Receiving Course Approval for Study Abroad Courses

student feeds giraffe in kenya

Every UTC student must go through the course approval process to receive credit from a study abroad or exchange program.

This is a two-step process that includes pre-approval before departure and then final approval of credit upon return from a program.

Why is this important?

Study abroad grades will not be processed until students complete the course approval process as described below.

Some scholarship funds, including the HOPE scholarship, cannot be released until this process is completed.

It is also important to notify the Center for Global Education of an approaching graduation date if it directly follows a study abroad experience, as a graduation delay could occur due to transcript and credit transfer processing.

The Pre-Approval Process (pre-departure)

  • First, understand that receiving course approval for study abroad courses is a two-step process. 
  • Next, identify which academic department you want to get credit in (whether major, minor, Gen Ed or elective credit), and find out who the faculty department head is.
  • Then, determine how best to reach that faculty member—via email, phone or office visit. The faculty member may prefer one over another, particularly during winter or summer break.
  • To prepare, gather the information on the course for which you plan to ask for pre-approval. This should include: the course title, course number (if available), a detailed course description, a syllabus (if available), information on the instructor (if available) and contact hours and/or credit hours (if available). The more information you have prepared to support your case, the better chance you have of getting a pre-approval.
  • Finally, obtain either a signature on the blue Course Pre-Approval Form or get an email directly from the department head confirming their approval. Then upload your completed Course Pre-Approval Form to your UTC study abroad portal (Terra Dotta).


  • When deciding which academic department to ask about pre-approvals, consider the course content and be sure the course is a close match to the department. It can be helpful to even look at the UTC course catalog to see if there is a similar UTC course offered that closely matches your study abroad course.
  • If there is a beginning language class you’re planning to take, ex: Introduction to the Bengali Language, contact the Modern Languages department head to discuss receiving FLNG elective credit.
  • If it seems like a course doesn’t fit well into any academic department at UTC, you can approach the Humanities Department to request a course pre-approval.
  • It is VERY IMPORTANT to hold on to ALL of your study abroad coursework (especially syllabi) and bring them back (or scan them in as electronic copies) as documentation.

The Final Approval Process (after returning to campus)

When you return, if all the courses you took during your study abroad program have pre-approvals in your file, then there is nothing you need to do. You will be contacted by the Center for Global Education to inform you that: your transcript has been received from the program you studied through and that it has either been sent to the appropriate department heads for final curse approval or that the record is now complete and been sent to the Registrar for posting.

If you have courses on your study abroad transcript that weren’t pre-approved, then you will need to get them approved once you return to campus (even if it is just elective credit) before your grades can be processed. There needs to be a UTC equivalent course to assign to each of your study abroad courses. All courses taken abroad MUST come back and count for a UTC equivalent course. As a reminder, it is VERY IMPORTANT to hold on to your study abroad coursework (especially syllabi) and bring them back (or scan them in) as documentation for getting these final approvals.