Many students fear that studying abroad will push back their intended graduation date, however with proper planning and attention to the academic offerings on different programs, many students are able to fit in a study abroad program into their time at Fresno State without delaying graduation. Each program offers different courses and each student is at a different place in their academic career, so it is important to pay close attention to the courses offered abroad and work with advisors to make sure the courses taken will fit into a study plan.


Before searching for the perfect program, students should visit their academic advisors to understand what courses they still need in order to graduate. Specifically, students should understand the major, minor and general education courses they still need so when they are searching for a study abroad program they know which courses to be looking for. 

Study Abroad Program Advising

The staff at SAIE will work with students to outline study abroad options that might fit the students’ general requirement. A business major who is interested in studying on an art program will be directed towards a study abroad program that offers business courses. Ultimately, it is up to the student which program they will apply for, but SAIE will try to show students programs that will meet the general academic plan of the student.   

Study Abroad Academic Advising 

To get courses approved students must visit the appropriate faculty or staff advisor in the department in which the course is offered. For example if a History major wants to take a Spanish class to use for general education, they would not go to the History advisor to approve the course. The student would need to go to the University Advising Center to get the course approved for general education.

What should the student provide?

  • University in which the course will be taken through
  • Course descriptions (or a syllabus if available)
  • Course equivalency form
  • Name and Contact information for the Study Abroad Office

Please note, in some cases, course approvals must go through a petitions committee which can take a few additional weeks.

Transfer vs. Resident Credits

Resident vs. transfer credit can be a determining factor when selecting a study abroad program. This is more of an issue for transfer students, and in order to earn a degree from Fresno State, there are a required number of units that must be completed in residence.  

Resident Credit
This is credit that applies to your residency requirement at Fresno State. Even though these units were taken abroad, the following types of programs typically award resident credit that will show up on your Fresno State transcript as if you never left campus:

  • CSU IP
  • USAC (semester based programs only)
  • Faculty Led Programs

Transfer Credit
This is credit that applies to your degree requirements at Fresno State, but will not count as residency units.

  • Fresno State Exchange
  • USAC (summer/winter programs)
  • Non-Fresno State


Students who do not complete course approvals before leaving on a study abroad program may have the option to complete the approval process upon completion of the study abroad program, however it should be noted that by waiting until after the program, students run the risk of not having the course satisfy a Fresno State degree requirement.