Study Abroad Programs - Office Policies

Photo taken in Greece by Lisa Deabreu.

Policy for International Students Studying in Their Home Country

The University at Buffalo encourages all students from all backgrounds to study abroad. UB defines studying abroad as the act of a student pursuing educational opportunities in a country other than one’s own. Therefore, UB will not approve study abroad at locations where students have completed secondary education. This policy does however allow for those students who may be heritage learners. UB defines heritage learners as those students who were born in a country, or have strong familial ties to one country, yet have not completed secondary education in that country. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please contact the Study Abroad Programs Office.

Policy for Exchange Students on Short-Term Study Abroad Programs

UB Study Abroad Programs is happy to have our exchange students participate in summer or winter study abroad programs- as long as they understand they are responsible for full payment of the program costs. Our winter and summer study abroad programs are not included as part of our tuition-waived exchange agreements.

Policy for UB Transfer Students Applying to UB Semester Exchange Programs

UB transfer students interested in participating on a UB semester exchange program must have completed one full semester (12 credits or more) at UB. Students can begin applying for UB administered semester exchange programs abroad during their second (full-time, 12 credits or more) semester at UB.

Cancellation of a Program

The UB Office of International Education reserves the right to cancel a program at any time for the reasons that include, but are not limited to:

  1. Insufficient enrollment;
  2. US Department of State travel warnings or CDC travel advisories;
  3. The inability of the host institution to provide the program and adequate support.

If a program is canceled prior to departure, all payments that have been made to the University at Buffalo will be refunded. We will aslo work with the host institution to obtain all possible refunds for payments made directly to the host institution by the program participants.

Withdrawal and Refund Policy

Before you decide to withdraw from a study abroad program, we urge you to discuss this with the UB Study Abroad office before you make a final decision. We may be able to help find solutions to academic, financial, or personal problems that will allow you to remain in the program. If you decide to withdraw from your program, you must contact the UB Study Abroad office by email (studyabroad@buffalo.edu) to confirm your withdrawal as soon as you make your decision. If you withdraw before the program begins, the UB Study Abroad office will notify the host institution and will drop your study abroad registration at UB. If you withdraw during the program, the UB Study Abroad office will work with you and the host institution to withdraw you from courses and your study abroad registration at UB.

Please note: Failure to notify the UB Study Abroad office may result in the loss of any applicable refunds and the incursion of late payment fees which cannot be waived. Any decision to withdraw may jeopardize the credits earned, Financial Aid standing, and money paid in terms of non-refundable fees and airfares. Withdrawal from an overseas program also constitutes a withdrawal from the home campus for that term.

If you confirm your participation on a UB program but withdraw from the program at a later date, you will be subject to the following withdrawal and refund policy:

  • Your non-refundable program deposit will be retained by the UB Study Abroad office.
  • Tuition refunds will be subject to regular university tuition refund policies. However, tuition liability deadlines may be different from UB's standard semester/session dates. Financial liability dates will vary by the specific overseas program.
  • Depending on when your withdrawal occurs, you may be liable for financial penalties to cover expenses already made on your behalf by UB and the host institution. This is based on the fact that many program expenses are paid in advance and are often not refundable (e.g., housing fees).
  • If you have made payments directly to the host institution or their affiliates, any refunds will be subject to their refund policy.

Critical extenuating circumstanges will be considered by the UB Study Abroad office and the Office of International Education on a case-by-case basis.

Other SUNY Students:

Students from another SUNY campus are responsible for notifying both the UB Study Abroad office and their home campus of their decision to withdraw. Tuition refunds are subject to the rules and regulations of the home campus.

Non-SUNY Students:

Students from an institution outside SUNY are responsible for notifying both the UB Study Abroad office and their home institution of their decision to withdraw. Tuition refunds are subject to the rules and regulations of the University at Buffalo.

Grading Policy for Study Abroad Programs

We emphasize the importance of student academics on the study abroad program and expect all students to perform at their best academically while abroad. Outlined below are the ways in which grades and credits will be transferred from various study abroad programs.  

UB Students on UB Sponsored Programs

Participants on UB study abroad programs will be graded by the host institution according to their regular grading procedures. It is important to understand that grading scales will vary among countries and may be more strict compared to the U.S. Course names, credit hours, and letter grades will be recorded directly on your official UB transcript. These grades will be averaged into your GPA.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading

The regular UB policies for satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) grading apply to UB study abroad programs. S/U grading is an option of the student, not the instructor. UB students cannot select S/U grading for a course that is required for, or is a prerequisite to, their major(s) or minor(s), or general education requirements. No more than 25 percent of a student's total UB credit can be graded S/U. For more information on UB policies for S/U grading, please see http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/policies/grading/explanation.shtml.

How to request S/U grading - students on semester programs:

Students must send an email to the UB Study Abroad office (studyabroad@buffalo.edu) to request the S/U grading option within the first two weeks of the start of classes in their study abroad program. The course name(s) for which S/U grading is requested must be included in the email. Students will receive a grade from the host institution but this will be converted to S/U by the UB Study Abroad office upon receipt of the overseas transcript. Once the request for S/U grading is approved, the UB Study Abroad office cannot change it back to a letter grade.

How to request S/U grading - students on short-term programs:

Students must send an email to the UB Study Abroad office (studyabroad@buffalo.edu) to request the S/U grading option within the first two days of the start of classes in their study abroad program. The course name(s) for which S/U grading is requested must be included in the email. Students will receive a grade from the host institution/program director but this will be converted to S/U by the UB Study Abroad office upon receipt of the overseas transcript/grade report. Once the request for S/U grading is approved, the UB Study Abroad office cannot change it back to a letter grade.

S/U Grading for Non-UB Students

Non-UB students should check with their home institution for policies on satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading (also referred to as pass/fail grading in some institutions).

SUNY Sponsored Programs

Your official UB transcript will indicate your participation on a SUNY-sponsored program abroad by listing the total credit hours earned and a pass/fail grade. A transcript supplement with course names, credit hours and letter grades will be added to your records. Passing grades are not averaged into your GPA. The grade of “F” (failure) will be included in your GPA at UB.

SUNY Community College Sponsored Programs

Participation on a two-year community college sponsored program requires your completion of the Leave of Absence Form through the Registrar's Office. You will register at the sponsoring campus. Credits earned abroad will be transferred to UB and are shown as transfer credits on your official UB transcript. An official transcript should be sent to UB’s Office of Admissions upon conclusion of the program.

Non-SUNY Sponsored Programs

Participation on a Non-SUNY sponsored program requires your completion of the Leave of Absence Form through the Registrar's Office, as well as registration at the sponsoring campus (if any). Prior to departure, students must ensure that UB’s Office of Admissions will accept credit from the institution issuing the transcript (school of record). Credits earned abroad are shown as transfer credits on your official UB transcript. An official transcript from the school of record should be sent to UB’s Office of Admissions upon conclusion of the study abroad program.