Policies and Procedures

Academics

Students enrolled on SMU Abroad programs are considered full-time students during the duration of their abroad study. Grades earned abroad will be posted to the SMU transcript and will be calculated into the student’s cumulative and SMU GPA. Academic credit earned abroad counts as credit earned in residence.

Students can earn 3, 6, 7, or 8 hours of credit. All courses on faculty-led or hybrid programs have SMU specific course numbers and directly post to the SMU transcript.

Please discuss any interest in obtaining UC/CC credit abroad with your Abroad Advisor.

SMU Abroad courses may qualify for UC Breadth/Depth/Foundation or CC Breadth/Foundation requirements:
  • If a course has already been approved for UC requirements or CC requirements this will be indicated in the course listing on the SMU Abroad website.
  • If a course has not been approved for UC requirements or CC requirements, and if the course is taught by non-SMU faculty, students may request that the course be considered as meeting a UC Breadth/Depth or CC Breadth/Foundation requirement.
  • Requests for UC Breadth/Depth may be made before or after the program abroad. See forms for the UC request process here (pre-approval) and here (re-evaluation).
  • Request for CC Breadth/Foundation credit must be made before the program abroad. See forms and instructions for the CC request process here.

UC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Course-Based Proficiency and Experience Request form available from the Office of General Education upon your return. Students must keep all course materials.

CC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Pre-Approval Request for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Requirements form available from the Office of General Education in advance. Students should keep all course materials. 

Students enrolled on SMU Abroad semester programs are considered full-time students during the duration of their abroad study. Grades earned abroad will be posted to the SMU transcript and will be calculated into the student’s cumulative and SMU GPA. Academic credit earned abroad counts as credit earned in residence.

Courses on semester programs must be petitioned during the SMU Abroad application process. These courses may appear on the SMU transcript as courses with SMU specific course numbers or as Free Elective Study Abroad (FESA) credit. Petitioned courses are reviewed by a designated SMU faculty member credentialed in the discipline in which each course is offered. This faculty review determines how petitioned courses appear on the SMU transcript. Specific information about procedures and policies for earning credit is provided on the Courses page.

Please discuss any interest in obtaining UC/CC credit abroad with your Abroad Advisor.

Courses taken on SMU Abroad semester programs may qualify for UC Breadth/Depth/Foundation or CC Breadth/Foundation requirements:

  • If the initial course petition results in an SMU course number that is approved to meet UC Breadth/Depth/Foundation or CC Breadth/Foundation requirements, the Assistant Provost for General Education will review the course to see if it meets those same requirements. If so, the student will be informed and will receive the requirements automatically.
  • If the initial course petition results in an SMU course number that does not meet UC requirements, students may request that the course be considered for Breadth or Depth only. This request may be made before or after the program abroad. See forms for the UC request process here (pre-approval) and here (re-evaluation).
  • If the initial course petition results in an SMU Special Topics abroad number that does not meet CC requirements, students may request that the course be considered for Breadth or Foundation. This request must be made before the program abroad. See forms and instructions for the CC request process here. Course petitions that result in direct SMU equivalents are not eligible for CC Breadth/Foundation petitions. 

UC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Course-Based Proficiency and Experience Request form available from the Office of General Education upon your return. Students must keep all course materials.

CC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Pre-Approval Request for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Requirements form available from the Office of General Education in advance. Students should keep all course materials. 

Students considering study abroad are urged to meet early and often with both their academic advisor and the SMU Abroad advising team. This advising input is essential in integrating study abroad coursework into a student’s four-year plan of study.

Students enrolled on SMU Abroad programs are considered full-time students during the duration of their abroad study. Grades earned abroad will be posted to the SMU transcript and will be calculated into the student's cumulative and SMU GPA. Academic credit earned abroad counts as credit earned in residence.

All courses on virtual abroad programs have SMU specific course numbers and directly post to the SMU transcript. Course offerings can be found on each program web page and in the application itself. Students enroll in 3 credit hours for a virtual abroad program.

Please discuss any interest in obtaining UC/CC credit abroad with your Abroad Advisor.

SMU Abroad Virtual program courses may meet UC Breadth/Depth/Foundation and CC Breadth/Foundation requirements:

  • If a course has already been approved for UC Breadth/Depth/Foundation requirements or CC Breadth/Foundation requirements this will be indicated in the course listing on the SMU Abroad website.
  • If a course has not been approved for UC requirements or CC requirements, and if the course is taught by non-SMU faculty, students may request that the course be considered as meeting a UC Breadth/Depth or CC Breadth/Foundation requirement.
  • Requests for UC Breadth/Depth may be made before or after the program abroad. See forms for the UC request process here (pre-approval) and here (re-evaluation).
  • Request for CC Breadth/Foundation credit must be made before the program abroad. See forms and instructions for the CC request process here.

UC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Course-Based Proficiency and Experience Request form available from the Office of General Education upon your return. Students must keep all course materials.

CC Proficiencies/Experiences must be requested using the Pre-Approval Request for Alternative Fulfillment of Proficiency and Experience Requirements form available from the Office of General Education in advance. Students should keep all course materials. 

Courses taken on SMU Abroad January, May, and Summer programs may not be taken for a grade of NC (No Credit), but students may petition for one of these courses to be graded on a pass/fail basis. Students must petition approval for the pass/fail option from the program director and the faculty member teaching the course. The deadline to complete the Undergraduate Pass/Fail Option Declaration form to petition for a course taken on an SMU Abroad summer program is the payment deadline for the program; for Jan Term classes, the deadline is no later than the second day of classes for Jan Term. Forms are available in the schools’ records offices.

Courses taken on SMU Abroad Fall and Spring term programs may not be taken on a no-credit or pass/fail basis. The only exception to this policy is for courses designated by SMU’s academic departments with no credit or pass/fail as their only grading basis option.

Courses taken on SMU Abroad Virtual Abroad programs may not be taken for a grade of NC (No Credit). The SMU course catalog states that SMU Abroad courses may be counted as pass/fail when they are designated by SMU's academic departments with pass/fail as their only grading basis options. Since all courses on Virtual Abroad Programs are approved with internship course numbers, grades will be counted as pass/fail.

Finances

SMU tuition is charged according to the number of credit hours for all January, May, and Summer programs. There is a nonrefundable Initial Commitment fee of $1000 and a Remainder of Commitment that varies based on the type of program a student is doing. Please note all pre-departure expenses must be paid by the student. No financial aid should be expected for program deposits, early purchase of airline tickets, passport application fees, etc.

In some cases, for hybrid programs such as SMU-in-London: LSE, the cost of housing and meals is charged by a partner provider.

Students attending SMU Abroad programs during the summer are eligible for a pro-rated amount of their merit scholarship and SMU Opportunity Grant. Federal loans not utilized during the fall/spring of that academic year may also be used. For information on how your need and merit based financial aid will apply to the January programs, please speak with your financial aid advisor.

Refer to the Cost & Aid page for specific tuition amounts. 

All SMU semester study abroad students will be charged SMU tuition and fees for the semester abroad.

You are charged the standard SMU tuition and fees at the 12-18 credit hour rate (the same as if on campus). Rather than paying for housing and living expenses here in Dallas, you instead pay for them in your host country. Please note all pre-departure expenses must be paid by the student. No financial aid should be expected for program deposits, early purchase of airline tickets, passport application fees, etc.

Students attending SMU Abroad semester programs may receive the same financial aid and scholarships that they are eligible for during a fall/spring here at SMU. Additional aid may be available if you will incur expenses beyond what you typically pay on-campus. Please discuss this with your financial aid advisor. Students are also eligible for scholarships through their program provider (IAU). If you are studying abroad directly with a foreign university, inquire with the contact there as many have small awards for US students.

Refer to the Cost & Aid page for specific tuition amounts. 
Matriculated SMU students may apply their institutional and federal financial aid to their abroad program. Students should consult with SMU Financial Aid for details.

SMU Abroad offers a limited number of study abroad scholarships. Students apply separately for these scholarships during the SMU Abroad application process. In addition, many departments and other academic units on campus also offer scholarship support for study abroad. External scholarships are also available.

Students with any level of financial aid considering study abroad should meet with SMU Abroad several months prior to studying abroad and should ask for detailed information about possible funding sources.

Health Insurance

All study abroad students are required to enroll in or waive the Student Health Insurance Plan even though you will not be physically on the Dallas campus. A waiver requires the student to demonstrate existing coverage by a comparable plan. All International Students engaged in abroad programs are required to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan.
SMU Abroad requires enrollment of all study abroad program participants in International SOS which provides emergency medical, evacuation, and repatriation services. The total program cost will include this charge. International SOS is specific to unexpected injuries and illnesses that occur abroad.

Applications

Students applying to SMU Abroad programs must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. SMU requires students to have a minimum 2.500 cumulative GPA and no active conduct violations in order to participate in an abroad program. Specific programs may have higher minimum GPA requirements. Many programs have competitive admission. Look for more detailed requirements on the webpages for any program you may be interested in.

Matriculated students may apply to study abroad after completing one full semester of study (Fall or Spring term) at SMU. Students are discouraged from studying abroad during their final full semester of study at SMU because SMU Abroad cannot guarantee that abroad credits will be processed in time for graduation in such cases. Students who matriculate as transfer students must complete one full semester of study at SMU in order to be eligible to apply for study abroad. A transfer student’s cumulative GPA will be used as the basis for determining academic eligibility.

The application process is online and completed in phases. The “advising” phase is the first step toward studying abroad, and can be opened as soon as you start exploring program options. Students need to open and complete the “advising” phase of the application at least two weeks prior to the application deadline for the term they wish to study abroad.

The “pre-decision” phase is the part of the application on which you are reviewed for program acceptance. Applicants must complete all application elements by 11:59 PM CST* on application deadline. SMU Abroad reviews all applications for completion and accuracy.

For January, May & Summer programs, once SMU Abroad approves your application, it is submitted to the program faculty director or liaison for review. At their discretion, they will be in touch to conduct an interview. If accepted, you will receive an Acceptance Letter from SMU Abroad through the application portal.

For semester programs, once SMU Abroad approves your application, it is submitted to the Semester Application Review Subcommittee immediately following the Early Decision and Regular Decision deadlines. If accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter from SMU Abroad.

Upon being accepted, your application will then enter the “post-decision” phase, where you will make your commitment fee payment(s) for January, May & Summer programs. You will also be asked to upload more information and review and sign documents.

Most SMU Abroad programs are supported by partner providers who help with logistics and on-site support for the program. In addition to the SMU Abroad application, you may be asked to submit information directly to the provider. It is your responsibility to ensure that these materials are completed by their specified due dates.

SMU Abroad staff will send important communication to SMU email accounts only. We expect that you will check your SMU email account at least twice a week both before and during your abroad program. You are responsible for following any directions communicated through your SMU email.

Enrollment

Students who study abroad on January, May & Summer programs enroll themselves directly into the appropriate SMU courses in my.SMU. Detailed instructions on enrollment for these programs are sent directly to the student via email. 

Students with holds cannot enroll: this includes financial holds, Rights and Responsibilities holds, and holds due to required personal information updates. Students must check my.SMU to see if they have any holds on their account. Failure to enroll by the specified deadline may result in a student's withdrawal from the program, and in that case, they will be responsible for any resultant cancellation fees.

Courses immediately appear on the student's SMU transcript from the time of enrollment. 


Students who study abroad on SMU Abroad fall and spring term programs are enrolled in a SMU placeholder course to denote full-time enrollment. This placeholder course (designated with a Z) is taken on a credit/no-credit basis. Students must submit their transcript from the study abroad program showing successful completion of credit hours to receive a grade of CR in the Z course.

Students with holds cannot be enrolled: this includes financial holds, Rights and Responsibilities holds, and holds due to required personal information updates. Students must check my.SMU to see if they have any holds on their account and these holds must be cleared for SMU Abroad to enroll the student into the placeholder. 

It can take up to 4 months after a semester abroad for SMU Abroad to receive a transcript. After receipt, students will be notified via email by SMU Abroad. This email will include the list of courses taken abroad and any SMU course approvals that have been shared with our office.

Abroad courses and grades will not appear on a student’s SMU transcript until every course has been approved for SMU credit. If all courses have been approved for SMU credit, it may still be several weeks before the SMU transcript is updated.

It is possible for the transcript process to be delayed by the following:

  • Financial hold with the partner provider
  • Unapproved courses

Withdrawal & Cancellation

To cancel enrollment or to withdraw an application from a January, May, or Summer program, a student must notify SMU Abroad in writing at: abroad@smu.edu. Cancellation is subject to cost pending on the date SMU Abroad receives the student's written notification. It is not sufficient to withdraw an application online or in communication with the Program Director or Faculty Liaison only. The cancellation schedules for January, May, and Summer programs are provided on the Cost & Aid page.

Students interested in a medical withdrawal should consult with Health Services at SMU. Only the SMU Health Center may authorize a Medical Withdrawal.

To cancel enrollment or to withdraw an application from a semester program, a student must notify SMU Abroad in writing at: abroad@smu.edu. Cancellation is subject to cost pending on the date SMU Abroad receives the student's written notification. It is not sufficient to withdraw an application online or in communication with the provider only. The cancellation schedules for semester programs are provided on the Cost & Aid page.

Students interested in a medical withdrawal should consult with Health Services at SMU. Only the SMU Health Center may authorize a Medical Withdrawal.

To cancel enrollment or to withdraw an application from a Virtual Abroad program, a student must notify SMU Abroad in writing at abroad@smu.edu. Cancellation is subject to cost pending on the date SMU Abroad receives the student's written notification. It is not sufficient to withdraw an application online or in communication with the provider, Program Director, or Faculty Liaison only. The cancellation schedules for Virtual Abroad programs are provided on the Cost & Aid page.

Students interested in a medical withdrawal should consult with Health Services at SMU. Only the SMU Health Center may authorize a Medical Withdrawal.