group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Finding Courses

    Finding Course Information

    Where you find course information for your study abroad program depends on which type of program it is. For Learning Abroad Center programs which are study center-based, the courses will be listed under the academics tab on each program page. For Affiliated study center-based programs, course information is available on the affiliate website.

    For any program that is host-university study, the course information will be found on the host university's website. Most affiliates will have links to the host university's course catalog, particularly if there is a specific one for international students. Once at the host university website, courses commonly can be found in 3 places: the course handbook/catalog/prospectus, the department website, or the university’s international office website.

    Though each university is different, here are some generalizations grouped by country and/or region:

    Africa & the Middle East

    African Institutions

    For many universities, you will not be able to find course syllabi online. However, some course descriptions may be available. Students should be flexible with the majority of courses they want to take abroad. Work through the program sponsor to try to access one or two needed course descriptions.

    South African Institutions

    Course syllabi are difficult to get for these institutions. Students often need to be flexible with the majority of courses they want to take abroad. However, if there are one or two courses that are needed for major/minor requirements, work with the program sponsor to gather the necessary information. Identify the courses from the host institution's website prior to contacting the program sponsor. The semester in South Africa is opposite from the US. (Our fall is their spring and vice versa).

    Americas

    Latin American Institutions

    For many universities, you will not be able to find course syllabi online. However, some course descriptions may be available. Students should be flexible with the majority of courses they want to take. Work through the program sponsor to access one or two needed course descriptions.

    Asia & Oceania

    Australian Institutions

    • Terminology (Australian = US)
    • Course = program of study or degree program
    • Subjects or Units = course or classes
    • Be aware that the semester in Australia is flip-flopped from ours. (Our fall is their spring and vice versa).
    • The 1000 level courses equal sophomore/second year in the US.

    Asian Institutions

    For some universities you will not be able to find course syllabi online. However, some course descriptions may be available through the host- university’s website. Work through the program sponsor to access course descriptions.

    New Zealand Institutions

    • Terminology (New Zealand = US)
    • Course = program of study, major, or degree program
    • Papers and subjects = courses or classes
    • Be aware that the semester in New Zealand is flip-flopped from the US. (Our fall is their spring and vice versa).
    • The 200 or 2000 level courses equal junior year in the US and are upper division.
    • Different levels (or years) of study often have different credit value assigned.

    Europe

    English, Welsh & Irish Institutions

    • Terminology (UK = US)
    • Course = program of study or degree program
    • Module = class or course
    • Prospectus = catalog or handbook 
    • Faculty = department

    Look at second-year UK courses (or modules) to match US junior-year and upper-division liberal ed courses. The second year also works well in general for mid-level major coursework. The 100 level is fine for liberal ed courses but not upper division.

    Taking courses across colleges can be difficult, so when looking for courses you may need to limit the search to 1 or 2 colleges. Some UK universities are on a trimester system, so you will need to pay attention to the term the course is offered. Also, courses may be year-long and may not be an option for you unless you are planning to study abroad for the academic year.

    French Institutions

    You will not be able to find course syllabi for any universities. Work through the program sponsor to access course descriptions.

    German Institutions

    • Terminology (German = US)
    • Studiengang = subject, name of major
    • Fakultät = department
    • Vorlesung = lecture
    • Übung = discussion
    • Vorlesungsverzeichnis = course catalog
    • The semesters are called Winter (= US fall) and Summer (= US spring) semesters.

    Smaller classes of 15–25 students that are American lecture and discussion combination style can be called different things depending on department preference. For example, at the university in Freiburg, this type of course is called a Proseminar by most departments, while Political Science calls it a Grundkurs (followed by a number I, II, or III depending on difficulty).

    Hauptkurse are the next most difficult courses after the Proseminar. Mostly upper-level native German students take them; most American students won't.

    Additional in-depth information about academics at German Universities is downloadable.

    Scottish Institutions

    • Terminology (Scottish = US)
    • Course = program of study or degree program
    • Module = class or course
    • Prospectus = catalog or handbook 
    • Faculty = department

    The US model of higher education was originally based on the Scottish model and there remain many similarities. It is a four-year degree program and Scottish students do two years of general studies before choosing a specialized subject. Course levels should match readily to a student’s level in the US.

    Spanish Institutions

    • Facultad = department
    • Licenciaturas = bachelor degrees
    • Courses are likely to be found within departments or degrees and possibly under Plan de Estudios or Programa de Asignaturas.
    • Look for courses in the primer ciclo, first, second or third year courses. These will match the US levels best.
    • Upper ciclo courses that are Cursos Optativos will match well also.

    You will not be able to find course syllabi for almost any Spanish university, however, you may be able to find course listings and descriptions online. Be aware that courses are difficult to confirm prior to arrival on-site as Spanish students generally follow a pre-set track and do not have to do course selection. They also generally only study one or two subjects and have more background than US students.