Taking Classes at Other Colleges or Universities

by UMaineCLASAdvisingCenter

It happens now and again that a student may need a class that, for some reason or another, isn’t offered here at the University of Maine at a convenient time. Perhaps it’s a class that the student needs to graduate or is a necessary prerequisite for an important class. Perhaps there’s only one section of this class and it filled up quickly. Perhaps the class is just not offered. Or perhaps the student wants to take a summer class, but doesn’t live near enough to Orono to take one here on campus. In such cases or other similar situations, many students will do a Study Away.

Studying away is where you stay enrolled as a degree-seeking student here at the University of Maine, but take one or more courses at another institution. Generally speaking, there are two types of Study Away: you either enroll concurrently at UMaine and the other institution or you enroll only at the other institution. An example of concurrent registration would be a student who is taking courses on campus in Orono but also taking an online course through another institution, typically because the online class wasn’t offered at UMaine that semester. Conversely, if a student lives far from campus, perhaps near Portland, but wanted to take a course over the summer, they could take a course at USM or SMCC and have the credit transferred to UMaine.

How do you go about enrolling elsewhere? Relatively easily, in actuality. First thing you want to do is verify that you are in good academic standing (not on academic probation) and financial standing (not owing any money to any UMaine System Institution). Then, check with your advisor, to see whether he/she agrees that this would be a good course of action (you’re going to need their signature later, so it’s good to get this out of the way early). Next you need to find the appropriate class(es) at another institution. To do that, first go to UMaine’s Transfer Equivalency page. One that page, you can either search for equivalent courses at other institutions (if you know the specific class you are looking for) or you can look at another institution’s courses and find out what their equivalent course would be at UMaine. One thing to keep in mind about the Transfer Equivalency page, though, is that not every class from every other institution is included in the course matrix; only courses that have been transferred to UMaine at one time or another. If you know of a course at another institution that is not on the Transfer Equivalency matrix, check with your college’s dean’s office to find out whether it will work for your needs. After you’ve narrowed down the institution you want to attend and figured out what class you are looking for, so go to that institutions website and search if that class is offered.

If you find an appropriate course at another institution, you then have to register for it. To do that, contact that institution and let them know that you are currently a degree student at the University of Maine, but that you wanted to take a class (or classes) as a non-degree student at their institution. You generally don’t need to go through the full admissions process in that case, though it can vary by institution. If all went well, you’re now registered at another institution. However, that isn’t the end of the process, at least not for the conscientious student.

The point of finding a class through the Transfer Equivalency page was to verify that the course would be accepted here at the University of Maine and if it will fulfill the needed requirements (ie, general education category and such). The worst nightmare for a student doing a Study Away is to finish the course, only to have UMaine not accept it. To prevent that from happening and to facilitate the acceptance of credit, you should fill out a Domestic Study Away Registration form. This same form is filled out regardless of whether or not you are going to be concurrently enrolled at UMaine. Once you have filled out the form (which needs to be signed by your advisor or the department Chairperson), you will submit it to your college’s academic dean. For instance, students with majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences would turn in their form to Stevens Hall, Room 100, and students in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture would turn in their form to the dean’s office in Winslow Hall, Room 2. At the end of the semester, once your final grades are in, be sure to have the other institution send an official transcript to Student Records. As long as you have passed the course with a C- or better (C or better for ENG 101), you’ll be all set and you’ll have another class under your belt and on your transcript.

Studying away isn’t for everyone, but it can be useful to help you get the credits you need in a timely fashion. If you have further questions, check with Student Records or your college’s academic dean’s office.