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Study Abroad

Immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture – travel abroad! We encourage you to explore the many terrific study-abroad opportunities available to you during your career at U-M.

Our department's role in the study abroad process is to assist Romance languages majors and minors in selecting appropriate programs and courses that will meet their degree requirements.

Choose a Program

Completing the LSA Language Requirement Abroad

Per LSA Policy, the LSA Language Requirement must be taken in-residence either at UM Ann Arbor or through UM 230 or 232 study abroad programs only. Exceptions are granted very rarely and must be approved in advance.

UM Study Abroad Programs

The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) manages LSA study abroad programs for the academic year, as well as the fall, winter, spring and summer terms. You can research available programs through M-Compass. Some other UM study abroad programs are offered through other colleges on campus. For more information visit the LSA Study Abroad pages.

Credits earned in programs that are under the direction of the University of Michigan are considered in-residence credits and the grades count toward GPA.

CGIS programs for students studying Romance Languages

Non-UM Study Abroad Programs

Choosing to participate in a non-UM/CGIS study abroad program requires careful planning, so be certain to talk with an RLL advisor as you make your decisions. Review and follow this PDF checklist which outlines the approval process for non-UM study abroad credit.

Look for non-UM programs which:

  • Are sponsored by a North-American university or a recognized third party provider. Most academic courses from accredited institutions/providers are transferable as general college credit. Some examples of third party providers are IES, CIEE, CEA, and ISA.
  • Offer a variety of courses and allow for direct enrollment at a local university. Many programs provide a few courses at a center with other foreign students, as well as the option of taking courses at a local university with students from the host country. If seeking major/minor-level credit, avoid language-based programs (i.e. language institutes, advanced language programs, etc.), as these tend to provide basic language instruction rather than advanced content courses. If seeking upper-level credit (300 for French & Italian and 400 for Portuguese & Spanish), research programs with the option to enroll at a local university and to take courses alongside native-speaking students. Also, look for programs that offer a substantial number of courses with syllabi and/or detailed descriptions.
  • Provide home-stays with a host family. Living with a host family will provide you with opportunities to engage in everyday language use and to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Non-UM spring/summer study abroad programs:

  • Search for a program which offers direct enrollment at a local university, with classes taken alongside local, native-speaking students.  Note: Many universities are not in session during this time, so it is less likely that this opportunity will be available.
  • Most summer programs focus on language and culture and offer few (if any) courses at the advanced level. In selecting a summer program, look for those which offer more advanced courses that focus on history, literature, culture, etc.

Guidelines for Study Abroad

Before going abroad, all students planning to count study abroad coursework toward an RLL major or minor are required to meet with a faculty to discuss the pre-evaluation of courses. Upon return from abroad (once credit has been posted to the UM transcript), RLL majors and minors are required to meet again with an RLL faculty advisor for the final evaluation of their coursework.


  • Enroll in courses that are taught in French with a 50% (or more) focus on France and Francophone cultures.
  • Students should seek programs which allow enrollment at a local university with French-speaking students.
  • Students should avoid conversation classes.
  • Language courses and introductory thematic courses (i.e. “Introduction à l'analyse littéraire”), often count toward the 270-level.
  • Content courses with a specific focus (i.e. “Littérature du XVIIIe siècle”) often count toward the 300-level.


  • Students should seek programs which offer courses conducted in Italian (a limited number of courses taught in English may be accepted).
  • Study abroad courses generally count at the 200 or 300-level.
  • You will complete your 400-level Italian coursework at UM.


  • Students should seek programs which allow enrollment at a local university with Portuguese-speaking students, rather than “courses for foreigners". 


  • Students should enroll at a local university with Spanish-speaking students, rather than “courses for foreigners”.
  • Regular university courses, taught solely in Spanish at Hispanic universities, in which our students are mainstreamed with local students, will typically count at the 400-level toward the major and minor. No major/minor level credit will be granted for fine arts, studio, and physical education courses. 
  • All courses must be pre-approved in advance by a Spanish faculty advisor. Failure to seek pre-approval may result in no major/minor credit being awarded for study abroad coursework. 

3rd Party Providers and 400-level credit

3rd party study abroad program providers (CIEE, ISA, CEA, etc.) generally do not offer center courses which transfer as 400-level UM Spanish credit.

For Spanish courses in CEA study-abroad programs, 279-399 level credit may be granted, based on evaluation of syllabi, which must evidence that the course was taught in Spanish. No 400-level credit will be given for courses taken in CEA programs.

Study Abroad Credits

All courses for the Spanish major/minor must be at least 3 credits each. Although UM Undergraduate Admissions may grant more than three credits for a course, a maximum of 3 credits for each course taken abroad will only be applied toward a Spanish major/minor. 

Internship courses as part of a study abroad

Some study abroad programs offer an internship course, which can be taken in place of the normal center or university course. To be considered as elective credit toward a Spanish major/minor, the seminar portion of the course needs to be taken in Spanish and all coursework should also be completed in Spanish. If taken in English, the course may be considered a cognate toward the Spanish major. Please keep the syllabus and all completed coursework. A Spanish faculty advisor will use this information to grant final approval of the course.

*UM students who study abroad as part of the IES Barcelona program are required to take the seminar which is taught in Spanish. (IES has agreed to guarantee that the Spanish-taught seminar is offered). As part of the Spanish-taught seminar, students will complete their assignments, field studies, presentation, and placements in Spanish. These guidelines apply to the Liberal Arts & Business and Advanced Spanish Studies (Fall/Winter), as well as the Intensive Internship (summer) programs.*

Prior to going abroad

Before committing to a program and going abroad, all students who plan to count study abroad coursework toward an RLL major or minor are required to meet with an RLL faculty advisor to discuss the pre-evaluation of courses. You should bring as much material/documentation about this program as possible, including syllabi. You should also know and describe whether the courses will be taken with international students or foreign students at either a center and/or at a local university. The faculty advisor will use these resources to complete the pre-evaluation of the courses.

Review this PDF checklist for specific steps regarding transferring non-UM study abroad or domestic credit. The following websites are also helpful and important resources: 

LSA Transfer Information & Residence Policy

RLL Transfer Credit Policy

LSA Study Abroad

Office of Admissions: Transfer Credit

UM Transfer Course Equivalency Database

Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) Online Form

While you are abroad

Students are required to meet with an RLL faculty advisor both prior to leaving and upon return. However, if an unexpected issue arises while abroad, please contact the advisor with whom you worked prior to going abroad (via email). You may also contact the Undergraduate Advising Coordinator.  Make sure to include important identifiable information as well as the name and location of your study abroad program. Keep in mind that most faculty advisors may be unavailable during the spring/summer terms, as most faculty are on leave at that time.  In this instance, please contact the the Undergraduate Team at; or the Main Office at (734)764-5344.

It is required that students keep syllabi and any other course materials, including graded papers and exams, presentations, class notes, etc. The more details provided about the courses, the more accurate the faculty advisor can be when evaluating the courses for equivalency.

If you are on a non-U-M study abroad program, make sure the sponsoring university sends your transcript to U-M Undergraduate Admissions.

If you are on a CGIS U-M program, your transcript will be automatically sent to CGIS after the end of the academic term.

After you return from abroad

The UM Office of Undergraduate Admissions posts general transfer credits from non-UM study-abroad programs.

The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) posts transfer credit for CGIS/UM study abroad programs.

Once the study abroad credits appear on your UM transcript (available on Wolverine Access), you are ready to make an advising appointment with an RLL faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will officially evaluate the credits for equivalency toward major or minor requirements. You need to bring all of the materials from your study abroad courses, including syllabi, graded papers and exams, presentations, class notes, etc. The RLL faculty advisor will review these materials to determine if and at which level the courses may count toward your major or minor. While study abroad courses may be accepted for transfer by the university, the RLL faculty advisor’s evaluation will determine whether the courses meet specific major/minor requirements.

To make a RLL advising appointment, click here. Keep in mind that faculty do not advise during spring/summer terms. Appointments are available during spring/summer terms with the Advising Coordinator under General Advsg for Major/Minor.


Photo of Spanish major Sarah VanDiepenbos taken on a trip to Lisbon, Portugal during her semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain.