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Academic Expectations and Grades

Academic Expectations

Michigan State University expects education abroad participants to perform academically at standards commensurate with on-campus performance. You are expected to:

  • Attend class
  • Take exams
  • Read required materials
  • Complete homework and other assigned work
  • Follow the local academic calendar for academic activities.
  • Seek academic guidance when you need it

If you are not maintaining good academic standing while abroad and fear that you may fail one or more courses, you should notify your On-site Director (direct enroll and exchange programs) or faculty director (faculty-directed programs) as well as your MSU academic advisor.

  • A GPA lower than 2.0 for any individual course will result in no academic credit awarded. In some cases your grades will impact your MSU GPA.
  • If you earn a GPA lower than 2.0 during your term abroad, you risk being placed on academic probation.


Faculty-directed Programs

Your courses will be graded just like they are on campus. Grades will appear on your MSU transcript as numerical grades (0.0-4.0).

Direct Enroll and Exchange Programs

During your time abroad, you will be enrolled in “placeholder” courses (CSX or CSP). When you return to MSU, these placeholder courses will be removed and replaced with the actual courses, credits and grades you took abroad.

While abroad, you will be assessed based on the academic standards of the host institution. Grades, as they appear on your transcript, will come back in one of two ways.

Graded Credit

Grades will count towards your MSU GPA.  You can see what course codes will be graded by referencing the Education Abroad Partner Programs webpage of the MSU Office of the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

You must earn at least a 2.0 grade in a course in order for it to transfer to MSU. These credits will appear in the Transfer section of your MSU transcript. These grades do no count toward your MSU GPA.

Your grades will arrive via a transcript from your host institution. Please note it generally takes two to three months to receive transcripts from abroad. Once the Office for Education Abroad receives your transcript, we will forward them to the Office of the Registrar. If you receive your official transcript directly, please do not open it and send it directly to our office.

Taking Courses for Credit/No Credit

You have the option to request credit/no credit grading for faculty-directed programs or for graded credit on direct enroll or exchange programs.  The option to select CR/NC instead of grades follows the same rules and regulations as on campus. Choice of the CR/NC system must be submitted online or on your Course Approval Form (CAF) prior to the end of the 5th day of classes of the semester.  For abbreviated sessions, you have 1/14 of the number of weekdays (not classes) to notify your faculty director or Education Abroad Program Coordinator that you wish to earn CR/NC.