Study Abroad FAQs

These FAQs are referencing GW-approved Study Abroad programs. If you are studying outside of GW and not through a GW-approved Study Abroad program, including studying in your home (non-US) country or participating in a non-GW summer program, the information on this page does not apply to you. In this case, please see the Office of the Registrar’s website for the process and transfer credit limitations. If you are unsure whether your program qualifies as GW Study Abroad, please click here.

General Study Abroad I Study Abroad Finances I Transfer Credit I FOFAC 

General Study Abroad FAQs

  1. When can I study abroad?
    For semester-long study abroad, you need to have earned 45 credits by the time of departure. As for most students, this means that the earliest semester you could go abroad is the second semester of your sophomore year. (Check out GW’s special program promoting fall study abroad, the Focus on Fall Abroad Community!) For summer study abroad, students need only 24 credits by the time of your departure, so they can usually study abroad in the summer after their first year at GW.
  2. Where can I study abroad?
    GW has over 300 approved program options for semester-long study abroad. These programs are in over 60 countries and have a variety of course options, experiential activities such as internships and service-learning, and admission requirements. Visit the Semester and Year section to search for programs by location, area of study, or language of instruction.
  3. How many times can I study abroad?
    GW does not place a limit on the number of study abroad experiences you can have. Many students start with a summer program after their freshman year and then add a semester or full year experience in their sophomore or junior years. However, before you start planning, ask your academic advisor if your school has a limit on the number of credits that can be earned abroad as policies vary across campus.
  4. I'm a freshman. What should I do now?
    While you cannot start applying to go abroad in your first semester, there are some steps you can take to be prepared when the time comes:
    • Keep your GPA up! GW students must be in Good Academic Standing (2.00) to study abroad for a semester. However, most programs set a higher requirement.
    • Tell your academic advisor that you are thinking of study abroad. Knowing you want to study abroad can affect the courses you take at GW versus the courses you decide to save for study abroad. While you won’t know what you will take abroad until much later, it’s never too early to let your academic advisor know that study abroad is an important priority for you.
  5. Will I get GW credit from study abroad?
    If you study abroad on a GW approved program, you will be able to transfer up to 18 credits per semester, provided you earn the equivalent of a C or higher in each course. Students go through a Course Approval process before, during, or after their study abroad experience to determine exactly how those credits will apply towards a GW degree. This involves working with GW faculty members to match courses taken abroad with GW courses. Whenever possible, students are encouraged to have courses approved before they depart to ensure proper academic planning.
  6. When should I apply?
    Generally, applications for study abroad are submitted the semester before departure. Thus, applications for spring study abroad are submitted in the fall semester. Program deadlines vary greatly, so it is recommended that you research your program options and have an understanding of approximate deadlines and requirements so that you do not fall behind.
  7. Are there summer study abroad programs?
    Yes! We have GW short-term abroad programs. GW offers students the opportunity to enroll in summer courses with overseas components.These courses are led by GW faculty and lastanywhere fromone week to one month. A majority of the courses hold class sessions on-campus or online before and after going abroad.

    Additionally, students may choose to attend an accredited summer program offered through another university or program provider. Thisis not considered “GW Study Abroad,” and students must directly contact the program provider or institution to apply, finance, and enroll in the program. Please see the Office of the Registrar’s website for the process and transfer credit limitations.
  8. Can I do an internship abroad?
    Many programs do offer internships for credit. Internship opportunities can vary depending on your destination, language ability, and area of concentration, so you must be flexible in the type of internship you receive abroad. You should always check with your academic advisor to ensure that credits earned from an internship abroad can be transferred to GW. Students in the School of Business, for example, are not able to transfer internships credits back to GW.
  9. Whom should I talk to about study abroad?
    The Office for Study Abroad is open Monday-Friday from 9a.m.-5 p.m. We have an Express Advisor available at all times to answer questions, start your program search, and show you how to make an advising appointment. You may meet with a study abroad advisor based on your academic major. Our advisors are knowledgeable about programs for specific majors within various geographic locations and can help you narrow your search before you apply. All advisors have walk-in advising hours.

Study Abroad Finances FAQs

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  1. Why does GW have a home tuition and fees policy?
    Responsible management of study abroad programs has costs for the university beyond the direct payment of the program's bill.  GW incurs costs for selecting, reviewing, approving, and managing programs, as well as for advising students, reviewing petitions, processing applications and making determinations on exceptions.

    In addition, GW makes a commitment to each of its students that it will provide a degree of high quality.  The university's costs in providing such a degree are not terminated when an individual student leaves the campus for a semester or year.  Rather, when a student studies abroad, that student still requires the attention and resources of the larger GW community in planning and completing a degree.  Furthermore, the vital functions of a major research university (such as laboratories, the library, admissions department, career services, etc.) must continue while a student studies abroad.  As we are determined to make study abroad equally accessible to all eligible students, we continue financial support in the form of scholarships (and the expenses thereof) that may be offered to some students during the year.
  2. How are programs put into tiers?
    We consider: amenities included in the program, the overall cost of those amenities, the cost of living in the host country and the overall cost of the program to the university. Those programs with the highest cost to the university are, logically, in the highest program fee tier. For more information, visit Study Abroad Costs.
  3. Why are programs in tier 1 less expensive?
    Programs in Tier 1 do not include housing and additional services.
  4. Are scholarships available?
    There are a number of scholarships available for students studying abroad.  Virtually all scholarships that you receive to attend GW are transferable for study abroad. There are also a number of scholarships designed specifically for students studying abroad.  These include an array of scholarships designated to help increase participation in underrepresented areas (both geographic and programmatic), namely: New Horizons Scholarships (for programs outside of western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland),and the Supplementary Scholarship (designed to replace all or part of work study funds that a student could have earned during a semester abroad).  Vist Scholarship Opportunities for more information on scholarships.
  5. When is my bill due?
    You bill for your semester abroad is due the same time that a regular semester GW payment would be due. This date is usually the first day of classes at George Washington University. 
  6. Do I need to notify the Office for Student Financial Assistance that I am going abroad?
    Yes, all students going abroad and receiving any type of financial aid (grants, scholarships or loans) must notify the Office for Student Financial Assistance and complete a Power of Attorney Form.
  7. Is there additional aid for study abroad?
    Students must submit the Change Form and work with the Office for Student Financial Assistance to determine if there can be an increase in their aid package. Please also visit the Scholarship Opportunities section or meet with your study abroad advisor for more information on other ways to finance your study abroad experience.
  8. Whom do I pay for my study abroad costs?
    You pay regular GW tuition and a tier fee for your study abroad program through your GW Student Account as you would a semester on campus. Tuition and the tier fee will show up on the student's GW student account after registeration of study abroad status.
  9. Do I need a Power of Attorney while I am studying abroad?
    Many students who are studying abroad often assign power of attorney to someone to take care of their financial affairs while they are out of the country.  The George Washington University Office for Study Abroad recommends that all financial assistance students arrange designate power of attorney.  Download the Power of Attorney Form.
  10. Why would I need a Power of Attorney?
    Some instances when a power of attorney may be necessary are:
    • to sign a Stafford loan check
    • to handle issues related to deposit of financial assistance checks or refunds
    • to access information in your student account and/or financial assistance files
    • to process banking or insurance transactions
  11. What are the steps to assigning Power of Attorney?
    Assigning Power of Attorney is a legal process that involves the drafting of a document, which assigns to another person the power to act as your legal representative in specific situations.  There are two ways to go about assigning power of attorney.  The first is to meet with an attorney to draft a power of attorney document.  This will usually involve a fee, which will cover advice on the implications of assigning power of attorney, the drafting of a power of attorney document, and the notarizing of that document.  The second approach does not require a lawyer's assistance and involves filling out the Power of Attorney form from the Office for Study Abroad and then having your signature notarized.  Note:  the power of attorney document must be signed in the notary's presence.  This can be done on campus at Colonial Central and at some local banks.
  12. Whom should I ask to be my Power of Attorney?
    You should select a person you consider trustworthy to make decisions in your best interests and sign on your behalf.  Most students select a parent, significant other, or long-term friend.  A casual acquaintance is NOT recommended.  University staff, including the Office for Study Abroad staff, may not act on your behalf as it may be considered a conflict of interest.
  13. For what period of time should I have a Power of Attorney?
    If you plan to travel prior to and/or after your study abroad experience, the power of attorney should include the entire time you plan to be away.
  14. Whom should I notify that I have a Power of Attorney?
    You will want to notify the GW Office of Student Financial Assistance, and of course, the person you have designated as your Power of Attorney.
  15. How far in advance should I begin arranging for Power of Attorney?
    You should take care of arranging your power of attorney well in advance of your departure and notify the appropriate offices.
  16. Where can I find a notary public?
    Students can visit Colonial Central or a local branch of their bank to schedule an appointment with a Notary Public to notarize their Power of Attorney form.
  17. Can I use the GW structured payment plan to pay for my study abroad?
    The Monthly Payment Plan offered through the Student Accounts Office can be used to pay for study abroad, just as it pays for a semester on-campus.  You can enroll in the Monthly Payment Plan via the Student Accounts eBill.  More information about the Montly Payment Plan and how to enroll can be found on the Student Accounts Office website.
  18.  How do I receive my refund from GW?
    In order to receive a refund, students will need to submit a Refund Request form to Colonial Central after the first day of classes at GW.
  19. What/who do I pay for my non-GW summer program?
    You will pay the program provider for any costs they specify for their summer programs. OSA does not keep a list of approved summer programs. You will want to confirm your participation with an advisor in OSA to ensure credits can transfer back to GW.

Transfer Credit FAQs

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  1. How do study abroad courses affect my GW GPA?
    In general, study abroad credit will transfer but will not affect your GW GPA. You must take your courses abroad for a letter grade and earn the equivalent of a C or higher in order to transfer the course back to GW, but the letter grade itself will not appear on your GW transcript and will not affect your GPA. However, please remember that if you plan to apply for graduate study, you may be asked to submit your study abroad transcripts and grades.

    If you are taking GW courses through GW Madrid, the GW Paris Business Studies program, GW Latin America program in Chile, or through GW Short Term Faculty-Led programs, your course grades will affect your GW GPA.
  2. Where do I go to get course approvals signed?
    A list of departmental procedures for course approvals can be found here. If you do not see the department from which you are trying to obtain an approval, please contact the department and inquire about their preferred method for completing course approval forms.
  3. What do I bring to the professor who will be signing my Course Approval Form?
    Be sure to bring a description of the course, syllabus, and/or coursework to the department so the professor can determine an appropriate GW course equivalent.
  4. What if I do not know what courses I will be taking while abroad?
    Some programs may not have a list of courses available before the program begins. These approvals can be obtained via email while students are abroad or when students return to campus. To obtain course approvals while abroad, email the relevant department on campus and forward the response to your study abroad advisor. This email needs to contain the exact course title, the course number, and the GW course equivalent.
  5. Once I have completed my Course Approval Forms and professors sign them, where do I bring the form(s)?
    Your completed course approvals can be submitted to the OSA Resource Room in Colonial Crossroads.
  6. What if I do not wish to receive credit for a study abroad course?
    If you do not wish to receive credit for a course taken while abroad, complete a Declining Credit Form, and submit the form to the OSA Resource Room.
  7. How long does it take to transfer my study abroad credit to my GW transcript?
    Once the OSA has received your official transcript from your study abroad program and a course approval for each of the courses you took while abroad, it will take approximately three weeks to transfer the courses to your GW transcript.
  8. What should I know if I am planning to study a foreign language while abroad?
    You will want to consult with the relevant language department about what they require to sign off on transfer credit. If you are taking a language not taught at GW, such as Xhosa, the Language Center (Phillips Hall, suite 216) can sign off on credit.
  9. How many credits can I transfer back to GW?
    Students must transfer a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 18 credits per semester to their GW transcript from study abroad. If a student receives more than 18 credits abroad, the student may elect to pay for the extra credits and have them applied to the GW transcript.
  10. My credits have been transferred but I can’t see them in DegreeMAP. What should I do?
    Study abroad credits do not automatically populate in DegreeMAP. To view your study abroad transfer credits, visit and log into GWeb to view your unofficial transcript. For questions about how your credits will be allocated in DegreeMAP toward your degree requirements, please contact your academic advisor.

Focus on Fall Abroad Community (FOFAC) FAQs

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  1. Who can participate?
    GW students who are eligible to study abroad and elect to do so during a fall semester are encouraged to apply to FOFAC.  Academic year students are also eligible and will be asked to contribute to the FOFAC community via social media during the spring semester.
  2. Do I need to join FOFAC if I plan to study abroad during the fall semester?
    Students can study abroad in the fall without participating in FOFAC.  However, FOFAC benefits are only available to FOFAC members.
  3. How and when do students apply to this program?
    Students complete a short FOFAC application in GW Passport.  Applicants interested in FOFAC housing will need to complete the application by February 15th.  Those who choose to live elsewhere on campus or off campus will need to complete the application by March 15th. 
  4. I've applied to FOFAC. What's next?
    All FOFAC applicants need to complete at least one study abroad program application in GW Passport.  Deadlines vary by program and may fall before or after the FOFAC application deadline.  You can commit to FOFAC while you are still deciding your study abroad program and/or location.
  5. When will students know if they have been accepted into the program?
    Students who are admitted will be notified on a rolling basis beginning in late November.  Those who are admitted are expected to commit to FOFAC via GW Passport by the beginning of March.
  6. What are my housing options with FOFAC?
    The FOFAC housing option is located on 1959 E Street. Students applying to FOFAC can indicate their interest in this housing option for the spring semester in their application. Students must commit to FOFAC by the end of February. Afterwards, GW Housing will reach out to committed FOFAC students who have indicated their interest in this housing.

    Students can include potential roommates in their housing application as long as all students are members of FOFAC.  FOFAC students are guaranteed on-campus housing, though it may not be in 1959 E Street due to capacity. If students do not receive a spot in the 1959 E Street, they will be placed in another residence hall on-campus with other FOFAC students.

    FOFAC students are not required to live in FOFAC housing. Students opting to arrange housing on their own may be required to complete a Spring Only Housing Application which will be available to them during the fall semester. Housing placement is randomized for students choosing this option. 
  7. Will all students receive a tuition award as a member of FOFAC?  Is there a separate application for the award?
    FOFAC students are encouraged to review the FOFAC Financial Benefits page to learn about the scholarships available to them.  Some provider programs guarantee $1,000 scholarships while others require an additional application to be considered.  This application is available within the FOFAC application on GW Passport.  FOFAC students studying on a GW program (GW England, GW Paris, GW Madrid, or GW Chile) or a GW Exchange will receive an automatic $1,500 tuition award on their GW bill.  There is no separate application for this award beyond the FOFAC application.
  8. What are current FOFAC students doing abroad?
    Follow us on Instagram (@gwfofac) to hear about our FOFAC-ers exciting experiences!
  9. Who do I contact for more information on FOFAC and study abroad programs?
    There are several ways to get in touch with us!
    • The Office for Study Abroad is located on the 5th floor of the Marvin Center and there is an express advisor available Monday - Friday from 9am - 5pm. 
    • You can contact the FOFAC team at [email protected] or stop in during Open Advising (Mon./Tues. 2-pm or Wed./Thurs. 10am - 12pm) to meet with someone on the team. 
    • If you are interested in learning more about study abroad programs that fit your needs, you should speak with your assigned study abroad advisor.