Application Process

Students interested in participating in a semester or summer education abroad program must submit an online application through Penn State Education Abroad by the appropriate deadline. Students already accepted into a program wishing to extend for an extra semester are required to submit another application for the new term by the appropriate deadline. For most programs, the entire application process is online, though some programs may require submission of hardcopy documents. To assist students with the process, we have detailed application instructions and an explanation of how to request an electronic recommendation.

Please note: If you are interested in an embedded program, deadlines and instructions listed on this page do not apply to you. Please contact the faculty leader of your program for more information.

Application Timeline

Education abroad applications are opened well in advance of the deadlines and exceptions will not be made for missing them. Should a program meet its capacity before the final deadline, the application for that program will close and no further applications will be accepted. Students with questions about our application timeline or deadlines for specific programs should contact their Education Abroad adviser.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, all education abroad programs have been canceled through the spring of 2021. Though the University has hopes to resume programming and travel for summer 2021, future travel is subject to University approval, dates are subject to change, and programming may be altered or canceled due to changing circumstances.

Application Deadlines, Notifications, and Commitments

Term Application Deadline Students Notified of Decision Commitment Deadline
Summer (Internship Programs Only) January 20* January 29 March 7
Summer (Non-internship Programs) February 15* February 25 March 7
Fall and Academic Year March 15** March 25 April 1
Spring (Priority Deadline 1) May 1*** June 4 October 1
Spring (Priority Deadline 2) July 15**** July 28 October 1
Spring (Final Deadline) September 10 September 23 October 1

Applications for summer, fall, and academic year programs typically open in early October. Applications for spring programs typically open in late January.

Summer Deadline Exceptions

*The following summer faculty-led program has a January 20 application deadline:

  • Rome, Italy: Architectural Engineering, Dept AE (Summer)

*The following summer term internship programs have a February 15 application deadline (i.e. they are not due at the January 20 internship program deadline):

  • CzechMates: Brno (Summer)
  • CELA: Belize (Summer)
  • Arcadia STEM Summer Research

Fall and Academic Year Deadline Exceptions

**The following programs have an early application deadline of January 20 for the fall and academic year terms due to early partner application deadlines:

  • Dept ENGR & EMS: Sendai, Tohoku University
  • IES: Nagoya, Nanzan University
  • IES: Oxford, St. Catherine's College
    • The January 20 deadline for the IES Oxford program is for the fall, academic year, and spring terms
  • Kuala Lumpur: Monash University Malaysia
  • Mito: Ibaraki University

Spring Term Deadline Exceptions

Students applying for spring term programs are highly encouraged to apply for one of the priority deadline dates to ensure their best chance of acceptance into their first-choice program.

***Students interested in applying for the following spring term programs should submit their applications by the May 1 deadline due to early partner application deadlines and/or the competitive nature of these programs:

  • Dept ENGR: Southampton, University of Southampton
  • Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Singapore: National University of Singapore

****Students interested in applying for the following spring term programs should submit their applications by the July 15 deadline due to early partner application deadlines and/or the competitive nature of these programs:

  • IES: Amsterdam
  • IES: London, University College London
  • IES: Nagoya, Nanzan University

Application Instructions

Application procedures can vary by program.  Students should consult the application instructions available within each application.

  1. Select the program to which you will apply, and click the "Apply Now" button available on the program brochure page.
  2. Log in using your Penn State access ID and password.
  3. Select the desired term or semester.
  4. Complete the Education Abroad Application Questionnaire(s).
  5. Read, follow all instructions, and provide your digital signature on any other application documents that appear under the heading "Signature Documents."
  6. Request the academic recommendations as listed within your application (most programs require one; some require two). Read more information about recommendations.
  7. Students applying to a third party provider program or a direct enroll program may be asked to complete another application in addition to the Penn State application. Instructions for how to complete this additional application can be found in the "Signature Documents" section.
  8. Read and mark read any items listed under Learning Content.
  9. Apply for relevant Education Abroad scholarships available within your program application. Be sure to carefully read the eligibility requirements for each scholarship.

Requesting a Recommendation

Most Penn State Education Abroad programs require an electronic recommendation, which you will request electronically through your Penn State Education Abroad application. Recommendations are an important part of the selection process because a recommendation reflects how a member of the academic community perceives your preparedness to study abroad. It is not necessary to request a formal letter. We will not accept hard-copy recommendations.

Recommendation Guidelines

  • Recommendations must be from a Penn State faculty member, instructor, teaching assistant or academic adviser.  If it is a faculty member, instructor or TA completing the recommendation for you, that person must have taught you in a Penn State course.
  • If you are applying to a faculty-led program, you should not request the recommendation from and Penn State faculty member, staff member, or teaching assistant who will be leading the program.
  • Your recommender should know your academic capabilities and your interest in studying abroad.
  • Recommendations cannot be copied across semesters or reused for another application.

Recommendation Instructions

Application procedures can vary by program.  Students should consult the application instructions available within each application.

  • Meet with your recommender to discuss your study abroad plans and to confirm that they will be able to complete your electronic recommendation.
  • Plan ahead! Allow up to four weeks for a recommender to complete the online form.
  • Within your application, select the “Request Electronic Recommendation” link.
  • Enter your recommender's PSU ID (i.e. abc123) and click "search."
  • Select the correct recommender and click “next.”
  • List coursework taken with your recommender, if applicable. If you selected an academic adviser, please indicate that in the text field provided.
  • Once you click “save,” your recommendation request will be sent.
  • Before the application deadline, verify that the recommendation was received by Education Abroad. If it has not been received, send a brief, polite reminder email to your recommender. If you do not receive a response, contact your education abroad adviser.
  • Once the recommendation is complete, send a thank you note to the professor, instructor, or academic adviser who completed the recommendation. Also, if you are ultimately accepted to the program, don’t forget to share the good news!
     

Will I Be Approved?

A student's approval for a particular program depends on a variety of factors. Since each program has its own set of academic and admission standards, students should investigate the requirements of their desired programs before applying.

Keep in Mind

  • Students may not be able to study abroad while on probation through the Office of Student Conduct.
  • Applications cannot be deferred. Students must withdraw and reapply to a later semester.
  • Applications are evaluated on an individual basis. Education Abroad will not guarantee requests to study abroad with friends.
  • Even if Penn State Education Abroad approves a student's application, this does not guarantee that they will be accepted by the host institution or program. 

Program Pre-Requisites

  • Minimum GPA
    • Varies by program; generally 2.5-3.0 minimum cumulative GPA which should be achieved at time of application
  • Minimum Class Standing
    • Based on credits earned
    • Varies by program
  • Language Requirement
    • Some programs require a certain level of language study
  • Department-Specific Programs
    • Some programs are only open to students from specific departments

Other Considerations

  • Program Capacity
    • Varies by program
    • Exchange programs have a limited number of spots and are very competitive
  • Electronic Recommendations
    • It is important to select a recommender who is familiar with you and knows you plan to study abroad
    • Don’t forget to give your recommender plenty of notice to complete your recommendation – at least 4 weeks
  • EA Application Questionnaire
    • Your answers need not be long, but should be thoughtful
    • Make sure you convey your desire to study abroad on the program you have specifically chosen