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Santa Clara University

Application Resources

So you're interested in studying abroad at some point during your time at SCU. That's great!

The first thing you'll need to do is determine your goals for study abroad. Competitive applicants are those who can clearly articulate why they chose their program, and how it aligns with their personal, professional, and academic goals. Study abroad goals can include but are not limited to: fluency in another language, conducting research abroad, participating in an internship, living in a homestay, making new friends in the local culture, etc.

Once you identify what you hope to gain from this experience, you'll be better prepared to select program preferences that will help you meet your personal, academic, and professional aspirations.


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 An SCU login is required to complete guides & workbooks digitally. Students who complete workbook exercises digitally will be able to send themselves a copy via email.

Parents, prospective/current SCU students, and students with accessibility requests can email us at any time to request printable copies or alternative methods of distribution. 

Navigate here to Complete Digitally Setting Goals Workbook
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Navigate here to Complete Digitally Course Planning Workbook
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Navigate here to Complete Digitally Writing Essays Workbook
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Brainstormed your goals? You're ready to identify your program preferences, begin your academic planning for study abroad, and officially start your application! Below are resources to help you navigate your next steps: 

What are program preferences?

Because study abroad at SCU is competitive during the academic year, you have the opportunity to be considered for up to 2 fall, winter, or spring programs and 1 summer term preference. All program preferences should be listed in the application for your #1 program preference. Listing additional program preferences can increase your chances of being nominated, but it is not required.

When selecting program preferences, you should consider:

  1. SCU-approved study abroad programs are organized by program providers and host institutions. This means that every program is different, and will not offer you the same experiences, support, courses, etc. You can research and contact your preferred program providers or host institutions anytime by using the program provider/host institution contact list (SCU login credentials required)
  2. In addition, SCU-approved study abroad programs vary in ‚ÄúProgram Models." Learn more about how these program models differ, and why it matters. Take the time to know the difference, as some models may be a better fit for you than others.

There are multiple ways you can begin searching for your program preferences:


Explore Programs by Major

If you want to know which programs align with your major, you can filter programs by areas of focus! Remember, competitive applicants are those who can demonstrate a strong alignment between their program of interest and their academics. 

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Search Our Entire SCU-approved Program Database 

(the program database is also known as the study abroad portal)

SCU Study Abroad offers students a variety of programs to choose from in the summer, fall, winter, and spring terms. Each program falls into one of four models that determine how immersive your experience will be: Direct Enroll, Hybrid, Island, or Virtual. 

Summer Programs

Search Summer Programs 

(summer programs are not competitive)

Although study abroad at Santa Clara University is competitive during the regular academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring), this is not true for summer. Students can study abroad in the summer term more than once while attending SCU, and can utilize their experiences to explore new subjects, get ahead in their major/minor requirements, or secure an international internship!

Once you identify your program preferences, you can officially start your application for your #1 program preference. You will have the opportunity to list your remaining two program preferences within the application of your #1 program preference. 


How to Start Your Application Instructions 

(SCU login credentials required for access)

Once you know your top program preference, you will use your program's digital brochure located in the study abroad portal to start your application. Don't forget, as part of your application you will submit an academic planning form and essay questions that can take weeks to complete. Plan ahead!


As part of your application, you are required to submit a 4 - Year Course Plan and an Academic Planning Form (located in the Course Planning Workbook). The 4 - Year Course Plan and Academic Planning Form show the SCU Application Review Committee that you have chosen program preferences that align with your academic needs. 

What you should know:

  • Completing the Academic Planning Form may take several weeks, plan ahead!
  • The Academic Planning Form is a tentative planning form, meaning it does not guarantee your placement into your specified courses abroad. You will work on official course enrollment in phase 3 of the study abroad process, if you are nominated. 
  • You are not required to take the courses you list on your Academic Planning Form, but you should always work to ensure the courses you officially enroll in are approved by following our step-by-step instructions on the "Courses Abroad" section of our website. 

Tips for completing the Academic Planning Form: 

  • Be sure to account for course requirements such as program-specific requirements, the language or culture course requirement, or major/minor/core requirements. To learn more about course requirements, please visit the "Courses Abroad" section of our website.
  • Be sure to list the titles of your program preferences as they appear in the SCU Program Database.
  • Be sure to have your Academic Planning Form reviewed by your Academic Advisor or a Drahmann Advisor prior to submitting your application.
  • You should only list courses that you intend to take abroad. Example: If a program requires you to take 4 - 5 courses per their program requirements, you should list the 4 -5 courses you intend to take abroad, no more and no less.

Who can help? 

Advisor Questions

SCU Study Abroad

Our peer and staff advisors can help you understand how to complete the Academic Planning Form to ensure you are completing it correctly.

Book an appointment here. 


Academic Advisors

SCU Study Abroad cannot advise on whether or not specific courses will fit your major/minor/core requirements or on your overall academic plan. If you have questions about whether or not certain classes offered on programs abroad would count towards your major/minor/core you will need to: 

You will be required to complete three essay questions during your study abroad application that must be no more than 300 words per essay. Your essays should be tailored to your #1 program preference. When you submit your study abroad application, your essay questions will be reviewed by the Application Review Committee using the Essay Grading Rubric

What you should know:

  • Drafting essay statements may take several weeks, plan ahead!
  • When developing your statements, you should first review the Essay Grading Rubric to further understand what reviewers will be looking for.
  • We encourage you to have the HUB Writing Center and a friend, peer, or family member review your 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.

Who can help? 

Hub Writing Center

The Hub Writing Center 

SCU Study Abroad shares the essay grading rubric with the Hub Writing Center here on campus. We highly encourage you to utilize the HUB Writing Center to review your statements.