Studying abroad can be an exciting, life-changing part of the undergraduate experience. Don’t take our word for it: read about some of our majors and their time abroad here. But History students also need to make sure that their credits from abroad transfer back to UNC as smoothly as possible. The information below will help that happen. To learn more about studying abroad in general, visit the pages for UNC Study Abroad and Honors Carolina Study Abroad.
Pre-Study Abroad Advising
Before going abroad, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Matthew Andrews, the department Academic Adviser and History Transfer Credit Officer to discuss the requirements for receiving history credit for courses taken abroad, 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. If available, 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.
After returning from your study abroad, you can apply for UNC History credit by submitting a Course Approval Form through Study Abroad. The form is available here. Study Abroad will send the Course Approval Form to Dr. Andrews and he will contact you if he has questions. In most cases, decisions are rendered within one week of receiving the initial request and syllabus. If the course is referred to a faculty specialist, it may take somewhat longer.
Requirements for History Major Credit
To be considered for history credit that can count in the history major or minor, a course must
- have an historical focus in terms of both content and approach and
- 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. 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:
- not be a survey course and
- 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.
Information about how to submit such a petition can be found here.