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Santa Clara University

Application Process & Deadline

Phase 1: SCU Application Deadline

December 16, 2022 - 11:59 pm (PST)

Fall 2023 and Winter/Spring 2024 Programs

February 1, 2023 - 11:59 pm (PST)

Summer 2023 Programs

The Application Process at SCU

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.

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Steps to Apply

  1. Ensure you understand the Competitive Nature of Study Abroad and Eligibility prior to application
  2. Read through the Application Criteria, FAQs, and Review Process below
  3. Watch or attend our Mandatory Get Started Advising Series
  4. Follow the Step-by-Step Planning Instructions for Courses Abroad
  5. Explore SCU-Approved Programs and Student Experiences to determine which programs best meet your academic, personal, and professional goals
  6. Review the costs for study abroad and research scholarships: Affording Study Abroad 
  7. Start and submit your application in the Study Abroad Portal by the Phase 1: SCU Application Deadline

Application Criteria, Materials, & Review Process

It is a student’s responsibility to read and understand the eligibility requirements for their specific program, as well as the overall nomination criteria and review process prior to submitting an application. 

  • Applications must be complete at the time of submission or they will not be reviewed.
  • Deadlines are final. Extensions will not be granted for class, work, travel, event conflict, or student error.
  • Some students, while using the Safari browser, have reported issues in trying to save/submit their applications. We recommend you fill out and submit your application using another browser (Firefox, Chrome, IE).  

A.) Academic Alignment

Students applying to study abroad should be prepared to address how their program fits with their overall academic goals and trajectory. Competitive applicants are those who can demonstrate a strong alignment between their programs of interest and their academics. 

B.) Academic Preparation

Students should ensure that they have the academic background necessary to pursue the course of study that they propose in the application. Academic preparation is demonstrated through academic background directly related to the program and country abroad. Preparatory courses that pertain directly to the location in which the student proposes to study in will strengthen a student's application, such as language courses spoken in the country/region, or courses directly related to that location: literature, history, politics, culture courses, etc.

C.) Community Engagement & Leadership

In alignment with SCU's belief in community engagment, students should research the local community abroad and determine realistic and relevant ways to get engaged that extend beyond the program specific opportunites. They should discuss their community engagement and leadership plan in their application essays.

D.) Prepardeness

Students should demonstrate a strong understanding of potentials challenges that may arise while studying abroad. In addition, students should be prepared to discuss how they plan to overcome these challenges. They should discuss their preparedness plan in their application essays.

E.) Declared Major

Students must be declared in at least one major prior to submitting their application to study abroad for fall, winter, or spring term programs.


The Santa Clara GPA requirement to apply for SCU Study Abroad is 2.75; however individual programs may require a GPA higher than this. To qualify for SCU Study Abroad, students are expected to meet or exceed both Santa Clara's requirement and that of their proposed program.

Students applying to study abroad should be prepared to address how their program fits with their overall academic goals and trajectory in their application. Competitive applicants are those who can demonstrate a strong alignment between their programs of interest and their academics.

Students can find step-by-step instructions on the Courses Abroad section under Plan Now & Apply at

4-Year Course Plan

All Santa Clara students applying to study abroad will be required to submit their own personal 4-Year Course Plan in their application. Students should work with an Academic Advisor at SCU to complete their 4-Year Course Plan.

The 4-Year Course Plan shows students what sort of flexibility they have in their degree plan to accomodate a study abroad experience. This will also help them narrow down the programs that work best for their specific academic needs.

Important Considerations:

  • Not every program, location, or term will meet a student's needs.
  • A student's 4 Year Course Plan will likely shift in some way as they plan for a global experience. The purpose of the 4-Year Course Plan is not to create a rigid schedule, but to explore how a student could earn credit AND stay on track.

Proposed Academic Plan for Study Abroad

The Proposed Academic Plan shows the Study Abroad Application Reviewers that student's have prioritized academic alignment when selecting their program preferences. A competitive applicant will have more major and/or minor courses listed on their Proposed Academic Plan than CORE, for example, and the plan should account for the Study Abroad language/culture requirement. Students will need to submit a Proposed Academic Plan for each program preference they wish to be considered for during the application review process.

Important Considerations:

  • A student's Proposed Academic Plan does not guarantee enrollment in courses abroad.
  • A student's Proposed Academic Plan may change as they officially begin course enrollment on their specific program.
  • It is a student's responsibility to meet with an Academic Advisor at SCU prior to the application deadline to discuss their Proposed Academic Plans for study abroad.
  • It is a student's responsibility to meet with an Academic Advisor at SCU prior to making any changes to their Proposed Academic Plans as they navigate the study abroad process. 

Essay Questions(s)

  • Students are required to complete three essay questions for programs during the fall/winter/spring terms.
  • Students are required to complete one essay question for programs during the summer term.

Each essay question must be no more than 300 words per essay. Essays should be tailored to a student's #1 program preference. When students submit their study abroad application, their essay questions will be reviewed by the Study Abroad Application Reviewers using the Essay Grading Rubric.  

  • Drafting essay statements may take several weeks, plan ahead!
  • First review the Essay Grading Rubric to further understand what reviewers will be looking for.
  • Competitive study abroad applicants watch our essays tips video and meet with the HUB Writing Center to review essay statements in conjunction with the Essay Grading Rubric to provide candid feedback.
  • Remember, Study Abroad Application Reviewers include trained SCU staff and faculty from across campus, be as clear and specific as possible in your essays. Avoid generalizations, and don't assume the reader knows your program. 

Each application is read and evaluated by a review committee of trained SCU faculty/staff using the Application Criteria and Essay Grading Rubric. Study abroad staff evaluate every application to verify eligibility requirements. 

After evaluating, each application receives a recommendation from the Committee. We nominate as many applications as the Study Abroad Program budget allows. While GPA is a component that is reviewed as part of an applicant's submission, applications are not ranked by GPA.  

Nominated, Not Nominated or Waitlisted

An applicant may be notified of three possible responses:

  1. Nominated – The application is approved for the student’s first, second, or third preference program abroad. 
  2. Not Nominated - The application is not approved. The most common reasons for applications that are not nominated include: not meeting program eligibility requirements, GPA, major declaration, language preparation, academic preparation, or less compelling articulation of alignment between program preference and academic, professional, or personal goals.
  3. Waitlisted – Some applications will be waitlisted initially and after the waitlist period concludes, will either be moved from the waitlist to Nominated or Not Nominated

Waitlisted Students

Waitlists may not be offered every year, depending on the number of applications received.

The number of nominations that can be extended to waitlisted students is contingent on the number of responses to the initial offers of nomination. It is not possible to know an applicant’s position on the waitlist, because the waitlist is not ranked. As positions open up, waitlisted students will be nominated using the same holistic review process used in the initial evaluation and will depend upon funding, availability of spots in programs, etc.

The percentage of students who are nominated who then accept their offer to study abroad is typically about 95%. Movement off a waitlist can vary from year to year and has ranged from two to thirty applications being moved from the Waitlist.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Application


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.  

New application cycles begin on the first day of Fall Quarter every year. When you should apply depends on the year you want to study or intern abroad.

First Year Students

If you are planning to apply for a study or intern abroad experience during the summer of your sophomore year, you should begin the application process Fall Quarter of your first year.


If you are planning to apply for a study or intern abroad experience during your junior year, you should begin the application process Fall Quarter of your sophomore year.


If you are planning to apply for a study or intern abroad experience during your senior year, you should begin the application process Fall Quarter of your junior year.


Students must be actively enrolled to participate in a study or intern abroad experience through SCU.

Graduating students are encouraged to consider researching post-graduate opportunities abroad. As an alumni, campus resources are still available to you for support including the Career Center, the Office of Student Fellowships, and more.

To apply, students need to press the red "apply now" button located on the program's digital brochure in the Program Database (the Program Database is also known as the Study Abroad Portal).

How to Start Your Application Instructions - SCU login credentials required for access

The study abroad application process is a two-step process and participation is contingent upon approval by Santa Clara University (Phase I), as well as the individual program (Phase II). 

Phase I:

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 and utilize their financial aid. This is referred to as "Phase 1" of the application process.

Phase II:

Students who are nominated to study abroad by Santa Clara University to participate in an SCU-approved program, and confirm their participation after receiving a nomination, will be required to submit a program-specific application to their program provider or host institution.

This is referred to as "Phase 2" of the application process.

Students will receive further information about their Phase 2 application via email after securing a nomination from Santa Clara University. Students are responsible for verifying their phase 2 application deadlines with their individual program.

Fall/Winter/Spring Applicants

Due to the competitive nature of study abroad during fall, winter, and spring terms students have the opportunity to be considered for up to:

  • 2 Fall, Winter, or Spring programs AND

  • 1 Summer program (if the student would be open to attending a summer program)

All additional program preferences should be listed in the application for the student's #1 program preference. While listing additional program preferences is not required, doing so increases a student's chances of being nominated to study abroad.

Summer Applicants

Summer students DO NOT need to list additional program preferences because the summer term is not competitive. So long as they meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application by the deadline, they will be nominated to the program they applied for.

During Phase I of the application process, students do not submit recommendation letters. The main application components of the Phase I application are the 4 Year Course Plan, Proposed Academic Plan, and Essay Questions.
However, if a student is nominated by Santa Clara University to study or intern abroad, they may need to submit a recommendation letter during their Phase II application; it depends on the individual program. For example, if a student plans to apply for a summer internship abroad with API, they will be required to submit two letters of recommendation during their Phase II application. We recommend that students begin building academic relationships with their faculty on campus during the fall quarter so they have champions in their corner who can write a strong recommendation letter on their behalf. 

Credit earned on an SCU-approved study abroad program counts toward graduation requirements either as elective credit or, with appropriate approval, may fulfill major, minor, and core requirements. Grades are calculated into the Santa Clara University GPA, and all credit and grades appear on the Santa Clara University transcript. 

Students can find step-by-step instructions on the Courses Abroad section under Plan Now & Apply at