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Frequently Asked Questions

Students who understand the entire application process submit stronger applications and navigate the process with less stress.  In addition, starting an application early sets students up for success. From ensuring courses abroad can be applied towards major, minor, & core requirements to writing thought-out essay statements, developing a strong study abroad application takes time and students should plan accordingly. We hope this page will further help you work with students at SCU who are planning to apply for a global experience. 

Do you have another question that is not listed here? Please contact so that we may further assist you.

Application Process

How do students apply? 

Students must apply directly to Santa Clara University to study abroad on SCU-Approved Programs that allow them to earn major, minor, and/or core credit while abroad, and utilize their financial aid. Students can learn more about the application process including the application criteria, eligibility requirements, and review process on the Application & Eligibility section of our website. 


Can students receive major, minor, and core credit for courses taken abroad?

Yes. All students participating in scu-approved study and intern abroad programs will earn credits and grades for their participation. SCU Study Abroad requires that all students meet with their faculty advisors as part of the application process to ensure students are staying on track towards degree progression. To learn more about the course evaluation process, students should visit the Courses Abroad page for further information on how to obtain major, minor, or core credit for study abroad courses.

Students studying on a Non-Approved Study Abroad program receive transfer credit in keeping with the University’s regular policy on transfer credit. The University’s transfer credit policy allows for a lifetime maximum of ten units to be transferred to Santa Clara from all outside institutions and these units may not count toward Major/Minor/Core requirements. Students are also ineligible to use Santa Clara's financial aid while on leave from the University.  

How do credits abroad transfer to SCU?

The Unit Conversions are as follows: 

Semester Units to Quarter Units

  • 1 US Semester unit = 1.5 quarter units
  • 3 US Semester units = 4.5 quarter units
  • 15 US Semester units = 22.5 quarter units

ECTS Units to Quarter Units

  • 1 ECTS unit = .75 quarter units
  • 30 ECTS units = 22.5 quarter units

ACU CR Units to Quarter Units

  • 10 ACU CR units =  4.5 quarter units
  • 50 ACU CR units = 22.5 quarter units

**Many classes will come back as 4.5 quarter units.  Students can still receive upper-division credit for a 4.5 unit class.  If students are trying to fulfill a unit NUMBER requirement, such as 10 units of upper-division Spanish, they may need to take more than 2 courses abroad to successfully complete that requirement.**

Costs, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

How much does study abroad cost?

Through Santa Clara University's “Home School Tuition” model, approved students pay SCU tuition when participating in SCU-Approved Programs, earn SCU academic credit, and are eligible for financial aid on the same basis as when they are studying on-campus.

Students can view the costs of programs on the program brochure in the Study Abroad Portal. They can also learn more about the cost breakdown, billing information, and financial aid resources on the Affording Study Abroad page. 

Can students apply their financial aid to study abroad program?

Students can receive all forms of financial aid (SCU, state, and federal) for SCU-Approved Programs, however, summer aid is not available to students. If a student receives financial aid, their financial aid package goes with them on their program, and is redesigned to meet their program costs. Students are encouraged to submit a financial aid estimate before they apply to better understand how their financial aid package will transfer to an SCU-Approved Study Abroad Program. SCU students who participate in a Non-Approved Program are not eligible for financial aid. 

Are there additional scholarships available for study abroad?

There are many study abroad scholarships for all program types. If a student is just starting their research journey, they'll be surprised to find the sheer range in international scholarships available. There are awards amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to full-rides covering everything from airfare to a monthly stipend. With study abroad scholarships celebrating diversity abroad, merit, advocating underrepresented regions, and encouraging students of distinct majors (that’s scratching the surface), students are guaranteed to find an award for which they qualify.

Students can begin their scholarship search on the Affording Study Abroad page.

Programs & Participation

What programs are available to SCU students?

Global Engagement at Santa Clara University offers students a variety off fellowship, internship, and traditional study abroad experiences to choose from in the summer, fall, winter, and spring terms. Students can view scu-approved programs on the Explore Programs page.

How do students select a program?

Students frequently ask our advisors what study abroad programs are best for them based on their majors or minors. However, selecting a program is a deeply personal decision. Students from the same major or minor may have vastly different goals, and as a result, there's no such thing as "the perfect program." 

As advisors, we want to show students how to determine which programs not only excite them, but feel right based on their personal, professional, and academic goals. Many study abroad applicants will become students at prestigious universities where they have to adjust and learn to thrive in an academic system that demands independence and initiative. We want to prepare them for this environment early on in their study abroad planning, which means providing the tools they need to make informed decisions on their own.

Students can review our best tips and advice for selecting a program on the Plan Now and Apply section of our website. 

When is the best time for students to study abroad?

The best time for a student to study abroad is at a time that best meets their academic goals. While fall, winter, and spring term study abroad programs require students to have junior or senior class standing, students should consider their academic progress and select a program/term that will keep them on track to degree.

Can transfer students study abroad?

Yes! We encourage transfer students to study abroad and to start the process as early as possible. We will work with transfer students before they start at SCU to study abroad as early as their first year at SCU.

Can student study abroad their senior year or final quarter before graduation?

Yes!  As part of the application process for SCU-approved programs, students are required to submit an Proposed Academic Plan that has been reviewed by their Academic Advisor, confirming there are no restrictions to their participation or impact on their degree progress should they study abroad. In general, we inform students that pending their campus academic advisors’ support, they should be able to study abroad in their final term. Grades from abroad can take up to a quarter after the end of their program to be posted to their SCU record. Although students do not need to return to campus or enroll in courses, they should expect to delay their graduation until their grades have been added to their transcript.

Can students participate in a study abroad program after they graduate?

Students must be active students at SCU to participate. If a student wants to study abroad after they have completed their SCU degree requirements, they must delay their graduation to be eligible to study abroad. Students may want to consider the peace corps, teaching English, or research/grad school abroad opportunities after they graduate.