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Course Approvals

The Course Approval Form is one of the most important documents you will complete as part of the application process.  The Course Approval Form lists the courses you plan to take abroad and the corresponding UM equivalent as approved by UM departments and your dean's office.  A small number of select faculty-directed programs do not require the paper course approval form.  The Course Approval Form is required if it appears as an application item in your study abroad application portal.

1.        Select courses that you plan to take abroad.  Because courses can reach capacity or you may change your schedule after arrival, you should select more courses than you plan to take abroad.  For example, a student who must take the equivalent of 15 hours in a semester should get 18 - 24 hours approved, in case of schedule changes.
2.        Determine which department here at UM is the most appropriate to evaluate the course you want to take abroad.  Some are very logical - a Spanish language course abroad, for example, should be approved by the Department of Modern Languages. Similarly, a history course would be approved by the Department of History.  If you have questions about where a particular abroad course might fit at UM, ask your study abroad advisor.  

3.        You may contact the appropriate department signatory by email or in person to respectfully request evaluation of the course(s) you want to take abroad.  For a sample course approval request email, please see the email template at the bottom of this page.

  • Include a syllabus and your transcript with your email.  If you choose to take a paper form to the department, attach the syllabus for each abroad course and your transcript to the form.
  • The list of UM departmental signatories is available here. Signatories may email you an approval or you can take a paper course approval form for them to sign.

School of Business majors should only email with the course approval form, selected courses, course descriptions and syllabuses, and any other documentation related to your request for course approval.  The course approval process will be managed by the School of Business and students never need to contact a Department Chair directly.  

4.        After you have received departmental approval for all of your planned abroad courses, attach the following to the Course Approval Form and take it to your Dean's Office for signature:
- Departmental approval email or signature for each course you have had approved (the abroad course and UM course equivalent must be clearly stated in the email and on the form).
- Abroad syllabus for each course that has been approved.

Tip: If you are asked to leave your Course Approval Form at your dean’s office, set a reminder for yourself to go back and pick it up!

5. Bring your signed and completed Course Approval Form and accompanying documents (copies of approval emails, copies of abroad course syllabi) to the Study Abroad Office in 318 Martindale-Cole.  You can turn it in at the front desk. Your study abroad advisor will note that it has been received in your study abroad online application portal. A copy of your Course Approval Form will also be uploaded to the portal where you can view it at any time.


​Language Courses

Language courses approved on this form do not guarantee placement at this level by the study abroad provider/institution, nor the level of UM credit to be earned. The student may be placed in a more elementary or more advanced class, affecting the level of UM credit to be earned. The level of UM credit to be earned is subject to review upon placement and/or upon receipt of the transcript from the study abroad program.

If an abroad course is not approved
It is your responsibility to obtain course approvals!  If you do not obtain approval for an abroad course, that course will be recorded on your UM transcript as GLS 111: Global Topics Abroad I.

What if I'm abroad and change my schedule?
You may submit email approvals to your study abroad advisor who will share them with the appropriate dean's office.
You may also submit a new course approval form upon your return from your program. However, remember that UM academic departments always reserve the right to make decisions regarding specific course approval. If you wait to seek approval after you return, understand that a course may not be approved by the department as you expected.  

Upon Completion of the Program:
As you near the end of your abroad program, make sure to request a transcript from your host institution before leaving your host country.  The Study Abroad Office will contact you when your transcript has arrived.  If the course approval form on file does not exactly match the transcript, you will be asked to submit course approvals for the unapproved courses.  It is your responsibility to obtain these approvals in a timely manner.  If you are participating in a faculty-directed program, your professor will submit grades directly to the Study Abroad Office, so there is no need to request your final grade or transcript from your faculty leader.

Download the course approval form here:
Fillable Course Approval Form 2022.pdf

Course Approval Email Process and Etiquette
Ultimately, you receive approval for study abroad courses through a Course Approval Form.  Both email approvals--when attached to the paper course approval form--, and inked signatures are accepted on the Course Approval Form.  


  1. Email the corresponding department and request an evaluation of the selected study abroad course(s).
  2. ​​Print all of the email approvals and the abroad course syllabi. Attach these to your paper Course Approval Form (available in the materials portion of your UM Study Abroad application) and take the documents to your dean's office for final approval and for an advising session on how the courses will apply to your degree.  
  3. After your dean's office has signed your Course Approval Form, submit the entire course approval packet (Course Approval Form, printed email approvals, and printed course syllabi) to the front desk of the Study Abroad Office.
If you choose to email the departments to obtain course approval, please use the following template.  

Example Email
Dear Professor,

I am considering studying at ____________ (name of university or program) next __________ (summer, fall, spring). I would like to take the following course which requires departmental approval:


Please see the attached course syllabus/description and let me know if this course is equivalent to any course offered in the department. If there is not an exact match, could this course count as a special topics course? Thank you for your review and consideration.

Your Name