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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 just in case of schedule changes.
2.        Determine which department is the most appropriate to evaluate the course you want to take abroad.  Some are very logical - a Spanish course abroad would be approved by the Department of Modern Languages.  A history course would be approved by the Department of History.  If you have questions about where the course might fit at UM, ask your study abroad advisor.  

3.        You may contact the department signatory by email or in person to respectfully request evaluation of the course(s) you want to take abroad.  Please see the email template below.

  • 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.
  • Departmental signatories are available here. Signatories may email you an approval or you can take a paper course approval form for them to sign.

4.        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 or on the form.
- Syllabus for each abroad 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 to the Study Abroad Office in 318 Martindale-Cole.  Your study abroad advisor will note that it has been received in your study abroad online application portal.

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.

It is your responsibility to obtain course approvals!  If you do not obtain approval for your courses, they will appear on your 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 return from abroad, but departments always reserve the right to grant credit, and after return you may not get the credit you expected.  

Upon Completion of the Program:
Please make sure you request a transcript from your host institution before departure.  Upon return, 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 you do not have to request your 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
Students obtain approval for the courses they take abroad through the course approval form.  Both email approvals, when attached to the paper course approval form, and inked signatures are accepted.  


  1. Email the corresponding department and request an evaluation of the selected study abroad course(s).
  2. ​​Attach all email approvals to your paper Course Approval Form, available in the Course Approval Form material, and take it to your dean's office for a final approval and advising session on how the courses will apply to your degree.The course approval process will help you determine how courses might count toward your degree program.
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