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Unaffiliated Summer Programs

Summer 2021 Note: Northwestern University has made the difficult decision to cancel Summer 2021 credit-bearing undergraduate study abroad programs taking place between June and August. Northwestern will not approve student participation in Affiliated or Unaffiliated programs offered by non-Northwestern study abroad program providers for Summer 2021.

 Before you begin the unaffiliated summer program process, consider the following:

  • Northwestern Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF): You must pay the Northwestern SAAF in addition to the fees charged by your program. 
  • No financial assistance is available through Northwestern for Unaffiliated Summer programs: This includes federal loans, federal/state grants, Northwestern scholarship, parent/private loans, and other forms of aid. Read more about financial considerations for unaffiliated summer programs below.
  • Citizenship or residency in the country of study: If you intend to study in a country where you have citizenship and/or permanent residency, alert the Unaffiliated Programs Adviser as soon as possible as there may be a different process you to follow.  
  • Non-credit participation: If you are pursuing a summer program for the experience and are not interested in transferring credit back to Northwestern, refer to the Non-credit Participation section below.
  • Contact the Unaffiliated Programs Adviser, Whitney Bennett, if you have questions about participating in an unaffiliated summer program.

What is an Unaffiliated Summer Program?

All programs during the Summer Quarter, except for Northwestern Summer Programs, GESI Programs, and the IES Abroad Arles Summer Program, are considered by GLO to be Unaffiliated Summer Programs, even if Northwestern is affiliated with that program or program provider during other terms. For example, DIS and LSE Summer are Unaffiliated Summer Programs, even though students can participate on an affiliated basis during the academic year.

Since Northwestern offers a limited number of summer programs, students may be granted permission to study abroad on unaffiliated summer programs as long as the program dates do not conflict with our quarter calendar, the program issues an official transcript from an accredited university or program provider, and the courses are transferable to Northwestern. 

Finding a Program

Refer to the How to Find an Unaffiliated Summer Program tip sheet to learn more about how to find an unaffiliated summer program. You are encouraged to review the Suggested Unaffiliated Summer Programs List first.

Please note that, given the countless number of unaffiliated summer program options, GLO is not able to provide specialized program advising for unaffiliated summer programs. Unaffiliated advising appointments cover the Northwestern application process and general study abroad information, including reviewing the information outlined below.

Next Steps & Application Process

If you seek to transfer credit back from an unaffiliated summer program, you must complete the following next steps once you have identified your program of interest:

Step 1: Verify program start date does not conflict

Many summer study abroad programs begin in late May or early June when Northwestern students are not eligible to participate due to spring quarter exams. According to the Undergraduate Catalog, "early exams are not permitted" and may only be requested "for cause beyond the student's control," which does not include study abroad.

Step 2: Verify that your program is eligible for transfer credit

If your selected program or program provider is found on the Suggested Unaffiliated Summer Programs List, you may proceed to step 3. All programs on the suggested list are credit-bearing and issue a transcript accepted by Northwestern for transfer credit.

If your selected program or program provider is NOT found on the Suggested Unaffiliated Summer Programs List, then you will need to do the following:

  • Credit: Confirm that the program issues credit and that the program is offered at an accredited (U.S.-based) institution or recognized by the appropriate ministry of education or other governmental agency (if foreign). If you are unsure, email Whitney Bennett, Unaffiliated Programs Adviser, with your name, the program name, and a link to the program webpage.
  • Transcript: Confirm that the program issues a transcript, not a certificate of completion.
Once you verify the above, you may proceed to step 3. You may be required to request an external evaluation by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) following completion of your program to be able to transfer credit back to Northwestern. Refer to the Transfer Credit Policies page of the Office of the Registrar for more information.

Step 3: Submit a Northwestern Application by February 10

You must submit a Northwestern application by the deadline if you are seeking credit at Northwestern for your unaffiliated summer program. Important application information:

  • Search for “unaffiliated program” in the online application system to get started.
  • Whenever prompted throughout the application, specify that you are doing an unaffiliated program. This includes the following questions in the "program selection portion" of the application: first choice program confirmation and please indicate if your first-choice program is any of the following.

Note: If you are pursuing a summer program for the experience and are not interested in transferring credit back to Northwestern, you are NOT required to submit a Northwestern application for permission to study abroad. In this case, you would NOT receive credit at NU for summer study abroad and could NOT petition for credit for the program at any point in the future.

Step 4: Apply to your study abroad program by their published deadline

It is your responsibility to apply to your selected program by their deadline.

Financial Considerations

Billing Arrangements

Students attending unaffiliated summer study abroad programs will be billed by Northwestern for the NU Study Abroad Administrative Fee (SAAF) through CAESAR for the summer term.

You are responsible for paying all program charges directly to your program or institution. Contact your program for payment deadlines.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Students attending unaffiliated summer study abroad programs are not considered enrolled at Northwestern while abroad. As a result, no financial assistance is available through Northwestern (including federal loans, federal/state grants, Northwestern scholarships, parent/private loans, and other forms of aid) for students who participate on these programs. Northwestern will not enter into any kind of financial or consortium agreement with another institution for the purposes of processing financial aid for unaffiliated summer programs.

Some scholarships may be available through your program sponsor or host institution; contact your program directly for information, applications, and deadlines. You may also apply for outside scholarships or funding to help with the cost of your unaffiliated summer program.

Paying Deposits

If your program requires a deposit to confirm your participation, it is your responsibility to pay the deposit directly to the program (not to Northwestern) by their deadline.

Arranging and Paying for Flights

You are responsible for making your own flight reservations and payments according to your program's specific dates and rules. Some programs include international group airfare in their program costs. Consult your program office or program literature for more detailed advice

Billing & Financial Questions

Contact Krista Bethel, Manager of Study Abroad Financial Services.

Transferring Credit upon Return

Like students who participate in affiliated study abroad programs, study abroad credit is treated as transfer credit for students who have been approved to participate on unaffiliated summer programs. Make sure your program's official transcript is sent to:

Global Learning Office
1800 Sherman Ave, STE 4-400
Evanston, Illinois 60208

The Office of the Registrar will review the program/foreign institution transcript and assign general, elective credit as long as students enrolled in transferable courses, took courses for official letter grades (not pass/fail), and earned the equivalent of a "C" or above. Read more about credit transfer procedures.

Students must enroll in a minimum of 2 semester credits to a maximum of 10 semester credits total on their program (2 semester credits = 1 NU quarter credit, 10 semester credits = 4 NU quarter credits). Courses worth 1 semester credit will not transfer to NU. 

Non-credit Participation

If you are pursuing a summer program for the experience and are not interested in transferring credit back to Northwestern:

  • You only complete the program application for admission. You do not need to complete the Northwestern Application for permission to study abroad.
  • The program will bill you directly for the program costs.
  • You will not be charged the Northwestern SAAF.
  • You can add the experience to your resume, but it will never be reflected on your Northwestern transcript. Moreover, you cannot return from the program and seek credit, as Northwestern does not allow retroactive credit.

Suggested Program Partners & Institutions

These program providers and institutions, with whom Northwestern affiliates during the academic year, also offer summer programs.

View all suggested program partners & institutions