Find A Program

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Ultimately, it is up to you to find a program that fits your needs. Use the resources below to aid you in your search.


What types of Independent programs are there?

"Provider" Programs

Provider programs are programs offered by a non-profit or for-profit company, or other U.S. educational institution. These programs usually have a central administrative office that supports students on their programs beginning with initial advising, through to application, placement and support throughout the term abroad. This central office is often based in the United States and many providers have satellite offices located at their program sites abroad. Providers negotiate direct placement at host institutions around the world or they may be custom designed programs that offer an academic focus tailored to U.S. students. For this reason, you may hear these programs referred to as "third party" programs. 

In choosing a provider program, it is important to consider two things: 

  1. Does the provider work with an accredited institution abroad or is the provider itself accredited?
  2. What level of student support do you require from the provider? 

You should check with your provider to find out if the institution issuing the official transcript for your program is accredited.

Provider programs offer a wide range of support to their students. Some provide complete support with advising for program selection, pre-departure processes, visas, travel, in-country support, full medical insurance, etc. Others may only provide placement and minimal housing assistance. The overall cost of the program may reflect these differences so it is important to see what you will receive for the fees you pay. Regardless of program, UC Davis Study Abroad and UC Davis are not involved in administering provider programs and cannot provide assistance with visas, travel, pre-departure orientation, or in-country logistics. Therefore, it is important to determine what level of support you will require, ask questions accordingly, and choose a provider that suits your needs. 

"Direct Enrollment" Programs 

Many foreign universities allow U.S. students to apply directly to their institution as a short-term visiting international student. This process does not involve any third-party intermediary. Instead, students work directly with the host institution's international student office or admissions office – thus the term "direct enrollment." 

You will need to contact the institution directly to ask if they are accredited with the accrediting body in their country.

Application processes, selection and in-country support will vary widely and will differ by institution. You will need to contact the institution directly to determine if they accept visiting students and, if so, what the process is and what services they provide. For example, some provide on campus housing, some assist with local housing, some provide no support. Some may assist students in obtaining student visas, others will leave it to the student to obtain visas on their own. Some have special international programs, others allow students to enroll in any course on offer. 

It will be your responsibility to obtain a transcript and ensure the proper documents are provided to UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions upon return. 

Direct enrollment programs represent a unique immersion opportunity that challenges students to be resourceful and fully independent. However, direct enrollment is also the most unstructured study abroad option. Students interested in direct enrollment MUST be highly organized and willing to work independently with various international agencies (consulates, local immigration, landlords/housing agencies, insurance providers, etc.). Students must also be responsible for setting their own deadlines to coordinate visa applications, travel and arrival logistics, housing, etc. In short, students must have a high tolerance for uncertainty and risk. 

FAQs - Independent Programs

  • What courses can I take while on an independent study abroad program offered by a third-party provider or host institution?
  • By carefully planning and applying for the study abroad leave, you can earn units on a study abroad program that will potentially receive transfer credit and possibly meet your GE or major requirements at UC Davis. After selecting a program, you will work with your department advisor or College Dean’s office to carefully plan what courses you could take while abroad to maintain your progress toward degree completion requirements. Depending on the study abroad program, you can enroll also in courses that fulfill your major or minor requirements, or in courses that will apply toward the completion of elective, language, or general education requirements.
  • Are there specific programs designed for my major?
  • If you find a study abroad program that is offered by another American or foreign university or third-party provider that looks like a good fit for your major, you should meet with your Major Advisor as soon as possible to find out if the courses offered will potentially be eligible for credit for the major. Having the advisor review and pre-approve the actual courses is critical if you want to make sure that the course fits into your requirements for the major.
  • What are the prerequisites and eligibility requirements to study abroad?
  • It depends on the program. All prerequisites and eligibility requirements should be listed on the program web sites.
  • How can I go on a semester program when UC Davis is on quarters?
  • Students on Fall Term programs will miss Fall Quarter at UC Davis (assuming your program ends no later than December, but some Fall programs abroad end as late as February and therefore, you would be missing Winter Quarter in Davis), but will earn 18-24 quarter units of credit. Students on Spring Term programs will miss Winter and Spring Quarters and earn 18-24 quarter units. Students on year-long programs need to earn 36-48 quarter units, comparable to a year on campus. It is very important to confirm the program start and end dates because some programs do conflict with the UC Davis academic calendar.
  • How can I meet Senior Residence requirements and study abroad my senior year?
  • All students must meet the Senior Residence requirement for their College. In many cases, the Senior Residence requirement prohibits study abroad on independent study abroad programs during the last two-three quarters at UC Davis; however you must meet with your College Dean's office to determine their policy. Each student has different issues that could impact this requirement (for example, participation in the UC program in Washington D.C.). The College Dean's office can do a "degree check" with the student to make sure senior residence has been reviewed for that student's particular case and their desire to study abroad on a program outside the UC system.
  • Can I graduate on time if I study abroad?
  • Yes. Creating an academic plan with your major advisor will help you choose a program and courses that will fit with your degree. The earlier you begin this process, the better it will work!
  • How can I avoid reaching my Unit Cap and still study abroad?
  • If you study abroad on a Spring semester program (but please read the program’s information carefully as there are some variations), you will typically be absent from the UCD campus for 2 quarters, but will only be receiving 18-24 units of credit for your semester abroad. This will decrease the number of units you earn for that academic year.
  • What effect will studying abroad have on my GPA?
  • Coursework taken on programs administered by the University of California should figure into your GPA. Coursework taken on an independent study abroad program is transfer coursework and will not be calculated into your UC GPA, but is included in your overall cumulative GPA.
  • What if I failed a class abroad? It won’t appear on my transcript or be calculated into my overall GPA, will it?
  • For UC programs, it will appear on your transcript and be factored into your GPA. For independent study abroad programs, grades will not be included in your UC GPA, but are factored into your overall cumulative GPA. Like a UC transcript, that record is permanent and will stay with you; for example, when you are applying for graduate school.
  • Can I go on an independent study abroad program during the summer?
  • You may attend an independent study abroad program over the summer if you’d like. However, there is NO study abroad “leave” during the summer.
  • How do I get transfer credit for the courses I took while on Independent Study Abroad Leave?
  • In order to receive transfer credit for the courses you take while on Independent Study Abroad Leave, you must have your official transcript for the program sent to the Undergraduate Admissions Office for review of eligibility of transfer credit. Not all courses are eligible for transfer credit, so you should carefully pick courses that are at the same academic level as similar courses at UC Davis.
  • Can I take my financial aid with me on Independent Study Abroad?
  • Your UC Davis financial aid package cannot go with you on independent study abroad. However, you should check with your provider to find out if they offer scholarships for students participating in their programs.