Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad?

There is no better way to learn about other societies—their languages, cultures, histories, politics, economies, ecology, etc.—than immersing yourself in them. For that reason, the AMES department encourages you to explore the possibility of spending at least a semester abroad. And, to make the most out of your time abroad, you should plan carefully and prepare for the trip in advance.

How to Get Started?

To make the most out of your time abroad, you should explore in advance and compare different programs in the country or region in which you are interested and the particular attributes of the course offerings. Though coursework abroad generally involves immersion in local cultures, not all courses actually study these cultures and engage with them analytically. Only courses that instruct the language of the local culture or that have a significant cultural component may count toward a major or minor in AMES. Students who study abroad should therefore consider in advance their courses and how best to fit them into their program at Duke.

AMES majors who plan a semester or more abroad should contact the Office of Global Education and begin serious review of available programs and their course offerings at least one semester prior to their departure. Contact one of the Directors of Academic Engagement for Global and Civic Opportunities in the Academic Advising Office to discuss how best to select, experience, and reintegrate time abroad into their overall course of study at Duke.

A compilation of many of the AMES relevant programs currently being offered can by found on our International Opportunities page.

Advanced students should ask their professors for help in identifying suitable programs and courses.

For Non-Duke Sponsored Programs:

  1. Make a short list of courses you would like to take.
  2. Gather data that gives a clear and detailed picture of the courses. To judge if a course merits a transfer credit, AMES would need as much information on the course as possible:
    •  Beginning and end dates of the course. Total number of contact hours.
    •  A detailed syllabus of the course indicating topics covered, texts used, additional bibliography, and a list of course requirements.
    •  A complete list of the AMES courses that you have taken at Duke together with a list of your transfer credits.
  3. Once you have gathered this information you may contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies at and ask about the possibility of transfer credit. Alternatively, you may contact the Global Education Office and supply them with the information. They will then contact the AMES department.

Transfer Credit for Language Courses:

  • Only language courses taken in an immersion setting (i.e. in countries where the languages are spoken) will be considered for credit transfer.
  • The coordinator of the corresponding language program will first review the materials for any language transfer credits. Final decision, however, lies with the DUS.
  • For languages that are taught sequentially at Duke (Arabic, modern Chinese, modern Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean), courses must fit into the sequence of courses that the student has taken and will take at Duke. Courses will be approved only if they cover similar materials, at a similar level of depth and intensiveness to Duke courses. Courses that go beyond the most advanced level offered at Duke will be approved if their depth and intensiveness is deemed appropriate for their level.
  • Language courses that are offered in addition to regular sequences (like Classical Chinese or different Arabic dialects) may receive credit disregarding the sequence of courses taken by the student.

Transfer Credit for Culture/Literature Courses:

  • AMES will approve Duke Transfer Credits only for courses that have a significant cultural component, that is that at least 30% of course time and bibliography is dedicated to the exploration of culture and cultural products, be it language, literature, religion, philosophy, visual arts, performance arts, music, fashion, food, etc.
  • AMES will NOT approve Duke Transfer Credits for independent studies.
  • AMES minors may not count Duke Transfer Credits towards the literature/culture requirement.
  • AMES majors may count Duke Transfer Credits towards the literature/culture requirement in their area of concentration as long as at least 3 of their AMES courses are taken with AMES faculty ( Transfer Credits may only count towards the 100 level AMES courses in the area of concentration requirement for the major.
  • Questions about taking AMES courses while studying abroad should be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Yunchuan Chen (

Additional Study Abroad Information

  • Please note that Duke University only acknowledges coursework done at accredited academic institutions. Coursework done at other institutions—even if run by Duke faculty and even if identical to a Duke course—cannot be credited.
  • Please also note that transfer credits may not count towards more than 5 courses for a student’s major.
  • Courses taken abroad must be approved through the Global Education Office before you go. In case a course is canceled or does not fit the original course description, students are responsible for contacting the Global Education Office or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for advice and approval of alternate courses.
  • Please note that students are eligible to receive FL coding for a transfer course taken abroad, but only if it is taken in an immersion setting.