Application steps

Application criteria

In evaluating your application, Northwestern's Global Education Center staff is looking for certain qualities and academic reasons that in our opinion lead to a successful experience abroad. Application criteria include the following:

  1. Academic achievement and progress toward your degree;
  2. The suitability of the program to your academic plans and goals; and
  3. The strength of your preparation to study abroad as evident in your application essay and recommendation letters (motivation and curiosity, self-knowledge, and quality of character and social skills)

Application steps

STEP 1: Familiarize yourself with the study abroad process. Research the Global Education Center's website about available program options, application criteria and deadlines, and/or attend a study abroad information session.

STEP 2: Meet with your academic adviser (or faculty leader) to discuss your study abroad plans. Your study abroad application will need to be supported by your academic adviser.

STEP 3: Make an appointment with a Global Education Center adviser to talk about your specific needs and any questions you may have. To schedule an appointment, please come to the GEC in person or email

Note: If you wish to apply to a program that is not on our list of approved programs, you will need to fill out a petition to have the program evaluated. Please note that the complete review of a one-time approval petition is a multi-step process. We recommend up to a month for a response to a petition; sometimes it can take longer. Talk to your study abroad adviser for further details, guidelines and deadlines.

STEP 4: Apply for your program by the application deadline. Completed applications need to be received by:

  • 5 p.m. on February 1 for summer study abroad
  • 5 p.m. on February 10 for semester study abroad for the fall and spring semesters of the following academic year

For all NWC-administered programs (faculty-led summer programs and semester programs in Oman, Romania and Denver), you may apply online via the online application system. Northwestern students will need their NWC username and password. External students (visiting students from other institutions) will need to fill out NWC's guest student application form first, after which they will be provided with a temporary NWC username and password.

For all NWC-sponsored partner semester programs, please contact Nancy Landhuis to start the application process.

Northwestern is ranked among 50 American colleges and universities with the best study abroad programs. The listing, by Best College Reviews, identifies the most desirable study abroad opportunities that are unique to a college or university and provide a personal experience for the student. Read more