You may determine that your interests fall outside the offerings at Wash U and choose to seek out alternative study abroad options. To receive academic credit for participation in a non-WashU program, you must submit a written proposal and garner approval of that proposal. If approved for a semester abroad program, a student takes a leave of absence from WashU. If approved for a summer study abroad program, no leave of absence is needed. This alternative study abroad option pertains only to undergraduate students at the Sam Fox School.

Choosing a Program

Students are responsible for finding and choosing an institution that suits their interests and needs, and offers courses and/or degree programs that match with their Sam Fox major. They should build a relationship with their chosen international institution. The impetus is on the student to gather all pertinent information, ensure that they are eligible to attend the institution, abide by application deadlines and requirements, and get accepted. If a student is not accepted to their chosen institution, there will likely be no further action and no possibility for them to study abroad based on their proposal. Be sure to read the Credit Policy before pursuing and alternative program.

Eligibility & Prerequisites

Each alternative program will have its own requirements. In addition, Sam Fox requires that students:

  1. Have and maintain a 3.3 GPA
  2. Be in good academic and behavioral standing with WashU
  3. Apply and be accepted to the alternative study abroad program
  4. Submit proposal on time to Sam Fox School Coordinator of Special Programs

Be sure to read the Credit Policy before pursuing and alternative program.


There are limits to how many credits you can earn in a WU or Alternative Program.

Application Requirements

Students must submit a proposal to the Coordinator for Special Programs. It will be reviewed by The Coordinator of Special Programs, the chair of the department, and the registrar.

In general, the deadline for proposals is about one year in advance of when you plan to study abroad. Submit completed proposals to the Coordinator of Special Programs by:

  • February 15 for spring study abroad programs, one year in advance of your study abroad semester.
  • February 15 for summer study abroad programs occurring in the same year.
  • October 15 for fall study abroad programs, one year in advance of your study abroad semester.

Proposal requirements are as follows:

  1. Meet with your Sam Fox Faculty Advisor of the Chair of your department to discuss your study abroad plan its impact on your full course of study at WU.
  2. Write a one to two-page proposal that outlines a compelling reason why participation in the alternative program is important to your course of study. Be sure to include the name of the university and program you want to attend and pertinent details about the university, program, city, country, etc. and how your academic work will be impacted by this program. Your cover page should include:
    1. your name
    2. student ID number
    3. name and email address of Sam Fox Faculty Advisor
    4. major, second major, minor
    5. expected date of graduation
    6. title and summary of study abroad program you intend to participate in
    7. dates of study abroad program
  3. Study Plan – the study plan includes the names and course descriptions of the classes you would like to count toward your degree and the Sam Fox course you want the class to count as. Include syllabi for each class.
  4. Current transcript showing GPA. (unofficial is accepted)
  5. If you are pursuing credit for another major or minor, you must include written confirmation from that department stating the course will count toward your major or minor.

You will receive a letter from the Coordinator for Special Programs in response to your proposal. Keep this letter for your records and share a copy with your advisor and the Sam Fox School Registrar.

Before You Go

If your proposal is approved, you will receive a letter of approval from the Coordinator for Special Programs. Keep this for your records. If approved, you must take a Leave of Absence from WU during your semester abroad. Fill out a Sam Fox School Leave of Absence Form and send it to the Registrar and Coordinator for Special Programs. If you are doing an alternative summer program abroad, you do not need to take a leave of absence.


Financing is managed by the primary study abroad program. Contact the coordinator of that program for more details. If approved and you take a leave of absence, you will not pay WashU tuition, you will pay tuition directly to the university you attend. This means that any scholarship or federal financial aid that you receive while at WU will not apply for the semester that you take a leave of absence.

After You Return

Students must submit documentation of the work they did in their study abroad program, including the following:

  1. Academic credit earned through study abroad while on a leave of absence will not be transferred automatically to WUSTL. Students must have an official transcript sent to the Coordinator of Special Programs. Upon receipt and review, student will be awarded credits based upon what was approved in their proposal.
  2. Syllabi for each course where credit is being awarded.
  3. Digital or printed portfolio of the work with images, photographs, installations, etc. of the work completed for each class, with captions/summary describing the assignment, process, and final outcomes.

Documentation must be submitted no later than 1 month after the completion of the study abroad semester. It will be reviewed by the Coordinator of Special Programs and the relevant Program Chair, and credit will be awarded following that review.


Preparation for study abroad, including visa requirements, enrollment, health insurance, travel, housing, etc. will be managed by you and the university you are attending. Some basic recommendations can be found here.