Study Abroad Course Approval

Individual academic departments at Penn are solely responsible for determining which courses taken abroad are equivalent to Penn courses and whether the courses fulfill the major or other requirements. In some cases, the department may impose additional requirements for course equivalency to be granted, or the department may wish to evaluate courses upon the student’s return from study abroad. Students should be aware that it is difficult to fulfill General Education Requirements with courses abroad. Whether pursuing courses for free electives or for the major, students should consult with the assistant dean in the College Office responsible for the program, submit electronic syllabi through the External Credit Approval Tool (XCAT), and bring back all papers, exams, bibliographies and syllabi from abroad.

Students submit requests for approval and departments make determinations through XCAT.

log into XCAT

The online External Credit Approval Tool (XCAT) allows you to request College course equivalencies for courses taken abroad. This online tool is available to any Penn undergrad. However, Wharton courses taken at non-Wharton approved programs will not be considered.

You will enter your request for Penn course equivalency in XCAT. If your course was taken previously by other students and pre-approved by departments, it will be listed as a precedent. Precedents are guaranteed and, other than entering the year taken, no additional supporting materials or departmental approval is necessary.

You can submit requests as soon as you are accepted into your study abroad program. Note that some departments will not review requests until the course is completed and appropriate materials are submitted.

You can check the status of your requests by logging into XCAT. If your request is denied, please refer to any comments added by the department evaluator. 

Before abroad courses can be posted to your Penn transcript, you need to submit a request for each course you took abroad and they should all have Penn departmental approval. Withdraw from the  XCAT queue any courses you did not take, so that the only courses that remain in XCAT are the ones you were enrolled in while abroad. You will receive notification from Penn Abroad once your abroad transcript has been received and processed. Once all the steps above have been met, you can expect to see your abroad courses and grades on your Penn transcript within two weeks.  If this does not occur, contact the appropriate College advisor for your abroad program.

Contact the department for questions about the departmental credit evaluation.