Study Away

Study away can lead to meaningful learning and personal growth. ICS encourages majors to consider registering for "Duke in" or direct enrollment programs offered beyond the Durham campus. Service-oriented programs like DukeEngage can also offer students very rewarding, personally transforming, and memorable experiences.

Duke has global advisors who can help with choosing programs, balancing abroad experiences with academic plans, advance preparation through coursework and research, and processing such experiences upon return.

Study Away Options

There are a growing number of study-away and study-abroad options for Duke students, including:

  • "Duke in" programs: Offered through Duke, the Registrar’s office treats courses in such programs the same as courses taken on campus. Many of these courses meet ICS criteria for Region, Global, or ICS Language categories. They might, however, not be listed in the course catalog. Send the course synopsis and Duke Course number to the ICS DUS to make sure a course will count towards the major.
  • Duke-approved study-abroad programs: Sponsored by other institutions, students receive transfer credits for such courses. Many of these courses also meet ICS criteria for the Region, Global, or ICS Language categories. Note that grades for these courses do not factor into your GPA or transfer to your Duke transcript.

Study Away Requirements for ICS Majors

  • Up to four study away courses may be used to meet an ICS major’s requirements if they are determined to fulfill RegionGlobal or ICS Language criteria. See "Process to Receive Credit for ICS" below.
  • Students considering or planning a major in ICS are required to complete the gateway course, ICS 195, before a study away semester.
  • Declared ICS majors must have an approved curricular plan on file with the program before leaving for study away.
  • ICS 195, ICS 489S, and ICS 495S must be taken at Duke and may not be substituted with study-away courses.
  • ICS considers any study-abroad course determined to meet Region or Global criteria to be at intermediate levels (between 200 and 399 in the Duke numbering system).
  • ICS does not count independent study courses toward the major.

Process to Receive Credit for ICS

All Duke students planning to study away must first apply through the Duke Global Education office and follow their step-by-step guide.

For ICS majors, there is a three-step process to assure that study-away credit is received toward the major:

Duke Credit

  1. You must ensure that a course qualifies for Duke credit. Many courses in established programs have been taken by students and previously approved by the appropriate departments. Check the Course Approval Database on the Duke Global Education web site for an updated list. If the courses appear in this database, credit is awarded by Duke upon completion of the course with a grade of C‐ or better.
  2. If courses are not in the database, follow the process for study away course approval on the Duke Global Ed website. You will need to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the relevant department (e.g. History, Sociology, Theater, Portuguese) for an equivalent course and course number. Courses not approved before going abroad may not receive credit! 
  3. Contact the Duke Global Education office at for assistance with courses that do not appear and require approval.
  4. If information on courses is not available before leaving the country or a course change is made while abroad, fax or e-mail to assure that credit is earned for courses taken abroad.

ICS Elective Approvals for Study Away Courses

Language courses: As long as a course you take abroad is approved by the relevant department as a language course, then it will count towards your four required language courses for the ICS major.

If you want a transfer course to count as an ICS Global, Regional, or Research Methods elective, you will need to obtain approval from the DUS, Dr. Jessica Namakkal ( 

  • Before doing so, please confirm that the course(s) aligns with the corresponding ICS criteria for GlobalRegion, or Research Methods classes. Your email to the DUS must include the study away program, semester you took or are taking the course, the new Duke course number, departmental approval (if relevant), and syllabus for every relevant course you are seeking to get approved. For each course, you must also specify for which category (Global, Regional, Research Methods) you are seeking approval. Please make sure you have done the following:
  • Confirm that a Duke-approved course satisfies ICS criteria for Global or Region.
  • Have your new Duke course number, departmental approval (if relevant), and syllabus ready.
  • ICS will respond with a decision, copying your ICS major advisor. Course approvals will be noted on the ICS advising web tool. 
Check Your Transcript

Each student must request that an official program transcript is sent to the GEO‐U at the end of the study-away experience and confirm that all of the courses that appear on this transcript are in the Course Approval Database or that Course Approval Forms have been submitted and approved. Given the number of courses, institutions, and students involved, it is each student’s responsibility to follow up on issues related to their academic transcripts from study-away programs.