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

Applications are opened well in advance of the below deadlines and exceptions will not be made for missing them. 

Semester Application Deadline Decision Date Commitment Deadline
Summer* February 1 February 12 February 21
Fall and Academic Year March 1* March 12 March 27
Spring (Priority Deadline 1)** May 1 June 5 October 1
Spring (Priority Deadline 2)*** July 15 July 27 October 1
Spring (Final Deadline) September 10 September 24 October 1

*All summer international internship programs have an application deadline of January 20.

*Exceptions with a January 20 deadline for fall or academic year programs:

  • Dept ENGR & EMS: Sendai, Tohoku University
  • IES: Nagoya, Nanzan University
  • IES: Oxford, St. Catherine's College (fall and spring terms)
  • Mito: Ibaraki University

**Students interested in applying for the programs listed below for the spring semester should submit their applications by the May 1 deadline:

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

***Students interested in applying for the programs listed below for the spring semester should submit their applications by the July 15 deadline:

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

Students applying for spring semester programs are highly encouraged to apply before one of the Priority Deadline dates. 

Should a program meet its capacity before the final deadline, that program will be closed and no further applications will be accepted. Students interested in studying abroad in the spring should apply as early as possible to ensure their best chance of acceptance into their first choice program.

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