Study Abroad

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There are few life experiences that are truly transformational; studying abroad is one of them. Change your life and your resume by studying abroad. You can choose from more than 25 direct-credit programs in engineering and over 100 other direct-credit programs. Financial aid applies to study abroad during the academic year.

Upcoming Information Sessions

  • Info Session 1 – Thursday, Aug 22nd, 12:15PM - Zoom link
  • Info Session 2 – Tuesday, Aug 27th, 9:30AM – Zoom link
  • Info Session 3 – Wednesday, Sept 4th, 2:30PM – Zoom link
  • Info Session 4 – Tuesday, Sept 10th , 10:00AM – Zoom link

Steps to Study Abroad

  • Step 1. Learn more

    Learning Resources

    • VUSE Study Abroad info sessions, offered at the start of every Fall and Spring semester
    • GEO Study Abroad Open Houses offered in the Fall and Spring semester
    • Visit the Global Education Office (GEO)’s web page to get started and for advising.
    • Read the VUSE Study Abroad FAQ
  • Step 2. Plan out the big picture
      • Plan your eight-semester curriculum.
        1. Start with the eight semester plan for your major outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. This is your plan for meeting your degree requirements. Note that your adviser may have a specific format for you to use.
        2. Include any credits you’ve earned via AP, IB, or at another institution. 
      • Download and fill out the 4-Year-Plan template. Try to identify the semester that is the least constrained (e.g., mostly electives of various kinds and no more than one or two core courses); this is likely the best semester for you to study abroad. 
      • Consult with your academic adviser to confirm that you will meet all degree requirements, prerequisite streams, etc. and that your plan can be scheduled (e.g. no fall only courses planned for a spring term).
      • Save this plan where you can easily access it. You will need to know your degree requirements in order to select a program that fits your needs. 
  • Step 3. Choose a program
  • Step 4. Review
    • Now that you have an idea of when and where you will go, revise your curriculum to incorporate your semester abroad. Make sure you will still meet degree requirements.
    • See sample curricula for different majors and locations.
    • Check YES to see what courses at your host institution have already been evaluated for credit at VU within the past five years. Click on the “Study Abroad” tab in YES.
    • For courses you wish to take that have not been evaluated in the last five years, request evaluation through YES.
    • If you’ve received approval for a study abroad program that is not offered through VU, use the appropriate form for course evaluation.
  • Step 5. Apply
    • For all Vanderbilt programs, complete your application through GEO.
    • Many programs will also require you to complete another application.
    • If studying abroad during the academic year, get clearance from your major:
      • If you are a BME major, go to BME Study Abroad & International Emphasis for further instructions.
      • If you are a CS major, fill out the CS Adviser Approval form , get your academic adviser's signature, and submit completed form to the CS Director of Undergraduate Studies.
      • All other majors are to follow the instructions of their Director(s) of Undergraduate Studies
    • Watch your VU email closely and be sure to submit all requested items promptly.

VUSE Study Abroad FAQ

  • Do VU engineers really study abroad?

    Yes! During the 2022/2023 academic year, summer ’23 & Maymester ‘23, 129 Engineering students studied abroad on VU-approved programs.  There are 125 engineering students abroad in Spring 2024. VUSE is committed to helping you experience the world while keeping you on track towards your degree!

  • Why study abroad?

    Learning in another culture provides unique opportunities and challenges to grow and broaden intellectually, personally, and professionally. College is an ideal time to experience different cultures, gain language skills, and explore your own interests and abilities.

  • Where can I study abroad?

    You can study engineering abroad at more than 25 universities in 12 countries/regions. Check out this page to see where you can study abroad and in particular which programs are the best fit for your major.

  • When do most VUSE students study abroad?

    Most VUSE students study abroad during a semester of their junior year, though you may go abroad any time after the freshman year. There is a very good program specifically for spring of the sophomore year and many popular Maymester and summer programs too. Note that senior design requires all bachelor of engineering students (BME, ChE, CE, CompE, ECE, EE, Environmental, and ME) and bachelor of science (ES) to be on campus the entire senior year.

  • Can I study abroad my last year?

    VUSE students are not allowed to study abroad in the final year. Computer Science students can request special exemption to this rule. Email

  • How early do I need to start planning?

    The earlier the better! Since applications are typically due very early in the semester preceding the planned study abroad semester and since you may need to make adjustments to the courses you take now to facilitate study abroad, it is best to start planning about a year in advance. At the same time, it is sometimes possible that last minute planning will still yield a viable study abroad plan.

  • How do I know what classes I can take and how they will count toward my degree?

    Courses have to be evaluated for credit towards your degree. Examine the Study Abroad course lists in YES to see what classes at your intended host institution have already been evaluated and how they will count toward your degree. If you are interested in a class that has not already been evaluated, use the “Course Evaluation Request” process linked in YES to get the class evaluated. It is really important that you supply as much detail as possible including the level of the class, its prerequisites, a syllabus, and the amount of time spent in class. Note that the approval process typically requires many weeks. The more complete your course evaluation request, typically the faster the response time is.

  • Is course placement guaranteed while abroad?

    It is important to note that students are not guaranteed by our partners to be placed in their top-choice courses. Similar to registering for courses at Vanderbilt, availability for certain courses may be limited, and we encourage all students planning to study abroad to work with their Academic Advisor to plan for alternative course options should they not be admitted into their first-choice selections. Generally speaking, students should identify at least one back-up course for each course they hope to take abroad.

  • How are academic credits handled?

    All Vanderbilt-approved programs administered through GEO receive Study Abroad/Away Credit. Study Abroad/Away Credit does not count toward your cumulative Vanderbilt GPA. However, grades earned during study abroad will be converted (where necessary) from the original grading system and reported on your Vanderbilt transcript. Study Abroad/Away Credit courses earn credit when you score the equivalent of a D or better, and they may fulfill major, minor, and/or graduation requirements. Students are not eligible to earn Dean’s List honors for the semester in which they study abroad. You are responsible for making sure that all the courses you plan to take abroad have been evaluated for VU credit. Study Abroad/Away Credit counts toward Vanderbilt’s residency requirement, and is separate from transfer credit. Courses earning Study Abroad/Away Credit will not count toward transfer credit limits. For more information -

  • How are classes taught abroad?

    While there is a wide variety of teaching styles around the world, in general outside the U.S. you can expect that you will have a greater level of responsibility for your learning. You are likely to have fewer formative assessment activities throughout the term contributing to your grades and a corresponding greater emphasis on summative assessments like final exams. While this gives you more flexibility throughout the semester, it does mean that you will need to be self-disciplined and studious in order to succeed in your classes.

  • What is the language proficiency prerequisite for participation?

    There is no language prerequisite for our engineering study abroad programs; classes are taught in English. For those non-engineering programs for which a foreign language is a prerequisite, the requirement is usually four semesters or more of college language study or the equivalent fluency in that language since all coursework, including lectures, papers, and exams, is conducted in the language of the host country.

  • What are the other study abroad requirements besides language proficiency?

    All participating students must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.7. However, many programs require at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students who study abroad must also have academic, financial, and disciplinary clearance. To participate, students must not be on any sort of probation from the time of application THROUGH the end date of the study abroad program.

  • I'm on probation for non-academic reasons; why can't I apply to study abroad at this time?

    Students who have had a lapse of judgment that led to probation any time between the time of application and the end of the proposed study abroad term are not ready to serve as ambassadors of Vanderbilt abroad. Also, host institutions and program providers do not want the risk of taking a student who is or who has recently been on probation. Once you are off probation, you are welcome to submit an application to study abroad.

  • How do the students travel to their study abroad program?

    You will make your own air/ground transportation plans. Some program providers will assist with ground transportation from the airport to the campus. These costs are not included in the program fee.

  • Where do participants live while studying abroad?

    Housing arrangements for students enrolled in Vanderbilt-approved study abroad programs vary according to the local provider. Vanderbilt requires students to reside in program-provided housing where available, for issues of program design, safety and security. Most Vanderbilt-approved programs offer such arrangements, and many offer several options from which to choose. Students enrolled in Vanderbilt-approved programs may seek independent living arrangements only where program-provided housing is unavailable.

    We encourage all students to choose the housing options that allow them to interact most intensively with their host societies.

  • What support systems are set up for the student while studying abroad?

    All non-exchange programs feature on-site Resident Directors. Resident Directors help the students in all areas from academic counseling to dealing with culture shock and are available 24 hours a day for students abroad. All exchange programs have international staff available to provide similar support though they might not have someone on call 24/7.

  • In what ways is an exchange program different from the other study abroad programs?

    Exchange programs are based on specific agreements between a host institution and VUSE and do not involve a program provider such as CIEE, Butler-IFSA, etc. With exchanges, students at each institution study at the other institution. Students pay tuition at their home institution and then receive a tuition scholarship at the host institution. Instead of paying a program provider to arrange housing, the student works directly with the host institution to arrange housing. Exchange students pay fees other than tuition directly to the host institution.

  • What are the costs of the programs?

    Visit GEO's “Costs” page for more information and to access a cost calculator that will give you estimates specific to your program(s) of interest. You should take only courses that will transfer back as part of your individual graduation requirements, so no credit is lost. Visit the Global Education Office for more information or speak with your financial aid officer to best understand how to apply your financial aid to study abroad.

  • Will financial aid cover study abroad during the academic year? In summer?

    Regular financial aid applies to Vanderbilt-approved study abroad programs during the academic year. It does not apply to programs in the summer or to any programs offered outside of GEO. However, there are a number of fellowship programs that can assist with summer study abroad, including the VU Global Summer Fellows program. Click here for info about a variety of funding mechanisms.

  • When are applications due? What is required?

    DEADLINES: The deadline for most spring semester study abroad programs is generally early September while the deadline for most fall semester study abroad programs is generally late February. Note that some programs have earlier deadlines such as the National University of Singapore; check the GEO website for each program. Note that some programs, like the GA Tech Lorraine program, use a rolling-admissions approach and typically fill up far before their deadline.

    REQUIREMENTS: Applications are completed online through the GEO website and may require submission of additional items. Most applications will ask for personal data, essay or short answers, and professor recommendation(s). Some may ask for passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. See Global Education Office website for the application requirements for each program provider.