Academic Differences

Rugby in Australia

An exciting adventure of studying abroad is experiencing a different way of studying and learning. The academic systems and traditions vary within the universities across the world. At Purdue most courses have frequent assessment including quizzes, assignments, exams, participation points, papers and an attendance policy.

At most of the universities overseas, all or most of the grade is based on a final exam or a large essay. With little assessment, it can be challenging for a student to judge their grade and progress in a class. Usually exams are in essay form with multiple-choice tests being uncommon. It is the student's responsibility to keep up with the class work and to meet with the professor if there are any concerns or problems.

Depending on the ability of the student and location, some students find the courses abroad easier than Purdue. Other students say the courses are more challenging overseas.

In New Zealand and Australia, less time is spent in the classroom. There is more emphasis to study individually outside the classroom. A course usually includes small group learning or tutorials and lectures. During the tutorials, students are expected to participate in the discussion as their grade usually depends on it. Obtaining above average grades can be challenging due to the fact that a 'C' is highly favored and viewed as a very good grade. Professors rarely give students an 'A' or a 'B.'

Earning CreditsZamorano Summer Program

Since the programs are Purdue-approved study abroad courses, students will remain enrolled as a Purdue student. The International Programs in Agriculture office will inform the student of the study abroad course number and number of credit hours for which to register.

International Understanding Requirement

Agriculture students are required to earn 9 credits in international understanding. These 9 credits can be earned by taking international understanding classes. If students decide to study abroad, some or all of the 9 credits can be turned into free electives. Students will still need to earn the 9 credits, but do not have to take specific classes towards international understanding. The credits earned abroad are the number of credits that will turn into free elective credits. For example if a student participates in a Maymester program, 3 of the 9 credits for international understanding are turned into free elective credits.


All credits and grades earned while abroad in fields that have been approved by the respective academic departments at Purdue are posted as direct

In the English Landscape Course

credit. Study abroad courses are treated as if they were taken at Purdue. The credits and grades are calculated into the GPA. 


Participants are responsible for following the same Purdue academic policies and regulations that they are subject to while on the Purdue campus. Students should be familiar with basic College of Agriculture and Purdue policies. Before leaving, participants will sign a study abroad agreement indicating they know and accept that they are expected to complete their course abroad, fulfilling all requirements and observing all regulations set by Purdue.

If an exam is given, it should be taken when scheduled. Students may not shorten the length of their program by making special arrangements. The coursework is evaluated and grades are assigned according to the criteria of the faculty leaders. Grades and credits are posted to the Purdue permanent record as direct Purdue credit. Incompletes are not permitted for overseas courses. Withdrawal from a Purdue study abroad course should be considered only after consultation with IPIA. Withdrawal may not only mean financial loss to the student, but the loss of course credit.

Semester Course Equivalency

When considering studying abroad for a semester, students should inform their academic advisor. The advisor will work with the student to determine what classes are still needed to graduate.

After figuring out what classes are needed, students should look at the courses offered at the university abroad. The courses are selected during the application process and before the students arrive overseas. Some classes taken abroad can come back as a Purdue class.

For example if a student needs to take Animal Science 102, the Introduction to Animal Agriculture course at Purdue they can take a similar course overseas. The course taken overseas will be listed on the transcript as Animal Science 400, Introduction to Animal Science.


To have a class overseas come back as a Purdue required class, a course equivalency form​ needs to be filled out. The course equivalency form is an agreement before studying abroad on how Purdue University will evaluate the coursework completed overseas. It is vital to have the form completed if a student must enroll in a specific course overseas and have the courses used in their Purdue plan of study. By completing the form, a student ensures the number of Purdue credits and course number and title that will be assigned. To fill out the form, students should:

  • Print off the course description from the university overseas
  • Have an idea what Purdue course they want it to match
  • Meet with the study abroad liaison (for agriculture classes you will need to talk to Tim Kerr)
  • After meeting with the liaison, meet with the academic advisor
  • Turn in the form to International Programs in Agriculture office