The home institution decides the transfer of academic credits. All Athena participants are encouraged to obtain pre-approval for the courses they will be taking while studying abroad and understanding the credit transfer process.

Course offerings, along with course descriptions, are published under each program specific section on Athena’s website. Syllabi, contact hours, and recommended credits for courses are available upon request.

What Students Should Know and Do

Students should plan on starting the course approval and credit evaluation process early in the process:

  1. Know the transcript options for their program.
  2. Know the host institution’s system of credits and minimum enrollment requirements (available upon acceptance).
  3. Seek pre-approval for your course selection, as well as alternate course as a back up for each course selected in case a course is not offered or full, or has a schedule conflict.
  4. Completing the pre, and post application processes as soon as possible and no later than the deadline, as most of our programs enroll students on a first come first serve basis. This of course means students completing their materials promptly will have a better chance of getting into their first choice courses.

How Study Abroad Advisors Can Help

  1. Provide the students with the home institution’s course approval and credit evaluation guidelines.
  2. Assist the student in determining the appropriate university entity in charge of the credit evaluation and the credit transfer process.
  3. Inquire with us if you need additional guidance regarding recommendations on credit equivalencies. We are here to help!

We highly encourage all participants to obtain pre-approval of courses(s) (including alternate courses) prior to departure. Athena will provide supplemental information including an English translation template and foreign grading scale (if applicable).

Credit Transfer and Evaluation Overview

The majority of Athena’s programs follow the standard U.S. credit transfer system where 15 contact hours is equivalent to one (1) semester credit.

The following is a brief description of other credit transfer systems that Athena students may encounter studying in one of our programs.  For your convenience, we have listed the programs impacted under each description. Programs not listed here use the regular U.S. credit system.


Athena Programs:

  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Heidelberg, Germany (SRH Hochschule)

In the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), credits are allocated to all educational components of a higher education study programme (including modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.) and reflect the quantity of work required by each individual component in order to achieve specific objectives or learning outcomes relative to the total quantity of work necessary to successfully complete a full year of study.

A standard full-time course load is 30 ECTS credit hours per semester. Courses may be weighted at 5, 10 or 20 ECTS credit hours.  Anything above the 30 ECTS credit hours would be considered an overload and could be subject to additional fees.

Per the European Commission, one ECTS credit generally corresponds to 25-30 hours of work, and universities in the U.S. typically award 0.5 U.S. credit hour for every 1 ECTS credit hour.

General Recommendation

  • 5 ECTS credits = 3 US credits
  • 10 ECTS credits = 5 US credits


Athena Programs:

  • Aberdeen, Scotland
  • London, England

In the UK, most schools follow the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS – England) or the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCOTCAT – Scotland) system.  As with the ECTS system, the number of credits associated with a course does not reflect the number of contact hours (lectures, tutorials, etc.) but includes the quantity of work required by the student. The number of formal contact hours can vary based on the area of subjects, where courses in engineering and the sciences will have more contact hours than other disciplines.

A standard full-time course load is 60 UK credit hours per semester. Anything above the 60 UK credit hours would be considered an overload and be subject to additional fees.  In Scotland, each course is typically worth 15 UK or 30 UK (upper level) credit hours. In England, each course is worth 10UK or 20 UK credit hours.

General Recommendation

  • 10 UK credits = 3 US credits
  • 20 UK credits = 5 US credits

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