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Unaffilated Program Petition

Unaffiliated program petition

UW Study Abroad offers hundreds of program options. We encourage you to visit our Upcoming Programs page or our Keyword search to browse study abroad programs that are affiliated with and approved by UW. 

If you wish to participate in a program that is NOT affiliated with UW you must petition UW Study Abroad for approval. This approval is required so you can remain enrolled at UW during your program and receive UW credit for your participation. The bar for approval is high as UW Study Abroad already offers hundreds of study abroad options all over the world.

Quick Facts


May 1 – Departing Autumn

October 1 – Departing Winter

October 1– Departing Spring

April 1 – Departing Summer

Applications must be submitted by the due date listed above. Late applications will not be considered. 

Duration & Credits

If your unaffiliated program is approved, you must be enrolled full time

Typical terms and credits are:

  • Quarter – 12-15 credits
  • Semester – 20-25 credits
  • Academic Year – 36-48 credits
  • Summer – 6 -15 credits

Exact UW credits and courses will be determined upon return to UW.


Fixed costs paid to UW:

  • Study Abroad administrative fee
  • UW Student Abroad insurance

Costs paid to provider: 

  • Program fee is determined and paid to the unaffiliated program provider

Application Process

In order to receive UW credit for an Unaffiliated Program, you must submit an Unaffiliated Program Petition. If your petition is granted, you will be enrolled for the program through UW.

You will also need to apply to the unaffiliated provider. Note, you may be accepted by the provider, but this does not mean that UW Study Abroad will approve your participation and concurrent enrollment.

See below for more details on the application process and timeline.

Delve Deeper

To be approved, petitions for participating in an Unaffiliated Program must demonstrate the following: 

  • Academic need: you must make the case that this particular program is important to your academic goals. If requested by UW Study Abroad, you may wish to provide a letter of support from a UW faculty member attesting to the importance of this program to your academic plan. 
  • Programmatic need: you must be able to demonstrate that UW offers no other study abroad program that will meet your academic goals.
  • Credit equivalencies: you must be earning full time credit for the term abroad – 12 quarter credits for a full quarter and at least 6 quarter credits for Summer A or B term. Course equivalencies must be signed off by the relevant department.
  • Global Travel Health & Safety: your petition is subject to UW’s International Travel Rules and Restrictions. The program must be located in a country with a State Department Travel Advisory level of 1 or 2. Undergraduates are not permitted to travel to Travel Advisory level 3 or 4 countries. You will be asked to provide information about local hospital and emergency services resources, the program’s health and safety protocols, and your intended housing arrangement. 
  • Financial Aid: if approved to participate in an Unaffiliated Program, it may be possible to apply your financial aid IF:
    • The dates of the program align with the UW academic calendar 
    • The study abroad provider does not need the UW to sign a consortium agreement. The UW does not sign consortium agreements with institutions with which we do not have a formal agreement or memorandum of understanding. 
  • Signatures: UW Study Abroad is not able to sign off on any application documents you may be required to submit to the unaffiliated program until your application with UW Study Abroad has been approved.

To be eligible for an approved unaffiliated petition, you must: 

  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Meet all program-specific eligibility requirements as described in the program brochure. This may include a minimum class standing and/or a minimum GPA.
  • Be cleared for study abroad by UW’s Community Standards and Student Conduct Office.

The unaffiliated petition includes:

  • Statement attesting to the program structure, your academic need participate, credits, and health & safety 
  • Letter of Support from an instructor (optional to strengthen a petition)
  • Electronic signature on several study abroad policy documents

Petitions to participate in an unaffiliated program must be submitted by the following deadlines. Late applications cannot be considered. Incomplete petitions will be denied.

  • May 1 – Departing Autumn
  • October 1 – Departing Winter
  • October 1– Departing Spring
  • April 1 – Departing Summer

  • Submit the petition by the deadlines listed above – Once your Unaffiliated Program Participation petition is submitted, a committee will review the petition. 
  • Decision – A decision to approve or not approve will be communicated to you via your UW email within 2 weeks of your petition being submitted. 
  • Next steps – If your participation in the unaffiliated program is approved, UW Study Abroad will enroll you for the duration of your program (see below for more info). 
  • Preparation and Pre-departure Requirements – Take a look at the Get Ready page to see everything you need to do before you leave.
    You must complete several mandatory pre-departure requirements that are outlined in your study abroad application (submit a copy of your passport, attend orientation, submit payment contract, complete a health survey, etc.) in order to be concurrently enrolled.
  • Passport and Visas – A valid passport or travel document is needed for to study abroad. Some countries also require a visa and the visa process can often take time. Please look at visa requirements early! Visit our Passports and visas page for more details. 
  • Course Enrollment While Abroad
    • Enrollment at UW: All UW students participating in study abroad for UW credit must be concurrently enrolled with UW Study Abroad. Concurrent enrollment maintains your student affiliation with UW while away, allows resident UW credit for courses taken abroad, and may allow you access to financial aid if the program is eligible. Students are automatically enrolled in FSTDY 300 placeholder course after the deadline of the completion of pre-departure requirements. More information about study abroad enrollment is on the Pre-departure requirements & enrollment page. 
    • Enrollment at unaffiliated provider: you are responsible for enrolling in courses with the unaffiliated provider.
    • Please note: In order to maintain full time enrollment, you should bring back a minimum of 12 UW credits per quarter of enrollment. 
  • Credit Conversion – When you return, you’ll work with your academic advisors on how courses can be converted back to UW credit using the Credit conversion process. UW equivalencies cannot always be determined before departure on an exchange program.

  • What happens if my petition is not approved?
    • If your petition is not approved, you do not have permission to participate in this program as a UW student. You may go as an independent traveler, but you will be taking a quarter off from the UW. Please review the vacation quarter policy on the Registrar’s website for more information.
  • Can I appeal a decision not to approve an unaffiliated study abroad program?
    • Yes. You can appeal in writing to the Director of UW Study Abroad. Your appeal must be submitted within one month of receiving the communication to deny your petition from UW Study Abroad.
  • Can I use my financial aid for an approved unaffiliated program?
    • If your program is approved by UW Study Abroad for participation, we cannot guarantee that aid will be available. All programs must be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA). If UW Study Abroad approves your application, we facilitate the review by OSFA and let you know if your program is eligible for use with aid. If your program is approved for use with aid and you would like to revise your aid package, you must request a cost sheet from UW Study Abroad. Write to
  • How much does it cost to participate in an approved unaffiliated program?
    • If your unaffiliated program is approved by UW Study Abroad, you will pay an administrative fee to UW Study Abroad for enrolling you, providing health and safety resources, and converting your credit back to UW. More information about study abroad fees is on the UW Study Abroad website.
    • Students who are enrolled through UW Study Abroad also pay an insurance fee based on the duration of their program. This provides you with international insurance coverage while participating in your program. For more information about UW Student Abroad insurance, visit the Office of Global Affairs website.
    • All other fees to participate in the program will be paid directly to the study abroad provider or host institution.
  • What happens if I need to withdraw from my approved unaffiliated program?
    • You will need to work directly with the provider of the program to learn more about the withdrawal process and potential fees that you may owe. If you have signed a contract with UW Study Abroad for the UW Study Abroad fee, you will be required to pay this fee. The UW Study Abroad Fee is non-refundable.

Do you think your program qualifies?

If you think the unaffiliated program you wish to participate in qualifies for approval by UW Study Abroad based on the criteria above, get started on your petition.

Start a petition