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.
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. These 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).
Northwestern has established formal affiliations with partner program providers and universities in the US and abroad for certain programs during the academic year. All affiliated programs 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. These include various subtypes:
- Center-based programs: designed such that the predominant study format consists of classroom-based courses designed for non-host country students. Centers may be operated independently, be special units within a host country university, or be sponsored by a college or university in another country or by a study abroad provider organization. Many study abroad centers have permanent staff and facilities.
- Direct enrollment programs: established to offer direct study at an overseas university without the assistance of external offices such as those of a program provider.
- Field study programs: designed with pedagogy that revolves around experiential study outside the classroom setting, often enabling students to engage in research or independent study projects. An Academic Internship program can be considered a subtype in which the focal activity is a credit-bearing internship.
- Hybrid or mixed programs: developed to combine two or more subtypes to a significant degree. For example, a study abroad center might emphasize courses just for study abroad participants but also permit students to enroll in host university courses and/or participate in a credit-bearing internship or service-learning experience.
- Integrated university study programs: designed such that the predominant study format is participation in regular courses alongside degree-seeking students from the host university. May be either via direct enrollment (see above) or enrollment facilitated by a study abroad provider organization.
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.
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.
Students may be granted permission to study abroad on 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.