Off-campus study should be a demonstrated part of your academic study at Franklin & Marshall College. Students should work with their Off-Campus Study Advisor and Academic/Faculty Advisor to ensure that courses taken off campus can receive credit at F&M. Read on for guidance about credit transfer, course selection, grading policies, and transcripts.

To view a 5-minute video detailing how credit transfers and what students should know to ensure they receive the appropriate credit to graduate on time, please click here.

Course Load & Credit Transfer

Program Transcripts

Course Selection & Registration

Degree Planning Worksheet

Grading Policy


Course Load & Credit Transfer

Students 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 4 or 5 courses for a semester but could be as few as 2 courses or as many as 6 courses, depending on the program.

When calculating credit, the general rule is 4 U.S. semester credit hours = 1 F&M credit.

Because many off-campus study programs offer courses worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours, F&M will award 4 F&M credits for a total of 15 or 16 U.S. semester credit hours.

For a semester term, students 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 toward distribution, or general education, requirements (Arts, Humanities, Language Studies, Non-Western, Social Science), as well as toward major or minor requirements. Additionally, students can take courses as "general elective" credit, or credit towards graduation.

CAUTION!  It is important to note that Franklin & Marshall cannot issue transfer credit for a course in a department that is not represented at F&M. If a course does not clearly fall within an existing F&M 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/nutrition are examples of the categories of courses that may not be transferred back to Franklin & Marshall for credit.

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.

Course Selection & Registration

For most programs, students will not be able to finalize course registration until after arrival on the program. However, it is important that you have thought carefully about the courses you plan to take off campus and how those integrate into your academic work here at F&M. We've outlined a set of questions below that you may want to ask your OCS Advisor and Academic Advisor as you explore programs and begin your off-campus study application. In advance of meeting with your advisors, you should explore your intended program's website to see the most up-to-date list of courses available for the term you will be off campus, and begin to make a tentative list of courses you're interested in taking.

Questions for your OCS Advisor: 

  • 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?
  • What is the process for getting courses pre-approved for credit?

Questions for your Academic Advisor:  

  • What degree requirements do I have left to complete? What major/minor requirements do I have left to complete? Which ones am I required to take at F&M? (See Degree Planning Worksheet below)
  • How many major/minor courses can I fulfill abroad? Are there any department-specific policies or restrictions 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?
  • If I find courses I'm interested in taking off campus, who should I speak to in the relevant department about whether or not they would be appropriate for my major/minor/distribution requirements?


Once you have completed an application to an off-campus study program, you will be directed to 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 ensure you stay on track for graduation. It is recommended that you gain approval for courses in advance, including first-choice courses and several back-ups.

Once on-site, students are required to submit finalized course registrations to F&M before the 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.


Grading Policy

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. Students cannot request that courses be left off the F&M transcript.

For all programs except the Advanced Studies in England program and the Summer Travel Courses, letter grades from off-campus study program courses will appear on the Franklin & Marshall transcript, but they will not be calculated into the 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 the GPA and will recompute all grades when considering applications. Again, the Advanced Studies in England program and Summer Travel Courses are the only exceptions to this policy; for these programs, grades will appear on the F&M transcript and be calculated into a student's GPA.

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


Program Transcripts

During the application process, students 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 to three months of completion of a program.  When the transcript arrives, students will see a note in Degree Works.

Degree Planning Worksheet 

Making a plan and completing this academic worksheet with your Academic Advisor will provide a forum to discuss your academic requirements and help you plan for your time off campus.

Students applying for a semester or academic year off campus will be required to complete this worksheet as part of the F&M OCS Application Process to ensure you stay on track with your degree requirements and graduation.

This worksheet is intended to accomplish the following during the OCS Semester Application Process:

  • Spark a conversation between you and your Academic Advisor(s) and relevant departmental faculty to ensure both you and the faculty have a full understanding of your degree plan and requirements and how off-campus study fits into it.

  • Inspire confidence in you, your Academic Advisor, and the IOCS faculty committee that you can study off campus in the program and term you are applying to and complete all of your degree requirements successfully for an on-time graduation.

  • Provide the OCS Advisors with information about specific degree requirements you must satisfy while studying on your chosen off-campus study program so that the OCS Advisors can ensure the program and term you have chosen align with your academic needs.