Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: When is my application due?
A: Applications for Academic Year 2021-22, Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2021 open on August 17, 2020. The priority application deadline is Monday, September 21 at 12 noon Pacific Time. Following the priority deadline, students can still apply to programs with space available. Decisions will be given on a rolling basis.
Q: What is required as part of the application?
A: Applicants must complete the online application which includes providing personal data and background information and answering short answer and essay questions. Some programs also require applicants to complete an interview, video question, audition, or submit additional materials such as a resume. More information on the application process is available here.
Q: Should I apply for one semester or a year?
A: Our programs are designed to serve students studying abroad for the full academic year. We strongly recommend that students apply for academic year programs. Here are some reasons why:
- When traveling abroad, students go through a transition period that can take up to four months. Students who remain abroad for more than one semester have the opportunity to fully adjust to their new surroundings, and report increased personal growth and transformation as a result.
- Normally 80% - 85% of students studying abroad during the academic year will remain abroad for both semesters. As a result, this community of students tends to bond very deeply. Students also report forming strong relationships with program staff and Faculty-in-Residence while studying abroad for the full academic year.
- With more time to practice with native speakers, academic year students acquire the language more fully.
- Less than 2% of universities offer study abroad programs spanning more than one semester. Pepperdine's academic year programs are a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fully experience and connect with another culture, language and community.
- Many students who choose to study abroad for one semester later ask to extend their contract to remain abroad for a longer period of time. We accommodate these students when possible, but can only accommodate extensions on a space available basis. Therefore it's best for students to apply for the academic year from the beginning to hold their space in that program if their academic plan can allow for it. Students who have only attended one semester tell us time and time again that they wished they had stayed the full academic year.
- We prioritize academic year students and as a result admissions is more competitive for single semester applicants.
- Although a full academic year can sound like a long time at the outset, students are given a 4-6 week winter break where they have the option to travel home and visit family and friends.
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.
Q: Can I apply for more than one program?
A: Students have the option to be considered for up to six programs and terms with one application. Students will be considered for their first choice first, then their second choice, etc. Programs and terms that have reached capacity will not be available as an alternate choice. Programs that require an interview or audition, such as Faculty-led, internship, specialty and language intensive programs will not be available as an alternate choice.
Q: Should I have other study abroad locations in mind when I apply?
A: Yes! Due to space constraints, our programs cannot always accommodate all applicants. Historically, about 2 out of 3 students are admitted to their first choice program. Therefore we ask students to be open to multiple locations and apply by the priority deadline for the greatest chance of admission.
Q: If I apply for an Academic Year, can I switch my application to one semester later?
A: If you have applied for an Academic Year program but have not yet signed your contract, please contact us if you would like to change your application.
If you are applying before the priority deadline and have already submitted your application, you will not be allowed to change the ranking you indicated on your application. Please contact us for assistance in reapplying.
Q: When do I interview?
A: Not all IP programs require interviews. Click here to learn more.
If your program requires an interview, you will be asked to schedule the interview as part of your IP application.
If you are applying for an internship program, you will be contacted if you have been selected to interview.
If your program does not require an interview, we encourage students to connect with the Faculty-in-Residence for their program before, during and after the admissions process. More information is available here.
Q: When will I know whether or not I am accepted?
A: First, ensure that you have completed all required steps including submitting all parts of your online application, and interviewing or auditioning if required. Be sure to pay attention to all deadlines indicated on the application. Click here to learn more about the requirements for each program.
If you have completed all required steps, you should receive a decision within a few weeks of your application. Applicants who apply by the priority deadline (September 21, 2020) will receive a decision on October 16, 2020. Applicants will be notified via email. Applicants who apply after the priority will be notified on a rolling basis, usually on Fridays.
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 to 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 November registration dates. This allows students to register in the appropriate classes before going abroad, so that they can complete all necessary prerequisites.
Q: Do students who apply for the academic year receive preference?
A: We encourage all students to apply for an academic year program versus a single semester because our program model best suits students studying abroad for two semesters. Specifically, students that go abroad for two successive terms (fall and spring) often report their 2nd semester offered them a richer experience that led to better personal, academic, and professional outcomes.
For the reasons stated above, we prioritize academic year applicants compared to single semester applicants. We do admit single semester applicants and recommend a single semester especially if students' academic plans cannot accommodate a two-semester program.
Please see "Should I apply for one semester or a year?" above for more information.
Q: How does International Programs make admissions decisions?
A: The mission of the IP admissions process is to build diverse communities of motivated students who are committed to intellectual, social, personal, and spiritual transformation. The IP Selection Committee makes all admissions decisions based on the following criteria:
- Test Scores (ACT or SAT)
- Campus Citizenship
- Essay and Application Information
- Interview and supplemental materials (where applicable)
Q: What happens after I am accepted?
A: Students who have been accepted are asked to sign an IP contract committing to their program and term. More information on next steps for accepted students is available here. Students who have signed a contract should begin preparing to go abroad. Information on preparation is available here.
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: Your IP contract is specific to the location and term/s of the program for which you applied. To switch from one semester to another, switch programs, or switch from academic year to one semester, you will need to first withdraw from your current program. Financial penalties as outlined in your contract will apply. You would then need to reapply for the new program or term of your choice. Admission to the new program and term would be contingent on space availability in that program, and you may be placed on a waitlist. Please contact us to learn more.
You can request to extend your contract from one semester to a full academic year. Extensions are contingent on space availability and you may be placed on a waitlist. Please contact us to learn more.
Q: What does it mean if I was waitlisted for a program and what should I do?
A. Due to space constraints, we cannot accommodate all applicants in all programs. Students on the waitlist can choose to remain on the waitlist, and they may be admitted at a later date if space becomes available. Students can also choose to reapply for an alternate program. Click here for more information.
Q: What is the student contract?
A: When students are accepted to a program, they are asked to sign a contract committing to the program and term they have been accepted to. Signing the contract holds the student's space in the program and outlines their responsibilities as an IP student. Click here to learn more about IP contracts.
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.
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 (Buenos Aires: SPAN 151, Florence: ITAL 151, Heidelberg: GER 151, Lausanne: FRE 151, or Shanghai: CHIN 151) before they leave for their program. This class is often taken in the Spring semester before the student leaves to go abroad. Students that already have experience with the language of their program can instead take the Pepperdine Language Placement Exam to test into a higher level. Students who test out of the 151 level do not have to take the language prior to going abroad. 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, the faculty-in-residence, and local faculty who are approved by academic divisional deans at the Malibu campus teach courses.
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. We recommend all students bring their own laptops and/or tablets.
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 programs in Buenos Aires, D.C., and Shanghai have classes 5 days per week. The European campus programs may have classes 4 or 5 days per week.
Cost & Financial Aid
Q: How much do the programs cost?
Q: What is included in the International Programs charge?
A: The International Programs charge includes room and board, transportation, educational field trips, local group excursions and other group activities.
The International Programs fee (the extra cost for studying abroad during the academic year) includes the student's group flight to and from the program (optional, students indicate whether or not they would like to participate when signing their IP contract), their educational field trip, orientations, 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: Some programs charge local country fees to cover additional mandatory services or government fees. More information on local country fees is available on our cost page.
Other external costs may include visa costs, passport costs and health insurance. The cost and requirement of a visa varies from country to country, year to year. Students must have a valid passport as well. Students should research their own personal health insurance coverage to confirm whether or not they 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. Students 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: Students receiving financial aid on campus usually receive the same percentage of aid while abroad. For example, if a student's tuition grant percentage is 20% in Malibu, their tuition grant percentage will be 20% while abroad. For the most accurate financial aid information, students should visit the Financial Aid Office (next to One Stop), go to the Financial Aid website or contact their financial aid advisor.
Students receiving departmental, athletic or private outside scholarships should speak with the awarding department or organization to understand how aid will apply while abroad.
For summer programs, students must enroll in at least 6 units to qualify for federal financial aid. Students should use the summer estimator available on this site to calculate their financial aid.
IP offers scholarships to assist with the extra cost of studying abroad. Learn more and apply here.
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 and chip. For more information on managing money abroad, see our blog post on the subject.
Passports and Visas
Q: How do I get a passport?
A: All students studying abroad with International Programs, including students studying in Washington, D.C., must have a valid passport. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months past the student's anticipated return date, per airline policy. Students applying to go abroad should immediately begin renewing or applying for a passport. Visit the US Department of State's Passport Services website for more information such as passport offices nationwide, passport applications, and passport renewals. Refer to our passport page for more information.
Students who are required to obtain a visa and who are planning on traveling internationally before their departure may be asked to obtain a second passport. Additional information will be sent to students after admission.
Q: Do I need a visa to participate in my program?
A: This depends on your program, term and citizenship. Please see our visa page for more information.
Q: Where do I get a visa, when do I get it, how long will it take?
A: Visas are issued through the embassy or consulate of the appropriate host country. To avoid early expiration, the consulate will issue your visa no more than 90 days prior to your program's departure. The process is extensive and can take up to eight weeks (or more) to receive your visa. Please visit the visa section of your program's page for more information. To find out if you need a visa, click here.
Travel and Flights
Q: From where do the programs depart?
A: Group flights depart from and return to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Students can choose to join the group flight or request to be exempt from the group flight, meaning they must book their own travel to and from the program location. Students indicate if they would like to join the group flight or be exempt at the time that they sign their IP contract. More information on flight statuses is available here.
Q: Is the cost of airfare included in the program charge?
A: Academic Year, Fall Only and Spring Only Programs:
For students on the group flight, the cost of round-trip airfare on the group flight is $500 for Washington, D.C. and $1,220 for all other programs. This cost is included in the International Programs Charge, which is charged to the student's account.
The group flight for academic year students departs in September and returns in April. Students are responsible for all other travel including travel over Christmas break.
The group flight for fall only students departs in September and returns in December. The group flight for spring only students departs in January and returns in April.
Students who elect to be exempt from the group flight when signing their IP contract are not charged for the group flight, and are responsible for purchasing and arranging their own travel to and from the program, including ground transportation.
For students on the group flight leaving from and returning to LAX, the cost of round-trip airfare is paid for by International Programs. Students are not charged for the group flight, unless they become ineligible or withdraw from their program after a flight has already been purchased on their behalf.
Students who elect to be exempt from the group flight when signing their IP contract are responsible for purchasing and arranging their own travel to and from the program, including ground transportation. Students do not receive a refund or credit for their flight as no flight will be purchased on their behalf.
More information on flight statuses is available here.
Q: Can I arrange my own travel to the program?
A: Yes. Students can elect to be exempt from the group flight when signing their IP contract. Flight exempt students are responsible for arranging their own travel (including ground transportation) to and from the program location. Students must arrive at the same time or earlier than group flight students. Summer program participants who elect to be exempt from the group flight are not eligible to receive a free flight.
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 winter break?
A: Pepperdine campuses close at the end of the fall term and re-open at the beginning of the spring term. Students cannot stay on campuses during winter break. Students living in a homestay may inquire about accommodations with their host family but it is not guaranteed. Students studying abroad for the full academic year may leave their belongings in their rooms during the winter break, but they will not be able to access them until the campus reopens.
Many students use the winter break to travel to more distant locations that they can't visit during the semester. Others purchase a ticket to return home to visit their family and friends. In other cases, the student's family may choose to visit the student overseas and they travel together during the break.
Q: How do I extend my stay overseas if I am on the group flight?
A: Students who are on the group flight can request to extend the return date of their flight, to facilitate personal travel. Contact Pepperdine's travel partner, Corniche Travel, by emailing email@example.com or by calling (310) 506-4562. Be sure to include details of your request in the email.
Students must ensure that lengthening their stay does not impact their immigration status. Not all flights can be changed. The flight route (departure and arrival locations) cannot be changed. Departure dates cannot usually be changed.
Students are responsible for any paying associated change fees (usually ranging from $50 - $500, depending on the airline) and any increases in airfare. Students are encouraged to request flight changes as early as possible after booking to receive the lowest change fee. Students will be notified when their group flight has been booked and will receive information on how and when to adjust their flight if they wish to do so.
Group flight information for summer flights is usually sent in March, and group flight information for academic year flights is usually sent in June.
Returning to Malibu
Q: Once I'm overseas, how do I take care of registration and housing for the next semester?
A: Students should register for future Malibu classes and apply for future Malibu housing in the same way they would while on the Malibu campus. Students should register for courses at the registration time assigned to them (available on Wavenet). Students should apply for housing on the date indicated by the Housing and Residence Life Office.
Students preparing to go abroad will automatically be assigned housing in the overseas program. They do not need to apply for housing overseas.
Students preparing to go abroad should register in their courses abroad the same way they would in Malibu. Detailed information on registering for courses overseas will be sent to students.
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:
If you are considering withdrawing from your program, you must contact the International Programs Office in order complete a withdrawal form. Please contact us at 310.506.4230 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Health & Safety
Q: Does Pepperdine provide students with health insurance while abroad?
A: Pepperdine provides all students (if outside of the U.S.) with global health insurance. Please click here for further 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.
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 45 to 90 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 visit our technology abroad page for further information.