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Indiana University

Eligibility and Selection

The Office of Overseas Study uses the following criteria and procedures in the screening and selection of program participants.

Eligibility Criteria
  1. Class Standing
  2. GPA
  3. Academic Progress 
  4. Language Requirements 
  5. Program-Specific Requirements
  6. Lower Age Limits 
  7. Preference to Indiana University Students 
  8. Disciplinary Status 
Selection Process
Other Factors
Class Standing

Students with the appropriate academic background may apply for some summer programs as early as freshman year. Graduating high school students, even those who have earned college credits prior to their admission to a degree program at IU, are not eligible for summer programs.

Some semester programs allow second-semester sophomores to participate, but the norm for IU semester and academic year programs is for students to complete two years of full-time study on an IU campus before going abroad.

Students who transfer to Indiana University must have at least one full semester of IU credit on their transcript before they are considered for study abroad.

Overseas Study does not encourage students to prolong their academic experience simply to study abroad. Students pursuing a second degree may be given lower priority in the selection process. Students will have to show an academic rationale for participating in more than one Overseas Study program. However, students are not permitted to remain a second year on the same academic-year program.

Graduate students who have completed at least one semester at IU may apply to a limited set of programs that allow graduate student participation. Note that most Overseas Study programs are designed for undergraduate students and only offer undergraduate courses.


To apply to an I.U. program, students need the cumulative GPA indicated in the program requirements: 2.75 to 3.00. Certain programs are rigid in their adherence to the stipulated GPAs while other programs consider students whose GPAs approximately meet the requirement.

Academic Progress

To be eligible to apply for study abroad, students must be making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree, particularly those applying for semester and academic year programs. Students for whom study abroad is not deemed directly relevant to their degree may be given lower priority in the selection process. (Note: Acceptance into a program does not automatically qualify a student for continued financial assistance.)

Language Requirements

Completion of prior language coursework with a grade of B or better is expected.

For programs that require five or six semesters of foreign language background, the minimum language requirement must be completed during the regular academic semester preceding the program. That is, the required language may not simply be taken during the summer prior to program participation.

Students who intend to study abroad for a year or a semester in a location where courses are taught in a foreign language should be enrolled in that language during the semester immediately preceding program participation.

Summer program applicants who have not taken any language courses in the current or immediately preceding semesters may have lower priority in the selection process than students who have had the requisite language courses more recently. Language proficiency in such cases must be demonstrated.

Non-native speakers of a foreign language who have placed out of language courses at IU but who have never enrolled in a language course before the program may also have lower priority in the selection process for programs that require language proficiency.

Students who take an intensive elementary language course prior to a summer program may be accepted conditionally, pending their performance in the course.

Program-Specific Requirements

Some programs have requirements in addition to class standing and GPA.

Lower Age Limits

The Office of Overseas Study does not permit university applicants under the age of 18 or high school students to participate in its programs.

Preference to Indiana University Students

Any student enrolled at one of the eight Indiana University campuses may apply to the programs administered or co-sponsored by the Office of Overseas Study.

Only a very small number of programs are open to students from other institutions.

In some cases the child of an IU employee who attends another institution may be permitted to apply to IU-administered (but not co-sponsored) programs. In-state fee status and dependent fee courtesy are normally applicable in these cases.

Disciplinary Status

Students with sanctions of disciplinary probation or stronger (i.e., deferred suspension, suspension, or expulsion) may not participate in Overseas Study programs. Overseas Study reviews the disciplinary records of all program applicants, and reserves the right to deny acceptance to students who have problematic disciplinary histories.

Selection Process

The Associate Vice President for Overseas Study appoints faculty committees to screen applications for study abroad. A standard dossier consists of an application with demographic information, a transcript, recommendation letters from instructors (typically, two for academic year and one for summer) and the student's personal statement. There are interviews for all academic year programs and may be interviews for other programs at the discretion of committee chairs.

The committee recommends students who not only meet the minimum eligibility criteria but who also show the type of intellectual curiosity, personal maturity, academic rationale and social flexibility necessary for a successful study abroad experience.

The Associate Vice President for Overseas Study has the final authority to accept or reject the recommendations of the selection committees.

In the case of co-sponsored programs, once the Associate Vice President has approved the committee's recommendations, the Office of Overseas Study forwards the dossiers to the co-sponsoring agencies. In some cases those agencies permit direct admissions in which case the students will receive automatic acceptance letters. In other cases, the agency or the institution makes the final decision regarding admission.

In the event that students wish to appeal the decision of the selection committee, they may send a petition to the Associate Vice President asking that their case be reviewed.

Acceptance into programs is always contingent upon a student's maintaining a level of academic performance consistent with previous work and satisfactorily completing course work in the semester of acceptance. Students who receive Incompletes or Withdrawals for course work during that semester may forfeit final program acceptance.

Other Factors 
  • For many programs, eventual program participation is contingent upon the student's ability to obtain travel documents (i.e., passport, visa, work permit, etc.). These documents are issued at the discretion of U.S. and foreign government offices. While the Office of Overseas Study and co-sponsoring agencies can provide documentation in support of applications, the government bodies have final authority over issuance of travel documents. Applications may be denied for any reason, including insufficient documentation, pending legal action, past criminal history, etc. Application procedures and requirements may vary based upon citizenship. Non-U.S. citizens may have significantly different conditions to meet to obtain travel documents and should look into the timeline for obtaining the required travel documents prior to applying for a program.
  • In a limited number of cases, program providers are prohibited or unable to accommodate citizens or passport holders of a given country. If you will not travel on a U.S. passport, please inquire to Overseas Study or the program provider to clarify your eligibility.

Our daily lives are so different from people across the globe. To learn about how other people live their lives, it makes you think about how you want to live your life. It’s character building.”

-Maggie Brinley, IU Overseas Study Participant, Spain