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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. The Rutgers Center for Global Education (102 College Avenue) offers over 150 programs in approximately 50 countries, including exchange partnerships with foreign universities, language and cultural immersion programs, service-learning and internship programs, and short-term faculty-led courses abroad during winter and summer intercession. Many of these programs will provide opportunities to take history courses (in English) that can be transferred back to Rutgers and counted towards 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, but it is a good idea to talk over your options with an advisor before you go. The Center for Global Education provides all study abroad students with a course equivalency form that can be used to get written approval for any courses abroad to count towards specific major or minor requirements.

Q: What do I need to do to get credit equivalency towards my major or minor?

A: Study Abroad courses should be pre-approved by either the Undergraduate Administrator or the Undergraduate Director. Please email either for an appointment. You will need to bring a study abroad course equivalency form and a copy of the syllabus (or a detailed course description if no syllabus is available). It is recommended that students get written approval for course equivalencies before going abroad; however it can also be done upon return to Rutgers.

Q: How will courses taken abroad affect the distribution requirements in my History major and minor?

A: Courses taken abroad will ne counted in ways that conform to the distribution requirements of the History department. The Undergraduate Director 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). Generally, survey-like courses that have only exams or only exams and short papers will transfer back at the 100 or 200 level, while courses with a narrower focus 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 count a course taken abroad toward to the history major or minor?

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 makes sense to take a course on Spanish colonial experience or Muslim kindoms in North Africa or Iberia.  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 Spanish colonization of the Philippines 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 for the major or minor is similar.However, please note that students studying abroad on non-Rutgers programs are not considered Rutgers students during their time abroad, and thus must file a leave of absence request to have credits from abroad evaluated to be counted as transfer credits.

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 search for courses that will tranfer back at the higher level. Transferring a fifth course back at the 100-level will not help you in your major.

 

 

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