Courses Off-Campus and Credit Transfer

An important part of your preparation to study off-campus is to understand the process of selecting your courses and transferring them to Colby for credit. You will be required to meet with your academic advisor and an OCS advisor during the fall semester. Before your meetings, take time to research your host university or program website and pre-select courses which you find interesting and/or which you think you need to fulfill your requirements. Your advisor will help you to understand your academic progress towards graduation and choose the right courses.

Courses Off Campus


Course Load

You must register for a full course load, equivalent to 15-16 Colby credits per semester. Depending upon the program, full enrollment may be as many as six courses per semester or as few as two, and in many cases, you will take five courses. Each off-campus program/university has a specific course load requirement equivalent to a full local and Colby course load- Required Course Load for Programs/Universities with Variable Credit

Course Selection

You may take courses fulfilling major and minor requirements, diversity requirements, as well as courses for general credit. You are required to fulfill the Colby Language Requirement Abroad : you must take at least one course each semester in the language of the host country for the duration of the program, either as an academic subject course or an appropriate language/grammar course. Certain courses in subjects not taught at Colby (such as agriculture, archaeology, architecture, business, engineering, law, or veterinary studies) or courses that do not meet Colby’s standards of academic rigor (for example physical education, music lessons, vocational courses or certain service-learning courses) may not be approved for credit transfer. Online courses will not be approved in any case. Please consult OCS for advice on approving your courses in advance.

Course Approval

You will be asked to select courses early in the process and your course proposal will be a part of your Colby application to study off-campus. As part of the application process, you will be meeting and consulting about your course selection with OCS and with your academic advisor. Important considerations for you and your academic advisor are what courses you still need to complete at Colby, what courses your department will allow you take off campus and what other recommendations your academic advisor might have.

Colby Course Approval Structure:

General Credit Academic Advisor Full course load (depends on credit value)
Distribution or Diversity Requirement Departmental representative No limit
Major or Minor credit Departmental representative Varies by department








Course Registration

You will be asked to select courses early in the process and will have to submit your proposal as part of your Colby application to study off-campus. However, often you will finalize or change your course registration once you arrive at your program/university. Notify your academic advisor and OCS about any changes and include a full course syllabus by email to allow your advisor to evaluate the course content.


Grades and Transcript



You must take courses for a letter grade, no pass/ fail is allowed. Minimum grade for transfer of credit is C- and grades below that will not receive any credit but they will appear on your Colby transcript. The non- US grades will be converted to US grades according to established conversion scales provided by the issuing institution.

Attendance and Exams

You are expected to attend classes regularly and to comply with all the requirements of your program. Be aware that if you leave your program early or for extended periods of travel while classes are in session, the amount of credit you receive might be reduced. Please familiarize yourself with exam policies as you plan your stay abroad. You are required to take the regular and final examinations for all courses in which you are enrolled.

Note: Students attending approved fall semester programs which continue into January should expect to stay into January to complete their courses and exams, unless there is an early start program in September.

Sending transcript

You will be asked by most program providers for an address to which your transcript will be sent. Please use this address:

Nancy Downey, Director 
Off Campus Study

4505 Mayflower Hill 

Waterville, ME 04901-8845

You may ask to have an additional transcript sent to your address for your own records. Programs typically send transcripts within eight weeks of the close of the program, but in some cases it may take longer.


Credit Transfer


Number of Credits

Upon successful completion of your program, you will usually receive 15-16 Colby credits per semester. You may transfer a maximum of 20 credits for a semester and 32 for a full year back to Colby. You may also be granted more than 16 credits for work that exceeds the normal course load of the program, but this requires a petition to the Registrar. You are required to receive a grade on your transcript (including internships, independent study, research) in order to receive Colby credit and all courses must be taken for a letter grade and not as pass/fail unless this is the only grading option.

Internships and Credits

We encourage international or domestic internship programs, but to receive academic credit,  the internship must be non-paid, include considerable academic work done in tandem with the work placement, and not exceed 4 credit hours. Typically, an internship is one of four 4-credit courses. Please consult with OCS to ensure that your internship will receive credit.

Jan Plan Credit

Jan Plan credit will be awarded for:

  • a full academic year program in 1 or 2 sites
  • a fall program which is in session through most of January
  • a spring program which is in session for most of January and whose total duration is at least eighteen weeks. (Holidays and vacation periods are deducted from the 18 weeks)

See list of eligible programs.

Transfer of Credits to Colby

  • Your grades will factor into your GPA if you are on a Colby Program (Bigelow, Salamanca, Dijon, St. Petersburg)
  • Your grades will not factor into your GPA, but will appear on your transcript if you are on a non-Colby Program

If you were on a non-Colby Program, your letter grades will appear on your Colby transcript, but will not be factored into your Colby GPA. It is, however, legitimate for you to include them for the purpose of employment or graduate school. For Colby Programs – Salamanca, Dijon, St. Petersburg and Bigelow- grades will appear on your transcript and will factor into your Colby GPA. Grades below a C- will not receive any credit but will appear on your Colby transcript.

In order to have your off-campus transcript released to the registrar, you must submit your OCS Program Evaluation . The information you provide is very important for our program review process as we strive to offer high quality programs and satisfactory experiences for Colby students. We value your input and feedback and constructive criticism.