Courses and Grades
Course Selection and Approval
The Office of International Programs works closely with our partner institutions to ensure a seamless translation of the abroad academic experience back to Biola, adhering to Biola policy as much as possible.
Beyond what is listed below, all students are subject to the academic policies of their host institution or program provider, including but not limited to: absence policies, academic conduct policies, and decisions regarding grades and credits. If you have any questions about your program’s specific academic policies, contact the Advising Center.
You are required to take a full course load at your host institution. Off-campus study students should take the equivalent of 15-16 US credits per semester. If you wish to overload on courses abroad (i.e., 18 Biola credits), contact the Advising Center before finalizing your course registration.
- Non-academic or audited courses do not earn credit or appear on Biola records.
Save all coursework and syllabi as supporting documentation of your work.
Students are expected to enroll in and maintain a full course load, equivalent to 15-16 US credit hours for each semester abroad. You may not withdraw from a course while abroad if this will take you below the 15-16 credit minimum. You are also expected to follow the guidelines regarding withdrawals at your host institution; in some cases, withdrawals may not be permitted.
While the ability to explore the world is a major benefit of studying abroad, your academic experience should be your top priority. Personal travel will sometimes need to take a backseat to your coursework. Students are expected to attend all class sessions regardless of extracurricular travel plans, and all students are subject to the absence policies of their host institution or program provider. While you should certainly make the most of your time abroad, you must also make sure you do not neglect your studies.
The academic system abroad may be very different from what you are used to at Biola. For example, you may not receive a detailed syllabus for each course or have as much homework and/or graded work as you do at Biola. In many places you will need to be more independent and self-motivated in your studies than you are accustomed to. You may not have to submit graded work until late in the semester, but this does not mean you can expect to cram at the end of the semester and do well. If you have fewer graded assignments, each will count for a larger proportion of your final grade, so it is very important to be prepared.
In all likelihood, you will have to develop new study skills , modify expectations and classroom behavior, and make a concerted effort to balance work and play. Most returning student say that courses off-campus are not necessarily harder, just different. Many students report that there seems to be a lack of academic pressure in their courses. This belief can be reinforced by the rate of student absenteeism at some universities. This can be very deceptive as it does not take into account the work that local students are doing outside of class.
Here are some tips for achieving academic success abroad:
Attend class regularly - The academic support that exists at Biola will probably not be available abroad, so make it a policy to attend every class. Miss class and you could miss vital information. It will be difficult to catch up if there is no class syllabus, faculty office hours or students to help you. Some schools will have attendance policies that will affect your grade if you have too many absences.
Stay motivated - There is generally less hand-holding in universities overseas. Chances are, you will not be able to rely on external checks from your professors or weekly assignments to let you know how you are doing. It will be up to you!
Know what it takes to succeed in class - Ask professors and classmates what you need to do to be successful in class. For example, in Europe classes are less structured but the students know what is expected of them and are used to studying with less guidance. In Asia, on the other hand, classes are highly structured and students can be quite competitive. Biola students who have already studied in the same Program are also an excellent resource.
Work hard - Study abroad is above all else an academic experience. Take your classes seriously, attend regularly, work hard and ask for help if you need it.