Khristina Spence in front of the Thames River with the London Eye and various buildings behind her

Study Abroad & Transfer Credit

Above: Khristina Spence (C'21) studied abroad at Goldsmiths, University of London in Fall 2019 

Study Abroad

Through Penn Abroad, Communication Majors have studied all over the world, including in London, Barcelona, Tel-Aviv, Seoul, Hong Kong, Australia, and Argentina. Students who study abroad earn Penn course credit while gaining cultural competence, enhancing language skills, and developing valuable skills such as creative problem-solving and adaptability.

Communication majors typically study abroad during the Fall or Spring semester of their junior year, in order to take advantage of other opportunities available to our majors, such as the senior honors thesis, which is completed over two semesters during senior year.

Majors who choose to study abroad are encouraged to take at least one approved Comm course towards the 200-level (intermediate level) major requirements. Alternatively, courses approved by other Penn departments for credit can be considered for Non-Comm elective major requirements. No more than three courses from outside universities (study abroad, transfer credits, or summer courses) will be accepted for the major. Courses must be approved before travel abroad occurs.

Majors interested in studying abroad should begin preparing by taking the following steps:

  1. Review the Penn Global website to determine your eligibility, assess the timelines, and meet with a Penn Global Advisor.

  2. Meet with your College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Advisor (varies by destination).

  3. Meet with Dr. Kim Woolf, Academic Advisor and Research Director for Undergraduate Studies, to discuss how summer courses or studying abroad can fit in with your Communication major and major-related opportunities. Dr. Woolf can also discuss program and course choices and the course approval process.

  4. Communication Majors should also meet with Basha Starr, Registrar and Associate Director of Student Services, to review the major worksheet to see what credits are needed to graduate on time.  

  5. Start the Penn Abroad application. When prompted to request Major Advisor Approval, please request approval from Dr. Kim Woolf at
Justin Cohen sitting on a ledge with water and the Sydney Opera House behind him



“Studying in Sydney, Australia was an experience I will never forget. It was fascinating to learn about media from another country's perspective, and the classes I took were amazing additions to my curriculum at Annenberg. Getting to study during Australian summer never hurts, either.” — Justin Cohen C'21




Transfer Credit for Courses Taken outside Penn

Courses taken outside the University of Pennsylvania may be considered for credit. These include courses taken for study abroad, courses completed at other universities by students transferring to Penn, and summer courses taken at other universities.

Which courses qualify for Communication credit?

Communication credit is limited to courses judged to be academically comparable in scope, rigor and general focus to those typically offered at the Annenberg School.

Credit is not given for some courses offered as Communication courses elsewhere (e.g., advertising, marketing, business communication, literature, public speaking/rhetoric, interpersonal/intercultural communication, practical skills in journalism). These courses may be more appropriately considered for credit by another school or department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Credit is not given for practical media production courses without theoretical underpinnings (e.g., photography, film production).

Credit is not usually given for online courses. However, exceptions may be made for online credit away courses taken during the summer at other schools.

No more than three credits from outside universities may be used to fulfill Communication Major credit. These include courses completed at other universities by students transferring to Penn, summer courses taken at other universities, and courses taken for study abroad.

How can I request transfer credits?

To request transfer credit, students must login to XCAT (External Course Approval Tool) and submit all course syllabi and other supporting materials. Students seeking transfer credit for study abroad or summer courses must submit all supporting materials via XCAT in advance of enrollment.

Evaluation of a current and complete syllabus of the course is required for final approval. All submitted course materials must be in English. (Course materials that are not in English must be translated before submission.)

Syllabi should include:

  • A complete list of weekly assigned readings and topics of discussion
  • Detailed instructions for projects, papers, and other assignments

Advance approval for study abroad or outside summer courses is required. Students who fail to obtain credit approval via XCAT before registering for a Communication course outside of Penn may not fulfill major requirements because the courses for which they registered do not meet the threshold for School approval.

Which requirements can transfer credits fulfill?

COMM Study abroad and study away courses are typically assigned the numbers COMM 2985 or COMM 2995. Students can apply a maximum of 3 total study abroad, study away, and/or transfer CUs to the major. This includes COMM 1985, COMM 1995, COMM 2985, COMM 2995, COMM 3985, and COMM 3995, as well as courses approved by other departments and applied to the Research Methods and/or non-COMM electives requirement. Communication and Public Service students are limited to 2 total courses taken outside of Penn.

Both COMM 2985 and COMM 2995 provide intermediate level major credit for courses. After completing the course, students can, in rare cases, petition for a course to provide 3000 level credit. Students seeking Communication major credit at the 3000 level must submit completed final papers and a detailed syllabus for the course for review by Dr. Kim Woolf.

Winston Britton outdoors in a navy sweatshirt with a red P

Eye-Opening Experience

“My term studying abroad in London was a fruitful, eye-opening experience that will forever highlight my Comm career. The courses in London were invigorating and provided me a different perspective on communication studies. Outside of the classes, it was gratifying to acclimate to British culture. I learned many life lessons from leaving my comfort zone in my study abroad experience and met so many kind-hearted, talented, and brilliant peers, professors, and people.” — Winston Britton C'21, New Hempstead, NY