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Unaffiliated Summer

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 Study Abroad Office and the Office of the Registrar will need to review transcripts first in order to determine whether or not Northwestern will accept credit in transfer from the program’s transcripting institution.

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

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 is found on the below Unaffiliated Summer Recommended List, proceed to Step 3.

If your selected program is NOT found on the below Unaffiliated Summer Recommended List, the Study Abroad Office may need to verify with the Office of the Registrar that the official transcript issued by the program is acceptable to Northwestern. Email the Unaffiliated Programs Adviser, Whitney Bennett at, 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 Study Abroad Office.

Step 3: Submit a Northwestern Application by March 1st

You must submit a Northwestern Application by the March 1st deadline if you are seeking credit at Northwestern for your Unaffiliated Summer program. When applying, make sure to search for “Unaffiliated Program” in the online application system. See screenshots below.

Unaffiliated Application Process Screenshot

Unaffiliated Application Process Screenshot 2

Important 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 the Study Abroad Office at 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.

Unaffiliated Summer recommended List

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