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Types of Programs

Northwestern University offers a variety of study abroad programs for undergraduate students during the academic year and summer. Read more about Northwestern-sponsored summer programs or non-Northwestern summer programs.

ACADEMIC YEAR

Northwestern-Sponsored Programs

The Study Abroad Office and Office of International Program Development have developed academic year programs that are directly administered by the sponsoring office.  All Northwestern-sponsored programs on our website have been vetted and approved by the faculty-led University Study Abroad Committee and the Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee (the sole exception is the Northwestern Semester in Qatar program, which is an inter-campus study program and is included on this website for the convenience of students).  These programs include various subtypes:

  • Consortial programs: created by a consortium of institutions in the US and abroad that engage in a collaborative program of exchange for the purpose of student study and short term scholarly visits.
  • Exchange programs: established to offer reciprocal movement of students between two institutions. May be student-per-student or a specified number of incoming students may be accepted per outgoing program.
  • NU customized programs: grouped under various themes and designed specifically for Northwestern students (although may admit non-Northwestern students).

Some of the NU customized programs offer actual NU courses taught abroad.  Students who complete these programs do not need to follow the credit transfer process, as their courses and grades appear directly on the Northwestern transcript. Learn more about these exceptions.

Affiliated Programs

Northwestern has established formal affiliations with partner program providers and universities in the US and abroad for certain programs during the academic year.  All of the affiliated programs (of various types) on our website have been vetted and approved by the faculty-led University Study Abroad Committee and the Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee and are deemed to meet Northwestern standards in terms of academic quality, housing, cultural immersion, and student support services.

Unaffiliated Programs

Unaffiliated options consist of programs run by providers or other universities in the US and abroad with which Northwestern does not have a formal agreement.  Northwestern may grant students permission to apply to unaffiliated options provided they have specialized academic needs that cannot be met by one of our many Northwestern-sponsored and affiliated programs and they identify a program that meets the academic, student services, and immersion standards of Northwestern-sponsored and affiliated programs.  In some cases, our office and the Office of the Registrar will need to review transcripts first in order to determine whether or not Northwestern will accept credit in transfer from the transcripting institution.

Summer Programs

Northwestern Summer Programs

The Study Abroad Office, Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Center for Global Engagement and Office of International Program Development all design and offer summer programs, most of which are open to Northwestern and non-Northwestern students.  Programs vary greatly, with some led by Northwestern faculty directors or instructors, and some offering community-based learning or internship opportunities. 

Non-NU Summer Programs

Students may be granted permission to study abroad on Non-NU Summer programs that are not run by Northwestern as long as the program dates do not conflict with our quarter calendar, the program length meets Northwestern’s recommended 4-6 week minimum (6-8 week for language programs) and the courses are transferable.  In some cases, our office and the Office of the Registrar will need to review transcripts first in order to determine whether or not Northwestern will accept credit in transfer from the transcripting institution.