Study Abroad and “Course Equivalency”
At Baruch College, credit for study abroad is awarded strictly on the basis of what we call course equivalency. What this means is that any course you take at a foreign university or on a Study Abroad Program must closely match a course offered at Baruch in terms of content and academic level. The Baruch Application to Study Abroad requires you to request for each course you plan to take abroad that it will be approved for Baruch College credit. We call this a Course Equivalency Approval Request (CEAR for short).
After you have selected your program, you will be given two alternatives for adding CEARs to your Application to Study Abroad for that program:
1. The Course Equivalency Database
The Course Equivalency Database contains a list of the courses at the host university or Study Abroad Program that have been approved by the Baruch faculty for Baruch College equivalent courses within the past five years. You should check the Course Equivalency Database first to see if the course you are thinking about taking has already been approved for Baruch credit. If it has, you only need select it from the list, and it will be submitted automatically to your list of requested courses for that program.
However, please remember: The Course Equivalency Database is NOT a comprehensive list of all courses that could be approved for Baruch equivalent courses, only the ones that were requested and approved within the past five years. The Course Equivalency Database is an important and valuable aid to students. But it is only that.
If you do not see a course you want or need to take in the Course Equivalency Database, do not be misled into thinking that the host university or Study Abroad Program does not offer a course that could be approved for the Baruch equivalent course you seek.
2. New Course Equivalency Approval Request (CEAR)
Every course listed in the Course Equivalency Database started out as a new CEAR. If you do not find enough (or even any) previously approved courses you want or need in the Course Equivalency Database, you should select the second option given on the Application to Study Abroad: to submit a new Course Equivalency Approval Request. The link on the Application will open up a new form that will enable you to submit the new CEAR.
Finding Courses at the Host Institution
The websites of the host university or Study Abroad Program will provide information on the courses they offer that are taught in English (which most Baruch students will choose). Depending on when you begin looking, the host institution courses might not yet be posted for the term you wish to study. However, like Baruch, many institutions will offer many if not most of the same courses in the same term. Thus look for courses that had been offered in the corresponding term of the previous academic year.
The new CEAR form will ask for information about the foreign university/program course. It is unlikely that you will be able to provide all the information requested, so fill out as much as you can. For each CEAR you submit, you must upload an electronic copy of the full course syllabus. The form and content of what we call a syllabus might well be different from the document you find at a foreign institution. For purposes of the CEAR, a syllabus should include:
- Short description of the course’s topic
- Level of difficulty (introductory, intermediate, advanced)
- Outline of subjects covered
- Number of hours the course meets during the term or number of credits in the host country’s credit system
- Textbook or course readings
- Assignments for the course
- How you will be graded (quiz, exam, final, essay, presentation)
Please note that the course syllabus must be official; copying from a website into a Word file is not acceptable, unless you include a link to the original syllabus. Many of our exchange partner universities and sponsors of popular Study Abroad Programs have electronic copies of course syllabi available online, which will make it easier. However, if they do not, you should fill out the form based on the description; you can add the full syllabus later.
Finding equivalent Baruch courses
In most cases it should be fairly easy to find a Baruch course that corresponds to the course you wish to take abroad, based on the course title and description. You can see which Baruch course might fit by consulting the online Course Description Search database.
If you cannot find a close match among the regular courses Baruch offers, check if the Baruch department offers the equivalent of a “Special Topics in X”-type of course that might apply to the course you wish to take. You may also apply to receive general elective credit for a course without a close Baruch equivalency. This credit, usually awarded as BUS 7000, LAS 7000, or PAF 7000, may be used to fulfill a free elective or liberal arts elective, but will not fulfill a Pathways, major or minor requirement.
Do not worry if you do not find the best match; the final decision on whether a course is equivalent to a Baruch course, and if so, which course, will be determined by the Baruch department in any case.
Adding a previously approved CEAR to your Application, or having a new CEAR approved for a Baruch equivalent course is a necessary but not sufficient condition for you to earn credit for that course abroad. You must also be eligible to take the Baruch course in question, which means that you must have completed all prerequisites for the approved Baruch equivalent course (in addition to any required by the host institution), or obtain a temporary prerequisite waiver.
The online Application for Study Abroad will normally check to see if you have completed all prerequisites of the Baruch course you are requesting as equivalent to the host institution course. If you have not completed a given prerequisite, you should be prompted to provide a justification for the requested temporary prerequisite waiver. This information creates Prerequisite Waiver Request, which is also evaluated by the Baruch department.
See Academic Credit and Study Abroad for more information about a Prerequisite Waiver.
The Application to Study Abroad contains a third option for adding courses to an application: the “Conditional Permit.” Conditional Permits are never accepted for short-term programs, and very rarely for semester programs. All short-term programs make their syllabi available for their courses, as do most host universities and Study Abroad Program sponsors for semester programs. A Conditional Permit is reserved for those exceptional situations where a foreign university does not publish course syllabi online or cannot or will not make them available upon request, or the syllabi that are available do not contain all information necessary for the department chair to make a decision. You should only submit a Conditional Permit for a program after consulting with the Director or Associate Director of Study Abroad.
Submitting a Conditional Permit to avoid, even temporarily, preparing new CEARs is futile. Because they create unnecessary work for the Study Abroad Office, moreover, a frivolous submission of a Conditional Permit will weigh negatively when evaluating a student’s Application to Study Abroad.