Study Abroad and the History Major and Minor: Information for Students
Studying history in a foreign university can be a wonderful learning experience. Many students take the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of the country where they are studying, enriching their understanding of their host country and its traditions. Most History courses taken through Study Abroad can be transferred back to Rutgers and counted toward the History major and minor. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that will inform you about how courses will be transferred.
Q: Can I transfer back any History course I take through Study Abroad?
A: Yes, although there are some limits. Most courses that are taught in a History department and that deal directly with historical topics can be transferred back and counted in your major or minor. Courses that cover local or national cultures from a multidisciplinary perspective (including such subjects as geography, literature, art, and/or gastronomy) are generally not transferable as major or minor equivalents, even though they might include some coverage of history. Such courses can generally still be transferred back as electives and counted for general graduation requirements.
Q: Do I need formal pre-approval of my courses to get credit for my major or minor?
A: No. It is a good idea to talk over your options with an advisor before you go. SAS has a form indicating that you have discussed your program with an advisor before you go. This form is, however, not necessary to have courses transferred into your major or minor.
Q: What do I need to do to get credit equivalency towards my major or minor?
A: Bring back a copy of the syllabus for each course you took, along with copies of your notes and written assignments. When you return to Rutgers, you need to bring this material to the Undergraduate Vice-Chair of the History Department. He or she will review the materials with you and then decide on the appropriate transfer equivalency.
Q: How will the transfer courses affect the distribution requirements in my History major and minor?
A: Credits will be transferred back in ways that conform to the distribution requirements of the History department. The Undergraduate Vice-Chair will determine which geographical area the courses are most closely related to and give equivalency in that area (e.g. 508 for global history, 510 for European history; 512 for American history). He or she will also determine the appropriate level of credit to award (e.g. 100-level through 400-level). As a basic rule of thumb, courses that have only exams or only exams and short papers will transfer back at the 100 or 200 level, while courses that include a substantial research paper or a significant amount of other written work will transfer back at the 300 or 400 level.
Q: Is it necessary to find a Rutgers course that covers the same subject matter in order to gain approval to transfer a course?
A: No. You can transfer courses that do not have exact equivalents. You can even transfer courses that do not have near approximations.
Q: Will the major or minor requirements change in any way to reflect courses taken through Study Abroad?
A: No. The major and minor requirements are the same for everyone, regardless of where they have studied or what courses they transfer.
Q: How should I decide which courses to sign up for?
A: You should take courses that interest you. In most cases it makes sense to take courses that relate to the country in which you are studying. If you are studying in Spain, for example, it makes sense to take courses in Spanish or European history. It generally doesn’t make sense to take courses in something that is likely to be taught as well or better at Rutgers. It does not make much sense, for example, to study American history while in Spain, nor would it make much sense to study Asian history there (although a course on Asian immigrants to Spain would make sense).
Q: Can I transfer back credits earned through the Study Abroad program of another university?
A: Yes. The procedure for getting formal equivalency is similar to the process for transferring credits earned through Rutgers’ own program.
Q: Is there a limit on the number of Study Abroad courses I can count towards my major or minor?
A: There might be, depending on your circumstances. Majors are required to take a minimum of six courses at Rutgers-New Brunswick and minors are required to take a minimum of four courses at Rutgers-New Brunswick. If you have already transferred courses from other institutions, including AP credits, you should be careful not to exceed the limits on courses taken at other institutions.
Q: Is there anything else I need to take into account when choosing my courses?
A: Yes. You need to have a clear sense of where you stand in your major or minor before you choose your courses. If you have already taken the maximum number of 100-level courses allowed in the major (four), then you should be sure to find courses that are likely to transfer back at a higher level. Transferring a fifth course back at the 100-level will not help you in your major.
Q: Is there any way I can get help while abroad to determine how a particular course might be applied in a major or minor?
A: Yes. You can email the Undergraduate Vice-Chair and ask for guidance about your program of studies. If you want to make sure that a particular course will count towards your major requirements in a particular way (e.g. you need to get 300-level credit for a course) you can send a copy of the syllabus for review. Please bear in mind, though, that it may take several days for the Vice-Chair to reply to your message.