed credit for all IU study abroad course work, but the amount and level of the credit for each course is determined by campus departments with the assistance of the Office of Overseas Study.

    The Registrar allows courses taken abroad to be reported as 1 credit more or 1 credit less than is listed in the IU bulletin.

    Once the IU grade and course equivalency information has been verified, Overseas Study produces grade reports for the Registrar and, in some cases, the recorder. Overseas Study lists the unequated courses as 100-level undistributed course work. When a department decides that those courses should be listed as upper-level undistributed credit or as an IU course, Overseas Study needs the department to submit documentation to that effect via the Course Approval Memo.

    It is important to note that until the equivalent IU courses and grades are posted, the student's One.IU degree audit will not be a reliable indicator of the student's requirement or credit situation. Therefore, since the One.IU report may be temporarily inaccurate, it is required that students check with Overseas Study to verify actual standing vis-a-vis requirements and degree completion.

    Study abroad courses may count towards major, minor or elective requirements, based on departmental policy. In addition, participation in a program in and of itself may satisfy a requirement as is the case for 1) IUB majors in the College of Arts and Sciences who can satisfy one component of the Global Civilizations and Cultures requirement by participating in a semester or year-long program and 2) IUB International Studies majors who are required to study abroad for six weeks or longer.

    The IUB General Education Requirements, instituted during the summer of 2011, include an international experience option as part of the World Languages and Cultures requirement. An international experience may satisfy the World Languages and Cultures requirement only if it meets specific criteria. For detailed information about how to satisfy this requirement, see IU Bloomington's general education website as well as our website.

    For IUPUI students, study abroad programs may count as International Experience courses for the RISE initiative. For more about the RISE course approval process, visit IUPUI's University College website.

    10. Residency

    MAJOR COURSES:
    Most departments are flexible in permitting courses taken overseas to count toward degree requirements. However, Overseas Study respects a department's requirement that students who study abroad still need a number of actual home campus credits (typically 10 for the major and 6 for the minor) before they receive a major or minor from that department.

    SENIOR RESIDENCY:
    All students on Overseas Study programs are registered at IU-Bloomington. However, credits earned by students who reach senior standing (usually 86 credits) on Overseas Study programs satisfy the senior residency requirement on their home campus (e.g., IUB, IUPUI, IPFW, etc.). This policy facilitates study abroad for students unable to go abroad until their fourth year of college.

    When a transfer student to IU decides to go abroad after only one or two semesters on an IU campus, the student's school reserves the right to re-evaluate the student's "senior residency" credits from abroad so that the transfer student will have enough on-campus credit to justify a degree from that school.

    Students from an IU campus other than Bloomington are registered administratively as special non-degree students on the IUB campus for their time abroad, but they earn credits toward the home campus degree. Consequently, if a student wishes to pursue an IU-Bloomington degree after the study abroad program, the student will have to fulfill the senior residency requirement on the Bloomington campus before qualifying for the degree. The student may have to satisfy the major department's residency requirement in Bloomington as well.

    Likewise, if an IUB student who spends a year abroad wishes to complete his or her studies on another IU campus, he or she will have to determine the impact on the residency requirement with the degree-granting campus.

    11. Grading Policies
    1. The Office of Overseas Study includes grades for all IU overseas course work in the student's cumulative GPA.
    2. On many programs, particularly summer and short-term programs, IU faculty are responsible for assessing the student's work. In these cases, the faculty use the same rigorous, discriminating grading criteria they use at home. In cases of field study experiences, the faculty are necessarily diligent in establishing clear criteria to evaluate non-classroom academic exercises. Overseas Study course work abroad is as rigorous as on-campus course work and Overseas Study assumes its faculty abroad takes special care to devise discriminating criteria to assess students' work.
    3. When grades are given by faculty from the host country using that country's grading scale, equivalency scales are used to translate the grades to U.S. grades. These scales are not a mere adaptation to the U.S. percentage or letter grade system, but rather are designed to match the spirit of the host country grading system with the U.S. one. The same variation that occurs between the differing demands of professors here at IU is likely to occur with teachers abroad and Overseas Study does not make adjustments to the grading scale on this count.
    4. In the interest of promoting rigor, Overseas Study does not include A+ on equivalency scales and awards an A+ for courses abroad only in rare circumstances. A+ grades are reserved for exceptional cases and are awarded the same GPA weight as an A.
    5. After departure from a program site abroad, should students have questions about how a final grade was achieved they may submit an inquiry. Inquiries should be directed either to the co-sponsoring agency or Overseas Study.

      The co-sponsoring agency, host university and/or Overseas Study will seek feedback from the faculty member of record and verify that grading procedures that are considered the norm for that particular institution, country and/or program were followed.

      Overseas Study recognizes the professors as the primary authorities in matters of grading. Overseas Study will NOT adjust grades; only corrections for calculation or recording errors will result in a grade change.
    6. Should students believe that there has been professorial misconduct, they should file a formal petition. Evidence about such misconduct must be provided to support such petitions, not hearsay, subjective impressions, or remarks of a personal nature. Dissatisfaction with a grade, based on the student perspective of his or her own performance, will not constitute acceptable grounds for an appeal.
    Inquiry/Petition Process

    Filing an Inquiry/Petition

    • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from a co-sponsored program, the student must follow the specific procedures of the co-sponsoring agency (e.g., IES, CIEE), within the agency's specified time lines.
    • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from an IU-administered faculty led program, the student must write directly to the professor and send a copy of the statement to the Office of Overseas Study.
    • To file an inquiry/petition in connection with a course from any other IU-administered program, the student must send a formal statement and any supporting documents directly to the Office of Overseas Study.
    • Inquiries must be filed within 2 months of student notification of the final grade. Review/investigation may take up to 60 days to complete.

    Appealing the Outcome of a Petition

    1. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the response to a petition, a student may file an appeal.
    2. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Office of Overseas Study and should include ample documentation or evidence.
    3. The appeal is forwarded to members of the Overseas Study Advisory Council’s Appeals Committee along with all relevant correspondence and documentation collected by the Office of Overseas Study in investigating the initial petition.
    4. The Appeals Committee convenes (in person or by means of virtual technologies), and may uphold the decision of the initial petition or determine an alternate outcome. Alternate outcomes may vary, depending upon focus of the petition and actions permissible within the purview of the Office of Overseas Study. Appeals Committee decisions are final and become effective when the Committee issues its decision.
    5. The Appeals Committee issues a written decision within seven (7) calendar days after convening. The decision sets out the committee's conclusions and the findings of fact and reasoning supporting those conclusions. The presiding officer of the Committee sends the decision to the student, with a copy to the Associate Vice President for Overseas Study.

    The Appeals Committee of the IU Overseas Study Advisory Council

    The Appeals Committee is appointed by the Vice President for International Affairs and includes two current members of the IU Overseas Study Advisory Council and one senior member of the IU faculty.

  • Academic Integrity

    All students on IU programs must respect and abide by the academic regulations of both IU, any co-sponsoring agency and the local host institutions. Any acts of academic misconduct, including cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, violation of course rules or facilitating academic dishonesty, will be adjudicated by local academic officials and then be referred to the judicial process on the student's home campus.

  • Personal Conduct

    All students on IU programs must respect and abide by the laws and customs of the host country, the IU Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, and any rules and regulations for student conduct made or adopted by IU, its employees, agents, consortium partners, and partner institutions abroad, from the published official program arrival date through the official program completion date, including but not limited to host institution rules and regulations for student conduct designed to safeguard health, well-being and safety.