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Academic Advisors

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As more and more UNI students are considering studying abroad, it is important to help them incorporate this opportunity within their academic plan of study at UNI. Because we offer more than 70 opportunities in over 30 different countries, UNI students are able to take courses in a wide variety of disciplines.

It is important for students taking major or minor courses abroad to plan ahead, work closely with their academic advisor, and to select a program that aligns with their academic needs here at UNI.  We encourage advisors to use the "Search by Major" link in the left-hand column to help students choose the most appropriate program.

As you talk with study abroad advisees, these are some important points to remember:

  1. Minimum GPA. The minimum required cumulative GPA for all study abroad programs is 2.5. Students with GPA’s below 2.5 are assessed individually, advisors are consulted, and students are given to the end of the term to show improvement.
  2. General Elective and LAC Requirements. Freshmen and sophomores should be encouraged NOT to complete all general elective and liberal arts core requirements before studying abroad. It easiest to fulfill these requirements abroad and students will have more flexibility in their academic plan.
  3. Major Requirements. It is not advisable to encourage students to fulfill ONLY major requirements while abroad. Students should be encouraged to pre-approve a mixture: a couple of major classes, one or two LAC classes, and/or electives.  Also, students like to have some flexibility in their schedules when studying abroad, allowing them to take courses not offered at UNI, like Japanese Calligraphy, Korean Language, photography, or Irish Folklore.
  4. Total Credits. Students usually receive 12 credits per semester while abroad, but can come back with as many as 15 or 18 credits. 
  5. Group program options. If your advisees have never been abroad before and are a bit apprehensive, you can suggest one of our summer or short-term instructor-led programs.  Also, there are semester programs that regularly have multiple UNI participants which can put many students more at ease.
  6. Internships. If your advisees want to participate in an internship abroad, this is possible. Most international internships require longer commitment and are normally offered during semester academic programs, though some summer internships do exist.  We currently have internship opportunities in New Zealand, Costa Rica, South Korea, Italy, and China.
  7. Teach Abroad.  There are many opportunities for students (both education and non-education majors) to teach English abroad through UNI.  Many of these are set-up as internships, thus, the student receives academic credit, and, at times, free room and board and a small monthly stipend.  Often, students do not need to have had teaching experience to take part in one of these opportunities.
  8. Service Learning. If your advisees want to participate in a volunteer work or service learning/community projects, then suggest our programs in South Africa, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua.
  9. Required UNI Courses. If a student needs a particular UNI course (maybe to stay in a sequence) that is only offered during the term when he or she will study abroad, it is possible to pre-approve a directed independent study option.  This is contingent on whether the appropriate professor is willing to supervise. For most study abroad programs, it is possible, though not recommended, for a student to take three to four courses at the foreign institution.
  10. Options for Athletes.  Athletes will normally have fewer conflicts with short-term study abroad programs, as they are offered during the summer terms. Presently, there are more than 30 summer study abroad possibilities available – both at our partner institutions and other programs with instructor-led groups.
  11. Grades.  Course taken abroad at exchange partner schools ARE GRADED.  All grades/credits earned abroad on UNI programs are factored into the UNI GPA and are recorded as institutional credit (not transfer credit) on the student’s transcript.  Also, see getting credit.

Program Types

Exchange Semester Programs: Students pay direct UNI tuition to participate in programs based on agreements with universities abroad. These are the most affordable semester and academic year programs.  UNI works with about 20 exchange schools.  Summer and short term programs are often available at these universities.

Partner Semester Programs: Semester, academic year, and short-term programs are available to students from UNI partner schools.  Students do NOT pay direct UNI tuition.  The cost of these programs is set and varies by program and term -- cost is normally higher than UNI tuition rates.

Summer & Short-Term Programs: These programs take place during a shorter span of time (2-8 weeks, typically) and can either be done through our exchange and partner institutions (non-instructor-led) or instructor-led programs. The latter usually focuses on a specific course offering, engaging 18-20 UNI students, and vary in length from 2 to 6 weeks. Programs are offered most commonly during the summer session but could also take place during winter break or spring break.

Iowa Regents Programs: Semester, academic year, and short term programs are available to students from Iowa public universities.  Students do NOT pay direct UNI tuition.  The cost of these programs is set and varies by program and term -- cost is normally higher than UNI tuition rates, though students have the opportunity to experience the foreign institution with other students from around Iowa.

Affiliate Programs: Semester, academic year, and short term programs in various destinations around the world.  These programs are organized by third party providers.  Students do NOT pay direct UNI tuition for these programs.  The cost of these programs is set and varies by program and term -- cost is normally substantially higher than normal UNI tuition rates.

*For more details, see Program Types.