Student FAQ

These frequently asked questions have been prepared to address the most common queries that we receive from Tulane students who are interested in studying abroad. You should read through the policies and procedures listed on the Study Abroad website, as well as the FAQs, to begin to research the study abroad process at Tulane.

Please note that these questions and answers have been prepared for students who are planning to study abroad through a program approved by the Office of Study Abroad. Therefore, the answers are not necessarily applicable to you if you are participating on a program through the Freeman School of Business or on a non-Tulane Program.


Why Should I Study Abroad?

Studying abroad can be one of the most enriching, educationally stimulating and fulfilling experiences of your life and can have long-lasting, positive effects academically, socially and professionally.  Through engagement inside and outside of the classroom, you will gain insights into a different culture while building on your ability to communicate and collaborate with a diverse group of people. Study abroad can expand your worldview, help you become more adaptable and help you increase your foreign language skills. Study abroad can also provide you with hard and soft skills that make you a more competitive candidate for jobs, graduate and professional schools and other post-baccalaureate opportunities. Some of these skills include:

  • An expanded worldview and enhanced interest in global affairs.
  • Cross-cultural communication skills.
  • Increased flexibility and adaptability as a result of navigating unfamiliar situations.
  • Practical knowledge of a specific culture and language.
  • Building a global network of peers.


Program Selection and Eligibility

How do I pick the program that is right for me?

Selecting a program is one of the most important steps in studying abroad! Your host city will be your home, whether for a month or a whole year! Programs differ in many different ways, from the academics available to the campus size and feel. Start by thinking about your major or minor field of study. You will probably want to identify a program that will enhance your academic experience here at Tulane, giving you insight that you may not otherwise get by staying in New Orleans. You can then use the following questions to help narrow down your choices:

  • Are there courses that you need to take while you’re abroad?
  • Will the courses you take be in a foreign language?
  • Would you like to primarily take courses alongside local students?
  • Will you live in a homestay, apartment or student residence?
  • Do you prefer a big city, a small town or something in between?

By reviewing the information on our Selecting a Program page and answering these questions, you can start to get an idea of what type of program you are seeking. All of the approved Tulane programs are described on the Office of Study Abroad website, It’s the best place to begin your researching programs. Once you’ve done some research, you can make an appointment with a study abroad adviser to talk about your options.

Can only certain majors study abroad?

The Office of Study Abroad strives to enable every qualified student, regardless of major, to have a study abroad experience. Any student meeting the eligibility requirements to can submit an application to study abroad. Depending on your major, you may study abroad at an atypical time – during the spring of sophomore year or over the summer – rather than during the traditional junior year. Successful study abroad comes from planning early and meeting with your advisers in the Center for Academic Advising, the Office of Study Abroad and your major/minor department.

Students in the following disciplines may have particular requirements or questions about their study abroad:

Public Health

While all OSA programs are, in principle, open to Public Health students, not all of them offer courses that routinely transfer towards major requirements. Public Health students may select among a list of programs that have been approved by the School of Public Health on which students can find courses that fulfill major requirements. If you would like to participate on an approved program that is not on this list, meet with your adviser in the School of Public Health before proceeding with an application. Please visit their website to schedule an appointment and view academic requirements


Architecture students must meet with their Academic Adviser in the School of Architecture in order to gain approval to study abroad. Then, the Office of Study Abroad will help you identify the appropriate program.


Business students can study abroad on a program administered by the Office of Study Abroad but cannot take Business courses on these programs. If you’re interested in studying abroad on a Business program, contact Freeman International Programs at 504-862-9770 or visit their website.

Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea is now considered a standard Non-Tulane program.

Language Departments

If you are planning to study a non-English language, we recommend meeting with your language department to verify your course of study. Some departments have requirements about course content for which you can receive credit. For instance, the Spanish and Portuguese department approves courses studying linguistics, film, literature, etc but not other content courses in Spanish/Portuguese (social sciences, hard sciences, etc). Students must meet with their department to ensure they are able to get major/minor credit for their coursework.

How do I schedule an advising appointment?

Click "Make an Appointment" on the top green bar of the OSA website to learn about the different ways to meet with a Peer Advisor or Staff Advisor in the Office of Study Abroad.

How should I prepare for my advising appointments?

Students usually get more out of their study abroad appointment if they have looked at the policies on the Study Abroad website and browsed the program pages. After reading through this FAQ and the other pages on the site, try to come up with a list of questions to ask during your advising appointment and programs you are interested in. If you are unable to answer the questions above, that’s OK! Your study abroad adviser can discuss them with you and help you think about the answers.

Additionally, please fill out the Pre-Advising Form so advisors can best prepare for your needs.

When should I go abroad?

The right timing of study abroad is different for every student! However, most programs require at least sophomore standing, while some require junior standing. Transfer students must have completed at least one semester at Tulane before applying to study abroad. Traditionally, most Tulane students study abroad during their junior year.

Where can I find a list of Tulane summer programs?

You can find a list of Tulane-administered summer programs by selecting the “Summer” option on the Simple Search section of our Programs Page. These programs are taught by Tulane faculty and carry full Tulane credit. In addition to these programs, you may also seek approval to partake in a non-Tulane summer program through the Office of Study Abroad. If the program is approved, the credit will come back to Tulane as transfer credit.

Can I go abroad for more than one semester?

Yes, you can study abroad for more than one semester. Studying abroad for a full year has definite benefits, such as increased intercultural development and language skills. Working with your major and academic advisers, you can determine the right duration of your study abroad by considering many factors, such as your academic goals, the requirements of your major and your various extra-curricular commitments.

Can I go to two different places?

You may seek approval to study abroad in two different locations over the course of two semesters by demonstrating a strong academic motivation for doing so. For example, students of Spanish may wish to spend a semester in Latin America and a semester in Spain. Or, if you are working towards two majors and studying abroad on two different programs would benefit both majors, then it may make sense for you to move to a different site for your second semester abroad. However, by staying abroad in one place for a full year, you can maximize your immersion in your host country.

Is there a minimum GPA required?

As of Fall 2022, OSA does not set a minimum GPA for study abroad students. However, some programs have GPA requirements. Check "Eligibility" and "Academics" sections as you are searching for study abroad programs to ensure you meet the requirements for your chosen program.

Do some programs require more than a 3.0 GPA?

Some programs do require a CGPA above 3.0 or require certain prerequisite courses for admission. Please make sure to review the eligibility requirements for each program to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements prior to submitting an application.

Do I have to know a foreign language to study abroad?

You do not need to speak a foreign language to study abroad. The Tulane-approved portfolio includes many programs in English-speaking countries such as England, New Zealand and Australia. In non-English speaking countries in which Tulane does not offer the host language, such as Poland, Sweden and Denmark, program courses are taught in English. On these types of programs, Tulane students are required to take a course introducing them to the language and culture of the host country.

How will my grades abroad affect my GPA/transcript?

Grades from abroad will show as letter grades on the official transcript but will not be factored into the overall GPA. This does not apply on Tulane-run summer programs.


Application and Admission

Where do I get the Tulane application?

The Tulane application for study abroad is found by logging into the Tulane Study Abroad website. Each program page has a green “Apply Now” button which will prompt you to complete the online application. The application has many components, including essays, letters of recommendation and language evaluations, if applicable. You may be required to submit additional, requested materials to the Tulane Office of Study Abroad and/or your host university or program. Because application requirements vary by program, do not rely on the advice of other study abroad applicants; read through the application materials for your selected program. Be sure to adhere to the deadlines set by the Tulane Office of Study Abroad.

What is an external program application? Do I need to complete one?

Applying to study abroad is a two-step process. In addition to the Tulane application, you will likely have to submit an external host application directly to the program or host university. The program webpage, linked to the Tulane program brochure, will let you know if the external application is required and the deadline for completing it. The external application may be due later than the Tulane application but may also require some of the same documents, such as letters of recommendation or an essay. So, you might want to complete both applications at the same time.

Please note that if you are applying to DIS, there is no paper external application to complete. Instead, an on-campus interview with a DIS representative is a mandatory part of the application process.

How early can I start applying?

The application process opens each semester on the date listed on our study abroad timeline. While you can’t apply until that date, you can begin preparing for the application by researching your options and selecting the program you will apply for. You can also begin to think about potential faculty members who can write your letter(s) of recommendation.

Should I be in touch with my host university or program provider as I prepare my application?

The application process opens each semester on the date listed on our study abroad timeline. While you can’t apply until that date, you can begin preparing for the application by researching your options and selecting the program you will apply for. You can also begin to think about potential faculty members who can write your letter(s) of recommendation.

Can I apply to more than one program in a single semester?

You can only apply to one program during the study abroad application process. Because some of the programs on Tulane’s approved list have limited space or are very competitive, it is a good idea to have an alternate program in mind. If your host program does not offer you admission, the Office of Study Abroad will work with you to help you apply to your alternate program. Eligibility does not guarantee admission to the program of your choice.

What happens if I do not get into the program of my choice?

If you have been approved to study abroad by the OSA but do not receive admission from the program, you should notify your study abroad adviser as soon as possible. We will work with you to submit an application to your alternate program. However, we can’t guarantee admission and you may need to study abroad in a subsequent semester.

Can someone from the Office of Study Abroad read over my application before the deadline?

The Office of Study Abroad staff does not review individual applications before they are submitted. If you have a specific question about your application, you can contact your study abroad adviser for help. You can use other resources on campus, such as the Academic Success Center for reviewing your essay, the Academic Advising Center for selecting courses, and your major department for questions about course equivalencies.



How do I know what courses I'll take abroad?

Course listings can usually be found on the program provider or host university website for the period that you will be abroad. If you are having a hard time finding them, you can always check with your study abroad adviser for assistance. These listings are a great resource to see what is available on your host program but please keep in mind that final course selection is generally made during the beginning of your study abroad program, on-site.

Who should I talk about selecting my courses while I'm studying abroad?

You should speak with your Academic Adviser at Tulane and your Major or minor adviser in your department about selecting your courses while you’re studying abroad. During the application process, you will be required to get their approval for study abroad. This requirement is meant to provide a time for you to discuss this topic with your advisers. Students studying foreign language while abroad should meet with their language department to ensure they are selecting appropriate classes for their studies.

How can I find out the Tulane equivalency of a course?

The program brochure page on the Office of Study Abroad website lists course equivalencies in the “Courses Students Have Taken” section of the Program Description. If you can’t find a particular course on that list, it may just mean that no Tulane student has taken it before! You can speak with your major or minor adviser about the course to see if it can be transferred for credit, but you will need to fill out a Course Equivalency form found here

What do I do to get my courses approved for study abroad?

You are eligible to earn elective credit for all courses taken on an approved Tulane study abroad program as long as there is a matching discipline at Tulane. (For example, you would not receive elective credit for a Physical Education or Culinary Arts course because there is no equivalent department at Tulane.)

Credit taken abroad can count towards your major or minor, but the awarding of major or minor credit is wholly at the discretion of the relevant Tulane academic department.You can speak with your major or minor adviser about the course to see if it can be transferred for credit, but you will need to fill out a Course Equivalency form found here

OSA strongly advises you to retain course materials, including syllabi, reading lists, papers and exams, and to closely coordinate with you major, minor and academic advisers prior to study abroad and during registration periods as much as possible in order to understand credit transfer requirements.

How many courses can I take in a semester abroad?

You're required to enroll in the minimum course load as determined by your host program or university. If your program does not indicate a minimum, Tulane requires you to enroll in a minimum of the equivalent of 12 Tulane semester credit hours in order to maintain full-time status. For example, if your host program requires students to enroll in 15 credit hours, you must enroll in 15 credits rather than 12. The number of courses you will take may depend on the number of credit hours of the course. Tulane sets no upper limit on the number of credit hours you can earn during a semester abroad, but your individual program or university may. Students seeking to take excess credit hours are advised to speak with their Academic Advisor, OSA, and their host program before finalizing their schedule. 

Are there courses I cannot take while I'm abroad?

Yes. If Tulane does not have a matching discipline, such as Physical Education or Culinary Arts, you are not able to take a course in that discipline while abroad. In general, you should not enroll in any course while abroad in a field of study not offered at Tulane if that course has not been pre-approved. Students on an Office of Study Abroad program cannot take Business courses. When in doubt, check with your academic adviser!

When will my grades and courses be posted on my transcript?

Grades are processed and posted as they are received, and the timing of their posting varies from program to program. The Tulane Office of Study Abroad receives student grade reports from host institutions and programs, and is therefore dependent upon these institutions for the grades. You can expect a waiting period of up to three months following the conclusion of the study abroad program. Upon receipt, the grades are checked by OSA staff and then entered into the Tulane system. If you have any financial hold from the host institution, your grades may be delayed. 

You are also expected to complete your study abroad program evaluation and the transmittal of credits and grades to your Tulane transcript will occur once you have completed it.


Preparation, Documentation, and Departure

What is a Pre-Departure Orientation and do I have to attend my program PDO?

Pre-Departure Orientations are mandatory, and are held the semester prior to your study abroad experience. The first part of the two-part orientation consists of an on-line exercise which introduces you to the important policies that apply to all Tulane students regardless of where you study abroad. This orientation also provides resources on travel safety, cultural adjustment and strategies for success while abroad. The second part of the PDO is country- or region-specific and is designed to prepare you for the specific elements of your program and the region where you will be studying abroad. This orientation is led by Tulane faculty, OSA staff and/or program representatives who have experience in the area of the world in which you will study.

Will the Office of Study Abroad help me get a passport or visa?

The Office of Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining student passports or visas nor are they responsible for any passport or visa complications, delays or denials. Students are responsible for making sure that they have a valid passport and visa in order to study in their host country. To research the process for applying for your passport (if you are an American citizen), you can start by visiting the State Department Website. We do have a helpful guide that goes over the passport application process.

A visa is the host country’s endorsement that you are allowed to enter and stay in the country for a specified period of time and for a specified reason. Tulane students are responsible for obtaining their own visa. Because the visa application requirements vary by country and are subject to change, students should refer to the embassy website of their host country for the most up-to-date information about the visa application process, costs and requirements.

How should I make travel arrangements?

You should make your own travel arrangements via Tulane's travel partner, World Travel, per Tulane's international travel policy. World Travel offers a continuity of care for Tulane students, staff, and faculty in their international travel. For full booking instructions, please see here. You should always confirm the arrival and departure dates directly with your host program or university before booking travel. Some program providers may offer advice and/or airport pick-up services that you can take advantage of. The Office of Study Abroad does not assist with travel arrangements for study abroad -- Only World Travel provides this service. Students must inform the OSA of their travel plans for risk management purposes by uploading their itineraries to their study abroad application.

Where will I live and eat while I study abroad?

Chances are, your housing situation will be quite a bit different from what you’ve experienced here on campus! Many universities abroad do not have on-campus housing like we have at Tulane. You will select a housing option prior to your departure. Depending on the host program, you may choose between a homestay, a dorm or an independent apartment. In every case possible, we recommend that you seek housing options that will maximize integration into the host culture, whether through living with a local host family or with local students. As with housing, meal options will also vary. You may find yourself eating three meals a day with your host family, you might have on-campus dining hall options that are very similar to those available at Tulane or you might cook for yourself in a dorm or apartment.

Students generally arrange housing directly with universities or program providers. Many universities and programs require student to live in housing arranged by the program. In almost all cases, housing fees are paid by the student directly to the university or program provider.

What about housing for the spring semester at Tulane if I am on a fall study abroad program?

Housing and Residence Life requires you to contact their office before you depart for your fall study abroad program to have arrangements in place for your return in the spring semester. You will be responsible for working with HRL.



How do I pay for study abroad?

You remain enrolled full-time at Tulane while studying abroad on an approved program and are charged full-time student tuition and the study abroad fee, which replaces the Tulane academic support fee when you are billed by Tulane’s Accounts Receivable. All other costs are normally paid by the student independently (travel, for example) or directly to the program provider (housing, for example).

Can I use my financial aid to study abroad?

All financial aid and scholarships that normally applies towards tuition and fees at Tulane, except housing, apply while the student is on a study abroad program. Housing scholarships apply only to Tulane on-campus housing. You will be charged room and board costs directly by the host institution. Price varies based on the program and type of housing selected but is comparable to the cost of living at Tulane. 

If you receive scholarships, grants and/or loans and plan to utilize them during study abroad, you should schedule an appointment with your financial aid adviser before leaving campus.

Is there additional financial aid and scholarships available for study abroad?

The Office of Study Abroad administers awards available to students who are studying on approved Tulane programs. You can search for these scholarships on the Supplemental Funding for Study Abroad page of our website. Your host program provider may also have scholarships or grants available. More information will be found on the scholarship section of their website. Finally, students can apply for national scholarship programs, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) or the David L. Boren Scholarship directly. OSA strongly recommends that if you are interested in these scholarships, you begin the research process early – even one-to-two years prior to departure – as scholarship deadlines can come well before program application deadlines. Please keep in mind that these additional awards may alter your overall financial aid package.

Do I have to pay the program deposit?

Yes, you do need to pay the program deposit. The Office of Study Abroad does not pay the deposit nor is it covered by your Tulane tuition. The deposit is essentially a guarantee that you will attend the program and ensures that the program will hold your spot once you’ve been admitted. If you do not attend the program, the deposit will generally not be refunded. In most cases, this deposit will ultimately be applied to your study abroad housing fee.


Health and Safety

Is study abroad safe?

Your safety is an important part of the mission of the Office of Study Abroad. Tulane takes great care to select and continuously monitor the programs in our portfolio, all of which have staff who are very knowledgeable about the host culture and can serve as resources in a time of emergency. We also urge you to take personal responsibility for your safety. During the pre-departure orientation programming, OSA staff will advise you on how to take precautions while abroad by staying aware of your surroundings and attuned to potentially unsafe situations. We will also help you become informed about the local culture and customs, in order to better understand your new environment.

Here are some tips for staying safe while studying abroad:

  • Download the app from Global Rescue (Tulane's travel assistance provider) and pay close attention to all alerts and other travel information you receive there.
  • Register with the U.S. Department of State STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
  • Identify your local and international support system – program staff, homestay family or roommates, Tulane staff – and keep their contact information on you at all times.
  • Make sure other people know where you are; notify your family or friends of your regular class schedule, extra-curricular activities and travel plans.
  • Avoid risky behaviors like excessive alcohol use that impair your ability to protect yourself.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, and familiar with the layout of cities you live in or visit.
How will insurance work while I'm abroad?

You are required to demonstrate adequate health coverage both in the U.S. and in your host country while studying abroad. For U.S. coverage, student must complete the annual on-line waiver process, just as they would if they were staying at Tulane. To demonstrate overseas coverage, students must complete an insurance declaration found in their on-line application account and submit it to the Office of Study Abroad. The declaration indicates a variety of ways students might secure health coverage abroad. For overseas insurance, you are urged to explore their options and understand fully how your insurance will work during the period you study abroad. It is possible that your domestic health insurance may cover you while abroad; you should contact your domestic provider to make that determination.

Students have three options for health insurance coverage while abroad: to research available international options offered through their domestic provider, to enroll in insurance offered by the program (for some programs this may be included automatically or may be mandatory in order to obtain a visa, ask your provider or host university for more information), or to purchase GeoBlue insurance. Instructions on how to purchase GeoBlue are located in your Tulane application portal. Because the method you may secure health insurance while abroad varies based on the program provider and the host institution or host country, you should research their options so that they can make an informed decision.

How can I stay healthy while I'm abroad?

Most medical conditions are completely manageable while abroad and simply require a bit of preparation and planning so that they do not interfere with your experience. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should speak with your local physician to plan for your time abroad.

Here is a list of questions to discuss with a health care provider prior to studying abroad:

  • How do you import prescription medication into the host country or identify the most suitable alternative that is available in the host country?
  • Can the physician consult with you over the phone or email if necessary?
  • Should you find a local physician to help monitor the condition regularly while abroad?
  • Are there local issues that may exacerbate the condition? Excessive sun? Allergens?
  • Does the potential host city have the resources and infrastructure so that you may find the necessary care while there?

If you receive accommodations from the Center for Student Accessibility at Tulane, we will work with you to identify a suitable program that can accommodate your needs.

Our approved programs have procedures in place to ensure that you have access to adequate healthcare. Furthermore, while it does not provide health insurance, Global Rescue can assist you in finding local medical professionals (English-speaking, if necessary) and even offering second opinions and medical advice over the phone. As part of your pre-departure preparation, OSA recommends that you stay informed about health conditions and risks in your host country while taking necessary preventative measures to stay healthy, such as staying hydrated, eating a nutritious diet, avoiding excessive alcohol use and sleeping an adequate amount each night.

If I have problems abroad, what should I do?

If a problem arises while you are abroad, first get in touch with your host university or program provider staff. Their familiarity with your study abroad site will help them provide you with the best possible information to find a rapid solution to the problem. You can also contact the Office of Study Abroad at any time and we will respond as soon as possible.

In the case of an immediate emergency, you should call the local equivalent of 911 and then contact your host university or program provider staff.

TUPD is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (504) 865-5911.