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Study Abroad for Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences Students

Weinberg College students of any major can - and do - study abroad! Below, you'll find the following information:

Consult information about study abroad on the Weinberg College website

Advising & Support

Weinberg College Advisers

Your Weinberg College Adviser will support you throughout your study abroad journey. You are encouraged to bring up your interest in study abroad early, so that your Weinberg Adviser can assist you in pursuing study abroad along your unique academic path in Weinberg College.

As you are applying to study abroad, you must meet with your Weinberg College Adviser, and they must sign off on your study abroad application before it can be submitted. In discussing your application with you, Weinberg Advisers will focus on:

  • The implications of study abroad on your progress towards the bachelor’s degree
  • 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 Advising & Support page of the Weinberg College website for information about how to contact your Weinberg College Adviser.

Weinberg Department Advisers

You should have at least one major declared prior to applying to study abroad, unless you are a first-year student applying to study abroad during the summer before your second year. Your department adviser is an important resource for helping you to make sure that study abroad does not impede your progress in completing your major/minor.

As you are applying to study abroad, you are expected to consult with your Department Adviser. In discussing your application with you, Department Advisers will focus on:

  • The implications of your absence from campus. For example, can you complete all your major requirements in the required sequence by your anticipated graduation date? If you are interested in and eligible for departmental honors, when and how would you apply from abroad?
  • If you plan to earn major/minor credit abroad: what kinds of coursework would be appropriate, rules and policies regarding number and type of credit, possible study abroad course options and substitutions

Refer to the department pages below for additional information about study abroad, specific to Weinberg majors and minors.

Earning Credit

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 the Weinberg Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising. You should consult your advisers during the application stage to determine the feasibility of using courses taken abroad to satisfy degree requirements.

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. Students can consult the credit transfer process for Weinberg College for more information.

Distribution Credit

To be eligible for distribution credit, courses must be substantially similar to courses on the College’s approved list and conform to the defining language of the distribution areas. Students can receive a maximum of one unit of distribution credit for each study abroad term, up to a maximum of two units. The two units must be in different distribution requirement areas.

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.
  • If the course has not been approved as a distro, it will not count as one, though you may apply to use such a course as part of a 2-for-1 distribution requirement substitution. Contact your College Adviser with questions.

Major & Minor Credit

Each major/minor department is responsible for advising students 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. Contact your Weinberg College Adviser if this is not possible.

Click on the links below for information about your major/minor. If an advising resource for your major/minor is not listed, it does not limit your eligibility to study abroad. Contact the Global Learning Office for more resources on choosing an appropriate program.

Timing Considerations & Graduation Issues

Studying abroad may impact your ability to graduate early and the number of courses required to be taken at Northwestern. In particular:

  • Studying abroad during the academic year in your second year, particularly during Fall, can be complicated. It is possible but requires special planning.
  • 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 College Adviser for more information.

Other Important Considerations

Foreign language requirement

Students may use coursework in a foreign language taken abroad to help complete the foreign language requirement, but you should be aware that, as with any student taking language courses away from NU, you may need to take a placement exam upon return. Contact the department for more information.

Internships abroad

The Global Learning Office website has information about options, policies, and requirements for internships done abroad. With the exception of credit earned through the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), for which substantial coursework takes place on the Evanston campus, such credits do not count toward the Weinberg College limit on internship-linked credit.

Research abroad

The Global Learning Office website has detailed information about opportunities and considerations for preparing to conduct research abroad. This research abroad can be a good foundation for a senior thesis or post-graduate research; it also strengthens applications for post-graduate grants, such as Fulbright, Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

Honors and Scholarships

If you are interested in writing a senior thesis in your major upon returning from study abroad, you should be sure to discuss this with your major and College Advisers prior to departing, especially if you plan to be gone for the entire junior year. You should also reach out to major advisers and directors of undergraduate studies via email while you’re away so that you’re prepared to apply—even from abroad. The same is true if you want to apply for certain fellowships or scholarships whose deadlines are early in fall quarter. Stay in touch with the Office of Fellowships while away.

International Students

Effective summer 2016, international students studying in their home country on a non-Northwestern program during the summer or the academic year may be exempt from applying for permission to study abroad through the Global Learning Office. Refer to the Global Learning Office website for information about the "home country exemption" for international students and to the Registrar's Office website for information about transfer credit processes.