Things to Consider

As you start your search for the best fit program for you there are many things you need to consider. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Am I eligible?

    Do you meet the requirements for the programs you're considering? Requirements can be found in the Information sheet section on each program's brochure.

    Students must meet all program requirements to be considered for acceptance to a DUPP, including:

    • A minimum cumulative DU GPA of 2.5 or higher at the application deadline.
      • The OIE does not round GPAs.  If you have a 3.49 GPA, you are not eligible for a program requiring a 3.5.
      • Some GPA requirements are higher than 2.5.
      • Transfer students:
        • We will use your DU GPA to determine your eligibility.
        • We may be able to take your GPA from your previous institution(s) into account for specific abroad programs — you must upload your transcript per above.
        • If you don't have a DU GPA by your application deadline...
          • We’ll use your transfer GPA for consideration.
          • Choose programs with a GPA requirement that you think you’ll meet with your DU GPA (once you have one).
          • Some programs may require us to recheck your DU GPA after Winter/Spring to ensure you meet their requirements. This will vary by program; reach out to your program’s OIE advisor for more details.
        • Upload your transfer transcripts to DU Passport before you hit "Submit Application"
          • Unofficial transcripts are okay
    • Be in good student conduct and good academic standing to be eligible to study abroad.

    NOTE: Some DUPPs have additional eligibility requirements that are non-negotiable and may include:

    • Language requirements.
    • Required major or minor.
    • Pre-requisite coursework.
    • Certain class-standing.
  • What are my goals?

    Clear goals help you be intentional about your program choices and write strong application essays. You’ll be asked about three different types of goals in your essays.


    • Take specific classes? 
    • Improve language skills?
    • Perform field research?
    • Learn more about a region?


    • Incorporate service?
    • Experiential learning?
    • Intern or work?
    • Build your network?
    • What skills do you want to gain abroad that will help you after graduation? 


    • What are your life goals and aspirations?
    • What do you personally want to get out of your experience?
    • Do you want to explore your own identity or cultural heritage?
    • Increase your self-confidence and self-advocacy skills?
    • What level of academic support do you want?  
  • What type of program is the right fit for me?

    The OIE coordinates credit-bearing quarter-length (including summer) and longer study abroad programs. Generally, these programs can be divided into two program types: DU Partner Programs (DUPPs) and Unaffiliated Programs.

    Read more on our Program Types page, including the difference between a DUPP and unaffilated program and direct enroll, exchanges, and provder programs, summer options, other ways to go abroad, and study abroad options outside of the OIE.

  • What program structure am I interested in?

    Program Structure

    Will you enroll directly in a foreign institution (and handle most of your interactions independently), or would you prefer to go through a service-oriented program that will assist you?

    Some programs are very organized and regimented (you know exactly what classes you’ll take before you go, you’ll know where you’ll be living months in advance, etc.), while other programs require much more flexibility and the ability to adjust.

    Read more about the program structures exchange, direct enroll, and provider programs on our Program Types page.

  • When do I want to study abroad?

    Quarter/Semester in the Academic Year

    This is the option most DU students choose. Specifically, the fall quarter as it often aligns best with semester schools' fall semester. However, the best term to go abroad is individual and you should consider your personal and academic needs.

    Academic Year

    There are three ways that DU students can potentially study abroad for a year.

    Exchange Program

    This is the most common way to study abroad for a year as all exchange programs have a yearlong commitment automatically. Spots may be limited depending on the exchange program.

    Yearlong Application for Semester Programs

    Students can submit a yearlong application for a semester program when submitting their DU Abroad Application or submit two applications for two different semester programs with adjacent terms. However, acceptance is not guaranteed and very limited. We strongly recommend you talk to the program's OIE advisor if you are considering this option.

    Yearlong Unaffiliated Programs

    This option requires additional paperwork and a meeting with an OIE advisor to discuss feasibility. Unaffiliated programs are not vetted by the OIE and have additional considerations. Compare program types & learn about unaffiliated programs.


    DU is excited to offer DUPP Summer options. Search in DU Passport for our Summer opportunities at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, Lorenzo de Medici in Italy, DIS in Denmark and ISA in Sevilla, Spain. These DUPP Summer options are CGS Eligible. Tuition will be charged based on total credits earned on the program and prorated housing costs. Limited financial aid applies because of summer, make sure to check with Financial Aid directly with what you can utilize and what is available.

    Additionally, Unaffiliated programs are also an option in the summer, a reminder that these are:

    • Programs without a formal affiliation with DU
    • Can help students looking for specific academic needs, for financial concerns, and for lower GPA requirements
    • Not eligible for DU institutional aid (incl. CGS) but federal aid can be used
    • Earn transfer credit – not DU resident credit
    • Required to submit petition & additional documents – start early  

    No matter what, whether with DUPP or Unaffiliated, students are required to complete INTZ 2501.


  • How much will it cost?

    Students and families often ask which program is the cheapest for them. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Many students find DUPPs are the best financial fit, but we encourage you to compare program types early in the process to see if that’s true for you.

    DU Partner Programs (DUPP)

    The University of Denver believes that finances should not limit students’ study abroad options. We aim to make DU costs as equal as possible across all of our DU Partner Programs (DUPPs) by charging standard DU rates for tuition, housing, and meals. This model standardizes program costs for students and ensures finances aren’t a disqualifying factor for particular programs. Of course, some DUPPs are more expensive than DU, while others are less expensive. These cost differences are used to cover program costs for the entire DUPP portfolio, as well as study abroad administrative costs (foreign transcript processing, risk management, etc.).

    Because we charge DU rates, we can treat credit earned abroad as DU resident credit. This further reduces the financial impact of studying abroad, as it allows students to use DU institutional aid while attending partner institutions abroad. DU also subsidizes DUPPs through Cherrington Global Scholars benefits. These benefits allow eligible students to offset some of the additional costs that come with studying abroad, like airfare and immigration fees.

    Unaffiliated Programs

    On unaffiliated programs, students pay programs costs directly to the program provider.  This means that unaffiliated program costs can vary dramatically. Some are more expensive than DU, while others are less expensive. Students should consider net costs. DU students receive a variety of financial aid packages, and the details of an individual’s package will affect the overall cost of study abroad on an unaffiliated program. While students cannot use DU institutional aid (incl. Cherrington Global Scholars benefits) on these programs, they still sometimes find the overall costs to be cheaper.

    We recommend you reach out to the Office of Financial Aid early in the application process if you have questions about your aid packages and how it will be impacted by study abroad.

    • What's the maximum amount of aid I'm able to receive?
    • How will being abroad affect my work-study grant for the year?
    • How do I use financial aid to go abroad in summer? Will that impact my aid for the rest of the year?
    • Do I have private scholarships? How do I confirm I can use those funds for study abroad?
    • Do I have state & federal aid? How can I apply that to an unaffiliated program?


    Other Costs to Consider

    • Setup costs
    • Costs of everyday living in your host city
    • Things not included in your program – amenities vary & your program fees may not include...
      • Internet
      • Local transportation
      • Meals (know how many are covered, if any)
      • Gym membership

    Carefully review & understand the financial implications of DUPP vs. unaffiliated program participation, as well as study abroad scholarships. See our Financial Planning page and section for details about costs, financial aid, scholarships, and budgeting.

  • What about health and safety?

    Does the program location offer all of the services that you may need for specific medical needs? It is important that you research the countries and cities you are considering, in addition to the academics of the programs themselves. This research should go beyond tourist information and get to the practical realities of actually living as a guest in these communities. There are a number of Health & Safety considerations and questions to ask yourself when selecting a program.

    Questions to research for each program choice: 

    • Are there safety/security concerns I should be aware of in the region(s) where I would like to study?
    • Are there particular health concerns for the area(s) where I would like to study?
    • What are the important cultural norms and expectations and would any of these have an impact on my identities?
    • Will I need to modify my dress and/or behavior in order to comply with these cultural norms and local laws?
    • Will I be able to meet any specific needs that I have in my day-to-day life while abroad?
    • Will I need any specific medication while abroad and can I obtain those while abroad?
    • What is the level of support of the study abroad program that I am considering?

    Some excellent places to start this research include:   

    • International SOS (ISOS):  ISOS can provide safety/security information, as well as specific health information for your city/country, including guidance on what medications are legal in any given country. We suggest that you call ISOS (+1.215.942.8226) and ask to speak to a security and/or medical specialist for a pre-travel briefing. Have your questions ready in advance.
    • The US Department of State (DOS):  The DOS provides country profiles that include safety, health, and logistical information, along with other useful resources, to use when considering where you would like to study abroad. Please look at DOS country profiles for the countries you are considering.
    • You are also encouraged to address any safety concerns you have for your study abroad experience with an OIE Advisor and to speak with a medical professional about any health concerns you might have.
    • Make sure you make use of all of the OIE's resources in order to best choose a program to fit your needs. If you have special health or safety questions, please be sure to meet with an OIE advisor to discuss your concerns and select the best program for your situation.

    If you have a No Contact Order with another DU community member and are concerned about any implications for study abroad, please connect with the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) to discuss. If a future No Contact Order is issued after applying to study abroad, it is your responsibility to inform SRR if you would like additional support to think through any possible next steps.>

  • How will my identity affect my abroad experience?

    In addition to the educational, travel, health and safety, and adjustment issues facing study abroad students, students will have additional identity-related considerations when deciding whether, where, and how to take advantage of international opportunities. We encourage you to consult our Diversity and Identity Abroad page for resources.

    Speak with your OIE advisor early on in your program choice process if you have questions!

  • What do other students say?

    Many students find it helpful to get a student perspective on programs they're considering.

    DU Abroad Peer Advisors

    Our DU Abroad Peer Advisors are a great resource and understand the experience! They recently studied abroad so they can share their own experiences on how they narrowed down their options to the right program for them. You can email them at or come by drop-in advising to talk to them.

    Questions to ask a returnee

    • What surprised you - academically, socially, culturally & physically?
    • What do you wish you'd known before you left?
    • What was your experience with the program? How do you think it was different from other students?
    • What was arrival like? How about registration, orientation, classes, housing, making friends...
  • What kind of academic style is best for me?

    Different countries and programs offer different styles/structures of academic instruction and ways of assessing students. It is important to take these differences into consideration when selecting a study abroad program.

    Know the Program’s Academic System

    The academic system in the US is very different than most other countries’. Be sure you understand the differences.

    • Independence & Ambiguity of Non U.S. Systems:
      • Learning can be mostly independent and self-directed.
      • Classes tend to be lecture-based, less structured, and meet less often.
      • Syllabi can be vague.
      • Instructors are often less accessible.
      • Reasoning behind grades may be less transparent.

    It’s up to you to make sure you understand the professor’s expectations and how you’ll be graded

    • Grading Differences: Many other countries have only one test or paper that makes up 100% of your grade for the entire class.
    • Later Registration: Registration may not be finalized until you arrive. Have backup classes ready in case you run into scheduling conflicts or full sections.
    • Focus on One Discipline: Students in most other countries study only in their major for their entire 3-year degree. They don’t take general courses. Rather, they develop a deep understanding of their own subject.

    Programs based on the U.S. Academic System:

    • Instructors are likely to be local and may have different teaching styles.
    • Academics will still be influenced by the local system, and the differences above may still be common.

    Programs based on the local Academic System:

    • You are likely to be immersed in the local academic system, which may include the differences above.

    Please read the academic description of your program in your Program Brochure and see our Academic Differences Around the World page for more details.