UCSC-APRU Virtual Student Exchange


The Association of Pacific-Rim Universities (APRU) is a network of over 50 premier institutions of higher education across the Americas, Asia, and Australasia (a region that includes Australia and New Zealand). As a new member of APRU, UCSC will launch participation in the APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program beginning in fall 2021. 

The APRU Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program

The Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) Program provides UCSC students with the opportunity to enroll in one online academic course offered by a participating APRU member institution, as a complement to their full-time course load taken at UCSC. In exchange, a limited number of students from APRU member universities will be invited to enroll in select online courses at UCSC.

Program Details


Undergraduate students currently studying in a degree program at UCSC are eligible to apply to the VSE Program. Some course-offering universities and/or specific courses may have additional prerequisite, academic, and language proficiency minimum requirements.


There are no application fees and no additional tuition costs to participate in the VSE Program at this time. You will continue to pay normal UCSC tuition and fees and enroll in the online course at the APRU host university, at no additional tuition cost. Regular course fees will apply, if applicable, such as costs for textbooks, etc.

Note: The VSE Program allows for one online course per student, per UCSC quarter. 

Academic Calendar

Participating APRU universities offer their courses in one of three “Seasons” as determined by the course start date. There are three Seasons in one VSE academic year, which begins from September every year:

  • Season 1 - Courses start from September 1 to December 31

A course offered in Season 1 will be part of your fall quarter enrollment at UCSC.

  • Season 2 - Courses starting from January 1 to April 30
  • Season 3 - Courses starting from May 1 to August 31

Check back at this webpage in late fall 2021 for more information about how courses in Seasons 2 and 3 may be offered to UCSC students.

Finding Courses

You may refer to the APRU VSE Program website for a list of the APRU universities participating in the VSE Program, and the courses that are planned for offering each Season. Again, be sure to check course descriptions carefully for any additional prerequisite, academic, and/or language proficiency minimum requirements that may apply.

Note: Some universities have not yet posted course information for Season 1. This information will be available at the APRU VSE website by late July / early August 2021. 

Course Format 

The VSE Program allows you the opportunity to enroll in and attend an online course (synchronous or asynchronous) offered by an APRU host university. It will be taught by a faculty at that university, and you will be attending with fellow students primarily from that university.

Note: As a student in an online course, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the necessary hardware, software, and connectivity to participate successfully in the course. 

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous / Time Zones

Many of the APRU course-offering universities are located in different time zones. Therefore, as you review the course information and plan your course selection, you should pay particular attention to the Mode of Teaching (synchronous vs. asynchronous), Meeting Time, and most importantly, Time Zone. This is especially important if you are considering a course that is offered in a synchronous format as you will need to be sure to convert the course meeting times into your local time zone to verify that they will not conflict with any courses you plan to take at UC Santa Cruz. (Here is a handy time zone converter.)


A course taken as part of the VSE Program is awarded UC credit and will appear on your UCSC transcript. Your grade will be converted to a UC letter grade and calculated into your UCSC GPA, and the credits you earn will be converted into quarter credits and added to your total credits toward graduation. You may also petition the course for major/minor credit through your department, or GE credit through the Proposed Program Evaluation process. Please find more information in the Academic Planning section below.

Course Load/Credit Conversion

You will enroll in one online academic course offered by a participating APRU member institution to complete your full-time course load taken at UCSC. At the time of application, you will need to verify that the credits from the course you will potentially enroll in at the APRU host university (when converted to UCSC quarter credits) will not cause you to exceed the maximum enrollment limit at UCSC (19 credits).

Full Course Load Example:

  • 2 UCSC courses 
  • 1 APRU host university course 

How to Apply to the APRU VSE Program

The VSE Program Application process is managed centrally by the VSE Central Office, located at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Contact globallearning@ucsc.edu with questions about the APRU VSE Program.

  1. Submit your VSE Program application to the VSE Central Office via the APRU website, both within the UCSC Season 1 (fall) application processing period, and by the published deadline for your chosen APRU host university. Deadlines range from late June through late August, so please check carefully. Important Note: Deadlines are in Hong Kong time, which is 15 hours ahead of Santa Cruz time so your application needs to be submitted 15 hours prior to the published deadline. 
  1. View host universities, courses, and corresponding application deadlines here*. 

* Course information for the remaining universities participating in Season 1 (fall) will be available at the APRU VSE website by late July/early August 2021.

  1. View detailed instructions for completing the APRU VSE Application here**.

** The APRU VSE application system allows you to apply for up to two courses in a "Season" (by submitting one application for each course.)  However, UCSC students may only enroll in one APRU VSE course per UCSC quarter. You may apply for one course as a first choice, and optionally, a second course as a backup in case you are not approved for your first choice. If you are ultimately approved for both courses, then you will need to choose only one in which to actually enroll, forgoing the other.

  1. Await the application result from the course-offering university.
    1. Applications are processed by the VSE Central Office as they are received.
  1. If your application is received by the appropriate deadline and meets all eligibility requirements, UCSC will endorse your application and it will be forwarded to the APRU course-offering university for final approval to enroll*.
  2. You will be notified directly by the VSE Central Office of your approval by the host university. 

* UCSC endorsement of your application is not a guarantee of approval for enrollment. Host universities make final decisions regarding enrollment.

Academic Planning

Course Enrollment

  • Enrollment at the Host University
    • If your application is approved, you will be provided with further instructions from your host university about how to enroll.
  • Enrollment at UCSC
    • Additionally, at UCSC, you will be manually enrolled in the VSE course which will appear on your UCSC schedule. Upon completion of the VSE course, your APRU host university will forward a transcript to UCSC Global Engagement for processing, including having your VSE course credits and grade added to your UCSC transcript.

How to Obtain Major or Minor Credit for a Course Taken on APRU VSE Program

Speak with your major/minor department advisor to determine your chosen VSE Program course. Departments have final approval over which, if any, courses may be used to satisfy major/minor requirements. Approval processes vary by department. You should be prepared to share course information, which may include course description, syllabi, or coursework, with your department to review.

How to Obtain General Education (GE) Credit for a Course Taken on APRU VSE Program

You may request pre-approval for courses by completing a Proposed Program Evaluation through the Office of Admissions. Allow up to 6 weeks for your request to be reviewed – start early! If your academic plan relies on satisfying a specific GE through the VSE Program, it is strongly recommended you request pre-approval rather than assume your VSE Program course will satisfy a GE. The DC requirement must be taken through UCSC.

The UCSC Office of Admissions has final approval over which, if any, courses may be used to satisfy GE requirements.

Important Considerations

Repeating a Course as part of the UCSC-APRU VSE Program

It is not possible to replace a grade earned in the VSE Program course by taking a similar course at UCSC. Similarly, it is not possible to earn credit for a course on the VSE Program that you have already completed at UCSC. You should also not plan to retake the VSE Program course. Your grade earned in an APRU VSE Program course is final.

Pass/No Pass

You are expected to follow the UCSC policy on the Pass/No Pass Option. If you are in good academic standing you may request to take a specific course Pass/No Pass, but no more than 25 percent of your UCSC credits applied toward graduation may be graded as Pass/No Pass. Students receive a P (Pass) for work that is performed at C level or better. Work performed at below a C level receives a notation of NP on your transcript, and no academic credit is awarded for the course. Requests for Pass/No Pass grading must be submitted and confirmed by the Grade Option deadline printed in the UCSC Academic and Administrative Calendar in the term in which you are enrolled. If you request P/NP grading in a course and you are later placed on academic probation, your P/NP grading request will be canceled.

Several majors require all or most major requirements to be taken for a letter grade; read your major requirements carefully before using the Pass/No Pass option for any course you intend to request major/minor approval.

Graduating Students

If you are enrolling in a course through the VSE Program as part of your final quarter before graduation, it is recommended that you plan to delay your graduation by at least one quarter. Grades can take up to 4 months after the end of your program to be posted to your UC transcript and you may not declare candidacy until the term after your program.