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Unaffiliated Summer Programs

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

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 deemed acceptable by the Office of the Registrar, and the courses are transferable to Northwestern. In some cases, the Global Learning Office (GLO) will need to review transcripts first in order to determine whether or not Northwestern will accept credit in transfer from the program’s transcription institution.

Unaffiliated Advising Appointments

Please note that, given the countless number of unaffiliated summer program options, the GLO office is not able to provide specialized program advising for unaffiliated summer programs. Unaffiliated advising appointments only focus on an overview of 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:

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: Review study abroad transcript

If your selected program or program provider is found on the below unaffiliated summer recommended list, proceed to step 3.

If your selected program or program provider is NOT found on the below unaffiliated summer recommended list, the Graduate Learning Office may need to verify that the official transcript issued by the program is acceptable to Northwestern. Email Whitney Bennett, Unaffiliated Programs Adviser, with your name, the program name and a link to the program webpage. We will then let you know if the program's credits are transferable to Northwestern or if an advising appointment is necessary to discuss other options. Do not proceed to step 3 until you are instructed to do so by the Gloabl Reserach Office.

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.

Suggested Program Partners & Institutions

Northwestern is not affiliated with these programs; however, students have participated during past years and have been eligible to transfer credit to Northwestern.

View all suggested program partners & institutions