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Academic Information

Explore the links below for information about academic resources, process and systems at ASU.

ASU offers more than 300 academic programs. Learn more about ASU’s undergraduate and graduate programs and the courses offered through each program.


International exchange students are eligible to enroll in any classes in which they have applicable prerequisites. Students wishing to take a course that has a prerequisite are required to email or meet with an academic advisor in the academic unit offering the course in order to review the student’s home university transcript for prerequisites.  However, they must keep in mind the following:

Online courses: ASU offers several iCourses that are 100% online; international exchange students may take iCourses, but must be enrolled in at least 9 credits of in-person coursework (undergraduate) or 6 credits of in-person coursework (graduate).

Internet - Hybrid courses: ASU offers several courses that have both an in-person and online component. International exchange students are not restricted from taking hybrid classes.

In addition, the following ASU academic units/programs have enrollment restrictions:

  • W.P. Carey School of Business (undergraduate programs): seats are limited depending on the specific academic unit or course; one example is Supply Chain Management (SCM) which has extremely limited spaces for exchange students. For Business Courses open to exchange students and syllabi, review this link.
  • W.P. Carey School of Business (MBA): prior approval required during exchange program nomination phase (limited course offerings)
  • Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts: students studying a similar major at their home university will be required to submit a portfolio of work or audition to gain access to courses
  • Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering: Engineering students cannot take any engineering capstone courses at ASU.  In addition, some schools in engineering have further enrollment restrictions for engineering students:
    • Computing and Augmented Intelligence (SCAI): Students can take any lower division courses they wish.  For upper division courses, they need instructor approval to receive access to the course.
    • Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment: If there are a large number of open seats, students will be allowed to enroll in courses for which they meet prerequisites.  If there are very few seats available, advisors will wait until 1-2 weeks before the start of the semester before giving permission for exchange students to enroll.
    • Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy: After all registration has opened, students will be given overrides into courses that still have a lot of seats open.  If the course is likely to fill, advisors will wait until 1-2 weeks before the start of the semester before giving permission for exchange students to enroll.
    • To see which majors/areas of study fall under these schools, please review that information here
  • Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Comm: JMC courses are not available; MCO courses are limited.  Alternative courses in other colleges may be found under the following prefixes: COM, ENG, and FMS
  • College of Health Solutions: seats are limited depending on the specific academic unit or course
  • Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation: most courses are restricted
  • Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law: graduate-level courses are only available to graduate-level law students; undergraduate courses are available to all other exchange students
  • Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College: most courses are restricted
  • Specialty Courses: 
    • Capstone and thesis courses: Most of these courses are restricted for exchange students.  Students should not expect to be able to complete a thesis or capstone course at ASU.
    • Research and internship: These opportunities may be possible, but are limited.  The exchange student is responsible for seeking out their own internship/research opportunities.  Please contact our office for more information.
    • Barrett, The Honors College Courses: These courses are only available to exchange students participating on an honors exchange program with ASU.  If you are unsure if that applies to you, please check with our office.

International exchange students must abide by the same rules and regulations that govern all ASU students. All students are expected to adhere to the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Student Code of Conduct. The Student Code of Conduct sets forth the standards of conduct expected of students who choose to join the university community. Students who violate these standards will be subject to disciplinary sanctions in order to promote their own personal development, to protect the university community, and to maintain order and stability on campus.

The Code of Conduct and disciplinary procedures can be found on the Dean of Students website.

ASU International Exchange Program Policies

In addition, international exchange students must abide by the regulations agreed to in the electronic Signature Documents which were digitally signed during the application process. These policies can be found here.

U.S. University Class Culture

This section provides Information about how to succeed in the American college environment. The following are helpful tips and information to help you navigate and understand the U.S. university class culture.

  • As an international exchange student, you should introduce yourself to your instructors at the beginning of the semester. This helps the professor remember to give you more specific instructions on items that may be unclear to non-local or degree-seeking students.
  • You will be provided with a course syllabus for each course during the first week of classes. The syllabus will include professor contact information, expectations and rules, assignment and course calendar, course topic descriptions, and assignment instructions. Students are responsible for following the information in the syllabus.
  • In addition, most ASU classes include some online component. Most courses now provide the course syllabus, information, and materials online through the online course management system, Canvas. You may be required to participate in online discussions, submit homework online, etc.
  • ASU instructors are required to hold weekly office hours. This is a time when the professor is available to meet with students to discuss concerns, or offer assistance and additional explanation about course topics. The instructor's office hours will be provided on the syllabus.
  • Classes are usually very structured, with frequent or weekly assignments, active supervision and verification. You are likely to be told every week which chapters to read and what assignments to complete, and may also be tested on the required reading.
  • You will be expected to participate in group work in and outside of class, and in class discussions. Participation is often factored into the final course grade. Group work is a major component of the ASU class experience since graduates will work in organizations/positions requiring a lot of teamwork.
  • Be prepared to discuss various topics, including ones that are taboo or are contrary to what the professor or other students believe. This is okay as long as the communication is respectful of everyone’s opinions and beliefs. It is not considered improper to discuss ideas with a professor or a student with different beliefs than you, as long as it is done politely. However, do not take up too much classroom time to discuss one single issue.
  • American professors enjoy a curious and dynamic student who can present a hypothesis and support it. They should not judge the student on a personal level, but only consider the student's ideas.
  • It is considered very rude to be late to an appointment with an instructor, staff, or other student. It is important to notify the person in advance if you cannot meet them at the scheduled time.

The following are ASU academic definitions which are particularly important for international exchange students:

  • Co-requisite: A requirement to be met while taking one course, such as taking another particular course, is a co-requisite. See also “Prerequisite” in this section.
  • Course Prefix: A course prefix is a three-letter designation assigned to a group of courses.
  • Drop/Add: Drop/add is a process in which a student who has registered for courses for a term may drop or add courses until a certain day within the first week of the term.
  • GPA: The ASU grade point average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the total number of ASU grade points earned by the number of ASU semester hours graded. Grade point averages are rounded to the nearest hundredth of a grade point.
  • Grade Points: For the purpose of computing the GPA, grade points are assigned to each of the grades for each semester hour as follows: “A” = four points; “B” = three points; “C” = two points; “D” = one point; and “E” = zero points.
  • Incomplete: A mark of “I” (incomplete) is given by the instructor when a student who is otherwise doing acceptable work is unable to complete a course. International exchange students must complete all coursework and cannot receive an “I”.
  • Override: An override is placed by an academic advisor/faculty to allow student access to enroll in a course which is currently blocked due to one of the following:
    • Student does not meet prerequisites
    • Class is full
    • Class requires instructor permission
    • Class requires department consent
    • There is a time conflict with the course

As an exchange student, you will need to request an override for any course that lists a prerequisite.

  • Prerequisite: A prerequisite is a requirement to be met before registering for one course, such as completing another particular course. See also “Co-requisite” in this section.
  • Transcript: An official transcript lists in chronological order all courses taken at ASU. It includes all grades received. International exchange students do not receive a transcript. Rather, the GEO sends official grade reports to the student’s home university.

The ASU academic year starts with the Fall semester (August-December) and ends with the Spring semester (January-May). Each semester consists of three different course session options:

  • Session A (first half of the semester; 7.5 weeks)
  • Session B (second half of the semester; 7.5 weeks)
  • Session C (entire semester; 15 weeks)

International exchange students may take classes in any session as long as the student is enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours (undergraduate) or 9 credit hours (graduate) at all times. View the ASU academic calendar for specific dates.

International exchange students are responsible for searching for courses, requesting any required enrollment overrides, and for registering for courses. Before registering for courses, view the chart for the Course Registration Process. 

When to Register
An international exchange student should begin registering for courses no later than one month before the start of the semester because many courses may be full after this time. However, students can continue the registration process upon arrival to ASU. Students may begin the course registration process upon:

  • Receiving their official acceptance email from ASU (which includes the details necessary to access the ASU on-line registration system)
  • Submitting proof of the MMR immunization requirement to ASU Health Services and having it approved

How to Search for Courses
Search for courses and register using the ASU course catalog. Course listings will list all course enrollment requirements, course information, special course fees (if applicable), and syllabi (if available). Use the advanced search function in order to find various course options. In addition, this list includes course prefixes that may be of special interest to international students.

The course schedule for the Spring semester is usually posted at the end of October, and the Fall schedule is posted at the end of February.

Choosing Courses
Students should make a list of five to eight courses they would like to take at ASU in one semester, ranking courses by preference. It is important to have various options since enrollment in a specific course is not guaranteed. Try to be as flexible as possible when choosing courses.

Requesting Permission to Take a Course (Override)

Since exchange students do not have a previous ASU record, exchange students usually need to request course overrides from the academic unit in order to gain permission to enter a course that has specific prerequisites. View the chart for the Course Registration Process to see the process overview for requesting overrides.

Every ASU academic department has academic advisors that can provide additional course information, assist students with requests to enter a class that has prerequisites that need approval, and assist with the override request process for classes that are full. To request course overrides, use the course catalog to determine which department offers your desired course(s).  Once you determine which department offers the course(s), use the Course Override list to confirm the contact information for the appropriate department.  Each department may have a specific method for students to request overrides.  You may be asked to provide your 10-digit ASU ID number sent in acceptance materials and/or a copy of your home university transcript.  If you do not see a particular ASU department listed, please reach out to ASUExchangeStudent@asu.edu.  Note that exchange students must meet prerequisite requirements in order to be considered for a course override.

Students who are interested in taking courses offered through W.P. Carey School of Business should contact these designated advisors:

Business Undergraduate Courses MBA Courses
Michelle Laws, Michelle.S.Laws@asu.edu Kinsey Kavanagh, Kinsey.Kavanagh@asu.edu


Add/Drop/Swap Courses
Students may make changes to their schedule by adding or dropping a class up until the drop/add deadline for the term that the class is offered. It is recommended to swap a class rather than dropping it and then adding a new class. This ensures that students do not lose their place in the class they want to drop until they have successfully been added into a new class.

Withdrawing from a Course
Withdrawing means removing enrollment in a course after the drop/add period has finished. Students can do this through their MyASU account. International exchange students can withdraw from a course only if they continue to be enrolled fulltime. Students who no longer wish to participate in a class cannot simply stop attending. If they do not withdraw from the course, they will receive a failing grade. Learn more about how to drop/add and withdraw.

“No releasable ASU transcript” Note on ASU Account
International exchange students will have a “No releasable ASU transcript” note listed on their ASU account. Please note that this does NOT restrict students from registering from courses. The note simply indicates that international exchange students do not receive ASU transcripts, but that the GEO sends official grade reports to the student’s home institution once grades are posted at the end of each semester.

The primary language of instruction is English. ASU also offers various language courses for credit.

After registering for classes, a list of textbooks and supplies needed for each class will be available through Canvas. Students may purchase class textbooks and school supplies at any of the ASU Sun Devil Campus Stores located on each campus, other bookstores near ASU, or online through various websites. Check each store's policies about returning books or selling books back to the store at the end of the semester.

ASU provides free tutoring, writing and mathematics assistance, study groups, test preparation, and other student success services. Learn more about ASU’s student success services.

ASU has eight libraries and a comprehensive online library system for students to use for studying, group work, and research. Learn more about ASU’s library services

International exchange students may also use the local city government libraries and their online services. Learn more about the City of Tempe’s library services.

International exchange students must enroll full-time by the ASU course registration deadline and throughout the entire semester, as follows:

Undergraduate students: 12-18 credits credits per semester

  • Minimum of 12 credits
  • Undergraduate courses only
  • Typical full-time course load is 15 credits

Graduate students: 9-15 credits per semester

  • Minimum of 9 credits if taking all graduate courses
  • Minimum of 12 credits if taking all undergraduate courses
  • Minimum of 9 credits if taking a combination of undergraduate and graduate courses

Courses may be worth one or more credits, but most courses are worth three credits.

A minimum of 45 hours of work per semester by each student is required for each unit of credit. An hour of work represents a minimum of 50 minutes of class time, often called a “contact hour”, or 60 minutes of independent study work. For lecture-discussion courses, this requirement equates to at least 15 contact hours per semester and a minimum of 30 hours of work outside the classroom for each unit of credit. Even though the values of 15 and 30 may vary for different modes of instruction, the minimum total of 45 hours of work for each unit of credit is a constant.


Undergraduate courses are levels 100-400.

Levels 100-200 are "lower division". These courses usually cover general studies, are often large in class size, and include maximum instructor guidance. They also are likely to have weekly tests or quizzes and mid-term and final exams, are comparable to the last two years in European high schools, and attendance is usually recorded and counts toward the final course grade.

Levels 300-400 are “upper division”. These courses usually cover specialized studies, are medium to small in class size, include less instructor guidance than lower division courses, likely have two or more term papers, a mid-term exam and a final exam, are comparable to the first two years in European universities, and attendance is often recorded and counts toward the final course grade. 

Most upper division courses have prerequisites (mandatory prior coursework). However, many upper division Special Topics courses do not have prerequisites.


Graduate courses are levels 500 and above. Masters-level courses are 500-level. PhD/Doctorate-level courses are 600-700-level.

Graduate coursework is described as very specialized, creative work, and seminars. You will need specialized background work for these classes and a high level of English proficiency.

Some graduate courses allow undergraduate students to enroll in them and do not have many prerequisites. Additional information is available by searching for courses in the ASU course catalog.

ASU uses a letter grading scale (i.e. A, B, C, D, E). International exchange students must take a fulltime course load of courses that receive letter grades. Any courses taken beyond the minimum fulltime enrollment credit amount can be graded as Pass/Fail or Audit if the student would like, and Pass/Fail or Audit grading is available for that course. Please note that very few classes offer Pass/Fail grading. See ASU’s grading scales and grading policies for details.


International exchange students are not provided transcripts from ASU; instead, all courses, credits, and grades received at ASU are reported on the official ASU grade report. Grade reports are sent to the international exchange student’s home institution within two months after the end of the semester by email and/or mail. Grade reports are not issued for students with incomplete grades or outstanding charges on their ASU student account.
If international exchange students are required to report their grades at their home university in percentages or numbers, the student can request the information from their professors by using a form provided by the ASU Global Education Office.