Guidelines on Study Abroad Exchange Programs for Graduate Students

Revised: November, 2011

I. Overview

The Study Abroad Office and the Graduate School recognize an increasing interest in graduate student participation in study abroad and exchange programs. Learning experiences at foreign institutions, including coursework and research, are a valuable part of many graduate programs. In particular, agreements between UNC-Chapel Hill and international institutions will often include an exchange arrangement for graduate students.

These guidelines represent an effort to provide an overview of the types of programs supported, including their academic structure, funding considerations, and access to student services and benefits both at UNC-Chapel Hill and abroad. The guidelines apply to incoming foreign exchange graduate students, outgoing foreign exchange graduate students, and outgoing study abroad graduate students.

II. Student Academics and Processes

Agreements are in place for exchange programs between UNC-Chapel Hill and international institutions. The Study Abroad Office also runs third-party study abroad programs as well as their own internal programs led by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty that are fee-based and allow transfer of academic credit. Our campus also participates in a UNC system-wide exchange program based out of UNC Greensboro.

Students may earn academic credit for their degree at UNC-Chapel Hill while studying abroad through approved exchange programs. In return, foreign exchange students would attend UNC-Chapel Hill to earn credits for their home institutions’ degree requirements. It is not necessary that the exchange occur in “real time” as the Study Abroad Office provides oversight to ensure equity over time. Both sets of students are earning their degrees at their home institution, not at the host institution. Exchange may be for coursework only or may also include research and fieldwork experiences.

These programs and guidelines apply to all graduate programs administered through the Graduate School, including the College of Arts and Sciences as well as other professional Schools on campus. Any interested graduate student should be eligible to participate in an exchange program.

Incoming Foreign Exchange Graduate Students

UNC-Chapel Hill Outgoing Foreign Exchange Graduate Students

(All information contained in this section refers only to UNC graduate students going on outgoing foreign exchanges. This section does not apply to UNC graduate students doing international study or research programs outside the purview of UNC Study Abroad.)

UNC-Chapel Hill Outgoing Study Abroad Graduate Students via Petition

There are instances when UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students want credit from a study abroad program with which the campus does not currently have an established agreement. They may also develop individualized study abroad experiences with their faculty advisors to conduct coursework or research at foreign institutions or locations.

Note: The Study Abroad Office and the Graduate School are working together to develop procedures for how such petitions can be developed and approved. These guidelines will be updated in the coming months with additional information.

III. Finances

The Study Abroad Office is a fee-based unit, and its fees reflect the level of service it provides to students who participate in its programs. The Office charges a $50 application fee to any UNC-Chapel Hill student interested in participating in any study abroad experience, including exchange programs. Once accepted, the UNC-Chapel Hill student is also charged a $600 study abroad fee which covers the Office’s operational and staffing costs to monitor and maintain exchange programs. The student is expected to pay the application fee, and The Graduate School will cover the Study Abroad fee for interested graduate students.

IV. Visiting Research Scholars

There are instances when international graduate students who will receive their degrees from their home universities want to come to UNC-Chapel Hill to do dissertation research or take part-time coursework. They may want to study with a particular expert in their field or learn about technology and resources away from their home countries.