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Most American universities and colleges recognize AIFS programs for academic credit. Since foreign universities do not use the same credit system as American schools, there are certain procedures all AIFS participants should follow.
Each American college or university has its own policy on the acceptance of transfer credits. AIFS does not grant credit itself, nor do foreign universities evaluate studentsí progress by the awarding of academic credit, the system used by American colleges and universities. AIFS serves in an advisory capacity to American institutions about the foreign equivalences and the amount of credit to award for academic work completed abroad. Transcripts are issued by the host institution, not AIFS.
To obtain credit for summer work, arrangements must be made with the home institution before departure abroad to determine whether credit will be granted for courses offered, and to learn which documents are required from the foreign university to ensure credit. Students should meet with their faculty advisor to discuss courses and placement in foreign language programs. Since students are given proficiency tests upon arrival, it is not possible to assure placement in a particular class. The advisor may suggest further meetings with the appropriate official. Florence, Rome and St. Petersburg applicants should meet with advisors to determine transfer credit before submitting their application, since courses cannot be changed once the application is received.
In cases where the American institution has a list of specific courses and documentation requirements, the student should present the list to the AIFS Resident Director immediately upon arrival at the foreign campus. This is important, as it is difficult to obtain documents, certificates, transcripts or diplomas from foreign universities once you have left campus.
To evaluate a foreign study program, American college administrators require a transcript giving details such as dates of enrollment, courses taken, number of hours per week in each course, etc. All AIFS students are given transcripts for their work issued by the host university abroad. If you have outstanding bills or unreturned library books, your transcript will be with held until accounts are settled.
Only the American institution can evaluate work overseas, and in all cases, only the American institution can decide to award transfer credit. Most American institutions grant credit for study abroad provided students contact them before departure and successfully complete the necessary examinations at the foreign university and obtain a proper transcript. Some colleges also require returning students to complete oral or written examinations upon return to the U.S.
If not currently enrolled in a 4-year degree program, or graduating from high school or from a 2-year college in June 2016, a student may have difficulty arranging credit in advance. In such cases, students should enroll in one of the Richmond programs. Richmond is an accredited American university; Richmondís credits are easily transferred to most colleges or universities in the U.S.
Many of the European institutions that AIFS works with award credits under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). ECTS enables cooperating institutions to measure and compare a studentís performance and facilitates the transfer of credits from the European institution to the U.S. institution. Every ECTS credit represents a particular amount of workload with, for example, 30 ECTS usually being awarded for a semester. 1 ECTS is equivalent to 25-30 hours of student work with the workload including independent study, research and seminars as well as classroom contact time. Many U.S. institutions use a 2:1 ratio when comparing ECTS and U.S. credits with 2 ECTS = 1 credit. Ultimately it is up to the studentís home institution to decide how ECTS credits the student has been awarded should transfer into U.S. credits for their degree program. AIFS recommends that students seek advice from their homes institution and gain pre-approval for the courses that they wish to take at the European institution in order to ensure that they are taking the appropriate amount of credits and that credits awarded will transfer at the end of the program.
AIFS provides course syllabi from the European institution and recommends credits for each course. Recommended U.S. semester credits shown in parentheses next to each course are based on 15 contact hours per semester credit and are not a conversion of ECTS credits.
How to apply for transfer credit
Programs taught by Richmond summer session in London, Florence or Rome, Internship, Globe Theater, or multi-country programsóEuropean Art and Architecture or Business, Politics in the European Union, British Fantasy Fiction, Perspectives on Genocide or Fashion Marketing and Merchandising).
Students are provided with undergraduate credit which is fully transferable to U.S. colleges and universities. Richmond is accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.
Programs taught by foreign universities:
Students currently enrolled in a U.S. college may be granted transfer credit by their own college or university if they apply for approval from the proper authorities at their academic institution before the start of the program. Some colleges and universities which have a summer enrollment requirement allow their students to satisfy the requirement by participating on an AIFS study abroad program. Students should speak with the appropriate officials at their college or university.
Graduating high school seniors should check with the universities they plan to attend to determine whether credits will transfer. All students receive a transcript directly from the foreign university.