Study Abroad for School of Education & Social Policy Students
SESP students of any major can - and do - study abroad! Below, you'll find the following information:
- Advising & Support
- Earning Credit
- Timing Considerations & Graduation Issues
- Other Important Considerations
- Suggested Programs for SESP Students
Advising & Support
Your SESP adviser will support you throughout your study abroad journey. You are encouraged to bring up your interest in study abroad early, so that your SESP adviser can assist you in pursuing study abroad along your unique academic path in the School of Education & Social Policy.
As you are applying to study abroad, you must meet with your SESP adviser, and they must sign off on your study abroad application before it can be submitted. In discussing your application with you, SESP advisers will focus on:
- The implications of study abroad on your progress towards the bachelor’s degree
- How to obtain advising for a second major or minor outside of SESP
- Completion of distribution and other requirements for graduation through study abroad
- Making satisfactory academic progress before, during, and after study abroad, including steps to maintain your study abroad eligibility
- How well prepared you are to undertake study abroad as part of your undergraduate career
Refer to the SESP Academic Advisers page for information about how to contact your SESP adviser.
Eligible credits from study abroad count as electives unless they are authorized to count toward major/minor credits by the department or as distros by your SESP adviser. You should consult your adviser during the application stage to determine the feasibility of using courses taken abroad to satisfy degree requirements. Credit in SESP will not be given for courses that are inappropriate to the School’s curriculum or that do not meet the usual standards for credit in the School. For example, you will not receive credit for duplicate courses (meaning, onesthat duplicate courses that you’ve already received credit for at Northwestern)or for internships and independent study not specifically approved by your adviser.
The petition for credit process can only go forward after courses have been completed, you have completed a study abroad program evaluation, and an official transcript has been processed by the Registrar’s Office. Retain all class descriptions, syllabi, papers, readings, and other course materials from your classes abroad; they may be needed as part of the petition process.
If you study abroad on an Northwestern-run program that offers regular NU classes, you do NOT need to go through this credit transfer process. These courses are subject to the same rules and restrictions as the same numbered courses taught in Evanston. If a course with that number when taught at NU fulfills a distribution requirement it will automatically be one when taken abroad.
Major & Minor Credit
Your SESP major adviser is responsible for advising you and making decisions about how study abroad credits may be applied toward its requirements. Students should have at least one major declared prior to applying to study abroad.
If you have a second major or minor that falls under Weinberg, you are expected to seek advising from your major or minor department about your study abroad course plans, rules and policies for earning major or minor credit, and remaining degree requirements.
Timing Considerations & Graduation Issues
- Make sure to plan study abroad around SESP Practicum and Field Studies.
- If you are abroad during spring of your junior year, be sure to complete and submit your graduation petition soon after your return to campus.
- If you study abroad during the last quarter(s) of your senior year, your study abroad transcript may not arrive and be processed in time for you to graduate that quarter.
- All Northwestern students are subject to the Undergraduate Registration Requirement (URR) and are responsible for ensuring that they meet this requirement. Only Northwestern study abroad programs offering direct credit count toward the URR. All other study abroad, including exchange programs, affiliated programs, and unaffiliated programs do not count toward the URR.
Contact your SESP adviser for more information.
Other Important Considerations
SESP is adjusting to rapid globalization by pushing students to broaden their cultural perspectives through their academic pursuits. Effective fall of 2019*, SESP students studying Human Development in Context, Learning & Organizational Change, Learning Sciences, and Social Policy must fulfill a Global Engagement experience one (or both) of the following ways:
- Studying abroad anywhere in the world for any amount of time; OR
- Completing one year of college-level foreign language study (or equivalent, e.g. AP credit or knowledge as a heritage speaker).
More than 40 percent of SESP students have historically studied abroad, learning from an immersive experience in another academic and social culture.
*For students who started at Northwestern in the fall of 2019 or later, the Global Engagement requirement is paused, but still recommended, while study abroad is not possible.
Practicum and Internships
Be sure to work in advance with your SESP adviser to ensure that you follow proper procedures and meet all necessary deadlines while abroad. It is especially important to do as much advance work as possible in lining up practicum sites.
Honors and Scholarships
If you are interested in pursuing a senior honors thesis, you should discuss this with your adviser before you depart. You may not be abroad in the spring of your junior year or the fall of your senior year if you want to participate in the honors program.The same is true if you want to apply for various national scholarships such as Rhodes or Marshall when you return, where deadlines are early in Fall Quarter. Scholarship information is available from the Office of Fellowships.
Suggested Programs for SESP Students
SESP students participate in a wide variety of study abroad programs. These programs are highlighted because they have enrolled high numbers of SESP students.