Study Abroad Programs Overview


Education Abroad provides a variety of different programs to fit every budget, academic subject, timeframe, and regional interest. 

Exchange Programs

Exchange programs involve going abroad and enrolling with an NAU partner university as an exchange student.  Exchange programs are exceptionally affordable and allow students to become part of a foreign university’s student body.

  • There are two kinds of exchange programs: “Bilateral” exchanges and “ISEP” exchanges. Bilateral exchanges are marked with “(Exchange)” after the program name. ISEP Exchanges are marked by "ISEP-Exchange" in the program name.
  • For both program types, you pay your typical NAU tuition directly to NAU through your LOUIE account. Not only will most of your scholarships apply to exchanges, but this is the only type of program on which you can use your tuition waivers (including but not limited to: AIMS, Dean’s, President’s, EARP). Furthermore, for both programs, you will earn direct NAU credit, and your grades from abroad will count towards your GPA.
  • For “ISEP” exchanges, however, you will also pay NAU housing and meal fees for the semester you are abroad. (For “bilateral” exchanges, you will pay housing and meal fees directly to your host university abroad).  You will not need to pay the university abroad for housing and meals. 
  • The deadline to apply for “ISEP” exchanges falls much earlier than the deadline for “bilateral” exchanges. See our deadlines  page for more information!

Faculty-led ProgramsAustralia Sorrell

Faculty-led programs are designed and run by NAU faculty that teach about their field of expertise in relevant settings abroad.  While learning is done in classrooms abroad, NAU faculty often organize excursions that allow students to contextualize information discussed in the classroom.   

  • These are usually shorter programs, which typically run during the summer or winter term and offer anywhere from 3 to 7 credits.
  • Students pay a program fee to NAU that covers specified program costs.
  • Loans, grants, and some non-NAU scholarships can be applied to faculty-led programs. Tuition waivers and NAU scholarships (including but not limited to: AIMS, Dean’s, President’s, EARP) cannot be used on these programs.
  • You can earn direct and/or transfer credit on these programs. Grades earned for direct credit will count towards your GPA, grades earned for transfer credit will not count towards your GPA.

Provider Programs

Private provider programs (such as ISEP-Direct and USAC) run specialized education abroad programs. Participants on these programs tend to be mostly from other US universities. Although these programs are more expensive, the extra cost comes from the comprehensive and highly-structured nature of these programs.

  • Cost varies but provider programs are almost always more expensive than exchange programs.
  • Loans, grants, and some non-NAU scholarships can be applied to provider programs. Tuition waivers and NAU scholarships (including but not limited to: AIMS, Dean’s, President’s, EARP) cannot be used on these programs.
  • Transfer credit is awarded for course work, and grades from abroad do not count towards your GPA.

Direct vs. Transfer Credit

As you can see above, certain programs offer different types of credit (direct or transfer credit):
  • Direct credit classes appear on your transcript as if they are regular NAU classes taken on campus and will effect your GPA.
  • Transfer credit classes will transfer in to NAU and appear as if you took them elsewhere.  Although transfer credit classes can count towards graduation, transfer grades will not count towards your GPA.  In order to transfer classes back, you must get a C or better for undergraduate classes and a B or better for graduate classes.
How foreign grades apply to the U.S. grade scale can be seen here.