Advice for Course Selection and Credit Transfer

*Please note: We are currently reviewing this section.

It is very important to make all the necessary arrangements for credit transfer prior to your departure.

Step One:

The 1st step is to find suitable courses at your host institution. It is your own responsibility to find appropriate courses, but SU International will assist you with this challenging process. The host university’s website is a good place to start. You can also contact the host coordinator to assist you.

Where to find courses?

Currently it is not possible for SU International to have lists of all the course offerings of partner institutions, although this capacity is being built out.

It is always best to start at the website of the respective international office of the host institution. They normally have a guideline in terms of selecting courses at their institution and also an indication of which courses are open to exchange students.

In some cases the above does not apply and then you need to go to the general course catalog of the respective university. One way of doing this is to go to the main page of the respective university website and try to find it through the menus on the website, or use the general search function on the web page, typing in keywords like “course catalog” or “courses” etc.

See this short guide of how to find courses.

You have to find the following information about each course:

  • Name and course description
  • Number of credits (Guidelines: 1 ECTS = 2 South African credits; 1 USA credit = 4 South African credits) or an overview of contact hours.
  • Assessment methods
  • Period offered (i.e Semester 1 or 2): One thing that can be confusing for Stellenbosch University students, is the semester structure of universities in the Northern hemisphere. For example, if you are planning to go to a US university in your second semester, you will be attending courses in their first semester. So please make sure that you are selecting courses in the corresponding semesters.
  • Language of Tuition: If you can’t speak French, you can’t attend a French speaking university. So keep this in mind...

For example:

You have to replace a second year Stellenbosch University philosophy course with an academic weight of 12 SU credits, with either a second year philosophy course of 6 ECTS credits at a European university or a second year philosophy course of 3 US credits at a US university.

Second year philosophy course at Stellenbosch University of 12 SU credits


Second year philosophy course at European university of 6 ECTS credits


Second year philosophy course at US university of 3 US credits

You need to prevent that you arrive at the host institution and find out that a course that you need for degree purposes is not offered in the semester of your exchange. This may cost you an extra semester or year at Stellenbosch University, as the course will have to be completed in the next year. You can avoid this by doing very thorough research and reading the course selection instructions from your host institution very carefully.

Should I think of safe courses? What are they?

Sometimes it happens that courses are dropped at the host institution - which means that you can’t take your original choice of courses. The purpose of a safe course would then be to act as a replacement course for your first preference or original choice of courses. By selecting safe courses and let them be approved beforehand you give yourself peace of mind, because you know that there is a “back up option."

SUI does not take any responsibility, financially or otherwise, for students who need to extend their degree due to an exchange where course and credit transfer responsibilities were not met.

Step Two:

The 2nd step is to get approval for the specific courses at Stellenbosch University. The lecturer for each course or head of department will look through the course description and compare it with the requirements of the equivalent Stellenbosch course. The lecturer must sign off on the course that you have selected at the host university in order for you to receive approval of the host university’s “substitute” course. This must be done on the Learning Agreement form.

Please note that without the prior approval and the official process of signing off on courses, the credit transfer cannot be done on your return to Stellenbosch University.

Step Three:

Finalizing the learning agreement is the 3rd step in the process.

In order for SU International to assist you with credit transfer on return, you have to submit a signed learning agreement PRIOR to departure. Upon arrival at your host institution you have to get the learning agreement signed by the coordinator as soon as you have been registered for courses.

If there are any changes to your proposed courses you have to get in touch with your Stellenbosch lecturer IMMEDIATELY and provide alternative courses with course descriptions that can then be approved. Please copy your home coordinator on this correspondence and submit an updated learning agreement.

You might also receive a similar looking learning agreement from your host institution. It seems like repetition, but please have the Stellenbosch document signed. This is the document that has to go to the faculty secretary and needs to be official university documentation. We will attach it to the form requested by the host institution.


The host institution will issue a transcript of records (your study record with your courses and marks) at the end of the semester. This is the official document needed for the transfer of credit. No transcript will be issued if you have outstanding debt. Be sure to check that prior to your departure.

The transcript will be issued with the grading system of the particular institution/country. SU International will convert the grades and credit values to South African standards.

You will receive the original transcript from your host university for your own records after the credit transfer has been completed.


Learning Agreement for Credit Transfer:

Learning Agreement for Research Purposes:

Example of a Completed Learning Agreement:

Tips for Learning Agreement:


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