Information on Study Abroad


We will offer the Credit-Transfer Exam and Consultation Session online between August 17 and September 11, 2020. If you plan to take a Credit-Transfer exam, please sign up HERE, and take the written exam (up to 1 hour) & oral interview (about 20-30 minutes) before submitting your request on CATS. Those who request CHIN 1099 (general credits) can submit their application and upload the course syllabus on CATS directly.


Please read the following before approaching an advisor.

Study-Abroad Programs in China

Students who plan to transfer overseas credits should receive pre-travel advising from the Chinese Program to ensure a smooth credit transfer upon return. Please set up an appointment with Prof. Hang Zhang or Prof. Liana Chen for pre-departure consultation.

  • Recommended Programs:

    • ACC Intensive Language & Culture Program (Beijing)
      Highly intensive and rigorous language program with strict language pledge; best for Chinese majors and minors who wish to cover more transferable courses and improve their speaking and reading skills in a short period of time.
    • CET (Beijing, Harbin, Hangzhou)
      Moderate intensity with language pledge; suitable for Chinese majors and minors or students who wish to have more choices such as a roommate plan.
  • Other Programs:

Most Chinese language course credits you received from the following programs will be transferred as electives (CHIN 1099) which will NOT count towards the Chinese major or minor. If you wish to receive language credits for higher-level Chinese language courses, you can take the Credit Transfer Examination at the beginning of each Fall semester, or take other upper-level Chinese language courses at GW.

  • CSI (Chinese Studies Institute, Beijing): Moderate intensity with small-class immersion program and low intensity with the non-immersion program (some courses are taught in English); located at Beijing University. For intensive Chinese language classes, the immersion program is recommended.
  • CIEE (Beijing, Shanghai): Moderate intensity with small classes, a peer tutor program. Opportunities to live with Chinese roommates or a host family. Learn about contemporary China through a core course and work on a social research project conducted in English. Choose from Chinese or English language business electives or engage in an organizational internship.
  • SIT (Kunming): Moderate intensity with an option to continue Chinese language study in lieu of independent study project during the last 4 weeks of the program. Students live in two homestays, one in Kunming and one in the rural farming community of Shaxi.


Application Procedure and Credit Transferring Upon Return

  • Pre-Departure Preparation

  1. About 6-12 months before departure: visit the Office for Study Abroad for information and brochures on GW-affiliated programs of overseas study in China.
  2. Consultation: Meet with your academic advisor to talk about the requirements for your major. Chinese majors and minors with specific questions regarding program choices and Chinese language/literature courses equivalencies should make an appointment to meet with Prof. Hang Zhang or Prof. Liana Chen early in the stage of planning.
  3. Scholarship: GW has established scholarships to help students on Federal work-study supplement the income forfeited during a semester abroad. For more information, check the OSA website.
  4. Submitting the application: All GW students must submit an application through GW Passport as well as apply to the program on the Program Sponsor's website. It is important to allow enough time for the OSA to complete the University's academic and judicial review.  Conducting the academic and judicial review requires obtaining information from other offices on campus, so please allow 2-3 weeks to process the approval.
  5. Pre-departure orientation: All GW students are required to attend a Pre-departure Orientation held in November for students studying abroad in the Spring semester and April for students studying abroad in the Fall semester, Academic Year. Please check the OSA homepage announcements for the current semester's schedule.
  • While Abroad

  1. Course placement is often based on a placement exam administered on-site upon arrival. STUDY HARD before departure, so that you can be placed at a high enough level. Please note you may NOT earn credits for language courses already completed at GW.
  2. Keep a complete record of all documents, including syllabi, textbooks, lists of course materials, essays, semester projects, and examinations. Bring them back with you as you return to GW.
  • Upon Return

  1. Contact the OSA advisors if you have questions about the course approval and credit transfer process. Equivalencies have been established for many, but not all, the courses offered in these programs.  If you should choose to attend a non-GW-affiliated program, equivalencies will have to be established on a course-by-course basis.  Not all credits obtained in overseas programs are automatically transferred with the same credit value; for example, a 10-credit course taken overseas may be converted to 6 or 8 under the GW system.  Some overseas courses which do not fit into the GW system might still be transferred as electives, but in that form they may or may not satisfy your degree/graduation requirements.
  2. For obtaining approval for advanced-level Chinese language courses and literature/culture courses, or non-GW affiliated programs credit transfer, email Prof. Hang Zhang or Prof. Liana Chen to set up an appointment. The following documents are required for the process:
    • A course approval form from the OSA. Fill in only the course numbers and course titles of the courses you took overseas.
    • A list of all the Chinese courses you have completed at GW or elsewhere before the study-abroad semester.
    • Courses you completed with the study-abroad program.
    • Courses you still need to take to satisfy your degree requirements.
    • Course syllabi, textbooks, course materials, essays, semester projects, and examinations for all the courses that need to be approved.

Please Note:

If you fail to provide adequate documentation, or your samples of work done are deemed insufficient, you may be required to take a test (oral and written).

During the first semester after you return from abroad, you may be asked to take an examination to help us further evaluate your proficiency level. This will occur if one or more of the following apply to you:

  • You wish to place out of (i.e. to obtain a waiver for) a certain GW course.
  • You wish to receive credit for a higher source than the one automatically transferred (e.g. 4107 instead of 3105).
  • You attended a non-GW affiliated/sponsored overseas program.
  • You failed to provide adequate documentation to support your application for credit transfer.
  • Your grades for overseas study were below B, or you fail to demonstrate any marked improvement in proficiency.

Please contact Prof. Liana Chen or Prof. Hang Zhang to make the arrangement.


Q: Can I go to a study abroad program not affiliated with GW (not listed on the webpage)?

A: If you study abroad during the spring or fall semester, it should be a GW affiliated program. If you want to go to a summer study-abroad program not listed in this webpage, be sure to consult with advisors in the Chinese department before you make your decision.


Q: I took a placement test and I get waived from a Chinese class, can I get the credits of this course automatically?

A: The placement test is different from the credit transfer exam.  If a student is placed out of a class, or gets waived from a specific class, this does NOT mean he/she can automatically receive academic credit for that class. For example, a Chinese major student takes a third-year Chinese course in a non-GW program from the GW list of affiliated overseas programs after he/she completed CHIN 2004 at GW.  After returning from the study abroad program, he/she is placed into CHIN 3106. In this case, one of the required courses for the Chinese major, CHIN 3105, is still missing. He/she will not receive CHIN 3105 credits until he/she passes the credit transfer exam for this class, or after completing other upper -level courses as approved by a Chinese program adviser to fulfill the credit requirement.


Q: I completed a Chinese class (for example, CHIN 2004) at GW. However, I was placed into the same level class (the second-year Chinese course) in the study abroad program according to the results of the initial placement test. Can I still transfer the credits?

A: Yes, but only as elective credit. The GW system does not allow duplicated coursework and take repeating credits. To avoid this situation, please work hard before you go to the study abroad program and try to be placed to the appropriate level in the placement test conducted by the study abroad program.


Q: When studying abroad in China, I took a course in a field other than Chinese language and literature. Can I transfer the credit to GW if the course was taught in Chinese?

A: The course can be credited but within the same field rather than in Chinese major. You should speak to the corresponding GW department about transfer credit in this case. You may also be able to transfer some courses as electives.  In principle, you should have consulted your adviser before taking a course.


Q: What should I do if my course took with a study-abroad program is not on the “automatic Course Approval List” as posted on the Office for Study Abroad (OSA) website?

A: In this case, Chinese faculty advisors’ approval of credit transfer is required. The student must bring the course materials (syllabus, all tests and writing assignments as evidence of equivalency) to the Credit transfer Session within the first academic year upon returning. Applications for credit transfer for a course taken abroad more than one year  prior to the application will be denied unless legitimate documentations for the delay are presented and deemed acceptable by EALL.


Q: I was told that my study-abroad course can only be transferred to CHIN1099 and I am not satisfied with it. Is it still possible to get a higher level credit?

A: Yes, you can take an exam to appeal for upper-level credit transfers. Please check the Chinese program website for announcements for the exam time and location at the top of this webpage.


Q: What is the format of credit transfer examination (certifying exam)? When are the exams?

A:  We do not provide specific information about the format and content of credit transfer exams, but in general, these exams include vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing (including essay questions to be answered by typing or writing by hand). An oral interview may be conducted if necessary.

There are usually two exam time slots available at the beginning of each FALL semester to accommodate students’ schedules. If a student requests to reschedule his/her exam for a different time for any reason, a fee of $75 (cash only) will be charged.