Study Abroad

UNC–Chapel Hill guarantees that a global education is available to every student. According to UNC–Chapel Hill’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, “our graduates must demonstrate global competencies and skills to thrive as engaged citizens and successful professionals.” Study abroad can positively impact a student’s academic success, career path, and personal growth.

UNC–Chapel Hill’s study abroad programs are high-quality, credit-bearing academic experiences available at hundreds of locations worldwide to students in all academic programs, majors, and minors. Carolina strives to ensure that study abroad programs are accessible, affordable, and safe. A wide range of study abroad options meet the academic needs, financial realities, schedules, and language abilities of Carolina students. Programs include undergraduate student exchanges, faculty-led, direct enroll, and short-term immersion programs during the summer, semester, and academic year. Financial aid can be used toward study abroad program costs. We award more than $1 million in study abroad scholarships annually.

Campus Units Offering Study Abroad

The UNC Study Abroad Office in the College of Arts & Sciences is the primary unit responsible for managing domestic and study abroad semester, summer, and break programs for all undergraduate students at UNC, particularly those enrolled in the College (including Honors Carolina), and some professional schools.

The Kenan-Flagler Business School Undergraduate Global Programs office administers semester, summer, and short-term immersion programs for all major and minor students admitted to the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The Hussman School of Journalism and Media administers semester, summer, and short-term immersion programs for students admitted to the Hussman School.

Undergraduate students in the Gillings School of Public Health, School of Education, School of Information and Library Science, and School of Nursing are eligible for education abroad opportunities specific to their degree programs.

Types of Opportunities Available

Program options are available for students from all undergraduate majors and minors for students to study, participate in an internship, conduct research, or engage in service-learning abroad, domestically, or virtually. Programs vary by cost, location, length, and program type. Some offer a traditional academic experience in foreign classrooms, while others may take place primarily in the field. Visit the UNC Study Abroad Office for more information.

UNC students have a unique opportunity to earn a second bachelor’s degree during their four years of undergraduate study by enrolling for two or three semesters at the National University of Singapore (NUS), one of Carolina’s strategic global partner institutions, and fulfilling degree requirements at both UNC and NUS. The joint degree program is available to students majoring in economics, English literature, geography, global studies, history, or political science. There is no additional tuition cost to joint degree students. For more information about the joint degree program, contact the UNC Study Abroad OfficePlease note that due to general education curricula changes at both UNC and NUS, the JDP is on pause until fall 2024 at the earliest (2024–2025 academic year). Students who are interested in studying at NUS in 2023–2024 can participate in the NUS Arts and Sciences or Sciences exchange programs. 

Study Abroad Credits

Study abroad credit is awarded to students participating in approved programs administered by the Study Abroad Office and other UNC global programs offices. Students may earn academic credit for approved internship, research, and service-learning programs abroad (including virtual programs). Students seeking to participate in student initiated programs for academic credit may submit a petition for approval to the Study Abroad Office.

The credit approval process for study abroad courses is coordinated by the UNC Study Abroad Office or the UNC school sponsoring the program, and credit is awarded after the program ends and official transcripts have been received. UNC students may earn course credit that fulfills elective, General Education, language, and major/minor requirements abroad. All students who participate in approved study abroad programs earn experiential education (EE)/High-Impact Experience (HI) General Education credit (including virtual programs). Major/minor credits for study abroad courses that have not been pre-approved must be granted by the director of undergraduate studies or designated authority in the relevant department.

After the program is completed abroad, an official grade report or transcript from the institution must be received by the Study Abroad Office before equivalent credit is applied to the student’s UNC-Chapel Hill record. It is the responsibility of the student returning to campus to ensure the transcript from the institution abroad is received by the Study Abroad Office. If the transcript is not received by the end of the last day of classes of the next fall or spring semester following the study abroad term, the associated placeholder and credits will be assigned the grade of SI (see Study Abroad Grading below). As a result, the student may experience negative consequences. Examples are the inability to calculate academic standing, inability to calculate satisfactory academic progress, or inability to apply for graduation. It is critical for the Study Abroad Office to receive the student’s record from the abroad institution immediately following the completion of the abroad program. Students with outstanding study abroad credits will not be able to graduate until final permanent grades are posted for their study abroad courses (even if those courses/credits are not needed for graduation).

Study Abroad Grading

The University awards course credit for a study abroad program when the student has earned a grade of C or its equivalent.  For courses in which grades are reported on a scale other than A–F, students will earn credit only if the study abroad institution or program verifies that the passing grade represents achievement at the level of C or higher. If students receive final grades of C- or below (or the equivalent, if reported on a scale other than A–F), they will not earn credit or satisfy academic requirements and the course will impact the UNC GPA as a failed course. For courses completed in units other than semester hours, the university will convert credit earned to semester hours. Some programs, such as UNC–Chapel Hill faculty-led and short-term immersion options, offer UNC-graded course credits. 

For non-faculty led programs, the UNC–Chapel Hill official transcript will indicate the term abroad, the location (country) of the study abroad program, equivalent subject codes, equivalent course numbers, course titles for the abroad enrollment, equivalent credits earned, and specialized grading notations. The specialized grading notations are:

  • SA – Study Abroad Pass
  • SF – Study Abroad Fail
  • SI – Study Abroad Incomplete
  • SN – Study Abroad No Grade Reported/No Credit Awarded
  • SW – Study Abroad Withdrawal

When an abroad course is determined equivalent to a specific course in the UNC–Chapel Hill catalog, then the comparable subject code and course number is reflected on the record. To the extent possible, equivalent subject codes are used for listing classes completed abroad. If a comparable subject code does not exist, a generic subject code is used. If a comparable course number does not exist, a placeholder is used for the number. The details of courses meeting degree, major, and/or minor requirements is recorded internally on the student record.

Additional information on study abroad credit and grading can be found on the Study Abroad Office website.

Next Steps

Students are encouraged to begin planning for study abroad as early as possible after enrolling at UNC to ensure that a global experience is part of their academic program. The first step is to watch the Study Abroad 101 video series. Students can then schedule a one-on-one advising session in the Study Abroad Office or contact the global programs staff in their professional school. Study abroad staff assist students in selecting the best programs for their academic, financial, personal, and professional goals.

Deadlines vary depending on the type of program and UNC unit administering the program. Visit the above websites for the latest information.


UNC Study Abroad Office
FedEx Global Education Center, Room 2009, CB# 3130
(919) 962-7002
Jason Kinnear, Associate Dean of Study Abroad and International Exchanges

Kenan–Flagler Business School's Undergraduate Global Programs
McColl Building, Suite 3100, CB# 3490
(919) 962-1171
Ben Hershey, Associate Director, Global Programs, Undergraduate Global Programs

Hussman School of Journalism and Media Global Programs
Carroll Hall, Room 158
(919) 843-8299
Hui Yang, Assistant Director of Global, Immersive and Professional Programs