Center for International Programs - Semester/Year Abroad

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start looking into study abroad?
Students should start researching their studying abroad plans as soon as possible.  We recommend that students attend an information session during their freshman or sophomore year.  There are many program options and many details that need to be discussed so it is best to plan in advance.

Is study abroad only for students of certain majors?

We believe that any major can include some type of study abroad experience.  The key is planning early!  It is recommended that you discuss your study abroad interests with your Academic Advisor and with a member of the CIP staff during your freshman year so that we can assist you with planning.  If a semester abroad is not possible for you, we can also help you find a short-term program like SJU study tour or summer program.

Is there a GPA requirement for semester abroad?

Yes.  As per University policy, the minimum cumulative GPA requirement is 2.5.  It is important to note that many of our approved/affiliated programs have a higher GPA requirement – some up to a 3.0! 

When can I study abroad?

When students can study abroad depends on two things: the student’s major/degree requirements and the program’s eligibility requirements. For many students, junior year is the best time. Other majors require that students remain on campus for junior and senior year, in which case sophomore year (2nd semester only!) might be the best time. This is a conversation students should have with their Academic Advisor, and perhaps the Study Abroad Advisor. It may be easier for the student’s Academic Advisor to answer questions if the student has already identified a program.  It’s always a good idea to check the eligibility requirements of the program you are interested in to ensure that it is a good match for you. 

It’s generally possible to study abroad during senior year, but if a student is considering this, they should consult their Academic Advisor and they will need approval from the Academic Associate Dean. 

And yes, students can study abroad multiple times!

Where can SJU students study abroad?

Saint Joseph's University currently maintains a list of 33 approved/affiliated semester abroad programs in 19 different countries around the world.

I’m interested in a semester abroad program that’s not on the SJU approved/affiliated list. Can I still apply to that program?

If you cannot find a program from the approved list that meets your academic needs, you have the option of petitioning the CIP for approval to attend another program.  This can be a lengthy process and requires extra preparation on the part of the student.  Before beginning a petition, please schedule an appointment with the Study Abroad Advisor to discuss the non-approved program that you’re interested in and discuss the steps to petition.

I’m a PLS student.  What are my options?

Students in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies (PLS) have the same program options as the full-time, day students. However, your selection of courses may be different and this could affect your choice of program. As part of the application process, we will require a letter of recommendation (e-mail would suffice) from your Academic Advisor listing the courses that you plan to take while abroad.  In addition, it is important to note that you will be expected to enroll as a full-time student while abroad and pay the regular SJU tuition costs, as per the Study Abroad Policy.  

Okay, I’ve picked my program and I’m ready to apply!  When is the deadline?

For spring semester study abroad, the application deadline is always October 1st.  For fall semester abroad and academic year abroad, the deadline is March 1st.  Some programs have earlier deadlines or fill up quickly; therefore, it’s best to apply early.

Can I apply to multiple programs for one semester?

No.  The CIP can only accept one application per student at a time.  However, if you are concerned about your chances of being accepted into a study abroad program, please schedule an appointment to meet with a member of the CIP staff to discuss your options.

How do I know which courses I can take overseas?

Fitting study abroad into your degree requirements is like solving a puzzle. Earlier planning facilitates a smoother process.  Use the extensive network of resources available to you – your Academic Advisor, the Academic Advising Center for your college, the Study Abroad Advisor and the CIP website.  In addition, the CIP has lists of “pre-approved” courses with SJU equivalencies available for almost every semester abroad program.  This will help you “map out” which courses to possibly save for study abroad and which ones to take at SJU.  In general, we suggest that students find a program that complements their major and offers some classes to complete major requirements.  It is also a good idea to save your free electives for study abroad.

I’m not fluent in a foreign language. Can I still study abroad?

Yes.  Most programs on our approved list offer courses in English.  However, if you are studying in a country where English is not the primary language spoken, we strongly suggest taking a course in the host language so that you can try to communicate with locals!

How much does it cost to study abroad?

It depends on the type of program that you choose and your destination.  Students participating in a semester or year abroad program are required to remain enrolled at SJU and continue to pay SJU tuition while abroad.  Your entire financial aid package (loans, scholarships, grants) remains in effect.  You will be responsible for all non-tuition fees associated with your semester abroad and those expenses will vary by program. Please note that for some Saint Joseph’s University affiliated programs, students may be required to pay other fees to Saint Joseph’s University first and Saint Joseph’s University will then forward these fees to the program sponsor.  CIP can give you spending estimates (i.e., Financial Information Sheets) based on the program you’re interested in. 

Where do I send my application?

All application materials must be submitted to the CIP office prior to the deadline.  Please visit the CIP website for more information about what forms and documents are required for each program.

I’ve applied for a semester abroad program. How long until I know if I’ve been accepted?

Once you’ve submitted all application materials to the CIP office, we will obtain your transcript from the Registrar’s office and check your disciplinary status.  Then, we will review your study abroad application and send you an admissions decision by email within 2 weeks.  At that time, if you’re accepted by SJU, we will send your application materials to the study abroad program/university.  It can take them 3-4 weeks after they receive your materials to contact you with an admissions decision, so please be patient!

Do the grades I get overseas count?

If you are studying abroad for a semester or year, or if you are participating in an SJU study tour or summer program, the grades you earn abroad will count towards you cumulative GPA and they will show up on your SJU transcript.