Welcome, UCLA Parents and Family!

Studying abroad is one of the most exciting times in a college student’s life and we’re happy you’re here to support your student. We hope these resources are helpful to you, as one of the key support systems as your student navigates their journey around the world.


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All of our study abroad programs are full-time academic programs. When students attend a UC approved study abroad program, they are guaranteed to earn UC or UCLA credit towards their UCLA degree. Most students seek to earn major, minor, or GE credit during their time abroad, although it is a not a requirement. Other programs provide unique opportunities to intern or conduct research while abroad, all while earning academic credit towards their UCLA degree. You can learn more about the different program options in the Program Comparison section.

Program Comparison

UCLA offers many different study abroad options, but understanding the differences can be confusing. All UC programs are financial aid eligible and students earn either UCLA or UC credit, while remaining an enrolled UC student. If a program offers UCLA credit, there is no petitioning required for major/minor/GE credit. If a program offers UC credit, the student is guaranteed to receive units/grades towards graduation, but must petition with the appropriate department for major/minor/GE credit (this is a common occurrence – click here to learn more).

The following briefly highlights the four unique UC study abroad options available to UCLA students:

  • UCLA Travel Study
    • Experiential, topic-specific summer programs, approximately 4 weeks long, taught by UCLA professors. All students take at least two UCLA courses that are pre-determined and designed by the academic department sponsoring the program. We offer about 25 programs each summer on which students earn UCLA credit.
    • Over 175 programs offered through partnerships between the University of California and universities and study centers around the world. Programs vary in length (summer, semester, quarter, or full year), and vary in subject – from traditional exchanges with major universities to subject specific programs with predetermined courses to research and internship based programs. Students receive UC credit for all courses taken on the program.
  • Global Internship Program
    • 8 week long summer internships, during which students work 4-5 days a week in their internship placement. Nine different program locations, plus virtual options, offer a variety of topic specific internships, including engineering, education, global affairs, and public affairs. Students take one or two pre-determined UCLA online courses for UCLA credit.
  • UCLA Global Cities
    • A cohort-based summer opportunity that allows UCLA students to study with a small group of students from a partner university for half of the summer, and then return to UCLA with the same students for the UCLA Summer Session C. This program allows for integrated social and cultural exchange between the two small student communities. Students take four courses throughout the summer for UC and UCLA credit.

Non-UC Programs

Non-UC programs are any program outside the UC approved programs above (and not managed by another UC campus). These include ISA, Wildland Studies, and Semester at Sea, among many other third-party companies, or enrolling directly at a university outside the UCEAP process. To attend a Non-UC program, undergraduate students enroll in Planned Academic Leave (PAL), which is a type of leave allowing students to unenroll from UCLA during their term abroad and return following completion of their program, without having to pay UC fees during that time or re-apply to UCLA. Students may petition for transfer credit with the Undergraduate Admissions Office upon completion of the program, but transfer credit is not pre-approved or pre-reviewed at UCLA. No financial aid is available.

Health & Safety Abroad

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Financial Aid

Finances are an important part of any college education and this doesn’t change when considering study abroad. When studying on a UC study abroad program all qualified UCLA students have the benefit of receiving a full financial aid package, just like when studying on campus, to make study abroad an accessible part of any student’s college experience. The same UCLA Financial Aid Office manages this for UCLA study abroad students. Please view our financial aid sections in relation to all of our program offerings


You can also contact the UCLA Financial Aid Office for specific finance-related questions: https://www.financialaid.ucla.edu/Parent/Overview


  • Why should my student study abroad?
    • There are countless reasons we could give why we think study abroad can be one of the best choices a UCLA student makes, but we’ll be brief. Study abroad is a unique opportunity for students to build global skills, language skills, academic and professional growth, gain confidence in themselves, and to grow and adapt as an individual in a completely different culture – all of which are highly sought after attributes in professional settings. Additionally, students can accomplish all of this while taking classes towards their UCLA degree (and using UCLA financial aid), so they stay on track to graduate as expected. Our office provides UCLA students assistance needed to successfully navigate temporarily moving to another country for their UC study abroad program – something that can be challenging to do on your own. It’s also worth noting that upon graduating, UCLA students regularly report that the biggest college regret they have is if they didn’t study abroad.
  • Will students get behind in their degree progress?
    • Studying abroad definitely does not need to delay degree completion and often can actually help students graduate sooner! Since all UC study abroad programs require full time academic enrollment, most of our students take classes abroad that fulfill degree requirements, whether for their major, minor, or GEs. Study abroad can be for a full year as it traditionally was, just a semester, or even a summer. We have summer programs where students can complete two or three courses to get ahead or build their personal or professional resume through internships or research. During the school year, most of our programs are a semester in length, during which students usually earn 20-25 credits (about 4-6 classes), which is often more than (or about the same as) what students would take at UCLA during the same time. Some of our programs even have preselected courses that automatically count towards these graduation requirements and others have a simple petition process to do so.
  • How much does it cost? Can students use financial aid to study abroad?
    • Program expenses will be indicated on individual program pages. They will always include required program fees, as well as all estimated personal expenses associated with the program, such as airfare and meals. Program costs vary based on a number of factors including program length, term abroad, and location. Some programs will be more expensive than UCLA, but many will actually be cheaper than or about the same cost as studying at UCLA. Students can consult with our office to help find lower cost options. Qualified students may use FAFSA and state/federal financial aid on all UC study abroad programs, which provide a full financial aid package.
  • When is the best time to go abroad?
    • There’s no one best time to study abroad as this depends on many factors, both personal and academic. Students should consult with their academic and departmental advisors to determine the best time for them to study abroad. It’s best if students can have this conversation early in their time at UCLA, as it allows for the most leeway in planning (both for timing and classes). On a personal level, students should feel ready to take the step of living abroad for a period of time, as it can be challenging in many ways.
  • Can only juniors go abroad?
    • No! Previously, study abroad was often referred to as Junior Year Abroad, but that is no longer the case. Many of our programs allow students to study abroad as soon as the summer after their first year at UCLA and through their senior year. We have programs that are a yearlong, but also programs that are a quarter, semester, or summer only.
  • Is it possible for STEM students to study abroad?
    • Yes! Study abroad is accessible to all students and we have a full range of programs that can appeal to students of all majors. Students may choose to focus on their major courses abroad, or they could focus on GEs/a minor, or even gaining experience in a research lab or internship that they wouldn’t have access to back at home.
  • When does my student need to apply to study abroad?
    • Like college applications, study abroad applications are due about 6-9 months before a student leaves to study abroad. Students can check with our office about individual program deadlines, as open and close dates can vary by programs.

How You Can Help

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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Student privacy: While we understand it can sometimes be frustrating for parents, UCLA is required to follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which affects what information we can and cannot share with our student’s family members and/or guardians. This means that sometimes we will not be able to provide student academic, billing, or enrollment information to parents or families. Whenever possible, we encourage you to shift the responsibilities of study abroad to your student by allowing them to ask us questions directly and then communicating with your student.

To find out more information about FERPA or gaining third party access to your student’s financial or academic UCLA accounts, please visit the UCLA Parent & Family Association website.