Off-campus study should be a demonstrated part of your academic study at Franklin & Marshall College. Students should work with their Off-Campus Study Adviser and faculty adviser to ensure that courses taken off-campus can receive credit at F&M. Read on for guidance about course selection, credit translation, grades and transcripts.

You may also find our 2-minute Credit Transfer video useful in explaining the Off-Campus Study Academic Policy. All students are required to watch this video before meeting with an OCS adviser.


Choosing Off-Campus Study Courses

For most programs, students will not be able to finalize course registration until they arrive.  Even so, it is recommended that you gain approval for a preliminary set of courses, including your first choices and some backup options. We've outlined a set of questions that you may want to ask your off-campus study adviser and faculty adviser as you explore programs and begin your off-campus study application: 

Questions for your off-campus study adviser: 

Before you speak with your faculty adviser, you should explore your host institution's or off-campus study program's website to see the most up-to-date list of courses available for the semester you will be off-campus, and begin to make a tentative list of courses you are interested in taking. You are also encouraged to review the F&M off-campus study academic policy information that is available on the off-campus study website and as "learning content" within your F&M off-campus study application. You may then want to confirm the answers to the following questions with your off-campus study adviser:

  • How many courses do I need to take on my program?
  • Where do I find courses that might be available on my program?
  • My program requires an orientation course -- is this appropriate for credit at F&M?
  • I'm interested in a course in a department that we don't have at F&M (communication, criminal justice, education or engineering, for example). How do I know if I can receive credit for this here?


Questions for your faculty adviser:  

You may want to ask your faculty adviser as you prepare to choose your off-campus study courses:

  • What degree requirements do I have left to complete? What major/minor requirements do I have left to complete?
  • How many major/minor courses can I fulfill abroad? Are there any department-specific policies regarding off-campus study of which I should be aware?
  • Are there particular requirements you recommend that I should or should not try to complete abroad?
  • I have some information about courses I'm interested in taking off-campus. Do you think these courses would be appropriate for my major/minor/distribution requirements? (You will ultimately formally request approval for these courses through the Course Approval Questionnaire as a part of your F&M off-campus study application, but you can work with your faculty adviser to make an educated guess about a course).
  • What should I do if I get abroad and can't take these courses? May I email you for guidance in making alternative choices?


Please contact your off-campus study adviser if you have any additional questions about selecting courses for off-campus study.


Course Load, Approval, and Credit Transfer

You must enroll in what is considered to be a full course load at the host institution or off-campus study program.  In many cases, this will be four or five courses for a semester.  The amount of total credit that you take on the program is the most important consideration.

The general rule is 4 U.S. semester credit hours = 1 F&M credit.  However, because many off-campus study programs offer courses worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours, Franklin & Marshall will award 4 credits for a total of 15 or 16 U.S. semester credit hours.  If the total number of credits for your program is more than 16 or less than 15, divide the total number by four to find out how many course credits you will receive. But remember that for the full semester, you must be enrolled in a total of 15-16 U.S. semester credit hours to receive 4 F&M credits.

While off-campus, students can take courses towards their general education requirement (Arts, Humanities, Language Studies, Non-Western, Social Science), as well as towards major or minor credit. Additionally, students can take courses as "general elective" credit, or credit towards graduation (if you do not need a course to satisfy a particular requirement).

It is important to note that Franklin & Marshall cannot issue transfer credit for a course taken in a department that is not represented at the college.  If a course does not clearly fall under a department, the off-campus study advising staff can help you determine whether or not it can be accepted for credit.  Courses in vocational/pre-professional/career, physical education, engineering, drafting, military science, criminal justice, communications/journalism, tourism/hospitality, most education courses, music lessons, and wine/gastronomy courses are examples of the categories of courses that may not be transferred back to Franklin & Marshall for credit.  If you have a question about whether or not a course can be taken for credit, ask your off-campus study adviser in the Office of International Programs.

Transfer credit will not be granted for a course already taken at Franklin & Marshall.  This includes foreign language courses that are required for many off-campus study programs.  If you are required to take a foreign language course in a language that you have studied at Franklin & Marshall, you should be placed into the next level up from your last course here.  If your placement results in a level that you have already taken at the college, you will not receive credit for the course.

Once you have completed an application to an off-campus study program, you will be directed to complete the course pre-approval process. This process is very important in ensuring that the courses you take off-campus are appropriate for credit at F&M and help you stay on track for graduation. 

Course Registration

For most students, you will not finalize your course registration until you arrive on-site. However, it is important that you have thought carefully about the courses you plan to take off-campus and how those "fit" into your academic work here at F&M. The Office of International Programs encourages you to work with your off-campus study adviser and your faculty adviser to determine which courses you should take off-campus during the semester before your off-campus study. You should work closely with your faculty adviser to understand any departmental requirements or restrictions for off-campus study courses, including the number of courses you take off-campus that can fulfill major requirements. It is also important to have a clear understanding of your progress towards graduation at F&M and if there are any particular courses or course types that you should take off-campus.

Most students will finalize course registration on-site. Once you have arrived at your program, if you would like to enroll in a course that you had not previously planned on and you would like the course to fulfill major, minor or distribution requirements, you will need to request approval for that course (again, this is not required for "general elective" courses). Information on how to do this will be in the "Additional Course Approval Process" leaning content in your portal once you arrive.

You will also be required to submit your finalized course registration to F&M before your program's course add/drop date. You will receive more instructions about this process in your off-campus study application once your program has begun.


Courses on off-campus study programs must be taken for a letter grade, not on a pass/no pass basis.

All courses taken abroad that are transferrable back to F&M will be posted on the F&M transcript.

For all programs except the Advanced Studies in England program and the Summer Travel Courses, grades from off-campus study program courses will appear on your Franklin & Marshall transcript, but they will not be calculated into your cumulative GPA. 

This means that off-campus grades will not affect scholarship eligibility or rank in class.  However, many graduate and professional schools will consider these grades as part of your GPA and will recompute all grades together in considering your application for acceptance.  Again, the Advanced Studies in England program and Summer Travel Courses are the only exceptions to this policy; for these programs, grades will be calculated into a student's GPA.

You must earn a D- or better to gain credit for a course.

Program Transcripts

During the application process, you should provide an address to which the program will send a transcript. That address is:

Sarah Esh
Associate Registrar
Registrar's Office
Franklin & Marshall College
P.O. Box 3003
Lancaster, PA  17604-3003

Program transcripts are typically sent within two months of completion of a program.  When your transcript arrives, you will receive an e-mail from the Registrar's Office confirming that it has been received.