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FAQs and Tips for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity for students that also has many benefits:

  • You can take engineering courses and earn credits toward your engineering degree while studying abroad
  • You can learn about a new culture, language, or people
  • You can develop new skills and learn more about yourself
  • Engineering is an increasingly global career; international experiences can help prepare you for it
  • Employers are looking for graduates with skills that can be developed through studying abroad
  • A global perspective can help expand your approach to problem solving and help make you a better engineer

As you begin thinking about studying abroad at UW, consider what you most want to gain from an international experience and what is most important to you.

Different majors have different “recommended” timelines, but ultimately it depends on you! You can study abroad as early as the summer after your freshman year until your last quarter at UW. Some students may even study abroad multiple times during their undergraduate and graduate careers at UW.

When thinking about the best time for you to study abroad, consider whether you would prefer to study abroad during the academic year or in summer or early fall. Then work closely with an academic adviser to build your course plan with study abroad in mind. Your options will be different depending on when you plan to study abroad:

Academic year programs

  • Programs tend to be longer for a quarter (10 weeks) or a semester (15 weeks)
  • Most programs during the academic year are exchange programs that allow students to take courses directly from a partner university abroad
  • Programs are typically best for students in their junior and senior years looking to take upper-division engineering courses, though many programs are open to sophomores and graduate students.
  • For many programs, students pay a program fee based on their UW tuition rate.

Summer/early fall programs

  • Programs tend to be shorter in length; most programs are 3-4 weeks
  • Courses may be taught by a UW professors or by instructors from the local institution
  • In most programs, you will study with a community of other UW students.
  • Students pay a program fee in place of UW tuition.
  • Programs are available to students at any point in their time at UW

Applications for all UW programs should be submitted through the UW Study Abroad application. Pay attention to the listed application deadline for the program term for which you are planning to apply. Most applications require you to submit several short essays about your interest in applying for the program. Programs based at a partner university abroad may require you to submit a secondary program application to the host university. For more specific information, visit the program application website.

The study abroad office sometimes deactivates brochures to update them between application cycles. Check back soon, or reach out to for more program-specific information! In the meantime, you can sign up on the CoE Study Abroad Interest List for email updates.

Study abroad costs vary by program. A program’s overall cost depends on the program type, the program’s duration, the activities included in the program, and the cost of living in the program location.

For programs during the academic year, it’s important to compare what you would spend to be on campus in Seattle with the cost to live in the city where you will be studying abroad. In some cases, studying abroad may actually prove cheaper than taking courses in Seattle!

We work to keep study abroad costs as low as possible to help ensure that cost is not a reason a student chooses not to study abroad. Resources are available to help students offset the cost of study abroad, making this a more affordable opportunity than you may think.

Yes! On most programs, financial aid can be applied toward the cost of studying abroad. In addition, UW Study Abroad offers scholarships based on students’ program applications - no additional application is required! There are also many federal and private scholarships that you can apply for to help offset study abroad costs.

To learn more about financial aid, scholarships, and other money tips for study abroad, visit UW Study Abroad’s online financial resource website.

For summer programs, Student Financial Aid offers specific instructions for students hoping to use financial aid in summer. This does not apply to early fall programs, these costs and aid are tied to autumn quarter.

Yes! Credits earned from UW study abroad programs are UW credits, not transfer credits, and will count toward cumulative GPA and (with the department's approval) degree requirements.

Some programs offer a specific UW course that will be applied to students’ transcripts after the successful completion of the program. For these programs, ask your major adviser about how that UW course number can be applied toward your remaining major requirements.

Many programs offer courses that do not have predetermined UW course numbers. This includes programs in which students take courses from instructors at the host university. For these programs, students work with UW departments to review courses taken abroad and have them approved for UW credit through a process called credit conversion.

It is strongly recommended to review available courses before applying for a program so you know how your study abroad courses will count toward your degree requirements. Use the Engineering Study Abroad Credit Pre-Approval Guide to keep track of your planned program courses and the pre-approvals granted by UW departments.

Most engineering study abroad programs are open to all students. Non-engineering students are welcome to apply if they have an interest in the program subject and meet any necessary prerequisite courses.

No! UW Engineering study abroad programs do not require any previous language experience. Many of our programs do offer some opportunities for language instruction so students can learn and practice using the local language during their program. If you do have previous language experience, studying abroad can be a great way to use and improve your language skills.

The UW study abroad office maintains resources on identity abroad. Other resources include: