Watson Institute at Brown University
International Relations

Credit Transfer

All students considering transfer credit for IR concentration credit must discuss options with the concentration advisor beforehand.

Students may transfer credit if they:

  • studied abroad
  • transferred to Brown from another institution (transfer student)
  • took courses elswhere during the summer or while on leave (study away)

Courses eligible for transfer credit in IR must:

  • qualify for Brown graduation credit (check with a student Dean)
  • be transcripted (listed on your Brown transcript)
  • be approved by the IR concentration advisor

Study Abroad

Obtaining concentration credit for courses taken abroad while matriculated at Brown is a two-step process: (1) preliminary approval of your course selection from the concentration advisor before you go (signature required) and (2) final approval from the concentration advisor when you return to Brown with your syllabi, coursework, and transcript. All students, including those on Brown-run programs, must obtain formal IR concentration approval upon return to Brown. If you fail to obtain formal concentration approval, you will not be able to count your study abroad toward the IR concentration and will instead have to fulfill concentration requirements with courses taken at Brown.

How to get IR credit for study abroad coursework.

Transfer Student

The university determines the number of transfer credits Brown accepts when you are admitted as a transfer student. But the IR Program decides whether and how to apply your transfer credits toward the IR concentration. In order that your degree be truly a Brown experience, we require that at least 10 of the 14 IR requirements be completed at Brown. You must take your syllabi, coursework, and transcript to meet with the IR concentration advisor who determines which credits may fulfill IR requirements. The IR Program cannot apply credit taken at another institution until it appears on your Brown transcript and has recevied departmental approval in ASK. Course equivalency is determined by the associated department (e.g., HIST, ECON, POLS).  Note - courses taken online do not fulfill IR concentration requirements.

Transferring coursework for IR credit.

Study Away

Students may transfer credit from other institutions of higher learning in the US or abroad over the summer or while on leave from Brown. This is distinct from taking courses through Brown’s study abroad office (OIP). Study Away is typically undertaken to complete a prerequisite for a Brown course or to advance in graduation requirements, often at an institution close to one’s family home.

Obtaining IR concentration credit in this case is the same for transfer students, but includes the following additional first stepPRIOR to registering for the course, FIRST contact a transfer credit dean to verify that the course qualifies for Brown graduation credit. This is particularly important for courses taken at institutions with a quarter system and those taken over the summer which may meet for fewer class hours than that required by Brown. After confirming Brown graduation credit, then take the course syllabus to the IR concentration advisor to see whether the course fulfills IR concentration requirements. The IR Program can only use for IR concentration credit transfer courses that a) meet Brown graduation credit (and are "transcripted"), b) add to the overall coherence of the student’s IR program of study, and c) fulfill specific IR concentration requirements.

Summer Courses Outside Brown

The IR Program accepts a maximum of two courses taken during summer school toward the IR concentration. Summer courses not taken at Brown must be approved for Brown graduation credit by the office of the Dean of the College and appear on the student’s Brown transcript.


The IR Program does not give concentration credit to internships. While we consider internships to be educational and intellectually rewarding, we do not to confer credit for such work. Students may, however, earn IR elective credit for individual research via an independent study project that builds upon some aspect of a completed internship. For example, an IR student recently did a summer internship with Deutsche Bank in NY and then designed an independent study on the global financial crisis with a faculty member at the Watson Institute. International students getting paid for off-campus employment must apply for a CPT with OISSS and file a CPT Authorization and Independent Study form with IR.