International Studies Abroad

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Study Abroad Policies

Application Login

Eligibility Requirements Approving Courses for Credit
Tuition Remission Pass/Fail
Refund Policy Non-Affiliated Programs
Academic Considerations Payment Policy
Program Admittance & Enrollment  

Eligibility Requirements

The following are eligibility requirements governing student participation in USD study abroad programs.

Minimum Age

The Office of International Studies Abroad does not permit applicants under the age of 18 to participate in fall or spring semester study abroad programs.

Class Standing

To participate in a USD affiliated semester study abroad program, students must have sophomore standing at the time of participation in the program. Junior class-standing may be required for some programs. (Please check with the Office of International Studies Abroad for more information.) All students, with the appropriate academic background, may apply for summer and Intersession programs.

Grade Point Average

To apply to a USD-affiliated semester study abroad program, students must meet the GPA requirement of the partner institution at the time they apply for the program. For information on specific GPA requirements by program, please visit the program home page. Students should check the minimum GPA program requirements before applying. Students participating in a USD sponsored summer or Intersession study abroad program must be in good academic standing at the time they apply for the program (2.0 GPA or higher) with USD or their home institution where applicable.

Academic Background

Students must be in good academic standing at the time of application. Students who are on scholastic probation are not eligible to participate.

Program Specific Requirements

Some study abroad programs have requirements in addition to class standing and minimum GPA. These requirements may include: a minimum level of proficiency in a foreign language, specific course pre-requisites, approval from a USD academic advisor and study abroad program director.

Full-Time Enrollment While Studying Abroad

Students must be enrolled full-time while participating in a USD semester-long study abroad program. Students participating in USD-affiliated semester programs must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester units while abroad.

Full Participation in Study Abroad Program

In order to be accepted into a study abroad program, students must agree to participate in the entire program (all class sessions and program-related activities of the study abroad program) and satisfy all USD admission and course requirements.

Conduct Background and Clearance

The Office of International Studies Abroad collaborates with the Office of Student Conduct to review the conduct records of all USD students applying to the programs and reserves the right to deny acceptance to students who have problematic or questionable conduct histories. Students must be clear of any conduct probation prior to participating in any study abroad program and probationary terms cannot coincide with the intended study abroad term (ex: students who apply to study abroad in fall 2013 cannot be on probation for any portion of the fall 2013 semester and must be clear of any probation prior to the program start date). All students will have their student conduct record reviewed the semester prior to the intended study abroad term. These reviews will take place periodically up until departure and although an application status may read "admitted" or "enrolled", this could be revoked at any time for conduct infractions that occur prior to departure.

Any student with a conduct record that is cause for concern will be contacted directly by the Office of International Studies Abroad. Such students may be required to sign a Conduct Contract. It is in the student's best interest to immediately notify the Office of International Studies Abroad if any conduct infraction occurs prior to departure. Students who are deemed ineligible to participate in a study abroad program will be withdrawn from the program and will be required to pay any fees associated with their withdrawal (program deposit, program fee, etc.) per the Refund & Payment Policy. No exceptions.


Encumbrances placed on a student's records by USD, e.g., by Admissions, Student Financial Services, Student Accounts, Registrar, Health Services, Parking Services, USD Libraries, etc., must be cleared before a student can be granted admission to any study abroad program.

Minimum Attendance at USD For Transfer Students

Students who transfer to the University of San Diego must have successfully completed at least one full semester at USD before they are eligible to participate in a semester-long study abroad program.

Students not meeting the above requirements as per their desired program are encouraged to discuss special approval with the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, PRIOR TO APPLYING. Those declined due to one of the above criteria may choose to appeal to the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. An appeal is NO GUARANTEE of approval.

Program Admittance & Enrollment

The Office of International Studies Abroad (OISA) accepts students to study abroad programs on a rolling basis. Please note that students need to be aware of the Refund Policy listed below.

Overview of Admittance & Enrollment Process

Step 1: Pending Applications

When students open an application for a study abroad program, thier default application status is "Pending". During this time, students will need to complete the requirements listed in their USD Abroad application portal. After all requirements in this step have been completed, applications will be reviewed for eligibility.

Step 2: Program Admittance (Pre-Enrollment)

After complete applications are reviewed and students meet eligibility requirements, thier status will be changed to "Admitted" (see below for definitions of all application statuses). Once students have been admitted to the study abroad program, additional post-admittance requirements will appear in their online application. Students are responsible for completing these requirements by the established due dates, which are listed on the Important Dates page of the International Studies Abroad website. Students must complete these requirements in order to move forward in the admittance process.

As part of the admittance process, students will be required to provide information related to thier wellness to verify that there are no contraindications to travel abroad. The Office of International Studies Abroad and/or Wellness Units at USD may request additional documentation related to students' readiness to travel from the student or from the student's health/mental health professional. This additional documentation must be submitted by the established due dates as listed on the Important Dates page.

Students should NOT purchase airline tickets while their status is "Admitted". 

NOTE: Students in the "Admitted" status are held to all program policies including, but not limited to, the Payment Policy and the Refund Policy. It is the students' responsibilty to be aware of all costs related to their program. Program costs can be found on the Program Home Page.

Step 3: Program Enrollment

The Office of International Studies Abroad will review all post-admittance requirements (additional questionnaires, materials, signature documents, other documentation). After review, students' application status will be changed to "Enrolled", which confirms participation in the study abroad program. When the students' status is changed to ENROLLED, they can proceed to make flight arrangements. 

Description of Application Statuses

All official application statuses are listed at the top the students' application under “Commitment to Participate.” Please note that there are different application statuses and students are responsible for understanding the implications of their status. Below is a description of the application statuses used by the Office of International Studies Abroad. Students should refer to this list to clarify their application status as indicated on their application and decision email (sent by their International Studies Abroad Advisor):

  • Pending: Student has not yet been reviewed for program admittance and/or application is incomplete.
  • Admittance Pending Academic Evaluation: Student does not meet the GPA eligibility requirements, but is given the opportunity to provide additional documentation from current professors to evaluate academic progress.
  • Admitted by USD; Not Yet Admitted by Partner: Student has been admitted by USD, but has not yet been admitted by the partner institution. Because the student has not been admitted by both parties (USD and partner institution), the student is not ENROLLED and thus participation in the program is not confirmed. Once notification of admittance is received from the partner institution, the status will be changed to “Enrolled” and participation in the program will be confirmed.
  • Admitted: Student has been admitted to the program but needs to complete additional requirements. 
  • Enrolled: Student is confirmed to participate in the program (by all participating parties).
  • Enrolled- Conduct Probation: Student is confirmed to participate, but has prior conduct infractions that require a conduct contract. Students with a conduct contract are considered to be on conduct probation for the program duration.

Academic Considerations

Course Eligibility

As part of the semester application process, students complete a Program Approval Form where they list the preferred classes they would like to take as well as alternatives.Students must list alternative courses as a precautionary measure so that they will have options in the event that a preferred course is not available upon arrival abroad. Academic advisors review course selections and approve students to take the course listed by signing the Program Approval Form. Please note: Students are ONLY approved to take the courses listed on the Program Approval Form. If class schedules change while abroad it is the students' responsibility to inform their academic advisor and their study abroad advisor. If students do not inform these offices there is a chance that no credit will be given for courses not listed on the Program Approval Form.

Course Pre-Requisites

It is the students’ responsibility to review ALL course pre-requisites in the Undergraduate Bulletin before enrolling in a course abroad. While the Office of International Studies Abroad lists pre-requisites on the Pre-Approved Course List, it is the students’ responsibility to view course pre-requisites in the in the Undergraduate Bulletin as these may change over time. Students should note the following:

  • The Office of International Studies Abroad adheres to pre-requisites as determined by each academic department at USD.
  • If a study abroad course has a USD course equivalent with a pre-requisite (which is outlined on the Pre-Approved Course List or in the Undergraduate Bulletin), students are required to meet this pre-requisite prior to taking the course. No exceptions.
  • If students enroll in a course without meeting the pre-requisite(s), the course will not transfer back to USD. No exceptions.

Six-Unit Discipline Restriction

In collaboration with the department chairs in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Office of International Studies Abroad has instituted a policy that restricts the number of units that students can take abroad within the same discipline. This policy ONLY applies to the COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES. The policy states:

  • No more that two courses (6 upper division units) within the same discipline can count toward a single major or minor without prior approval of the department chair

Note: Because some programs are specialized for certain areas of study, some exceptions can be made. Although the Office of International Studies Abroad makes an exception in certain programs, this exception does not override the departmental policy related to off-campus units. Students should check with their study abroad advisor if their program qualifies as an exception to this policy.

The Six-Unit Discipline Restriction does not apply to majors within the School of Business Administration.

Restriction by Major/Residency Requirement

In addition to the 6-unit discipline restriction, some majors have mandated that a minimum of a certain number of upper-division units must be taken on USD's campus. This may impact the number of units that can be taken abroad (off-campus). Details can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin (Arts & Sciences; School of Business Administration; SOLES). It is the student's responsibility to check with their academic advisor about how study abroad fits in to their declared major and to ensure that they meet these minimum residency requirements (the minimum number of upper-division units that must be taken on the USD campus).

Languages Courses Abroad

The Office of International Studies Abroad adheres to the Language Placement Policy as outlined by the Languages & Literatures department. If students would like to take a language course abroad, they are required to meet all pre-requisites before enrolling in the course. If a student has not taken any language at USD and would like to enroll in a language course abroad, they are required to take USD’s placement exam. The results of this exam will determine which level the student is eligible to enroll in. Students who take language courses abroad and have not met the USD language pre-requisites (via placement exam or course) will not be able to transfer these courses to USD.

Approving Courses for Credit

Each course taken abroad is carefully reviewed by a USD Department Chair to determine course transferability. The Office of International Studies Abroad has a database of pre-approved courses for each program and these pre-approved courses can be found on the brochure page of each program. In determining the courses students would like to take abroad (and list on their Program Approval Form where their academic advisor approves them), students should do the following:

  • Refer to the host institution’s website (accessed from the program brochure page) for a list of courses that are offered during the term they wish to study abroad.
  • Compare the current course offering on the host institution’s website pre-approved course list (accessed from the program brochure page) to determine if the courses they would like to take have been pre-approved. If they courses have been pre-approved, then students can proceed to list these courses (along with their USD equivalents) on their program approval form.

If students find a course on the host institution’s website that has not been pre-approved, the Office of International Studies Abroad will assist the student in processing the course review. To initiate the course review process, students need to contact the appropriate International Studies Abroad Advisor to inform him/her of the class(es) for which they are seeking evaluation.

NOTE: Completion of these steps does not guarantee course approval. All affiliated courses must meet USD standards. USD credit will not be granted for non-approved courses.

Payment Policy

Details regarding the payment policy can be found on the Financing Your Study Abroad Experience page.

Tuition Remission

Tuition remission may be used for select study abroad programs. Tuition remission is an employee benefit, and thus is processed with Human Resources. Students should direct the employee to the tuition remission description.  All tuition remission eligible study abroad programs are clearly denoted in the program Fact Sheet, which is posted in the header of each program brochure page.  Students can use the Advanced Program Search tool to easily find tuition remission eligible programs.

Semester Programs

  • The tuition remission benefit can be used toward all exchange programs as well as the University College Cork and USD Madrid Programs only. The tuition remission benefit only covers tuition; students are responsible for all other program related expenses.
    • The tuition remission benefit is NOT available for non-exchange semester programs. If tuition remission students wish to participate in a non-exchange program, they will be charged the provider cost of the program, which includes the provider tuition and any other program expenses. In this case, students will be responsible for paying the provider's tuition rate rather than the USD tuition rate.  

Short-Term Programs

  • The tuition remission benefit can be used toward the tuition portion of all short-term (summer, intersession and SYE Abroad) programs. Students are responsible for the program fee.


While studying abroad, all students earn letter grades from the partner institution. Students in good academic standing, that is, with a grade point average of 2.0 at the University of San Diego, may elect transfer courses back to USD as pass/fail. All students who wish to exercise the pass/fail option must have prior authorization from their advisor. Courses taken at other institutions and transferred to USD for unit credit only are not considered to fall under the pass/fail option. Note the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar for changing a course to the pass/fail option or vice-versa. No changes will be made after this date. Students should be aware of the academic regulations as outlined in the Undergraduate Course Catalog.

Students who wish to transfer a study abroad course back to USD as pass/fail, and are eligible to do so, must do the following:

  1. Contact your academic advisor via email for approval.
  2. Send your name, ID number, program location and also the course you are wishing to take pass/fail to your advisor.
  3. Once you have received email approval, forward this approval to Craig Murken in the Registrars Office

PLEASE NOTE: USD's pass/fail policy overrides the affiliate pass/fail policy.

Refund Policy

Withdrawing from a Study Abroad Program 

All students enrolled in a study abroad program are responsible for the withdrawal policies outlined below.  All cancellations MUST BE SUBMITTED IN WRITING via EMAIL to the Study Abroad Advisor for the program from which the student wishes to cancel.  Refunds are issued only on recoverable costs and only after written notice of withdrawal is received by the Study Abroad Advisor.  No refunds will be issued 10 days after arrival, regardless of policy.  Appeals for partial refunds will be considered only in cases of serious illness or emergency.  These are handled on a case-by-case basis and will require additional documentation.  Appeals should to be submitted in writing (via email) to the Director, Dr. Kira Espiritu (   

Refund Schedule for Semester Programs 

Application Fee: The $100 application fee is non-refundable.

Tuition & Program Fee: Tuition and program fee refunds for all programs will be processed according to the refund policies of the host institution or university/partner/on-site provider (including housing agencies, hotels and tour operators).  Refunds are issued only on recoverable costs and only after written notice of withdrawal from the program is received by the appropriate Study Abroad Advisor.  Students are responsible for all non-recoverable costs incurred by USD. PLEASE NOTE: The program fee becomes non-refundable after a student is admitted to a program (application status within online application will read: "admitted"). For details about a program's specific program fee, locate the program and click on the program name; once on the program page, please review the "Program Cost" section located toward the top of the individual program page. Students who pay expenses directly to a third party (other than USD) must abide by the refund policy of that third party provider (ex: housing agency or tour operator).  

Tuition for USD Madrid program & Exchange Programs: Tuition refunds for the USD Madrid program and semester exchange programs are processed according to the on-campus tuition refund policy established by the USD Finance Office

Refund Schedule for Summer & Intersession Programs 

Commitment Fee: Upon application submissions, all students agree to a $500 commitment fee that will be charged to their USD Student Account. The committment fee ($500) is non-refundable after the 100% deadline.


100% Refund if withdrawal received on or before

SYE Abroad 2015

October 1, 2014

Intersession 2015

October 29, 2014

Summer 2015

March 18, 2014

SYE Abroad 2015

September 30, 2014

Program Fee: Program Fee refunds will be processed on according to the schedule below. No refunds will be issued if withdrawls are received after the 25% deadline.


100% Refund 

if withdrawal received on:

75% Refund 

if withdrawal received on: 

50% Refund 

if withdrawal received on: 

25% Refund 

if withdrawal received on: 

SYE Abroad 2015

October 1, 2014

October 15, 2014

October 29, 2014

November 12, 2014

Intersession 2015

October 29, 2014

November 12, 2014

November 26, 2014

December 10, 2014

Summer 2015

March 18, 2015

April 1, 2015

April 15, 2015

April 29, 2015

SYE Abroad 2016

September 30, 2015

October 14, 2015

October 28, 2015

November 11, 2015

Tuition : Tuition refunds for summer/intersession programs will be processed according to the schedule below.  No refunds will be issued if cancellation is received 10 days after the program start date.

100% Refund 

if withdrawal received on:

90% Refund 

if withdrawal received on:

75% Refund 

if withdrawal received:

60% Refund 

if withdrawal 


50% Refund 

if withdrawal 


Prior to or on program start date

1 day after program start date

3 days after program start date

6 days after program start date

9 days afterprogram start date

Non-Affiliated Programs

On May 6, 2010, the USD Academic Senate approved the following change in policy for undergraduate students who choose to participate in an international study abroad program. This new policy went into effect in Fall 2011. The policy reads:

"The University of San Diego (USD) recognizes full academic credit toward an undergraduate degree for students choosing to participate in an international experience when the chosen program is directly affiliated with USD and approved by the International Studies Abroad Committee. Students who wish to take courses in unaffiliated international programs and receive academic credit must obtain advance written approval, for sound academic reasons, at the discretion of their Academic Dean in concert with the Office of International Affairs. USD transfer of credit policies will apply for any such approved course. No academic credit will be transferred without advance written approval as described above. This policy applies to all programs: short-term, semester-long, and year-long programs."

Students who would like to petition for credit for a non-affiliated program, should download the following documents pertaining to the corresponding study abroad term:

Semester Program - Non Affiliated

Non-Affiliated Program Participation Request - Semester

Unaffiliated Transfer Evaluation Form

Short-Term (summer/intersession) - Non Affiliated

Non-Affiliated Program Participation Request - Short-Term

Unaffiliated Transfer Evaluation Form

PLEASE NOTE: The University of San Diego Office of International Studies Abroad is not responsible for the quality/content offered in non-affiliated programs and that, for liability reasons, the USD Office of International Studies Abroad will not be able to intervene if any issue arises while students are abroad on a non-affiliated program.