Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Application Process

Q: When is my application due?

A: Applications open for the 2019-2020 school year starting Friday, August 31st 2018. The priority application deadline for the 2019-2020 Academic Year as well as Summer 2019 is Monday, September 24th at NOON. We will accept applications after the priority deadline and accept students into programs as space permits.

Q: What is required as part of the application?

A: Applicants must complete the online application form which includes answering essay questions. Following submission of the online applications, students must also interview with the Faculty-in-Residence attending their program.

Q: Should I apply for one semester or a year?

A: We recommend that you plan to stay for a full academic year because the program is best setup to support students studying for the full 8 months. The community bonds more deeply, students better adjust to the local culture and acquire the language more fully, and students experience deeper personal transformation. 85% of our students study for the full academic year. Empirical research also backs up the importance of more than a semester of study abroad. As a result, we give preference to students that apply for a full academic year. Although we understand that some students may only be able to participate for one semester, we encourage all students to give serious consideration to a full academic year stay. Students who have only attended one semester tell us time and time again that they wished they had stayed the full academic year.

Q: Can I apply for more than one program?

A: You can participate in as many international programs as you wish, but you can only apply for one program per academic term.

Q: Should I have other study abroad locations in mind when I apply?

A: Due to the fact that our programs are competitive, we ask students to indicate additional choices to increase their chances of going abroad. 

Q: If I apply for an Academic Year, can I switch my application to one semester later?

A: No. If you decide after you have submitted your application that you want to change the program or term, you must drop your current application and then open a new application for your program of choice.

Q: If I sign a contract, can I change my contract from an Academic Year to a semester only contract or from semester only to Academic Year or from one semester to the other semester?

A: No. You will receive a contract that specifies the location and term/s of the program for which you applied. If you wish to change, you will be considered as withdrawing from the program for which you signed a contract; furthermore, financial penalties (as outlined on the contract and in the Seaver College Academic Catalog) will apply. In order to process your request, you will need to contact the International Programs Office to request a withdrawal form. Once you sign the withdrawal from, you can then request to change your application. In the event a space becomes available, you will be considered along with other students on the wait list at that time.

Q: I have already submitted an application and would like to apply for another program in another term. Do I have to complete an entire application again?

A: Yes, you must apply for each program separately. You may use the same essay if applicable, but you must include this information into the new application.

Q: How does International Programs make acceptance decisions?

A: If you are applying the first semester of your freshman year, you will be evaluated on your GPA, your SAT/ACT scores, the application essays, your campus citizenship, and your interview with the Faculty in Residence of the program to which you applied.

Q: When do I interview?

A: After you submit your International Programs application, a window will pop up indicating who to contact for your interview and how to setup your appointment. 

Q: When will I know whether or not I am accepted?

A: 1) You must have an interview with the Faculty in Residence for your program to complete your application. Please note: It is your responsibility to schedule and complete the interview. 2) You must complete your Faculty in Residence interview by October 5th to receive a decision by the priority decision day. 3) Once you have completed both your online application and the interview with your Faculty in Residence, your application is complete and will be reviewed at the next selection committee meeting. 4) You will receive notification via e-mail. 5) If you applied for a program by the priority deadline, you will receive a decision by October 19, 2018. If you applied after the priority deadline and have already interviewed with your visiting faculty person, it will take approximately two weeks for a decision via e-mail.

Q: What does it mean if I was waitlisted for a program and what should I do?

A. Approximately 1/3 of applicants are not able to attend their first choice program due to sheer amount of applications we receive. Therefore it is important that students have at least a 2nd choice program. Here is the Waitlist FAQ which has more further information.

Q: What is the student contract?

A: Here are examples of the Academic Year/Semester Contract, the Summer Contract, the DC+ Contract as well as the Internship Contract. Please check out this link here to find out more about the Contract Signing Process.

Q: Why are priority applications due about a month after beginning of the fall semester?

A: Prior to going on a semester or Academic Year International Program, students are required to take the first level of a language class (151), as well as other prerequisite courses. Students will register for these classes in early-mid November. Due to this registration timeline, International Programs has created an application process and timeline to review students, give them a decision, and leave enough time for them to review their contracts and commit to the program prior to the early-mid November registration dates. This allows them to know which classes they need to register for in the spring, before they go abroad.

Selection Process

Q: Do students who apply for the academic year receive preference?

A: Yes, we believe that by staying a year, your experience will be enhanced by a longer stay in the country, academically and culturally. Although we understand that some students may only be able to participate for one semester, we encourage all students to give serious consideration to a full academic year stay if offered in the program location.

Q: How are the student selections made?

A: The Selection Committee makes all acceptance decisions based upon the criteria mentioned in the application section of this FAQ list.

Q: What happens after I am accepted?

A: After acceptances are made, students may attend a contract explanation session and sign their contract online. We ask that all students review this contract with their parents/guardians before signing them. In addition students are required to attend orientation for their programs and complete preparation actions like e-mailing us copies of their passports and visas. This information is emailed to students.


Q: Which courses are being offered?

A: See the specific Program's web pages for a full list of all courses being offered at each location. You may also pick up a hard copy of fall and spring listings in the International Programs office.

Q: Are there any language course pre-requisites?

A: Yes. Students attending Buenos Aires, Florence, Heidelberg, Lausanne, or Shanghai during the Academic Year (Fall/Spring) must have completed the relevant 151 language course before they leave for their program, and this class should be taken in the Spring semester before the student leaves to go abroad. Students may test out of language courses. London and Washington DC do not have a language pre-requisite before going abroad. Summer programs do not require a language pre-requisite unless specified on the website.

Q: Do I have to take a language while overseas?

A: All students must take a language course in Florence, Heidelberg, Buenos Aires, Shanghai and Lausanne including students who have completed their General Education requirement in a language. The language courses must be taken for a letter grade (not on a Credit/No Credit basis).

Q: Who teaches the courses in International Programs?

A: The Pepperdine Program Director is a fully qualified faculty member who teaches in the program. In addition, a Visiting Faculty member is sent from Malibu to each program location each semester. Pepperdine also employs selected, qualified local faculty to teach other courses. Many of these local faculty have worked for Pepperdine for a number of years.

Q: Are computers available overseas?

A: Yes. Each of our seven campus-based program locations have computers available for student use. Wifi is also available at all seven sites. Oftentimes, students will not be able to access the internet in homestays (BA programs). Most students do bring their own laptops.

Q: Can I do directed studies?

A: We are not able to offer directed studies overseas. Students are only able to enroll in classes listed on our website.

Q: Do Pepperdine's international programs have Monday-Friday classes?

A: The program in Buenos Aires, D.C. Shanghai have classes 5 days per week. The European campus programs have classes 4 days per week.

Cost & Financial Aid

Q: How much do our programs cost in 2018-2019?

A: Costs for studying abroad in the 2018-19 Academic Year are as follows:

Tuition: International Programs tuition is the same as it is on the Malibu campus: one flat fee per semester for 12-18 units. Tuition for the 2018-2019 Academic Year is $26,840 per semester.

Room and Board: Room and board is the same across all programs and is the same cost of an extra meal plan on the Malibu campus - $8,275 per semester for the 2018-19 Academic Year.

International Programs Fee: Includes the roundtrip group flight from LAX, local orientation costs, special excursions, and the educational field trips with the group. $3,645). If students attend both semesters, the second semester is discounted by $1,220 (DC program discounted by $500), because only one round trip airfare is purchased throughout the year. If students choose to be exempt from the group flight, the semester IP Fee will be less the cost of the round-trip flight. Please note that some program locations require additional charges (visas, local health fees, etc). Please see below for further information.

Please visit our cost page and the Seaver Academic Catalog for further information.

A: Costs for studying abroad in summer 2019 are as follows:

Tuition: Summer 2019 is the same as it is on the Malibu campus: $1,685 per unit.

Room and Board: Covers room and most meals: $562 per week.

Roundtrip airfare for summer programs is paid for by Pepperdine University if a student flies on the group flight out of LAX. If a student withdraws from the program after the flight has been purchased, the student will be responsible for that cost. Similarly, if a student that chose to be on the group flight does not use their outbound ticket, the student will be charged for the roundtrip flight. Please note that some program locations require additional charges (visas, local health fees, etc.). These charges are listed below.

Please see program descriptions, our cost page and the Seaver Academic Catalog for further information. 

We also recommend that you see the Summer School Estimator on the Financial Assistance website.

Q: What is included in the International Programs charge?

A: As mentioned above, this charge includes room, board, transportation, educational field trips, local group excursions and other group activities.

Q: Are there any external costs associated with the program that are not included in the International Programs charge?

A: The cost and requirement of a visa varies from country to country, year to year. Students must have a valid passport as well. You will also want to research your own personal health insurance coverage to confirm whether or not you are covered overseas and whether or not you need to purchase additional coverage. Some programs may require local health insurance coverage upon arrival in the country. You will need to research these fees which are payable directly to the service provider. For more in-depth information, please visit our Cost Page.

Q: Does financial aid apply to the cost of an International Program?

A: Grants and scholarships only apply to tuition, unless otherwise stated by your financial aid advisor. Financial aid normally disburses the first day of your classes abroad if all necessary steps have been taken and all necessary documents have been submitted. For scholarship information click here. For the most accurate financial aid information, go to the Financial Aid website and also talk to your financial aid advisor. For summer program applicants, 6 units are required to use federal aid and there is a summer estimator available on this site to help you calculate your financial aid.

Q: How much spending money should I take with me?

A: How much money you will need depends entirely on personal spending preferences. Some of the factors to take into consideration are how much you think you'll be traveling, how much you normally spend while traveling for meals, lodging, etc., and how many souvenirs you think you want to buy. Former students say on average they spend anywhere from $1,500 - $3,000 per semester.

Q: Is there an extra fee for taking a PE course?

A: Yes. Fees range between approximately $200-$500, depending on the course.

Q: How do I get money when I'm overseas?

A: ATMs accepting Visa and Master Card are easily accessible in most cities. It is important to check with your bank to make sure you have an international pin number.

Passports and Visas

Q: How do I get a passport?

A: If you do not have a passport, you should begin applying for a passport as soon as you apply for a program. A list of the addresses, phone numbers, passport requirements and business hours of locations in the area that process passports is available in the IP Student Handbook. You may also visit the US Department of State's Passport Services website for more information such as passport offices nationwide, passport applications, and passport renewals at If you have a passport that was obtained before you turned 16, you will need a renewal since passports issued before 16 expire in 5 years (as opposed to 10). As students apply a year in advance, the passport must also be valid the year of study abroad as well as 6 months after the return to the States.

Q: Do I need a visa to participate in my program?

A: This depends on your program, term and citizenship. Please see our specific visa page for more information.

Q: Where do I get a visa, when do I get it, how long will it take?

A: Please visit our specific visa page here for more information.


Q: From where do the programs depart?

A: Group flights depart from and return to Los Angeles. Students may petition to be exempt from the Group Flight if they live outside of California, making it expensive and inconvenient to fly from their residence to LAX. Student must supply evidence of their place of residence.

Q: Is the cost of airfare included in the program charge?

A: Yes. The cost of the round-trip airfare on the group flight is included in the International Programs Charge for Academic Year (Fall and Spring) for those that take part in the group flight. Students who attend both semesters during the academic year will receive one airline ticket on the group flight that departs in the fall and returns at the end of the spring semester. Students are responsible for all other travel including travel over Christmas break. If you attend both semesters, the second semester is discounted by $1,220 as a second roundtrip flight is not being purchased for you ($500 if D.C. program).

Q: Can I arrange my own travel to the program?

A: Yes. In order to do so, students must mark the "petition to be exempt from the group flight" option on the flight contract. Students are responsible for arranging their own travel (including airport transportation upon arrival) to and from the program. Students must arrive on the same day and time as the as the group flight arrives to the campus.

Q: What opportunities are there for travel?

A: Traveling to selected destinations will definitely be a part of your educational experience. However, these are serious academic programs and your studies must come first. Also, don't overlook exploring and learning about the city and country in which your program is located by visiting only distant places. There is an educational field trip in both the fall and spring terms of each academic year program.

Q: I'm going overseas for a year. What do I do over the Christmas break?

A: Many students use the Christmas break to travel to more distant locations that they can't visit during the semester. Others purchase a ticket to return home for Christmas with their family and friends. In other cases, the family from the U.S. visits the student overseas and they travel together during the holidays. In any case, Pepperdine residences close (just the same as Malibu Campus) when the return group flight leaves in December; the residences will not re-open until shortly before the group flight arrives in January (therefore students cannot stay on campuses during winter break including homestays in Buenos Aires ). 

Q: How do I extend my stay overseas if I am on the group flight?

A: Contact Corniche Travel Agency by sending an email request to after you have arrived in the program. Be sure to include details of your request in the email. The cost is usually between $200 and $300 for a return date change; all change costs are paid for entirely by the student. Students must ensure that any lengthening of a stay in a country does not impact their immigration status in that country. Departure and arrival locations are not able to altered and not all flights can be changed. Corniche can also be reached at (310) 506-4562 or 

Returning to Malibu

Q: Once I'm overseas, how do I take care of registration and housing for the next semester?

A: From overseas, you can advance register for your next semester's classes at exactly the same moment you could register for them in Malibu. For students returning to Malibu, registration is done via the internet through the Housing and Resident Life Office. All registration is done during the regular registration period. From overseas, you can apply for housing and be considered exactly the same way as if you were on the Malibu campus.

Withdrawal Fees

Q: What are the withdrawal fees if I decide to break my contract?

A: It depends on the term for which you signed your contract, and the date that you withdraw. The withdrawal fees can be found in your contract, as well as below:

Academic Year 2018-19 Programs: Here

Academic Year 2019-20 Programs: Here

Health & Safety

Q: Does Pepperdine provide students with health insurance while abroad?

A: Pepperdine provides all students with an emergency health policy. Additional health insurance is required for almost all programs. Please click here for information. 

Q: How does Pepperdine assess and approve international travel?

A: Student safety is a top priority at Pepperdine. Please review our international travel assessment process explanation for a detailed explanation here.

Q: How does Pepperdine safeguard our community while abroad?

A: Click here for detailed safety information


Q: Can friends or alumni visit the facilities abroad?

A: Arrangements to visit a facility abroad can be made by calling or e-mailing the Program Director. Please visit the individual program pages for contact information. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Visits are allowed only during office hours. Visitors may not spend the night.

Q: How many students participate in each program?

A: The number of students varies in each program. The Academic Year Programs have anywhere between 30-70 students each semester. The summer programs can range between 15-70 students.

Q: Do I need any vaccinations?

A: It is a student's responsibility to get information about vaccinations that are specific to their program. Sometimes vaccinations are required by a country and other times vaccinations are recommended. If you have any questions, you can call International SOS at (215) 942-8226. You can also find helpful information on the CDC website.

Q: Do I need to complete a medical examination evaluation?

A: Yes, all students are required to complete a medical exam by a certified health professional and return a form to the International Programs Office signed by the physician within 90 to 45 days prior to program departure.

Q: Should I get a smartphone that works abroad?

A: We strongly encourage students to secure a smartphone with an international calling and data plan in order to take advantage of all International SOS applications and to be able to reach someone in cases of emergency. Campus-based program locations will provide suggestions and support on how to secure a local phone and sim card once students arrive to the program location. Please consider one of the following options:

  • Bring an unlocked phone in which a local SIM card can be installed. Please visit this page to learn about unlocking your smartphone and watch this video.
  • Purchase a "talk abroad phone package" similar to this plan or a google solution similar to this plan.
  • Purchase a smartphone and plan in the country you will be studying.