Study Abroad FAQs
General Eligibility Requirements and USF Pre-Application Process
Applying to study abroad for a semester or academic year is a two-step process. You should plan to apply at the beginning of the fall semester of your sophomore year.
PRE-APPLICATION PHASE or PRE-DECISION
Study abroad is an earned opportunity and not guaranteed. Students whose pre-application is not approved are encouraged to consider short-term programs.
USF's Center for Global Education takes a number of things into account when reviewing pre-applications. Among the criteria that are considered, here are a few that stand out:
Any USF student in good academic and disciplinary standing with USF may be qualified to study abroad. All majors need an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. A cumulative GPA less than 3.0 requires approval from your Academic Dean in the Center for Academic and Student Achievement (CASA). Students must have completed a minimum of 64 units, and no more than 96 units, by the start of their academic semester program abroad. Students are required to declare their major with CASA prior to submitting their application to study abroad. The last 30 units of your degree must be completed at USF.
We highly advise students to meet with their academic adviser to review specific major requirements and proposed study abroad courses. Any waivers from your Academic Dean must be provided to our office via e-mail to email@example.com.
All students who wish to study abroad or participate in an international program (e.g., faculty-led course, immersion, field-trip, etc.) must have a satisfactory disciplinary (conduct) or judicial record with the Office of Student Conduct Rights and Responsibilities (OSCRR).
The Center for Global Education (CGE) will contact OSCRR with the list of all students interested in or having applied to study or travel abroad. OSCRR will inform the CGE which students have disciplinary clearance, enabling such students to advance in the application process.
Students who are under academic probation are not eligible to participate in any type of USF-sponsored international program (e.g., study abroad, short term program, immersions, field study, etc.). Students who have been or are on Conduct Probation (Disciplinary Probation) as determined by OSCRR are not allowed to participate in any kind of USF-sponsored international program.
*Keep in mind that all host program applications are different and may require additional eligibility requirements.
Students must maintain satisfactory academic and disciplinary standing up to the day of departure for their program in order to remain eligible to study abroad. If a student becomes ineligible-- i.e., low GPA, disciplinary misconduct-- to study abroad, they will be responsible for reimbursing USF any non-refundable deposits and program fees that may have already been paid on their behalf.
Yes. We recommend that you discuss specific requirements with an adviser in the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) department, located in UC 5th floor or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, as study abroad may impact your F-1 visa status. We will need a copy of your resident card as well as your U.S. visa.
Typically, students can go abroad for a semester or academic year during their Junior year. USF Short Term programs are also available to do as early as Freshman year during Intersession, Spring Break, or Summer. Keep in mind graduation and major requirements; it is recommended to consult an academic adviser. You may also refer to the "Eligibility" section of our website for details.
You may study in countries where there is a program sponsored by an accredited institution of higher education from which you will receive an official transcript. There may be country imposed travel restrictions and other restrictions to your intended country, region, and city. Countries designated as Level 3: "Reconsider Travel" by the U.S. Department of State may be approved by the Office of the Provost. However, you must defer travel to locations designated a Level 4: "Do Not Travel" by the U.S. Department of State, or Level 3: "Avoid Non-essential Travel" health risk assessment level by the Centers for Disease Control. Requests for essential travel to Level 4 (U.S. Dept. of State) or Level 3 (CDC) locations must be made in writing to our office and be approved by the Office of the Provost.
This will depend on your target graduation date and degree requirements. Students have the option of studying abroad for a summer, a semester, or an academic year; there are also a few intersession opportunities available. Some students may choose to split an academic year in two different countries or programs. Others may choose to study abroad for a summer and then, later, in a semester, or may choose two different summers.
Complete a Study Abroad Interest Form through USF's study abroad portal, and schedule an appointment to meet with one of our study abroad advisers to get things started. Our study abroad advisers will help you explore different programs.
After meeting with a study abroad adviser, be sure to inform you academic adviser that you are thinking of studying abroad, and work on your graduation plan.
A study abroad information meeting will be offered at the start of each semester for you to attend and learn more about the study abroad process.
To study abroad for a fall or spring semester:
You must apply an academic year in advance by the December 10th deadline. Applying to study abroad for a fall or spring semester is a two-step process. You should plan to apply at the beginning of the fall semester of your sophomore year. Be sure to meet with a study abroad adviser and submit your USF Study Abroad Pre-Application to the CGE office before the December 10th deadline.
*Please note that summer or intersession study abroad programs do NOT require a Pre-Application; you must apply concurrently to your study abroad program.*
No. You are meant to select only ONE study abroad program per semester, so it is important that you do your research thoroughly, and you are choosing a program that is academically compatible and offers courses that you need to graduate on time, while factoring other personal preferences such as destination/city, type of housing, overall costs, host language/language requirement, internship opportunity, etc.
If you plan to study abroad for the academic year in two different countries/programs, then you may submit two pre-applications: one pre-app for the fall and another pre-app for spring.
Once you submit your study abroad pre-application there is no switching to another program unless you decide to switch from a USF sponsored program to an external program. However, you cannot switch from an external program to a USF sponsored program once you've submitted your study abroad pre-application. You may switch semesters, so if you submitted a pre-application for the fall semester and decide that you want to go in the spring semester instead, then switching semesters is okay as long as you remain in the same study abroad program.
After completing USF's study abroad pre-application process, students will be nominated to apply to their host program abroad. It generally takes up to a month to hear back from a host program abroad. You will be contacted via e-mail or mail. Acceptance packets may be sent or emailed to the address you list on their application, or to the Center for Global Education.
Students are generally accepted to their study abroad program if they meet USF's cumulative GPA requirements and are in good disciplinary and judicial standing with the University. Early applications are strongly recommended.
USF Sponsored Programs include programs at other U.S. universities and programs at overseas universities with which USF has signed agreements. For these sponsored programs, USF tuition is paid to USF; housing and program costs are either paid directly to the host university or through USF via the student's account. Full course and credit transfer apply to a student's USF transcript, and USF financial aid as well as government aid (except Federal Work Study), and loans may be applied.
External Programs include all other study abroad opportunities via other U.S. universities or host program providers with whom USF has NOT signed any agreements. Tuition, housing costs, and fees are paid directly to the external program. Students are required to complete a Leave of Absence form. Pre-approved credits will transfer back to USF to count towards a student's degree, but courses will not be listed on their official USF transcript. USF will not award Federal, State, or USF Financial Aid for the period while students are on leave, but some private loan options may be available. Private loans cannot be processed through USF, and no enrollment is allowed in USF courses for that term. If students have financial questions, they should meet with a USF Financial Aid counselor.
No matter which program you wish to apply to, you must apply through the USF Center for Global Education-- including summer or other short-term opportunities. We will assist you with your application to your study abroad program and make sure you are eligible and have completed their requirements. The Office of Financial Aid may assist you with alternative financial aid options if you choose an external program (non-USF sponsored program).
Yes, the host programs may have a program fee that may include housing, meals, excursions, insurance, program related activities, etc. Depending on the program, the fee may be added to your USF student account or you pay directly to the host program.
There are study abroad scholarships available, and the Center for Global Education can advise and assist you, but you should have contingency plans in case you do not receive a scholarship. The Office of Financial Aid can provide information on any private loan options you may have.
When choosing a program or location for study abroad, we recommend you consider a variety of factors, including:
- Your finances: Do you receive USF financial aid? Do you need to make sure your financial aid is not interrupted?
- The timing of your visit: spring, fall, summer, or academic year in your host country of choice. How important is weather to you? Remember the seasons are opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. Some universities may have a different academic calendar. For example, some host programs' spring semester may start in April and end in July.
- Your Major: Are there academic resources in the area that would be valuable to your course of study? Would you like to conduct an internship in addition to classes?
- Other academic requirements and future professional goals: Have you saved some core courses? Can you take major-related courses at the site? Can you graduate on time if you only take elective courses while abroad?
- Your language proficiency: Have you had the three or four college semesters of language required for some study abroad programs?
No. Students are advised to have some flexibility and select alternative courses as the courses they may want to take abroad are never guaranteed.
Prior to your departure, you will need to complete a Petition to Enroll at Another Institution (PEAI) form online, where you will list the courses you think you may take abroad. Your faculty adviser, CASA, the Office of the Registrar, and the CGE will need to approve of the courses you list on your PEAI form for credit to apply towards graduation.
It is recommended that you save some of your core curriculum courses for study abroad since they are more widely available throughout various programs. These include history, literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social science; Community-Engagement Learning must be fulfilled at USF. There are certain limits and residency requirements to taking courses abroad in your major or minor, depending on the USF college/school in which you are enrolled. It is very important you work with your academic advisers to develop your graduation plan and determine what courses to save for your intended study abroad term.
No. Your Community-Engagement Learning (CEL) core requirement CANNOT be completed abroad and must be fulfilled at USF.
Yes! We highly advise you to communicate regularly with your faculty adviser(s) to develop a graduation plan and stay on track to graduate. The CGE will work with you to choose the program that best fits your academic needs and professional/personal goals.
Living arrangement vary with each program. Everything from independent apartments, residence halls, campus dorms, and host family stays may be available. For a few sponsored programs, housing is paid directly to USF; however, most housing fees are paid directly to the host institution/program abroad.
The CGE can mail, scan, email, and/or copy anything related to your study abroad application, so please utilize these FREE services! Once you have gathered all your application materials, bring them to the CGE Office (LM 340) to check that everything is completed and ready to be sent. The CGE usually sends out materials on the day of your submission. Please contact our office to confirm that your application has been mailed to your respective program abroad.
A response from a host program abroad pertaining to a student's application generally takes two to six weeks. The host program abroad will send acceptance materials to the CGE Office or your permanent/current address. You may also hear from them via e-mail. The CGE will contact you once they receive your acceptance materials from your host program abroad. If the program abroad contact you first about your acceptance status, please notify the CGE as they will need a copy of your acceptance letter for their records.
If you have been accepted into a study abroad program and can no longer attend, you must inform both the host program abroad and the CGE of your decision to withdraw, and whether you would like to defer your study abroad application to a later term. Keep in mind that each host program abroad has different deposits, deferment policies, and refund policies.
Once you make a commitment to accept a place in a host program abroad, that host program's withdrawal policies and penalties will be applicable. In the event that you choose to withdraw from a program for any reason-- such as unforeseen financial hardship, family emergencies, new job opportunities, illness, visa denial, or any other extenuating circumstances beyond your control-- you will be responsible for reimbursing USF for any non-refundable deposits and program fees. We highly recommend purchasing a "trip cancellation for any reason" protection plan (insurance).
The optimal time to study abroad is during your junior year. USF has a residency requirement for the last 30 credits (senior year) to be completed at USF. Studying abroad as a junior ensures that your credits from abroad are transferred onto your degree evaluation in time for graduation.
If you earned excess AP, IB, or other transfer credits, you may have senior-standing by the time you study abroad during your third year at USF. In this case, you would need to submit a senior standing appeal to the CGE to get your CASA Academic Dean's permission to waive this residency requirement. You would still need to complete your last 30 units at USF, so plan accordingly. Appeals are administered by the CGE, but your Academic Dean in CASA will make the academic decision.