Plan ahead:

If you plan your experience early and are flexible about your location, studying abroad does not have to delay your graduation. To ensure your courses abroad are successfully transferred back to Mines, use the guidelines below.

1. Before you go abroad, determine what courses are crucial to stay on track to graduate. Your academic adviser can help you with this.

2. Browse our prior approval database to find courses that have previously been approved*  for Mines students.

3. Dig into the course catalogs of your chosen host university to find additional classes, if needed. You can find links for the host university course catalogs on the application site.

4. Complete a Prior Approval Form with the classes you intend to take abroad and attach course descriptions from the host university. Submit this form using the instructions provided.

5. Approvals can take up to six weeks to process. You will be e-mailed when your prior approval form is completed.

6. You can view your completed prior approval form under the “documents” section of your study abroad application.

*These are not the only courses available, but should give you an idea of which courses are available at specific universities. It is also not guaranteed these courses will be available the semester you’re abroad. Choosing a host university with lots of previously-approved courses will make the prior approval process easier.

All courses taken abroad are considered pass/fail and therefore are not calculated into your Mines GPA. The credit earned replaces the Mines equivalent course you received approval for.

NOTE: Your transfer credits will not be processed until an official transcript is mailed to Mines from your host program, which could be several months after you return from abroad. Plan with professors for when you return to Mines to make sure you have the required course prerequisites.

Before you go abroad, register for a full course load at Mines. This will ensure that you are still a student at Colorado School of Mines. We will drop you from your classes before census day. You will also need to register for your next semester at Mines while abroad, during the regular registration period. Consult the Registrars website for details.

Not all universities use the same credit system as US universities. Therefore, the exact number of credits you receive for a course abroad may not match the number of credits for an equivalent Mines Course.

Consider these scenarios:

  • Your prior approval form lists the course abroad as approved for 3.75 Mines credits. This means 3 credits will fulfill the Mines requirement, and you will have .75 additional credits that count towards your degree, but don’t apply to any specific course requirement.
  • Your prior approval form lists the course abroad as approved for 2.5 Mines credits. This should still fulfill the course requirement, but you will need to “make up” .5 more credits (typically with extra free credits) to stay on track to graduate.
  • Your prior approval form lists only 1 credit to transfer back for a 3-credit Mines course. You will not meet the requirement, unless you plan to take 3 one-credit courses that are all approved for the same Mines course.

Some departments have showed flexibility in allowing students to take extra lab courses when they return from study abroad. Consult with your department to ensure this is the case. 

Consult with your academic adviser if you have questions or concerns about the number of credits you plan to transfer back.

All undergraduate students studying abroad must be enrolled in, and plan to transfer back, the equivalent of 12 Mines credits. Failing to do this may have negative implications on your financial aid award. You must certify the number of credits you are enrolled in, via your study abroad application portal, within two weeks of arriving at your host program.

Graduate students must be enrolled in, and plan to transfer back, the equivalent of 9 Mines credits.

  • It is YOUR responsibility to verify that a previously-approved course will be offered at your host university the semester you’re going abroad.
  • There are some pre-approved classes (View the database HERE), but don’t be afraid to search out classes no Mines student has taken before.
  • You should get more classes approved than you intend to take.
  • Electives and general classes (i.e. Differential Equations, Fluid Mechanics) are usually easier to get approved than extremely Mines-specific classes (i.e. Physics I and II)
  • Mid-level HASS classes are frequently taken abroad, however, Mines-Specific HASS classes (HASS 100 & HASS 200) are difficult to take abroad.
  • You can complete prior-approval forms for multiple universities to help you choose between them. You can do this prior to submitting a study abroad application.
  • Plans change. You can request approval for new classes while you are abroad, if needed.


Global Education
Green Center, Suite 219
924 16th Street
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401 

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