» Getting Started on a Semester Abroad

Spring 2021 applications are closed the deadline was Friday, May 8. Fall 2021 applications will open in Fall 2020. 

View the Semester Abroad Timeline to plan ahead and prepare for your experience.

Read below for the types of programs offered, eligibility, passports & visas, application deadlines, and cost and financial aid for study abroad.

Learn more about Diversity & Access resources and information for transfer students.

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Types of Programs

Chapman Students at the Taj Mahal

Chapman students can select from over 90 semester and academic year programs! All program information is on the Global Gateway, the online application portal. Search for a program by major, location, financial aid applicability, or a number of other features.

Program Categories:

Integrated Programs at Foreign University
Higher cultural and educational immersion; larger variety of courses; classes with local, international, and U.S. students; support from International Student Office. Includes Exchange Programs where a student from the foreign university will take a Chapman student's spot and attend courses in Orange for the semester. These experiences are very rewarding as they are typically the most integrative types of programs. Classes may be taught in English, the local language, or a combination of both.

Center for U.S. College Students
Program is hosted at a study abroad center abroad with mostly U.S. students. Courses are in specific topics. Courses and activities structured toward visiting students through a U.S. based program provider with in-country staff. Classes may be taught in English, the local language, or a combination of both.

Hybrid Program
Combination of an integrated program with university courses and activities specifically for visiting students. Classes may be taught in English, the local language, or a combination of both.

Domestic Program
Chapman offers the Washington Semester Program where students spend a semester doing and internship and taking courses in Washington D.C. at American University.

Eligibility for Semester Abroad

Chapman University students who meet the following minimum requirements are eligible to participate in semester and academic year abroad programs:

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0* at time of acceptance by Chapman University. Students are expected to maintain a cumulative 3.0 after acceptance.
  • Class Standing: sophomore, junior or senior status while abroad*.
  • Junior or Senior level may be required for internship-focused programs.
  • Students who do not receive disciplinary clearance from the Dean of Students will be ineligible to participate. Students with conduct holds may be required to meet with the Dean of Students office to be cleared.
  • Follow all deadlines and procedures, including attending a mandatory Global First Steps info session and individual advising appointment.

Keep in mind that factors other than academics, such as essays, are also taken into consideration when assessing a student's potential for a semester abroad.

*Some programs may have additional requirements.

Passports & Visas


A passport is your official document identifying you as a U.S. citizen. You must have a passport for any international travel, and the passport expiration date must be six months after the end date of your study abroad program. For example, if you are going abroad January 2021-May 2021, your passport will need to be valid through November 2021.

Visit travel.state.gov to determine if you are eligible to apply for a passport by mail or if you need to go in-person to a passport facility.

Follow the steps from the U.S. Department of State to apply or renew your passport.


A student visa is a permit that allows study in the issuing region for an established period of time. Most students studying in their host country for more than 60 or 90 days are required to obtain a student visa. The CGE provides a Students Abroad Visa Guide that includes helpful tips, a visa FAQ, and consulate contact information for updated visa requirements. It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to obtain a visa prior to departure.

Application Deadlines

Applications are due two semesters prior to going abroad; typically December for the following fall/academic year term and May for the following spring term. Once your application is reviewed by the Center for Global Education, you are given preliminary acceptance into the study abroad program of your selection. Upon acceptance by Chapman, students then complete program provider/host institution-specific applications in the following semester.

You can apply for an academic year abroad in one location or experience two different programs in one year. The application process is the same as it is for a semester program. You will need to complete two sets of application materials if you choose two different locations for the academic year you will pay the $500 study abroad fee each semester. If you select one location for the entire academic year, you will only need to complete one application and are billed the $500 study abroad fee both semesters.


Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

  1. Where can I find information about specific semester abroad programs?
    1. The Global Gateway is where you will both find information about specific study abroad programs and complete your study abroad application.
  2. Who should I talk to if I have questions about going abroad?
    1. Peer advisors at the CGE can answer your general study abroad questions. Our walk-in hours are Monday to Friday 9-5 p.m. You can also call us at 714-997-6830.
  3. How do I open an application to do a semester abroad?
    1. To open an application, students must first attend a Global First Steps session, which is offered weekly throughout the semester. Upon attending Global First Steps, students are eligible to open their application for a specific program by emailing globaled@chapman.edu.
  4. What is the Global First Steps session?
    1. Global First Steps is a mandatory informational session that covers the general information you need to know about the types of programs offered and application process. They are offered multiple times a week throughout the application period. Register here.
  5. When is the application due date for each semester? 
    1. The application due date changes each semester. The deadline is usually in December for fall abroad and May for spring abroad.
  6. Which year and semester is the ideal time to do a semester abroad?
    1. Students must be at least sophomore standing at the time they go abroad. The best time depends on each student and their academic plan. Some majors require students to be on campus during specific semesters. Students can talk to their academic or program advisor to determine which year and semester would work best for them academically.
  7. Do I need to be fluent in the local language?
    1. Some programs have courses taught in English, or the local language, or a mix of both. You can check on the information sheet of the brochure page under “Language of Instruction” to see if a program has a minimum foreign language level.
  8. What are the eligibility criteria for studying abroad?
    1. To be eligible for a semester abroad, students must have a 3.0 GPA, sophomore standing, and be free of any disciplinary holds.
  9. When are GPAs checked?
    1. GPAs are checked at the end of the semester that you apply to go abroad.
  10. Can I open an application for more than one semester abroad program?
    1. No, you can only open one application for a single program per semester. If you are considering two, you can talk to an advisor about program differences to help you decide.
  11. Can I find my housing while abroad?
    1. If the program includes housing (as most do), then you must live in the program’s housing options. Chapman students are not permitted to arrange independent housing abroad for safety and vetting, and you will be billed for Chapman housing.
  12. Can I take classes abroad for a major/minor I haven’t declared yet?
    1. For classes to count for major/minor credit, your major/minor should be declared before going abroad. If you do not declare your major/minor before you go abroad and take courses in those subjects, you can retroactively request the courses abroad to count for the major/minor although approval is not guaranteed.
  13. How long is my Global First Steps session attendance valid?
    1. Your attendance at a Global First Steps session expires two semesters after you attended. For example, if you attend in the fall and want to apply the following spring, you do not need to attend another Global First Steps session. If you attend in the fall and apply to study abroad the following fall, you will need to attend again to open a study abroad application.
  14. Can I change my program if I decide that it’s not right for me?
    1. Yes, you can switch the program that you are applying for in most cases. You will need to meet with an advisor again to discuss the new program, as well as re-submit certain questionnaires depending on where you are in the application process.

Financial Information

  1. How much does it cost for a semester abroad?
    1. The Chapman semester abroad cost includes the cost of tuition for the semester, room and board (if applicable), and a $500 study abroad fee. Use the Semester Abroad Budget Worksheet to help estimate the total cost for a semester abroad both before you go and while you are abroad. Please refer to our Cost and Financial Aid for more information.
  2. How does financial aid apply?
    1. For about 90% of the semester abroad programs, students can use their Chapman aid as well as federal and state financial aid. For about 10% of programs, students can only use federal and state aid. When searching for programs on the Global Gateway, any program that says “all current aid” under the cost/funding tab accepts all financial aid. The only financial aid that does not apply to a semester abroad is federal work-study.
  3. How do I pay the $500 study abroad fee?
    1. The $500 study abroad fee will be billed with your tuition cost for the semester abroad. You will be billed on the regular Chapman billing timeline.

Academic Information

  1. What type of credits do I get for a semester abroad?
    1. Students will receive Chapman credits (not transfer credits) for each course taken while studying abroad to fulfill Chapman requirements. Students must remain in fulltime status and enroll in 12-18 credits while abroad.
  2. How can I be sure the classes I take abroad will transfer back to Chapman?
    1. The official course approval process takes place the semester before your semester abroad. You will submit an Academic Planning Form to the Center for Global Education with the potential courses you want to take while abroad and the Chapman course equivalents, as well as the course syllabi/descriptions and GE petition forms (if needed). If a class you have submitted has not been pre-approved, you will need to get the appropriate approvals from major/minor department chairs and the GE committee. You can see which classes have been pre-approved for a particular program by checking the program’s Sample Pre-Approved Courses page on the Global Gateway.
  3. Are classes taught in English or a foreign language?
    1. In most locations, English is the main language of instruction. When searching different programs, you can check under “language of instruction” to see if the program has classes taught in English, a foreign language, or both.
  4. What is the difference between a GE and just a general credit?
    1. A general education (GE) course counts toward Chapman’s GE Program requirements. General credit courses do not count toward any major, minor, cluster, or GE requirements, but they do count credits toward your overall degree.
  5. How do I find the courses offered on a semester abroad program?
    1. You can view the courses offered on a program by viewing the program’s course catalog, which is linked on each program’s brochure page on the Global Gateway under the Academics tab. When choosing courses, please make sure you are selecting classes from the correct semester.
  6. How do I make sure that I am on track to graduate?
    1. If you would like to discuss your Chapman degree requirements with someone, please schedule an appointment with the Academic Advising Center in Beckman Hall or your program advisor within your college. Your academic advisors will be able to help you determine your remaining requirements.

Independent Applicants

Chapman University strongly discourages students from going abroad independently. The Center for Global Education has many diverse programs available and we encourage you to speak with us if you have questions about program availability. If you choose to do so, please download the Independent Applicant instructions to learn more about status, transfer credits, financial aid, and support from Chapman if you study abroad independently.