This page addresses eligibility requirements that are common to all CU Boulder Education Abroad programs. Students must maintain their eligibility for their Ed Abroad program from the time they start their application through their program. In some circumstances, students may be permitted to apply for a program when they are not yet fully eligible and would be accepted on a condition that they achieve eligibility prior to the program start.
For program-specific requirements, see our program webpages using our program search.
Expand the sections below for details.
Can I study abroad my first semester at CU?
You must have completed at least one full semester with passing grades in a full load of courses (at least 12 credits) on the CU Boulder campus before you are eligible to go abroad on an Ed Abroad program.
Some programs require sophomore, second-semester sophomore or even junior standing. Students may meet the specific class standing requirement with a combination of credit earned at CU Boulder, earned at other institutions, and sometimes AP/IB credit.
Credit earned in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses may factor into your class standing (varies by program). You will still need to complete at least one semester of work on a college campus before studying abroad. Please see additional information below under the incoming/transfer section.
What if I'm not fully enrolled (taking at least 12 credits) the semester prior to my Ed Abroad program?
In the semester prior to the experience abroad, it is strongly preferred that students complete a full load of academic coursework (at least 12 credits) to ensure adequate preparation and maximum potential to succeed while abroad. Students may or may not be permitted to go abroad in the term following a full semester away from CU (or away from an academic institution), or a semester with less than 12 credits. Education Abroad staff will consider each case individually, with a focus on the academic performance in the most recent semester (among other factors). Students may be asked for additional information or documentation. Please note that students are very strictly required to enroll in at least 12 credits on semester Ed Abroad programs, and are not allowed to take a reduced course load (to meet immigration requirements, among other policies).
Can I complete my last semester of college on an Ed Abroad program?
It’s possible to complete your final degree requirements while on education abroad; however, based on transcript timelines, your graduation date and receipt of diploma may be delayed. It’s important to work with your department or college to make sure that you will receive the credits you need while abroad. Keep in mind that programs often don’t end until after CU’s graduation dates; being abroad may preclude participating in a commencement ceremony (although you will be permitted to participate in an earlier or later May or December ceremony).
Is it possible to go abroad after I've graduated?
You can go abroad in the term immediately following graduation. For example, if you graduated in the spring, you may go abroad on one of our summer programs. If you graduate and then go abroad, you may no longer be eligible for financial aid, and you may be required to begin paying back loans (if applicable). If you are affected by these considerations, you may wish to delay graduation until after your education abroad program ends. Regardless of whether you’ve graduated, the education abroad program name and overall credits passed/earned will appear on your transcript.
Many CU Boulder education abroad programs have required course prerequisites, either in language or various subject areas. If you have questions about whether you meet a prerequisite, talk with an advisor in the Education Abroad office. If you are accepted with a course prerequisite in progress, your acceptance will likely be overturned if you do not successfully complete the course.
Your disciplinary record, both at CU and outside CU, can affect your eligibility to participate in an education abroad program. Education abroad is a privilege available to students who demonstrate that they have achieved a certain level of academic and personal maturity. If you have violated disciplinary rules to the extent that you are placed on Informal or Formal Probation, you may be required to go through additional steps to apply for an education abroad program. We encourage you to apply early as a review of your application may take longer than normal and may include an interview.
Can I apply for a program and study abroad if I was on Informal Probation in a prior semester?
Yes. In your application, you will be asked to provide a summary of your disciplinary record. This will be reviewed by a Program Manager in the CU Education Abroad office and verified against the record at the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and/or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Program Manager will make a determination about how to proceed with an admission decision. Your Program Manager may request an interview to talk with you about your record in more depth. Typically, the education abroad organization, host institution, or program director abroad will be notified of your disciplinary status.
Can I apply for a program and go abroad if I'm currently on Informal Probation?
Yes*. Students who are currently on Informal Probation may apply to an education abroad program and may be accepted. In your application, you will be asked to provide a summary of your disciplinary record. This will be reviewed by a Program Manager in the CU Education Abroad office and verified against the record at the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and/or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Program Manager will make a determination about how to proceed with an admission decision. It is possible that your Program Manager will request an interview with you to talk about your record in more depth. Typically, the education abroad organization, host institution, or program director abroad will be notified of your disciplinary status. In some cases, additional restrictions may be placed on your participation in the program at the discretion of the host institution and/or CU Boulder.
*As per Semester at Sea policy, students on Informal Probation may not participate in this program. Students will be dismissed from Semester at Sea should they be put on Informal or Formal Probation after the admission process.
Can I study abroad if I'm on Formal Probation/Loss of Standing?
No. Students who will be on Formal Probation/Loss of Standing during any portion of their prospective education abroad program are not eligible. Students on Formal Probation/Loss of Standing can, however, apply to participate in an education abroad program in a future semester, provided their Formal Probation/Loss of Standing will conclude prior to the start of their program. Documentation from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance will be required.
Can I study abroad if I'm fully suspended from CU?
No. Students on full suspension are not eligible to go abroad, nor are they eligible to submit an application for an education abroad program.
What happens if I am placed on Informal Probation after I've already been accepted into my education abroad program?
Any sanctions that occur after students have been accepted into a program will be disclosed to the Education Abroad office by the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The incident will be reviewed, and acceptances will be re-considered. Students may be dismissed based on their disciplinary record depending on the severity of their actions. In some cases, additional restrictions may be placed on their participation in the program at the discretion of the host institution and/or CU Boulder.
What happens if I am placed on Formal Probation/Loss of Standing after I've already been accepted into my education abroad program?
Students who will be on Formal Probation/Loss of Standing during any portion of their time abroad will be immediately dismissed from the program, regardless of how soon their program begins.
- Each program has a minimum GPA requirement that is stated on the individual program webpage. You should meet this requirement at the time of application. If you are a transfer student your transfer GPA may be considered in determining eligibility for a program, but your CU Boulder GPA will be considered primarily.
- If your GPA is slightly below the stated requirement for your desired program, you should talk with an education abroad advisor to determine eligibility. Students whose GPA is 2.0 - 2.5 may still be able to apply through the GPA Access Abroad process.
- If you are on academic probation, academic recovery, or academic suspension at CU Boulder at the time of application, you are not eligible to apply. If you are placed on academic probation or academic recovery after you are accepted (when your most recent grades post), you will no longer be eligible for your program and will be dismissed.
- You must maintain the required GPA until the start of your program. Students whose GPA drops significantly after acceptance but before going abroad could be dismissed.
- Once accepted, you may also be dismissed if your GPA remains at/above the program's requirement, but you perform poorly in the semester prior to your departure. This could include low grades, failing grades, withdrawals, or a combination of these things.
Student must meet any applicable entry requirements for their host country in order to remain eligible for their program. These can include (but are not limited to):
Required Passport Validity
Most countries require that incoming travelers' passports be valid for a certain time period, and generally this requirement is 6 months after your planned return to your home country (although some countries even require up to 18 months passport validity). Students should plan to have their valid passport in hand 4-6 months prior to their departure in order to complete any required visa applications (see below). So if you are considering studying or interning abroad at some point in your college career, we recommend applying for or renewing your passport as soon as possible! It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after you return from your program, and that you obtain your passport in time to complete any post-acceptance steps required by your program (such applying for your visa). More information can be found on our Passports & Visas page.
Note: If you are unable to apply for or renew your passport due to your immigration status, contact our office about next steps.
Many students will be required to apply for a visa in order to study or intern abroad. Visa requirements and application processes vary dramatically depending on what country you will be traveling to, how long you will be there, and what you will be doing while there (i.e. students interning may have to go through a completely different visa process than students studying in the same country). You will receive instructions on your specific visa process after you are accepted into your program, and it is your responsibility to follow those instructions and obtain your visa if required in the necessary timeline. You need a valid passport in order to apply for a visa - see our Passports & Visas page for more info.
Some countries have vaccine requirements for incoming travelers (such as the Yellow Fever vaccine or the COVID-19 vaccine). It is your responsibility to know and comply with any vaccine requirements mandated by your host country, program, university, or housing.
Students who fail to meet the applicable entry requirements for their host country and program (such as not obtaining for their visa on time) will be dismissed from their program.
Note that any outstanding/overdue balance on your CU Bursar's account must be paid well before you depart for your program abroad. We will check student balances as part of the registration process for the Education Abroad placeholder course. If a balance exists, we will contact you to discuss your options and whether or not you need to withdraw from your program. If you anticipate having a balance that you cannot pay prior to your departure, please contact your Education Abroad Program Manager (ideally, prior to signing your Participant Contract and committing to your program).
International students are welcome to study abroad during their time at CU. You should begin discussing study abroad plans early with both Education Abroad and International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), as your timeline may be quite a bit lengthier than that of a U.S. citizen studying abroad. You should also be prepared for a few extra steps compared with your U.S. peers. Please read through our FAQs for International Students carefully and reach out with any questions.
Students must complete one semester (fall or spring) of classes on the CU Boulder campus before going abroad on an Education Abroad program. This entails taking a full load of classes at CU Boulder and passing/completing all classes (in addition to achieving any required GPA for your program - see above). Incoming students (with no previous college-level credit) are eligible to go abroad during the summer after they have completed one year of CU Boulder courses. Transfer students with at least 12 transfer credits can go abroad during their second term at CU Boulder provided that they complete/pass their first term of CU Boulder courses (for example, attend CU Boulder in the fall semester and go abroad in the spring). Incoming/transfer students cannot go abroad in their very first semester as CU Boulder students.
Students attending other University of Colorado schools (UCD or UCCS) or other institutions are eligible to apply to a few select Global Seminar programs. If you are interested in a specific Global Seminar, please contact us to determine if the program has available space and is able to consider students from other campuses. If you are a non-CU Boulder student and interested in one of our other programs (i.e. an exchange or provider program), you should contact the institution or program directly to discuss applying/participating.