Students are required to read and electronically sign the Academic and Financial Policies as part of their Penn Abroad application. 

Academic Policies

  • Academic Performance Requirements Prior to Study Abroad
  • Once you have been admitted or conditionally admitted to a program, you must maintain good academic standing and a minimum cumulative and semester 3.0 GPA, or permission to participate may be revoked. You are not allowed to study abroad if a grade notation of "I", "NR", or "GR" appears on your transcript, unless permission is specifically granted in writing by your home school.

    At the discretion of the home school academic advisor, a student whose grade point average is below 3.0 may have been approved to apply to a program, with final permission to participate contingent upon fulfilling certain conditions. Permission to participate will not be granted if the conditions are not met, even if you have been accepted to the program and have made travel plans.

    You should confirm that you have met all academic performance requirements prior to leaving for the program abroad. If permission to study abroad is revoked because requirements or conditions have not been met, you are personally responsible for all unrecoverable expenses incurred by you or on your behalf.

    You are required to attend the on-campus pre-departure orientation programs or your permission to participate may be revoked.

    You are responsible for knowing your home school’s requirements for study abroad.

  • Personal Conduct and Academic Integrity
  • In order to qualify to study abroad, you need to be in good academic standing at Penn. In addition, your disciplinary status may affect your eligibility to study abroad. You may not be eligible to study abroad if you currently stand charged or are charged prior to the beginning of your study abroad semester with a violation of a University regulation under the University of Pennsylvania's Code of Student Conduct or Code of Academic Integrity, or if there is a pending, current, or outstanding disciplinary matter (academic integrity or conduct). When the charge results in a warning or reprimand, the student may be eligible to study abroad pending a review of the situation. When the charge results in probation, suspension-not-imposed, suspension, or any sanction as serious as or more serious than probation, students are not eligible to study abroad during the period of the sanction.

    Students who have received a sanction of probation or suspension-not-imposed may be eligible to study abroad during a future semester after the expiration date of the sanction. However, students must provide confirmation from the Office of Student Conduct that the terms and conditions of their sanction have been met before receiving Penn Abroad approval to study abroad. If there are new charges during the period of the sanction, approval to study abroad may be rescinded.

    While you are studying abroad you are required to observe the laws of the host country and all academic and disciplinary regulations in effect at the host institution. Further, while abroad, you remain concurrently enrolled as a degree candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and, consequently, continue to be subject to Penn's Code of Student Conduct and Code of Academic Integrity.

    December 19. 2012

  • Credit
  • In order to receive academic credit toward your Penn degree for semester and full year study abroad, you must have formal permission from your home school and you must apply and register through Penn Abroad; there are no exceptions to this rule. Credit is not awarded retroactively after a return from a leave of absence during which you may have studied abroad independently. During your participation in a study abroad activity recognized by Penn Abroad for credit, you must remain registered at Penn and accordingly, pay regular Penn tuition and the study abroad fee for the semester or academic year.

    Individual academic departments at Penn are solely responsible for determining exactly which courses taken abroad will receive credit in particular disciplines and whether the courses fulfill major or other requirements. It is essential that you determine prior to going abroad whether your proposed courses are approved for credit by the relevant Penn departments by submitting the courses though External Course Approval Tool (XCAT). You are therefore expected to have sought the advice of your major advisor in planning your studies abroad. Under no circumstances can you expect to obtain credit for business courses except in programs that have been pre-approved by the Wharton School.

    As soon as you have finalized your course roster for the semester abroad, you are required to submit your courses for credit approval using the XCAT system. Failure to request course approval in advance may result in the denial of credit upon your return to Penn. All credit-bearing courses taken abroad will be reported on your Penn transcript with either a letter grade or a pass/fail designation (see below); you may not elect which courses you wish to have posted.

  • Course Load
  • You are required to carry a full-time course load -- defined as a minimum equivalent to four Penn course units -- while studying abroad. However, at some institutions, the number of courses that constitute a full-time course load may be different than at Penn due to differences in academic calendar or course weighting. If, for example, a full-time load is three or five or six courses per term at your study abroad site, you are required to observe local regulations, even if Penn's normal requirement is higher or lower. You are responsible for knowing the required number of courses you must take abroad before leaving Penn and approximately how much Penn equivalent credit will be awarded by discussing this with your undergraduate home school academic advisor. In cases where a full-time course load abroad is the equivalent of fewer than four Penn course units, you will still be charged regular Penn semester tuition and fee.

    Typically, the maximum amount of Penn-equivalent credit that may be awarded for a semester of study abroad is five course units and for an academic year, ten course units.

    Please note: Students are prohibited from being concurrently enrolled in courses at Penn (e.g. distance learning courses) while abroad without submitting written permission from their home school academic advisor to the Penn Abroad office.

  • Grades and Transcripts
  • Grades earned during study abroad are reported on your Penn transcript, are converted if necessary from the original grading system to Penn letter grades, and are computed in your cumulative grade point average.

    Grades earned during study abroad are based on your academic performance as judged by individual instructors according to local practice. Once reported, grades are not typically changed.

    Unlike Penn faculty, professors in universities abroad are not obliged to report grades within a minimum time delay. Penn Abroad will make every effort to obtain a report of your grades and an official transcript as soon as possible after the end of your study abroad semester. However, the process may take up to six months; Penn has no power to influence that process.

  • Registration/Drop-request and Withdrawal from a Course
  • In most cases, registration for specific courses actually takes place at the university or program site upon arrival after consulting with local staff and professors.

    The rules for dropping and requesting a new course and withdrawal from a course abroad are different from the rules at Penn. When studying abroad, you may adjust your course roster by adding a new course according to the regulations of the host institution, but not after the end of the second week of classes. However, once you have registered for and begun attending a course abroad, you are normally not permitted to withdraw. Permission may be granted in exceptional circumstances by your home school in consultation with Penn Abroad staff and with the approval of the host institution. The host institution is under no obligation to grant a withdrawal.

  • Pass/Fail Option
  • You are permitted to take a course pass/fail while studying abroad in accordance with the policy of your home school. If you wish to exercise this option, you must write to your home-school academic advisor and request permission by the fifth week of your classes abroad but earlier in the case of short courses. Check with your home-school academic advisor about specific deadlines.

    If you are permitted to take a course pass/fail, you must realize that your instructor will continue to treat you in exactly the same way as s/he would if you were taking the course for a grade and will expect you to fulfill all the requirements for the course, including regular class attendance. In fact, the instructor will never know that you are taking the course pass/fail; this is an academic option made available by Penn and is usually not recognized by universities abroad.

  • Attendance
  • You are expected to attend class regularly, to come prepared and to participate actively in classroom discussion. Absence from a class may be excused normally only for a legitimate medical reason. Absence from classes or other scheduled activities due to travel or visitors, including family, is not tolerated under any circumstances and may lead to sanctions. Under no circumstances will absence from class be excused in order to attend job interviews at home.

  • Duration of Program
  • You must remain at your program site until the end of scheduled examinations. You should not attempt to rearrange your final exam schedule to suit your travel plans or to begin summer employment.

    Some bilateral agreements between Penn and selected universities abroad require participants to attend the program for a full academic year. If you apply and are admitted to one of these programs, you may not leave the program after the first semester, except for medical reason documented through the student’s home school. Credit and grades will be awarded only to students who complete the full academic year. Any student who leaves a full-year program early continues to be liable for all costs associated with the program.

  • Taking Penn Courses While Abroad
  • Students are prohibited from being concurrently enrolled in courses at Penn (e.g. Penn online courses or Penn-directed independent studies) while abroad without submitting written permission from their home school academic advisor for study abroad to the Penn Abroad office.

  • Courses Outside the Program
  • When you are admitted by a university or program abroad, you are limited to taking courses for academic credit only at a designated institution or institutions. You are not permitted to cross-register for courses (including online courses) at institutions not designated as part of the program (even if affiliated with Penn Abroad) or to register for courses at non-affiliated institutions. If you do this on your own initiative, you are responsible for any additional fees and you will not receive Penn credit.

  • Incomplete Work
  • You are expected to complete all assigned work and exams before leaving the study abroad site at the end of the semester or year. You must have written permission from your undergraduate home school academic advisor to leave a site before completing all of your academic obligations.

Financial Policies

  • Financial Holds
  • You will not be permitted to study abroad if you have outstanding financial debts to the University from previous semesters.

  • Tuition and Study Abroad Fee
  • When you study abroad for a semester or year for academic credit, you will be charged tuition and a study abroad fee by the University of Pennsylvania at a rate equivalent to tuition and the general fee on the Philadelphia campus for the corresponding time period. These charges are the same regardless of the program you choose to attend and they will be billed via your student account.

    The University of Pennsylvania practices "home school tuition" billing for all Penn-approved undergraduate and approved petition programs for semester and academic year study abroad.  This means that Penn students pay Penn tuition for their study abroad experience.  Penn in turn pays tuition to the partner institution abroad.  Penn students benefit from this practice by earning Penn credit and grades for their study abroad courses as well as having a wide range of program types to select from.  Each overseas course is reviewed by academic personnel to determine creditworthiness at Penn, thereby enabling overseas courses to count for grades. Charging Penn tuition enables students continued access to Penn services such as CAPS, academic advising, library resources, and financial aid.  It also ensures that programs are selected based on best personal and academic fit instead of cost and provides access to study abroad for the entire Penn undergraduate community.

    Note for LPS students:  LPS students are charged the full-time SAS tuition rate when they study abroad.  The SAS tuition rate for the Penn Abroad program is not eligible for tuition reduction.

    Penn's tuition and study abroad fee charges cover only costs directly related to instruction on the program to which you are admitted and do not cover the costs of accommodation and meals, international and local transportation, books and supplies, optional excursions, personal expenses, medical insurance, and passport and visa fees. Program sponsored internships, unless pre-approved by a student’s home school for Penn credit, are not covered by tuition and study abroad fees. In cases where a Penn-affiliated program sponsor charges an all-inclusive comprehensive program fee, Penn will determine with the sponsor the amount of tuition-related charges that will be covered by Penn tuition and the remaining charges will be posted to your student account.

    Payment for your study abroad program must be made in accordance with the University's published schedule for payment of tuition, fees and other charges.

  • External Scholarships for Study Abroad
  • If you are awarded an external scholarship for study abroad, it is your responsibility to report the scholarship to Student Financial Services (SFS) and to Penn Abroad as soon as you learn about it. You should discuss with SFS how your Penn aid package might be adjusted as a result of the external scholarship.

  • Withdrawal and Fee Adjustment
  • If you are offered admission to the program to which you apply, you must declare your commitment to participate within two weeks of your notification of admission by selecting “commit” on your on-line application. If you initially declare your intent to participate and subsequently decide to withdraw from participation, you must notify Penn Abroad in writing. The effective date of withdrawal is the date that the written request for withdrawal is received by Penn Abroad.

    1. Before the program begins. By committing to participate on a program, you authorize the University to make deposits and/or advance payments related to your participation to affiliated institutions. Should you withdraw at any time after you commit to participate or if your admission to the program is rescinded, you will be charged for any unrecoverable deposits and/or advanced payments made on your behalf via your Penn student account. If you withdraw at any time after committing to participate, you remain individually responsible for any financial obligation due to an affiliated institution or the University of Pennsylvania. Any adjustment of billed tuition and fees due to involuntary or voluntary withdrawal can be made only as approved by your school of enrollment and in accordance with the published University policy on refunds. Note that in the event a refund is approved by the home school, all financial obligations due the host institution abroad must be satisfied before any refund may be processed. Please note that the withdrawal/refund policy of the affiliated program may affect the refund amount.
    2. After the program begins. The program begins on the date of the first scheduled activity for which attendance is required. After that date, any adjustment of billed tuition and fees due to involuntary or voluntary withdrawal can be made only as approved by your school of enrollment and in accordance with the published University policy on refunds. Note that in the event a refund is approved by the home school, all financial obligations due the host institution abroad must be satisfied before any refund may be processed. Penn reserves the right to seek reimbursement for any non-refundable costs expended on your behalf to the host institution or program. There can be no guarantee of credit should you withdraw from a program before the completion of scheduled instruction and examinations. In the case of a personal decision to withdraw from a program, you forfeit the full amount of the study abroad fee. Please note that the withdrawal/refund policy of the affiliated program may affect the refund amount.
  • Insurance
  • Penn Abroad requires that all Penn students maintain coverage that is valid in their home country, even when studying abroad. 

    Students who study on a Penn Abroad approved program are covered by Penn’s International SOS (ISOS) membership while abroad.  Penn’s International SOS (ISOS) membership includes travel medical insurance and evacuation assistance for Penn students, faculty and staff traveling abroad on Penn-affiliated trips.  Please visit this page for a summary of ISOS member benefits. 

    In many countries, regardless of your U.S. and travel insurance coverage, you must also purchase the national or institutional health insurance.  Your program will let you know if this is the case during the application and/or pre-departure process.

In Case of Emergency

During regular business hours call +1-215-898-9073.

After business hours, on holidays, and weekends call Penn Police +1-215-573-3333.

Contact Our Office

Penn Abroad
3701 Chestnut Street, Suite 1W
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tel: (215) 898-9073
Fax (215) 898-2622

Looking for a specific Staff Member?