Policies Governing Study Abroad

The College, in concert with Penn Abroad, closely monitors the academic quality of the programs in which Penn students enroll. Students are required to meet first with their major advisor followed by the assistant dean in the College Office responsible for the program in question to ensure that the program is academically appropriate and to review the process for receiving credit.

  • Good academic standing and a minimum cumulative and semester g.p.a. of 3.0 are required to apply for study abroad; some programs stipulate a higher g.p.a.
  • If students do not meet the academic requirements to study abroad, including good academic standing, or they violate academic integrity prior to study abroad, permission to participate will be revoked even if admission has been granted and travel arrangements have been made.
  • Students are not allowed to study abroad if a grade notation of I, NR or GR or if more than two F’s appear on their Penn transcript or if their major is undeclared, unless permission is specifically granted by the appropriate assistant dean.
  • Some abroad programs also require a minimum level of language skill. Refer to the Penn Abroad website for more information on language requirements.
  • Students who enter Penn as first-years must complete three semesters of full-time study in Philadelphia and be enrolled at Penn in the fourth full-time semester before applying to study abroad. Students must also be actively enrolled at Penn and the semester before they study abroad. Transfer students must complete one semester at Penn before applying. They must have completed two semesters at Penn before studying abroad and be enrolled at Penn the semester before their departure.
  • Junior transfer students are not eligible to study abroad.
  • Petitioning for an exemption from these policies is an option if there are compelling academic and intellectual reasons. Students should contact the College study abroad advisor to discuss petitioning.
  • Students studying abroad pay regular Penn tuition and continue to receive financial aid as if they were in residence on Penn’s campus. Students should discuss their financial plans with their advisor in Student Financial Services.
  • Students will receive credit for their coursework as long as the relevant academic departments at Penn approve this credit. Their grades become a regular part of their transcript and are calculated into their Penn g.p.a.
  • Credit will not be awarded for programs that are not formally affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Credit earned studying abroad may be counted toward some General Education requirements, but only when departments award credit using the number of a Penn course approved for that requirement. The Writing and Quantitative Data Analysis Requirements cannot be fulfilled with abroad credit. Students should be aware that most abroad credits are not approved for General Education requirements.
  • All College academic policies apply to students while away including add, drop, withdraw and grade type change. Students who are interested in applying to study abroad should refer to Abroad: Step-by-Step on the College website for more information on the application process.