Study Abroad Programs

Program Overview

Study Abroad at UCLA

International students on campus

Study Abroad at UCLA is designed for students who want to spend a quarter or more at a top-ranked American university, earn credit that they can transfer to their home university, and experience life in Southern California. 

Program Details

Study Abroad at UCLA allows you to enroll in UCLA undergraduate daytime courses with American students and UCLA Extension evening courses with working professionals and international students.

UCLA Courses

If you want to enroll in Fall, Winter, or Spring UCLA courses, you must select undergraduate courses offered by the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences. The College offers a wide variety of courses in the Humanities, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

UCLA undergraduate courses are typical American university courses taught by UCLA professors; most courses tend to be theoretical. Undergraduate students apply one year in advance through a competitive process to enter UCLA. We refer to them as matriculated students because they have been accepted into UCLA degree programs.

As a non-matriculated student, your status at UCLA will be different from that of matriculated students since you have not been admitted to a UCLA undergraduate degree program. Your status is that of a “visiting student,” and you will not have the same rights and privileges as UCLA students. For example, you cannot pre-enroll in UCLA courses. Your enrollment is not guaranteed and will depend on special permission and on whether there is space available.

Restricted UCLA Programs and Courses

Enrollment restrictions apply to some courses and programs. You will not be able to enroll in any graduate level courses or courses offered by UCLA professional schools: the Anderson School of Management, School of Law, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Public Affairs, School of Public Health, Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, or Nursing, School of Theatre, Film & Television. Also, since UCLA does not have an undergraduate school of business, the selection of UCLA undergraduate business courses is limited. Despite these limitations, many Study Abroad students are able to enroll successfully in UCLA courses that meet their needs.

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UCLA Extension Courses

UCLA Extension offers a wide variety of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate courses. UCLA Extension is noted for its certificate programs, more than 40 of which meet international student visa requirements. Thus, a large number of Americans and international students take courses leading to certificates in specific fields such as accounting, marketing, real estate, project management, systems analysis, interior design, cinematography, journalism, and more. UCLA Extension courses and instructors are approved by UCLA departments.

The majority of UCLA Extension instructors are working professionals who are experts in their fields. The courses they teach are directly related to what they do in their jobs. Those who enroll in UCLA Extension courses are usually working professionals and international students who already have one or more university degrees. UCLA Extension courses focus on practical application and provide professionals and students with the knowledge and skills they need for their careers.

Since only your home university can make decisions regarding transfer credit, you will need permission from your university to enroll in some UCLA Extension courses. In many cases, you can enroll in and pay for UCLA Extension courses before you arrive in Los Angeles.

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UCLA Courses

  • Courses available: Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.
  • Enrollment is on a space-available basis. UCLA matriculated students have priority.
  • Permission to enroll requires consent of course instructor and/or department representative.
  • Course length is 11 weeks per quarter.
  • A full-time course load is considered three 4-unit courses for a total of 12 units.
  • Hours of instruction are mainly daytime from 8am to 6pm.
  • Study abroad students are eligible to enroll in UCLA’s College of Letters and Sciences undergraduate classes from the departments of humanities, life sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.
  • If you want to enroll in Summer UCLA courses, you can enroll in UCLA Summer Sessions. Students often stay for more than 1 quarter, and it is easy to transfer between Study Abroad at UCLA and UCLA Summer Sessions.

View UCLA Courses

UCLA Extension Courses

  • Courses available: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer quarters.
  • Enrollment is open to all who apply until courses are full.
  • Course length varies from three weeks to 11 weeks per quarter, depending on the course.
  • A full-time course load is considered to be at least three 4-unit courses for 12 units.
  • Hours of instruction are mainly evenings from 6:30 to 10pm. Some courses are offered on weekends and during the weekday.
  • To aid you in selecting courses that are able to be transferred, please review this overview.

View UCLA Extension Courses

Like many American universities, UCLA and UCLA Extension operate on the quarter system, with four 12-week sessions per year—Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer.

Study Abroad at UCLA offers UCLA Extension courses all 4 quarters and UCLA courses only in Fall, Winter, and Spring. If you want to enroll in UCLA courses for summer quarter, visit UCLA Summer Sessions.

Quarter Start End
Fall Late September Mid-December
Winter Early January Mid-March
Spring Late March or early April Mid-June
Summer Late June Mid-September

Following international student (F-1) visa regulations, Study Abroad students must enroll in courses that will be accepted for degree credit by their home universities.

Proposed Study Plan

To ensure that students are in compliance with this regulation, you are required to submit a Proposed Study Plan with your application, listing a minimum of 10 specific UCLA and/or UCLA Extension courses. These courses need to be approved for transfer credit by the academic advisor of your home university before you arrive for the Study Abroad at UCLA program.

The Proposed Study Plan will also allow our academic advisor to assist you with your educational objectives, and if a specific course is not available, you will have other course alternatives. It is very important to talk with a university advisor or study abroad consultant in your home country to be certain that courses offered through Study Abroad at UCLA are appropriate for you.

Enrollment Procedures

UCLA Courses

  • Guidance
    Study Abroad at UCLA advisors will guide you through the process and suggest courses where the chances for enrollment are good.
  • Course visits
    During the first days of the quarter, you will visit courses that appear to meet your academic and personal objectives. Each visit will provide you with a general impression of the course and the professor as well as the chance to review the course plan for the quarter and the assignments that students will be expected to complete.
  • Course admission 
    If you decide to take the course, you must:
    • Speak with the professor during the second week of course meetings
    • Present an enrollment form
    • Ask if there is space available in the course and if you may join
    • If the professor and/or department representative agrees, she or he will sign your enrollment form, and you will be able to enroll in the course
  • Enrollment
    Bring the signed enrollment form to UCLA Extension to finalize your enrollment

UCLA Extension Courses 

If you decide to enroll in UCLA Extension courses, the enrollment process is much simpler. After checking course availability and prerequisites for your chosen UCLA Extension course, contact the Study Abroad staff to determine the next steps. You may want to visit courses first to make sure that they meet your educational objectives. Please note that most UCLA Extension courses are offered in the evening between 6:30pm and 10pm.

Academic Credit

Academic work at UCLA is measured in units of credit. These measure the amount of time that a student has devoted to a particular subject.

One unit of credit represents three hours of work per week during the quarter, including both class attendance and preparation.

  • Conversion (quarter to semester units)—Divide quarter units by 1.5
  • Conversion (semester to quarter units)—Multiply semester units by 1.5
  • European units—30 ECTS=22.5 quarter units

Transfer Credit

The decision to accept transfer credit from UCLA, UCLA Extension, or any other university rests with your home institution or the university to which you wish to transfer credit. We recommend that you consult with your home university advisor or study abroad consultant to understand how these units of credit compare to those of universities in your country and to determine whether or not credit for specific courses at UCLA will be transferable.

Courses preceded by “XL 1-199,” “X 1-199,” and “XLC 1-199” carry transferrable credit within the University of California and have been approved by the UCLA Academic Senate.

  • XL courses are equivalent to courses offered on the UCLA campus.
  • X courses are structured in accordance with requirements for UCLA undergraduate courses but will include subject matter that is not a part of the regular UCLA undergraduate curriculum.
  • XLC courses are UCLA undergraduate courses taught by regular UCLA faculty. Students who are not matriculated at UCLA are permitted to attend, enroll, and record their credit through UCLA Extension.

Explanation of course numbers:

  • Numbers 1-99 indicate lower division (1st and 2nd year) undergraduate courses.
  • Numbers 100-199 indicate upper division (3rd and 4th year) undergraduate courses.
  • X 400-499 Courses: Many UCLA Extension courses are designated as X 400-level courses. The syllabus for each X 400- level course, as well as each course instructor, must be approved by the UCLA academic department that is responsible for the content in the course. Many X 400-level courses are accepted for transferrable undergraduate or graduate degree credit; however, the decision to accept these courses rests with the receiving (home) institution. Study Abroad students are required to enroll only in courses offering transfer credit. Thus, they need to obtain approval from an advisor or appropriate official at their home university indicating that transfer credit will be accepted for one or more UCLA Extension X 400-level courses.
  • X 400-level courses are defined by UCLA Extension as follows: Generally post-baccalaureate credit-bearing courses and lecture series in professional fields, designed in content, focus, and presentation style to standards of instruction used in professional-level degree programs. Credit earned in these courses may lead to the award of formal certificates by UCLA Extension and may be transferrable for advanced standing in degree programs in professional studies elsewhere, subject to the procedures of the receiving institution.

Study Abroad students will receive UCLA Extension transcripts with UCLA courses prefaced by XLC and UCLA Extension courses prefaced by one of the designations above.

    Official UCLA Extension transcripts are available at the end of each academic quarter. The transcript reports all UCLA and UCLA Extension courses, grades, and the academic credit earned for each course.

    UCLA Summer Session courses and grades are listed on a separate official UCLA transcript.

      Full-time enrollment

      • In order to meet international student visa requirements, you must maintain full-time enrollment.
      • During fall, winter, and spring quarters, a full-time course of study is 12 units of UCLA and/or UCLA Extension courses.
      • Most UCLA and UCLA Extension courses carry four units of credit, so you will usually be able to enroll in three 4-unit courses. This is a normal course load for most students.
      • If you wish to enroll in more than 12 units of credit, you will need to obtain permission from your program advisor, and you may need to pay additional fees.

      Minimum Grade Point Average

      • Students must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 (C average) for all coursework taken while enrolled in the program. 
      • Students whose grades fall below an average of 2.0 may not be eligible to enroll in a subsequent quarter of Study Abroad at UCLA.

      Student Status

      Admission to Study Abroad does not constitute admission to UCLA or to any UCLA degree program.

      However, degree credit earned through Study Abroad at UCLA may apply toward UCLA bachelors and/or masters degrees if you enter a degree program later.

      Contact Study Abroad

      Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

      Learn more about our international programs.


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