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Application Steps

Choosing to study abroad is exciting, but there are a number of steps you need to take in order to apply. Read below to learn about the process for applying to study abroad and the deadline by which you need to submit your application.

Study Abroad Application FAQ


Step 1: Start Your Application in GLObal Gateway

Applications open in the fall each year. Start your application right away.

Note: You are only permitted to apply to one program per term.

GLObal Gateway

Step 2: Complete Time-Sensitive Requirements

Apply for or Renew your Passport

Apply for or Renew your Passport

You will need to provide proof of a valid passport or proof of a submitted passport application as part of the Northwestern application process. The processing time for passport applications is up to 14 weeks. For more information, visit the passports page.

Meet With Your School Adviser for Approval

Meet With Your School Adviser for Approval

All students must meet with and obtain approval from their School Adviser(s). By approving your application, your School Adviser(s) are indicating that they have discussed your study abroad plans with you, that you are in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress towards completion of your degree, and that they believe your study abroad plans make sense academically, considering your overall plan of study at Northwestern. 

Note: while School Advisers are able to discuss school policies for fulfilling distribution/foundational discipline/theme and other school-level requirements, they are not able to help you choose a study abroad program or determine how your credit will transfer back to Northwestern. 

To request approval for study abroad:

  1. Raise your Hand for Study Abroad Approval in ConnectNU to alert your School Adviser of your intention to study abroad. 
  2. Schedule a meeting in ConnectNU with your School Adviser.
  3. Meet with your School Adviser to discuss your study abroad course plans, policies for fulfilling distribution/foundational discipline, theme, foreign language, or other requirements for your school, possible course substitutions, and remaining degree requirements.
  4. Upload your approval confirmation to your application in GLObal Gateway.

School Advisers

Start conversations and request meetings early; calendars fill up quickly.

Complete GLO Program Interviews

Complete GLO Program Interviews

Most programs do not have an interview requirement. Only Exchanges and GESI require an interview as part of the application. Learn more about interview requirements and refer to your application and program brochure to see if this applies to you. Request an appointment early; calendars fill up quickly.


Step 3: Complete Other Application Requirements

In addition to meeting with academic advisers, within the application you will also need to:

  • Write a personal statement* 
    • *Students applying to most affiliated programs are not required to write a personal statement. Personal statements are only required for Northwestern programs, Exchange programs, and Consortium programs (CASA, BCSP). Personal Statement prompts will be clearly listed in your application if this requirement applies to your program.
  • Complete program-specific requirements
  • Upload your unofficial transcript
  • Review and sign the student agreement

Details on all of these requirements can be found in GLObal Gateway. Plan to complete all sections of the application by the deadline for your selected program.

Step 4: Submit Your Application by the Deadline

For all programs, the Northwestern study abroad application must be completed by the appropriate deadline. Note that all deadlines fall 1-2 terms before the term when your study abroad program begins. For example, you must apply in November (Fall Quarter) of your junior year to go abroad in Spring Quarter of your junior year, or by February (Winter Quarter) of your sophomore year to go abroad in Fall Quarter of your junior year.

All deadlines are clearly listed on the program brochure in GLObal Gateway. 

General Deadlines

Term Date

Early Deadline Fall & Full Year Programs

December 10

Summer & Fall Start* Northwestern Programs and Exchanges

February 1

Summer & Fall Start* Affiliated/Unaffiliated Programs February 25
Winter Northwestern Programs June 10
Winter Affiliated & All Winter-Spring Programs September 10
Spring Programs November 10

*Fall Start indicates a program that begins in the fall and includes fall, fall-winter, and full year programs. 

Note: Exchanges and affiliated programs require a separate program application in addition to the Northwestern study abroad application, and some of these program applications have early deadlines. Refer to the program page to confirm the application deadline for your program.

Once you submit, you're one step closer to studying abroad! You can expect a decision within six weeks after the deadline. In the meantime, there are several steps you should take to prepare for your study abroad adventure.