Policies and Procedures

All students planning to study abroad should carefully review Overseas Programs Study Abroad Policies and Procedures.

Program Approval Procedure

Approval Procedures

Decisions to add new approved programs are made carefully and involve many steps. Ongoing evaluations are conducted with returning students as are periodic site visits by faculty and Overseas Programs staff. A similar process is used to close programs that no longer meet a Washington University academic need or our standards of quality..

Agreements with study abroad providers (such as the School for International Training, the Council on International Education Exchange, and the Institute for the International Education of Students) may involve joining a consortium and do not generate any additional income or support to the University. Scholarships awarded to individual students by these providers are credited directly to the student.

Although Overseas Programs welcome the visit of staff and faculty of foreign universities or study abroad providers not currently part of our list of approved programs, we request that all such visitors schedule through our office and do not make direct approaches to faculty or students.

Evaluation Procedures

One of the tasks of the Study Abroad Advisory Board’s (SAAB) mission is, ‘To review the quality of existing Washington University programs on a regular basis.” The review process consists of two types of review:

  1. Evaluation surveys: Study Abroad participants compete an online survey about their study abroad experience through their sa.wustl.edu account. The data is compiled and reviewed by Overseas Programs staff and the SAAB.
  2. Site visits: Generally, the SAAB chooses 2-3 programs or regions each year for review. A team of faculty is selected to represent a cross-section of the disciplines in Arts & Sciences that match the strengths of the foreign institutions visited. Returned students from the program under review contribute their perspectives on the program’s strengths and weaknesses. An Overseas Programs Coordinator may also participate in a site visit to evaluate on-site services and support and become familiar with the program in an effort to better advise students about those programs. The SAAB’s goal is for programs to be visited regularly by a team or Coordinator. After each visit, the team or Coordinator is required to produce a site visit report which includes an overview of the visit, particular strengths of the programs visited and suggestions for improvements and new initiatives. The site visit report is presented to the SAAB for review after the visit is conducted.

Student Code of Conduct

Personal and Academic Conduct

Washington University students participating in any study abroad program, whether sponsored by Washington University, another US-based study abroad organization, or direct enrollment at a foreign university, are expected to behave in a manner that is consistent with the behavioral standards of the Washington University Judicial Code. Disruptive behavior, academic dishonesty, and other improprieties will not be tolerated.

Students must also comply with the rules and regulations of any program sponsor or host institution. Students must comply with the local laws, regulations, and cultural norms in the foreign country or countries in which they reside or travel during the program, including times when they are engaged in independent activities. Participation in the program may be terminated by WU, the program sponsor, or host university for violation of these standards. If a student is expelled from a program, program fees, and academic credit are forfeited. Students may have to return to Washington University at their own expense to appeal a disciplinary decision.

Drug Use and Other Illegal Activities

The possession or use of any quantity of marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal substance is strictly prohibited. This prohibition applies not only while students are in the company of fellow participants, but also while they are alone or with people not associated with the program. The consequences of substance abuse or other illegal activity at any time during the program include immediate expulsion from the program, forfeiture of all program fees, and loss of academic credit for the program.

Academic Credit Policy

Read the Academic Credit Policy below and view Academic Requirements.

Types of Credit

Students must take a minimum of 2 upper-level courses to satisfy major or minor requirements while abroad. The appropriate department (or school) decides which courses will count, which requirements these courses will fulfill, and the minimum necessary performance in the course to receive credit.

Up to 6 credits per semester (or 3 credits per summer on a non-Washington University faculty-led program) may be used to fulfill an NSM/SSC/HUM/LCD area requirement, but Core Skills (SC, AN, and WI) and coursework in an Integrated Inquiry (IQ) cannot be completed abroad.  Preliminary guidance is available from Overseas Programs, your four-year academic advisor or a college dean, but final approval depends upon a review of the course work upon return to Washington University.

Additional awarded credits will be counted as electives. Examples of inappropriate subjects for a Washington University degree include culinary arts, equestrian arts, mountaineering, etc. These may qualify for a small amount of physical education credit if they are graded courses.

Types of Credit for Pre-Medical Students

Please read the following AAMC guidelines from the umbrella organization for all US MD programs. As a pre-medical student, you will need to be very careful regarding the kinds of clinical service projects you elect to pursue abroad. 


Washington University credit may be awarded for an internship undertaken while abroad if it is pre-approved by a Washington University faculty member, contains an academic component, is unpaid, and academic performance is evaluated and graded by the host institution or by the cognizant Washington University faculty member. Any credit awarded for a foreign internship will count towards the maximum 6 credits allowed within an Arts and Sciences degree plan.

Number of Credits

Satisfactory academic performance in appropriate courses (see Grades below) normally results in an award of 15-16 Washington University units of credit per semester. You must take between 14 and 18 Washington University credits during a semester abroad. Most programs cap the number of credits you can transfer back at 16. No more than 33 units will be awarded for one year of study abroad. Typically, no more than 6 or 9 units per semester abroad may be used for major or minor requirements, but each department sets its own policies. Up to 8 Washington University credits may be awarded for a summer program (4-6 is typical).


An equivalent grade of C or better on the program transcript is required to be awarded Washington University credit. These grades will not be recorded on the Washington University transcript and will not affect the Washington University grade point average. However, any Washington University course taught or supervised abroad by Washington University faculty members (such as A&S-sponsored summer programs or Washington University programs taught during the semester, i.e. WU in Chile) will be recorded with grades on the Washington University transcript.

Bear in mind that your grades from abroad matter! This transcript will become a permanent part of your portfolio of academic accomplishments and graduate schools, and professional schools will want a copy so they can review the course titles and grades (they may calculate a composite GPA too).

How Unpassed Courses Appear on the WashU Record:

Arts & Sciences Students: If students do not successfully complete at least 12 credits of coursework (with a C or higher), the credits of the study abroad placeholder course will be adjusted to reflect the gap between full-time enrollment (12 credits) and credits successfully completed. For example, if a student successfully completes only 9 credits, those 9 credits will be reflected in the "other credit" section of the WU transcript, however, the remaining 3 credits will appear on the transcript as 3 Unsatisfactory Credits. 

If students successfully complete all 12 credits of classes but fail additional coursework, then the failed courses will not appear on the WashU transcript.  Please note that post-graduate opportunities will still see the failing grade(s) on the host university/program study abroad transcript.

McKelvey Students: Please consult Dean Osborn or Andrew Swafford about policy that applies for unsatisfactory EN coursework.

Leave of Absence

Your transcript from abroad will not be processed for A&S transfer credit and cannot be used to satisfy Washington University degree requirements. Alternative programs must be pre-approved by the Study Abroad Advisory Board to be eligible for Washington University credit. Read more about taking a Leave of Absence.

Non-Washington University Students

Non-Washington University students participating in a Washington University program will receive a Washington University transcript and/or a transcript from an affiliated institution. Academic performance and coursework will be evaluated by the home institution.

Insurance Policy

Read the insurance policy covering GeoBlue, Washington University insurance, and International SOS. Also review the Health Preparation page.

GeoBlue Study Abroad Basic Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan

Semester and Academic Year Programs | Overseas Programs will enroll all Washington University-approved study abroad students in a basic accident and sickness plan through GeoBlue, a leading provider of international health insurance. Students will not be charged the Washington University Health & Wellness Fee for the semester abroad. The GeoBlue insurance charge will appear on the student’s Washington University billing statement within the academic semester.

Summer Programs | Overseas Programs will enroll study abroad students participating in Washington University-approved programs in a basic accident and sickness plan through GeoBlue, a leading provider of international health insurance, and bill the cost of the plan through the Washington University billing statement. Only those students participating in Washington University-approved programs that require and facilitate enrollment in a comparable international health insurance plan will be exempt from enrollment in the GeoBlue plan.

Please note: We do not recommend a reduction or suspension of existing domestic coverage in light of enrollment in GeoBlue insurance. The GeoBlue plan does not provide domestic (United States) coverage and does not meet the University’s requirements for student health insurance. It provides basic accident and sickness coverage abroad and is a supplement to the student’s existing health insurance plan.

GeoBlue Coverage Period

Semester coverage will begin approximately one week before the program start date and end approximately one week after the program end date. Students will have the opportunity to extend their coverage at their own expense through GeoBlue directly if additional overseas coverage is desired. Please remember that GeoBlue coverage is not valid within the United States.

Benefits of GeoBlue

Our primary goal is to ensure our students have adequate and consistent health insurance and healthcare access while studying abroad. The many benefits of GeoBlue include:

  • GeoBlue ensures that our students will have access to coverage overseas that will meet their medical needs including 100% coverage up to $250,000 with no deductible. This coverage is often required minimally for foreign visa applications, as well.
  • GeoBlue offers direct billing to over 6000 English-speaking providers worldwide in 110 facilities in 182 countries so that students do not have to pay upfront at the point of service and then get reimbursed, which can be prohibitively expensive and can delay care.
  • There is an additional recommended network of approximately 15,000 providers who speak English and are trained in Western medicine.
  • Students will have access to pre-departure services such as medication research to see if the medication is offered in a particular country and if so, in what doses and under what name, access to doctors abroad before they leave, including an online appointment system, a Parent site, GeoBlue advisors on call 24/7, checklists, a M(medical)Passport application for mobile devices, and videos that can be incorporated into pre-departure activities.
  • GeoBlue does NOT have exclusions for care related to pre-existing conditions or drug/alcohol activities as many insurance companies do.

More details of Washington University’s policy with GeoBlue will be sent directly to the student.

Washington University Health & Wellness Fee

As a reminder, students studying abroad for a semester or academic year on a Washington University-approved study abroad program will not be charged the Washington University Health & Wellness Fee during their semester abroad. Students will retain access to all services provided by Washington University Student Health Services while on the Danforth campus. If a student withdraws from the semester study abroad program and returns to their studies at Washington University for any reason, the full Washington University Health & Wellness Fee will be reapplied to the student’s billing statement for that semester.

WU Student Health Insurance and General Coverage Requirements

The policy outlined above is in response to the overall changes to the Washington University Student Health Insurance, but does not alter in any way the University’s policy that “all full-time degree-seeking students on the Danforth are required to have health insurance.” Whether enrolled for study in St. Louis or abroad, Washington University students will either be enrolled in the Washington University Student Health Insurance plan or, as stated by Washington University Student Health Services, “students beginning the academic year in the fall will be able to begin the waiver process on July 1. The waive option window closes on September 15.”  An explanation of the waiver and further details on the Washington University United Healthcare plan are available from Student Health Services or by phone at (314) 935-6666. 

Please note: The GeoBlue plan does not provide domestic (United States) coverage and does not meet the University’s requirements for student health insurance. It provides adequate basic accident and sickness coverage abroad and is a supplement to the student’s existing health insurance plan.

International SOS Emergency Assistance Plan

In addition, please be reminded that all Washington University students are covered at no extra cost by International SOS Emergency Service Plan to provide all students, faculty, and administrators with international medical, security and travel assistance worldwide while traveling for College-related activities.  Please note this is an assistance program, NOT health insurance, and is meant to be used in tandem with existing health insurance.  Students may access ISOS resources by logging into the ISOS Website using Washington University's membership number 11BSGC000032.

Tuition Policy

Washington University believes that study abroad is an important part of students' education. As such, students who participate in semester programs sponsored or approved by Washington University's College of Arts and Sciences are awarded Washington University credit for a full load of appropriate course work successfully completed while abroad. In addition, Washington University credit awarded for study abroad applies toward graduation and appears on students' transcripts. 

The student’s Washington University Program Agreement, issued during the semester prior to studying abroad, will provide specific details regarding the additional costs a student will and will not pay to Washington University.

    Financial Aid & Merit Scholarships

    Washington University is committed to making study abroad affordable for our students, and therefore guarantees that both financial assistance packages and merit scholarships (with the exception of work-study aid, which requires students to be on campus) is applied to the cost of study abroad just as if the student were on campus.

    Tuition & Educational Costs

    Fall or Spring Programs

    To make the transfer of aid possible, the University has a home-school tuition policy, which means that students studying abroad pay the regular Washington University tuition. Standardizing program tuition minimizes financial incentives and safeguards academic appropriateness in the program selection process.

    However, only those costs associated with the educational portion of the program are covered by Washington University tuition. The tuition fee does not include the cost of room and board, which will vary from site to site, nor does it include additional costs such as airfare, books, visas, or personal expenses. Such costs are additional, just as they are in St. Louis, and if applicable, are billed separately from Washington University tuition. Students do not pay Washington University room and board fees; rather, they pay the room and board costs of the program. For programs sponsored by institutions that list a comprehensive program fee (one fee inclusive of tuition, housing, meals, orientation, etc.), Washington University works with the sponsoring institution to determine the non-tuition-related charges included in the program’s fee. Once identified, any applicable room and board, or other charges billed through Washington University are assessed at cost and are posted to the student’s Washington University account.

    Summer Programs

    Students participating in a summer study abroad program that is approved by WU (but not led by WU faculty) are charged a $500 administrative fee that will be invoiced to their WU account. This is separate from the program fee that must be paid directly to the program sponsor, which typically includes academic tuition and other expenses related to the specified program. This fee covers WU’s administrative expenses for supporting student participation in an external study abroad program while still meeting the academic credit requirements of WU. The fee covers the cost of providing services to all participants in approved study abroad programs including:

    • Evaluation and faculty approval of academic coursework from abroad
    • Enrollment in GeoBlue International health insurance* and ISOS
    • Worldwide events monitors and university assistance during emergencies
    • Regular vetting of affiliated programs and partner institutions to ensure they meet the academic needs of our students
    • Program advising and pre-departure assistance
    • Transcript processing and transfer of credit

    *If mandatory enrollment is not required in programs’ own comparable international health insurance

    Students with demonstrated financial need are eligible for a waiver. See the program application for further instructions.

    Housing Cost

    Payment of housing fees will depend upon a student's chosen program. In some cases, our partners require that students pay fees directly to the housing provider or host university, while others prefer to bill Washington University directly. If students are required to pay fees directly to the host institution, they will not see a housing fee listed on the Washington University bill. If a student's housing fee is billed to Washington University by the program sponsor or included in the comprehensive fee billed to WU, students will see the charge reflected on the Washington University bill. This fee will be listed in addition to tuition on the Program Agreement.

    Withdrawal Policy

    Before deciding to withdraw, students are strongly advised to consult with the sponsoring university or program abroad, as well as the advisors in the WU Overseas Programs Office to fully understand the financial and academic consequences of withdrawing. Decisions that a student might make after a study abroad program has begun and while a program is in operation regarding his/her participation and continuation in a program are personal and the student is individually responsible for the personal decision to withdraw from a program or return home early.

    A student who must withdraw from a study abroad program due to an emergency or illness should follow these steps, or contact Overseas Programs for assistance and instructions as soon as possible:

    1. Withdrawal Notice to Overseas Programs

    If a student decides to withdraw, notification of the withdrawal must be sent to Overseas Programs in writing as soon as possible. Unless the student is incapacitated, the notification must come directly from the student and include the student's name, Washington University student ID number, program sponsor, program location, date, and reason for withdrawal. The date of the request may affect the student's enrollment status at Washington University and the amount of the student's refund, if any. See the refund policy for clarification. Notification to the student's academic advisor, undergraduate school, or any other Washington University or non-WUSTL administrative office does not constitute withdrawal from study abroad status. To be considered valid, the request to withdraw must be received and acknowledged by Overseas Programs.

    1. Withdrawal Notice to Host Institution

    The student must also notify the host institution, program provider, or sponsor of the decision to withdraw following the guidelines set forth by the host institution or program provider. The student should also contact his or her academic advisor about the decision to return to Washington University for the semester and ensure that any holds are removed from the student's account in order to register for Washington University classes. 

    Please completely review the information below and our Withdrawal Procedure.

    Withdrawal - Program Dismissal

    There are circumstances under which study abroad program providers, program coordinators, and host institutions have the authority to dismiss a student from a study abroad program. These circumstances include but are not limited to the following:

    • Students whose conduct while on the program is deemed undesirable and whose actions are in violation of the host institution, study abroad program provider or Washington University’s Student Code of Conduct will be dismissed from the program and subject to campus disciplinary reviews.
    • Students whose conduct is in violation of the rules and guidelines of the sponsoring overseas institution.
    • Students whose conduct is in violation of regulations set forth by the resident director.
    • Students whose conduct is in violation of the foreign country's civil and/or criminal statutes.

    Students dismissed from the program for the above reasons will receive no credit for their academic work and will be considered as not having completed the program. In addition, no refund of program fees will be issued. See the Refund Policy for further details.

    Withdrawal - Academic Ramifications

    If a student withdraws from the program before the end of the semester abroad and is unable to complete enough work to earn final grades in the classes taken abroad, no credit will be granted for the semester abroad.

    If the withdrawal is due to unanticipated extenuating circumstances, it may be possible for the student to earn grades for classes begun abroad through alternative forms of assessment.  With the approval of the host institution abroad and/or the program sponsor, and relevant WU faculty, and the Overseas Programs advisor, the student may be permitted to take proctored exams at WU and/or submit assignments to the program abroad upon return to the U.S.

    Options cannot be guaranteed |  It is important that a student considering withdrawal first consults both the Overseas Programs advisor and the international office staff of his or her program abroad to fully understand the academic consequences of withdrawing.

    Withdrawal - Financial Ramifications

    Students who withdraw may be financially liable for non-recoverable fees prepaid by Washington University on the student’s behalf (i.e., tuition, housing deposits, orientation fees, language courses, insurance premiums, etc.).

    Students may be subject to the withdrawal fees and policies of the sponsoring university or program provider. If the program abroad charges a cancellation fee or a non-refundable deposit, the withdrawing student is responsible for paying such charges directly to Washington University. Washington University cannot influence or alter the withdrawal policies of other universities, program providers, or program sponsors.

    If a student’s withdrawal is caused by unanticipated extenuating circumstances, exceptions to the refund policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The student may still be liable for any non-recoverable fees Washington University has already paid to the program provider or host institution abroad on the student’s behalf. See the Refund Policy for clarification.

    Financial Aid Recipients | Students receiving financial aid who are considering withdrawing from a semester study abroad are strongly encouraged to consult a Financial Aid Advisor to review the impact that a withdrawal will have on their financial aid package at Washington University.

    Withdrawal Procedure

    Please read the Withdrawal Policy and follow the appropriate procedure below.

    Program Changes

    If you decide to pursue an application for a different program, you must first withdraw from your current program before opening a new application.  You will not be able to pursue two programs simultaneously and there is no guarantee that you will be able to return to your original program after withdrawing. Please consult with Overseas Programs staff before switching programs. 

    Withdrawal Prior to WU Application Deadline

    Students withdrawing their application before the Washington University published application deadline must change their online application status to “Withdrawn” by clicking the WITHDRAW button on their application home page.

    Withdrawal Prior to Acceptance to the Program

    Students wishing to withdraw their application after the Washington University application deadline and before acceptance into the program must send an email to their Overseas Programs Advisor requesting to withdraw the application. A reason for the withdrawal must be included in the email.

    Withdrawal After Committing to the Program

    If a student has to withdraw after having committed to participating and before the program begins, the student must notify the Overseas Programs Office in writing and include a reason for withdrawing.  The date on which the notice is received by Overseas Programs will be the official date of cancellation (the “Withdrawal Date”) for purposes of assessing cancellation fees. Students must also notify their program provider per the provider’s policy. In addition, you will be responsible for any other expenses accrued by the University or Program Provider/Host Institution as of the date of withdrawal.

    Note | If the withdrawal occurs before October 1 for Spring programs and before May 1 for Fall/Academic year programs, financial consequences are likely to be limited, though any non-refundable deposit guaranteed or paid by Washington University on the student’s behalf is non-refundable. Students may be responsible for other fees even if at the time of withdrawal charges have not yet been posted to the Student Account.

    Spring Overseas Programs Cancellation Fees**

    Withdraw after October 1 | $500 cancellation fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived for study abroad taking place during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    Fall Overseas Programs Cancellation Fees**

    Withdraw after May 1 | $500 cancellation fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived for study abroad taking place during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    Withdrawal After the Program Start

    Spring Overseas Programs Cancellation Fees**

    Withdraw after October 1 | $500 cancellation fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived for study abroad taking place during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    Fall Overseas Programs Cancellation Fees**

    Withdraw after May 1 | $500 cancellation fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived for study abroad taking place during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    If a student has to withdraw after the program begins, the student must:

    Notify Overseas Programs | Send a written withdrawal request to Overseas Programs with a reason for withdrawal. The date of the request may affect the student's enrollment status at Washington University and the amount of the student's refund, if any. See the Refund Policy for clarification.

    Notify Program Provider | Notify the program provider or sponsor of the decision to withdraw following the guidelines set forth by the program.

    Contact Advisor | Contact his or her academic advisor about the decision to return to Washington University for the semester and ensure that any holds are removed from the student's account in order to register for Washington University classes. Students should be aware that the courses available to them for the semester may be limited due to the late date of their subsequent registration.

    Contact Student Financial Services | If the student receives any type of financial assistance, he or she must also notify Student Financial Services of the decision to return to Washington University.

    Refund Policy

    The effective date of your withdrawal is the date that the written request is received and acknowledged by Overseas Programs. If you are offered admission to a program and declare your intent to participate then subsequently decide to withdraw from participation, you must notify both Overseas Programs and the Program Sponsor in writing.

    See the Withdrawal Policy for additional instructions and information.

    Any study abroad refunds will be applied as a credit to unpaid program fees posted to the student’s Washington University student account. Any remaining credit will be refunded by check according to policies and procedures set forth by Washington University Student Financial Services.

    Voluntary Withdrawal Before Program Starts

    WU has guaranteed the payment of certain costs to program sponsors and/or foreign institutions. Therefore, if you withdraw from the Program you must notify Overseas Programs in writing of your intent to withdraw for your withdrawal to be effective.  The date that Overseas Programs receives notice of withdrawal shall be the official date of cancellation (the “Withdrawal Date”) for purposes of assessing cancellation fees which you are responsible for paying as applicable per the schedule listed below

    Spring WU Cancellation Fees**
    Withdraw after October 1 | $500 Cancellation Fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    Fall Overseas Programs Cancellation Fees**

    Withdraw after May 1 | $500 cancellation fee

    **The cancellation fee is waived during the 2024-2025 academic year.

    In addition, you will be responsible for any other expenses accrued by the University or Program Provider/Host Institution as of the date of withdrawal.

    Voluntary Withdrawal After Program Starts

    Once the Program starts the cancellation fee will be fully assessed.  A portion of the balance of tuition for the semester may be refundable, is not guaranteed.  The calculation of a refund, if any, shall be made based on the Withdrawal Date. Any financial aid recipient contemplating withdrawal should consult the Student Financial Services Office to determine how a withdrawal will affect their financial aid package.

    Program Dismissal

    A student who is dismissed from the study abroad program is not eligible for refund and is subject to additional expenses depending upon the circumstances of the dismissal.