College Credit


Overview of College-Level Coursework (For Gap Semesters & ISE)

If you are looking to get ahead on college credits, you can earn college-level credits on all of our Gap Semesters and Independent Spring Experiences (ISE). This optional college credit is earned either through Portland State University (PSU) or Naropa University (Naropa). All students are eligible to complete up to 16 quarter-credits (PSU). Gap Semester students are also eligible to take 4 semester-credits (Naropa) during the semester program.

The experiences you have on our programs are at the center of these college courses. The interviews with local experts, healers, farmers, artisans, activists and more are the course content. For PSU courses, in addition to experiential learning, for-credit students work with an Instructor of Record remotely, keep an ongoing journal, complete selected readings, and give presentations to the group. Upon completing the semester, for-credit students write a 5-10 page paper for each PSU course taken. For Naropa courses, for-credit students engage with local language teachers and a program instructor to deepen learning of the target language. All Dragons students engage in language study that is an integral part of the program, but students electing to take language for college-credit are given additional assignments, such as writing, readings, quizzes, or response papers and complete final presentations or exams.

When selecting courses, we recommend that you only enroll in courses you absolutely need for academic credit and that cover subject matter that you are genuinely interested in. The fewer academic responsibilities you have, the more you are able to stay present in the experience. Taking the courses for-credit doesn’t necessarily increase learning, but it adds a layer of academic accountability and articulation of your learning during the program.

Course Offerings

All PSU academic courses listed are offered on any of our Gap Semesters or Independent Spring Experiences (ISE) and you can enroll in 1-4 courses. In addition, we also offer academic credit for Mandarin, Nepali, and Spanish language courses through Naropa on select Gap Semesters. Click here to view Course Offerings.


Once you have decided on which courses to take, submit a Registration Fee and email a completed Course Registration Form to [email protected]. You do not need to apply directly to Portland State University or Naropa University. Registration is managed by Where There Be Dragons. Course Registration Fees are as follows:

  • Portland State University: $1,800. Whether you choose to complete one or multiple courses (up to 16 quarter-credits), the fee is the same.
  • Naropa University: $1,200. The cost for one 4 semester-credit language course.

Course Work

Once registered, you will be introduced to the instructor who will guide you though the college course(s). All course work will be submitted to the instructor to be assessed. The instructor will determine a final course grade after completion of all course work. Further details on coursework are provided in syllabi.

Request a Transcript

Final grades are submitted to PSU or Naropa which provides an official transcript. It can take 4-6 weeks for your grades to be entered by the Registrar. To request an official transcript from PSU click here and for Naropa click here. Note that transcripts are not automatically sent and must be requested.

Transferring Credits

Many students have success with transferring credits from a Dragons program to an institution of higher education. The first step is to contact your future college (either an admissions or an academic advisor) to understand the school’s process for transferring credit. Colleges and universities have varying processes and policies related to transferring credit from study abroad programs. Prior to your meeting, we recommend you review the Academics section on each program page of the website in order to be able to share this information with your advisor. You can also request syllabi for any courses you are considering taking for-credit. After the successful completion of the program, you can request an official transcript from Portland State University. You will then share that transcript with your college/university and follow their processes for transferring the credit.



   Fall Semester     Spring Semester 
Registration Deadline    August 25    January 25
Course Drop Deadline    October 5    March 5
Final Withdrawal Period    January 5    June 5



   Fall Semester     Spring Semester 
Registration Deadline    July 15    December 1
Course Drop Deadline    August 15    January 15
Final Withdrawal Period    September 29    February 21



Students can also earn college credit on select summer programs. This credit is provided through Naropa University. To determine which programs offer college credit, review our full list of summer programs and look for those that indicate “Optional College Credit.” The college coursework is integral to these specific summer programs and more information is provided on individual program pages. The registration process for college credit on the summer program varies from that of Gap semesters and will be communicated to you during the pre-departure process.

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