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Frequently asked questions

Who can study abroad?

MU undergraduate and graduate students in good standing who have completed at least one full-time, on-campus semester at MU are eligible to study abroad, although individual programs have their own eligibility requirements. A limited amount of MU short-term study abroad programs are also open to non-MU (visiting) students. Please consult specific program information about eligibility.

Breathe: Japan

"Breathe (Iida-shi, Japan)." Photograph by Stephanie Clifton. MU students practicing Kyudo, Japanese archery. At this moment, looking over the bow and breathing in and out: relaxing.

Where can students study abroad?

Programs are available in nearly 60 countries. The sky's the limit! Find your program today.

How long is a study abroad program?

The International Center encourages students to consider studying abroad for a semester or a full academic year. Summer programs and intersession programs also are available. The length of time you spend abroad depends on your particular needs and goals, your financial resources and your academic program at MU.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Costs vary widely from program to program. Many MU programs are based on exchange agreements with universities abroad, so MU students can study at an international university for essentially the same cost as remaining in Columbia. Tuition and fees are paid to MU, while housing costs usually are paid in the host country. Additional expenses include international travel, passports, visas, local and regional transportation, and incidentals. Some programs in countries with a low cost of living can be cheaper than a comparable period at MU. Programs in high-cost cities can be substantially more expensive.

In general, non-resident tuition charges apply to both MU and non-MU undergraduate and graduate students who do not have Missouri residency at MU.

Can I apply my financial aid and scholarships to study abroad?

Yes. Most federal, state and campus-based aid can be applied to the costs of MU or MU affiliated study abroad programs. Almost half a million dollars of financial aid was applied to study abroad for MU students last year. The International Center also offers scholarships each year; awards typically range from $500 to $1,000. In addition, some MU affiliated programs offer scholarships for their specific programs, and some third-party scholarships are available expressly for study abroad.  Please consult your specific program or contact your study abroad adviser to ask about scholarship opportunities.

In general, non-MU students are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships from MU. Non-MU students should work with their home university's study abroad and financial aid offices to research financial aid and scholarship options.

Can I get academic credit for study abroad?

Absolutely. All students are guaranteed to receive credit for successfully completed courses; however, students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Will the grades from courses taken while abroad be applied to my cumulative GPA?

Students will want to research their specific program to verify. If students are enrolled in specific MU classes while abroad, the grades earned abroad will factor into their MU GPAs. This is the case with most MU faculty-led programs. 

When students take courses offered by a foreign university or an MU affiliated program, their grades will appear on their transcript and, assuming the student earned a passing grade, the appropriate credits for the courses taken abroad will be applied toward their MU degree requirements. However, grades earned at a foreign university or through an MU affiliated program will not be factored into their cumulative GPAs.

Will I have to delay graduation if I study abroad?

No. With careful planning, students can remain on track to graduate in four years even while studying abroad for up to a year. Start planning early, and work closely with advisers to design the best course of study based on circumstances and needs.

Do I need to speak a foreign language to study abroad?

No. Many programs do not require any foreign language skills. Some emphasize language study, especially in languages not readily available for study on U.S. university campuses. In addition, many English-language programs in non-English-speaking countries are available.

Where will I live if I study abroad?

Living arrangements vary by program.

  • Residence hall. In residence-hall housing abroad, students usually stay in single rooms with shared bathroom, kitchen and living room areas and have more freedom and responsibility than is usual in American residence halls.
  • Host family. Some students prefer homestays, living with host families abroad, which can provide profound insights into a host culture in a way that other arrangements cannot. Students are expected to conform to the rules and norms of the family.
  • Apartment. Arranged student apartments may be offered as a living option for some study abroad programs. This may include having a single or shared bedroom/bathroom, along with sharing a kitchen/common area with one or more students from the U.S. or other countries. Cost and size of apartments will vary depending on program.
  • Student-arrranged. Private rooms and apartments generally offer the most freedom but are often the most expensive and difficult housing arrangements to make. Students must make all arrangements themselves.

OK, I'm convinced. Where do I start?

Stop by the International Center in N52 Memorial Union to attend a Study Abroad 101 information session or speak with a peer adviser. The International Center's resource room also contains information about travel, living, volunteer and work-abroad opportunities and financial aid for international study.