About Academic Credit

The most common way students receive academic credit is by doing an independent study through a professor at their school. Most professors will require you to keep a journal or notes while on the trip and then have you write a paper about your experience after you get back. Students usually receive 1 or 2 hours of academic credit for this type of independent study. Internships are another great way to get academic credit and professional experience. Check out our Internships page for more information.

Here’s how to get started:

If you are accompanying a professor from your school, he or she can handle your course registration, credit, and grading – but it is your responsibility to set this up.  Many schools use ISL to offer a specific course and send a professor on the trip.

If you are a Biology, Education, or Social Work major, the ISL experience often qualifies for internship or fieldwork credit. See your advisor and Study Abroad Office.

If you are creating your own independent study OR taking a course from a professor from a different school for the independent study:

a) Check with your academic advisor and Study Abroad Office to determine what kind of independent study credit will work for you.

b) Once you have clearance from your academic advisor and Study Abroad Office, choose a sponsoring professor and talk to him or her about your study. Follow his or her instructions on how to get the course properly accredited. Be sure to register your independent study as a course to be included in your next semester load, or you may end up paying additional tuition.

c) Send a copy of your independent outline and goals, as prescribed and approved by your professor to the Volunteer Experience Coordinator for your program.

d) All this must be done BEFORE you go on the trip.

e) Most professors prescribe pre-trip readings, and expect the keeping of a journal, photos and a paper, with a class presentation upon your return. The number of hours of academic credit will depend on how much work your professor assigns and how much credit he or she is willing to grant.

f) Questions? Contact your Volunteer Experience Coordinator (VEC) and they’d be glad to help!