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The information on this page is designed to help you understand the academic resources and system at ASU. Please review all information carefully.
The ASU academic year starts with the Fall semester (August-December) and ends with the Spring semester (January-May). Each semester consists of three different course session options:
International exchange students may take classes in any session as long as the student is enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours (undergraduate) or 9 credit hours (graduate) at all times. View the ASU academic calendar for specific dates.
ASU uses a letter grading scale (i.e. A, B, C, D, E). International exchange students must take a fulltime course load of courses that receive letter grades. Any courses taken beyond the minimum fulltime enrollment credit amount can be graded as Pass/Fail or Audit if the student would like, and Pass/Fail or Audit grading is available for that course. Please note that very few classes offer Pass/Fail grading. See ASU’s grading scales and grading policies for details.
International exchange students are not provided transcripts from ASU; instead, all courses, credits, and grades received at ASU are reported on the official ASU grade report. Grade reports are sent to the international exchange student’s home institution within two months after the end of the semester by email and/or mail. Grade reports are not issued for students with incomplete grades or outstanding charges on their ASU student account.
If international exchange students are required to report their grades at their home university in percentages or numbers, the student can request the information from their professors by using a form provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office.
International exchange students must enroll full-time by the ASU course registration deadline and throughout the entire semester, as follows:
Undergraduate students: 12-18 credits credits per semester
Graduate students: 9-15 credits per semester
Courses may be worth one or more credits, but most courses are worth three credits.
A minimum of 45 hours of work per semester by each student is required for each unit of credit. An hour of work represents a minimum of 50 minutes of class time, often called a “contact hour”, or 60 minutes of independent study work. For lecture-discussion courses, this requirement equates to at least 15 contact hours per semester and a minimum of 30 hours of work outside the classroom for each unit of credit. Even though the values of 15 and 30 may vary for different modes of instruction, the minimum total of 45 hours of work for each unit of credit is a constant.
Undergraduate courses are levels 100-400.
Levels 100-200 are "lower division". These courses usually cover general studies, are often large in class size, and include maximum instructor guidance. They also are likely to have weekly tests or quizzes and mid-term and final exams, are comparable to the last two years in European high schools, and attendance is usually recorded and counts toward the final course grade.
Levels 300-400 are “upper division”. These courses usually cover specialized studies, are medium to small in class size, include less instructor guidance than lower division courses, likely have two or more term papers, a mid-term exam and a final exam, are comparable to the first two years in European universities, and attendance is often recorded and counts toward the final course grade.
Most upper division courses have prerequisites (mandatory prior coursework). However, many upper division Special Topics courses do not have prerequisites.
Graduate courses are levels 500 and above. Masters-level courses are 500-level. PhD/Doctorate-level courses are 600-700-level.
Graduate coursework is described as very specialized, creative work, and seminars. You will need specialized background work for these classes and a high level of English proficiency.
Some graduate courses allow undergraduate students to enroll in them and do not have many prerequisites. Additional information is available by searching for courses in the ASU course catalog.
International exchange students are responsible for searching for courses, requesting any required enrollment overrides, and for registering for courses. Before registering for courses, view the flowchart for the Course Registration Process.
When to Register
An international exchange student should begin registering for courses no later than one month before the start of the semester because many courses may be full after this time. However, students can continue the registration process upon arrival to ASU. Students may begin the course registration process upon:
How to Search for Courses
Search for courses and register using the ASU course catalog. Course listings will list all course enrollment requirements, course information, special course fees (if applicable), and syllabi (if available). Use the advanced search function in order to find various course options. In addition, this list includes course prefixes that may be of special interest to international students.
The course schedule for the Spring semester is usually posted at the end of October, and the Fall schedule is posted at the end of February.
Students should make a list of five to eight courses they would like to take at ASU in one semester, ranking courses by preference. It is important to have various options since enrollment in a specific course is not guaranteed. Try to be as flexible as possible when choosing courses.
Requesting Permission to Take a Course (Override)
Since exchange students do not have a previous ASU record, exchange students usually need to request course overrides from the academic unit in order to gain permission to enter a course that has specific prerequisites. View the flowchart for the Course Registration Process to see the process overview for requesting overrides.
Every ASU academic department has academic advisors that can provide additional course information, assist students with requests to enter a class that has prerequisites that need approval, and assist with the override request process for classes that are full. To request course overrides, search the ASU Advising Directory for contact information for the department that offers the course. When contacting an academic advisor: state that you are an international exchange student through the Study Abroad Office who is studying at ASU for only one or two semesters, include your 10-digit ASU ID number sent in acceptance materials, attach a copy of your official transcript(s) from your home university, and send the Course Registration Memo for Exchange Students. Note that exchange students must meet prerequisite requirements in order to be considered for a course override.
Students who are interested in taking courses offered through W.P. Carey School of Business should contact these designated advisors:
Business Undergraduate Courses
Michelle Laws, Michelle.S.Laws@asu.edu
Jacob Powers, Jacob.D.Powers@asu.edu
Students may make changes to their schedule by adding or dropping a class up until the drop/add deadline for the term that the class is offered. It is recommended to swap a class rather than dropping it and then adding a new class. This ensures that students do not lose their place in the class they want to drop until they have successfully been added into a new class.
Withdrawing from a Course
Withdrawing means removing enrollment in a course after the drop/add period has finished. Students can do this through their MyASU account. International exchange students can withdraw from a course only if they continue to be enrolled fulltime. Students who no longer wish to participate in a class cannot simply stop attending. If they do not withdraw from the course, they will receive a failing grade. Learn more about how to drop/add and withdraw.
“No releasable ASU transcript” Note on ASU Account
International exchange students will have a “No releasable ASU transcript” note listed on their ASU account. Please note that this does NOT restrict students from registering from courses. The note simply indicates that international exchange students do not receive ASU transcripts, but that the SAO sends official grade reports to the student’s home institution once grades are posted at the end of each semester.
International exchange students are eligible to enroll in any classes in which they have applicable prerequisites. Students wishing to take a course that has a prerequisite are required to email or meet with an academic advisor in the academic unit offering the course in order to review the student’s home university transcript for prerequisites. However, they must keep in mind the following:
Online courses: ASU offers several iCourses that are 100% online; international exchange students may take iCourses, but must be enrolled in at least 9 credits of in-person coursework (undergraduate) or 6 credits of in-person coursework (graduate).
Internet - Hybrid courses: ASU offers several courses that have both an in-person and online component. International exchange students are not restricted from taking hybrid classes.
In addition, the following ASU academic units/programs have enrollment restrictions:
Some courses have special course fees (i.e. laboratory fees, art supplies, field trip fees, etc.), which will be listed on the ASU schedule of classes. These fees are billed to and are payable through a student’s ASU student account.
After registering for classes, a list of textbooks and supplies needed for each class will be available through Canvas. Students may purchase class textbooks and school supplies at any of the ASU Sun Devil Campus Stores located on each campus, other bookstores near ASU, or online through various websites. Check each store's policies about returning books or selling books back to the store at the end of the semester.