Study Abroad

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History courses are among the most popular courses taken by UNC students while studying abroad. The History Department at UNC, which is a strong advocate of the Study Abroad program, wants students, especially history majors and minors, to receive appropriate history credit for these courses. The following information is provided to help you understand and meet the Department’s requirements for transfer credit.

For more details, see the Academic Advising page and/or contact Dr. Matthew Andrews, History Transfer Credit Officer (email: andrewsm@email.unc.edu)

Pre-Study Abroad Advising

History courses are among the most popular courses taken by UNC students while studying abroad. The History Department at UNC, which is a strong advocate of the Study Abroad program, wants students, especially history majors and minors, to receive appropriate history credit for these courses. The following information is provided to help you understand and meet the Department’s requirements for transfer credit.Before going abroad, you should schedule an appointment with the History Department’s transfer credit officer to discuss the requirements for receiving history credit as well as potential courses you might take.

The History Department does not pre-approve courses, but the transfer credit officer can give you a fairly good idea of how a course might transfer as well as other advice on how to meet the History Department’s requirements. You might want to bring along some information (course descriptions, syllabi, etc.) about the courses you are considering taking. You should also know which courses you still need to take in order to fulfill the requirements for the major or minor. This conversation can be continued through email while you are abroad and have more information about the history courses you are taking, including actual syllabi.

Keep All Course Materials

Be sure to bring all course materials back with you. Without a syllabus, it is very hard to determine what kind of credit you should receive. Other supporting materials such as reading lists, notes, assignments, course readers, exams, papers, projects, and instructor feedback can also aid in determining credit.

Requirements for History Major Credit

To be considered for history credit that can count in the history major or minor, a course must

  1. have an historical focus in terms of both content and approach and
  2. be offered by a history department at another college or university. Courses that have an historical focus but are taught by other academic departments (political science, art history, literature, etc.) are not eligible for history major credit. For example, a course on the “The European Union since 1945” that is offered by a political science department would not qualify for history major credit. Exceptions to this policy may be made for history courses offered by institutes, organizations, or study abroad programs that are not affiliated with a college or university history department (for example the Lorenzo de Medici Institute in Florence or the Centro Internacional de Estudios Culturales in Seville). However, such courses must be taught by an instructor who holds an advanced degree in history (M.A. or Ph.D.) Students must furnish proof that their instructor holds such a degree. It is not the responsibility of UNC Study Abroad to furnish this proof.

Normally, for a course to receive three hours of history credit it must have at least 36 hours of instruction and some form of written assessment.

In order for a course to receive “upper” or “advanced-level” credit (like a course numbered 200 or higher at UNC), it must

  1. not be a survey course and
  2. require at least ten pages of outside-of-class writing (3000 words) and a reading load of 4–6 books (or an equivalent number of scholarly articles, perhaps 15–20). If you have taken an upper-level history course at UNC, you will be familiar with these requirements. If a course you are taking or would like to take does not require this much reading and writing, but you would still like it to be considered for upper-level (200+) credit, you might ask the instructor for additional assignments. For example, you might ask to write an additional research paper or several short reports on additional books that you read. Completion of this extra work would need to be verified by a grade or signed letter from the professor. If a course does not meet these reading and writing requirements, it will usually be considered for “lower/introductory-level” credit (like a course numbered below 200 at UNC).

Because the History Department often does not offer exact equivalent courses, study abroad courses will often receive general history credit in one of the six area concentrations for the major. For example, a course on the “History of Poland since 1700” might receive three hours of upper or lower level credit in modern European history. Such credit can still be counted in the major or minor.

Please note that the transfer credit officer may refer certain courses to a member of the UNC History Department faculty who specializes in the field. In some cases, that faculty specialist may decide that a course that, on paper, appears to meet the requirements for upper-level (200+) history credit outlined above should still only receive introductory-level (100-level) history credit. This is the prerogative of the faculty specialist and the transfer credit officer will always defer to the specialist’s evaluation.

Credit for the General Education Curriculum

The History Department is not authorized to determine how courses that do not have exact numbered equivalents may be used to meet a requirement of the General Education Curriculum.  The History Department can only determine what kind of history major credit a course should receive and at what level (100 or 200+). If you so choose, you may use the History Department’s recommendation for history credit to petition for a course to meet such a requirement. For example, if the History Department determines that a course should receive history credit at the 200-level, it may be eligible to meet the Supplemental Education Requirement for the Social and Behavioral Sciences. This decision, however, can only be made by your study abroad adviser.

Receiving Credit

After returning from your study abroad, you should contact the transfer credit officer, Matthew Andrews, by email (andrewsm@email.unc.edu). Please include your name, PID #, major/minor, the name of the study abroad program and university you attended, and the titles of the courses for which you are seeking credit. Emailed syllabi in the form of PDFs and MS Word documents are preferred, but hard copies can be brought to the transfer credit officer’s office or placed, with a note, in the credit officer’s Departmental mailbox in the main History Office on the fifth floor of Hamilton Hall. In many cases, credit can be determined by examining the syllabus alone and no meeting is required. If further information or material is required, an appointment can be scheduled. In most cases, decisions are rendered within one week or so of receiving the initial request and syllabus. If the course is referred to a faculty specialist, it may take somewhat longer. The transfer credit officer will email the recommendation to you, your study abroad adviser, and the History Department’s Undergraduate Coordinator. You should keep a copy of this email for your records. This email will take the place of the transfer credit officer’s signature on the “Transfer Credit Report” form (the “green sheet”).

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