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Apply to Study Abroad

Application Checklist

The following checklist will help you prepare to apply for Northwestern permission to study abroad. Each section of the application will time out after 10 minutes; it's useful to have materials ready in advance.

For programs administered by the Global Engagement Studies Institute: go to GESI Application Process.

1. Personal and academic information:

  • After logging into the application system, you'll be prompted to create a profile by entering basic personal and academic information. You may create your personal profile at any time and return to the system when you're ready to start an application.
  • You will also be prompted to provide your passport number, country of issue, and expiration date. If you do not yet have a passport, you can continue with your application and add that information later.

2. Program and term information:

You may only submit one application per term but can apply to up to two programs per term using the same application. For help researching programs, see Steps to Study Abroad. For the Northwestern application, you will need to know:

  • The full name(s) of your program(s). Program titles are listed at the top of each program information page. See Programs.
  • The term(s) to which you're applying (fall, fall+winter, winter, spring, winter+spring, full year or summer).

3. Interview requirement for certain programs:

All Northwestern-Sponsored and some affiliated programs require an interview as part of the application process. Please see "Admission Info" on your individual program page(s).

4. Personal statements:

Students must respond to the following prompts:
  1. Identify and describe goals (academic, pre-professional and personal) for your study abroad experience, and outline specific actions you plan to take to work toward these goals (300-500 words).
  2. With your goals in mind, why have you selected your first choice program and location? Include reserach you've already done regarding your program and host city/country (300-500 words).
  3. If applicable, why have you selected your second choice program and location? Include research you've already done regarding your program and host city/country (300-500 words).

Some students will be required to provide additional statements:

  • Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 must explain reasons for the drop and their plan for how it will be raised (300-500 words).
  • Students applying to study abroad for the full year on two programs in two countries must explain their academic rationale (100-200 words).

5. Preliminary course plan:

  • You will need to assemble a preliminary course plan for your program selection(s), including what type of credit you hope to earn, such as elective, distribution, major and/or minor credit. 
  • Make sure to identify courses before meeting with academic advisers to discuss degree progress and how potential study abroad courses may fulfill remaining degree requirements.

When identifying courses:

6. Academic adviser review and signature(s):

After completing your preliminary course plan, you are required to meet with the following academic adviser(s) to discuss your potential courses and how they will fit into your overall academic plan at Northwestern.

Students must meet with the following:

  • All students: Your School Representative, who will sign off electronically in your Northwestern Application
  • Students with declared major(s)/minor(s) in Weinberg: Your WCAS major/minor adviser(s), who will sign off on the hard-copy WCAS Study Abroad Departmental Approval form, which you will then upload to your Northwestern Application
  • HPME students: Your program adviser
  • MMSS students: Your program adviser

Important: Don't wait until the last minute! Schedule meetings with relevant advisers well before your application deadline.

7. Unofficial Northwestern Transcript:
  • You can access your unofficial Northwestern transcript from CAESAR (Academic Information - My Academics). Make sure the transcript includes all terms, grades, and GPA. You can upload this as a Word Doc or PDF to your Northwestern Application.
  • Need an official transcript for your program application(s)?
    • The easiest way to request an official Northwestern transcript is online via CAESAR (Academic Information - My Academics - Request Official Transcript). You can also order your official transcript directly from the Northwestern Office of the Registrar's website.
    • If your program requires an official transcript, you should have it sent directly to the program. The Study Abroad Office will not forward official transcripts to program sponsors.
Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5:

Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 must supply the following additional information:

  • An essay explaining reasons for the low GPA and giving a plan for how it will be raised (300-500 words).
  • Letter of recommendation from a professor or teaching assistant who has had you in class at Northwestern. Letter of recommendation guidelines may be used to assist in requesting and writing the recommendation. Completed letters should be sent to
  • School Letter of Explanation, completed and submitted by your School Representative.
Technical Questions
Having technical difficulty with the application? Please email