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Santa Clara University

Application Process & Deadline

Phase 1: SCU Application Deadline

January 10, 2022 11:59 pm (PST)

Summer 2022, Fall 2022, Winter + Spring 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.

Deadlines are final. Extensions will not be granted for class, work, travel, event conflict, or student error.

Already Applied? Login to the Study Abroad Portal Here

Steps to Apply

  1. Read through the eligibility requirements, application criteria, review process and FAQs below
  2. Explore SCU-approved programs and determine which programs meet your academic, personal, and professional goals using the Course Planning Workbook
  3. Review the costs for study abroad and research scholarships: Affording Study Abroad 
  4. Start and submit your application in the Study Abroad Portal by the Phase 1: SCU Application Deadline

Important Application Information

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 before applying.Applications must be complete at the time of submission or they will not be reviewed. 

  • Students are responsible for verifying their phase 2 application deadlines with their program provider or host institution.
  • 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).  

The following eligibility requirements apply to all programs abroad administered by Global Engagement including: 

  • Study and intern abroad programs
  • Domestic off-campus study programs
  • Virtual programs
  • Global Explorations faculty-led programs
  • Global Fellowships
  • Undergraduate research abroad
Eligibility for Fall, Winter, Spring ProgramsEligibility for Summer Programs

Students must: 

  • Be matriculated, degree-seeking students at the University
  • Complete 88 units by the start of the academic program
  • Students must declare their major with the Office of the Registrar before submitting their application to off-campus study.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Meet the GPA requirement of their specific program, if higher than Santa Clara University’s GPA requirement 
  • Must be in good disciplinary standing, as described in the Santa Clara University Student Handbook

Students must: 

  • Be matriculated, degree-seeking students at the University
  • Complete 44 units by the start of the academic program
  • It is recommended, but not required, for students to declare their major with the Office of the Registrar before submitting their summer.
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Meet the GPA requirement of their specific program, if higher than Santa Clara University’s GPA requirement 
  • Must be in good disciplinary standing, as described in the Santa Clara University Student Handbook

**Please be aware:

  • Academic Progress: Participation is contingent upon satisfactory completion of all program prerequisites and related courses, as well as satisfactory academic progress.
    • Failure to complete prerequisites and continue making academic progress will make students ineligible to participate.
    • Students who earn a grade of D or F in any course in the term preceding their program may become ineligible for off-campus study. 
  • Outstanding Balances: Students must clear any outstanding balances with the Bursar’s Office in accordance with the Bursar’s Office payment schedule to remain eligible for participation.
  • Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation: Participation is contingent upon completing SCU's pre-departure orientation.
  • Earning Course Credit: In order to receive credit toward graduation requirements, students must secure approval from academic departments at SCU for their internship placement or major/minor/core classes abroad using the course evaluation request instructions.

For eligibility related to independent programs see the Approved and Non Approved Program section of our policies and procedures page.

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.
F.) GPA 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 are required to complete three essay questions during their study abroad application that 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 Application Review Committee 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, the Application Review Committee is made up of SCU Study Abroad staff and trained SCU staff and faculty from across campus, be as clear and specific as possible in your essays. Avoid generalizations. You want to stand out!

What is the 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 their Faculty 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 course plan to accomodate a study abroad experience. This will also help them narrow down the programs that work best for their specific academic needs.

What is the Academic Planning Form?

The Academic Planning Form shows the Application Review Committee that student's have priortized academic alignment when selecting their program(s). It should include a student's proposed coursework for all program preferences they wish to be considered for during the application review process. It is a student's responsibility to meet with their Faculty Advisor at SCU prior to the application deadline to discuss their proposed coursework on the Academic Planning Form.

Where can I access the Academic Planning Form?

Students will not have access to the Academic Planning Form until they officially select their program prferences and start their application n the Study Abroad Portal. To apply, students need to press the red "apply now" button located on the program's digital brochure in the Study Abroad Portal.

If you are not ready to begin an application, please use the Course Planning Workbook to help you narrow down programs that work for you based on your academic needs. 

How do I complete the Academic Planning Form?

Program TermAcademic Planning Form
Fall/Winter/Spring Applicants

On the Academic Planning Form, students should plan for:

  • At least 2 major or minor courses 
  • At least 1 language or culture course (per SCU Study Abroad's requirement)
  • Any program-specific requirements for academics, such as the number of courses that are considered a full-time courseload on that particular program. More information about program-specific requirements for academics can be found on the program homepages for each program located in the Study Abroad Portal
Summer Study Applicants

On the Academic Planning Form, students should plan for:

  • At least 1 course (core, language, general elective, or major/minor)
Summer API Internship Applicants

On summer intern abroad programs through API, students will receive academic credit for their internship placement. On the Academic Planning Form, students should list the internship title and course number (INTD470 – Global Studies Internship), marking it as "elective credit" unless it is evaluated and approved by their academic department for major or minor credit.

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.  There will be a waitlist and applicants who are placed on the waitlist can expect that there may be some movement from the waitlist during the process. 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

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 the 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.  

Study Abroad at SCU is competitive during the fall, winter, and spring terms meaning that not every eligible student will be nominated. We project the program will be highly competitive, as it has been in recent years. SCU has increased the undergraduate student body from approximately 5,300 to almost 6,000.  Students are only allowed to study abroad once during the regular academic year terms (fall, winter, spring) during their undergraduate career and year-long programs are not permitted.

The number of applicant nominations varies from year to year and is dictated mainly by our allotted program budget. The Study Abroad program budget is allocated in the same manner as other academic program budgets. While demand for the program and overall university enrollments have increased, the budget has not. Other factors that are considered in the nominations each year are the review committee recommendations, cost of programs, and program capacity limits. 

In addition to the program as a whole being competitive, individual programs may have enrollment constraints and may be internally competitive.  SCU has a cap of 30 students per study abroad program for all programs during the fall, winter, and spring terms. 

NOTE: Summer study abroad is not competitive.

Addressing the issue of competitive Study Abroad at SCU

The University is focused on expanding access and affordability to SCU’s Study Abroad Program.  

Consistent with President O’Brien’s Strategic Vision, expanding access, and affordability for SCU’s Study Abroad Program is an institutional priority. The new Study Abroad team is simultaneously adjusting the study abroad portfolio to curtail very costly programs and adding less expensive program options. We are also introducing new quarter-length programs and expanding summer programs. SCU is committed to developing new initiatives that will help us make significant progress toward enabling many more qualified applicants to participate in Study Abroad.

Most Santa Clara students study abroad their junior or senior year. However, students can study abroad as early as the summer prior to their second year at SCU so long as they meet the eligibility requirements for both SCU and their specific program. 

New application cycles begin on the first day of Fall Quarter every year. The phase 1 application deadline is typically the first day of Winter Quarter in January. 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 abroad experience during the summer of your sophomore year, you should begin the process fall quarter of your first year.
Sophomores If you are planning to apply for a study abroad experience during your junior year, you should begin the process fall quarter of your sophomore year.

If you are planning to apply for a study abroad experience during your senior year, you should begin the process fall quarter of your junior year.

Seniors Students must be actively enrolled to participate in a study abroad experience. 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, Fellowships Office, and more.

Additional Tips to Plan for Study Abroad:

  • Meet with your Major Advisor (also known as an academic or faculty advisor) or a Drahmann to determine when a study abroad experience best fits in your schedule based on your majors, minors, and/or academic goals.
  • Consider taking language courses if there is a specific location you want to study abroad in prior to applying, as this will strenghten your application and better prepare you for a global experience.
  • Talk to your family about the possibility of studying abroad. We have resources you can share if they have health, safety, or cost concerns on the Family Resources section of our website.
  • Follow us on Instagram or Facebook (@scustudyabroad) to stay-in-the-know about all things study abroad at SCU!

Most students will need to identify their program preferences using the Course Planning Workbook before they can begin an application, as this is how they determine which programs work best for them academically, professionally, and personally.

To apply, students need to press the red "apply now" button located on the program's digital brochure in the Program Database.

Still need assistance?

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

Students can expect to navigate through 3 phases of study abroad if they decide to apply.

  • Phase 1: Students apply directly to SCU to study abroad.
  • Phase 2: Students who are nominated to study abroad by SCU and confirm their participation will be required to submit a program-specific application to their program provider or host institution.
  • Phase 3: Students will work directly with their program provider or host institution on official course enrollment, on-site arrival instructions, etc. Students will also attend a mandatory health & safety pre-departure orientation with SCU Study Abroad advisors. 

Fall/Winter/Spring Applicants

Because study abroad is competitive during fall, winter, and spring terms, students applying during these terms 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 program preferences should be listed in the application for the student's #1 program preference and students should discuss their proposed coursework on their Academic Planning Form with their Faculty Advisor prior to submitting a study abroad application.

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 their program. 

Credits & Grades

All students participating in scu-approved programs will earn credits and grades for their participation. Courses and internship placements that are not evaluated and approved for major, minor, or core credit will appear on SCU transcripts as general elective credit.

Integrating Study Abroad Courses into Your SCU Academic Plan

Students who are nominated to study abroad by Santa Clara University must secure approval from academic departments at SCU for their internship placement or courses abroad using the course evaluation request instructions. For more information about this process, please visit the Courses Abroad section of the study abroad website under step by step instructions

  • Students can see whether a course abroad has already been evaluated for SCU credit in the course equivalency database
  • Course evaluations do not need to be started or approved prior to completing the Academic Planning Form or submitting an application by the deadline. However, the earlier a student works on the course evaluation process, the more confident they will be in their program selection and academic plan for study abroad. 
  • Students should meet with their Faculty Advisor prior to the application deadline to discuss their proposed study abroad coursework on the Academic Planning Form.