FAQ for International Programs

WHY SHOULD I STUDY ABROAD? 
Any student, regardless of their career of choice, must learn to account for the effects of global and international dynamics.  As methods of communication allow greater and substantial interactions instantly with people and industries around the world, it is especially important for Annenberg majors to gain interpersonal communication skills and cross-cultural competency.  The International Programs staff believes that studying abroad is the key to becoming a well-rounded, global-minded citizen.  Personal contact—the kind of contact that breaks barriers of attitude, language, religion, and ideology—comes only through experiencing the change of landscapes, senses, and feel of places that is the essence of travel (Irving, 2015).

ELIGIBILITY 
Are Annenberg's programs available only to Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations students?

No.  Any currently enrolled USC undergraduate, regardless of major, may apply to any Annenberg program, except for the London and Rome programs.  Admission to the London and Rome programs are restricted to Communication majors, Journalism majors, and Public Relations majors.  However, it should be noted that Annenberg majors and minors will be given admission priority over non-Annenberg majors/minors.

Students who are not matriculated at USC are not allowed to participate in any USC-approved study abroad program.

Do I need to know foreign language to study abroad? 
No, for almost all programs. Study in Brazil requires a proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese, but all other programs do not have a language requirement.

Is there a minimum GPA required? 
Yes. Annenberg International Programs requires a minimum USC cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all programs.
Please note that Annenberg International Programs conducts checks on all study abroad applicants with USC Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards. Any academic and non-academic policy violations and sanctions will be taken into consideration in the admission process.

IS IT FEASIBLE? 
How much does it cost?

Programs vary in cost, and range from significantly less than a semester on campus to significantly more. Detailed estimates of program costs will be made available by the Annenberg International Programs office each semester.

Can I use financial aid to go overseas for a semester or year? 
Yes, USC financial aid -including loans, grants and scholarships- may be applied to official semester study abroad programs.  When a student is accepted into a study abroad program, an all-inclusive program cost sheet including tuition, housing, health insurance, round-trip airfare and personal expenses (food, entertainment, weekend travel, etc), is sent to the USC Financial Aid Office (FAO).  The FAO then adjusts the student’s financial package accordingly.  If the costs of the program are more than a semester at USC, FAO may offer the student loans to make up the difference.  In cases where a program may be less expensive than an on-campus semester, the estimated family contribution (EFC) may be maintained and the aid package reduced.

Can I use financial aid to go overseas during the summer? 
Maybe.  Many forms of USC financial aid are not transferable to summer programs, although the USC Financial Aid Office may be able to facilitate the borrowing of funds by students, parents, or guardians for up to the full program cost.  In addition, some merit scholarships may be transferable to help alleviate program costs.

Are there any scholarships for study abroad? 
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism does not currently offer any scholarships for semester study abroad programs.  We encourage students to apply for outside scholarships.  For example, students who receive the Pell Grant may apply for the Gilman Scholarship.  Students studying abroad through CIEE in Rio de Janeiro should read about and apply for their numerous scholarships here.  Students studying abroad through TEAN in Auckland should read about and apply for their scholarships here.  Students studying in Sydney should read about UNSW’s scholarship opportunity here

For our summer program, International Communication Studies, students may apply for the Bill Faith Endowed scholarship awarding up to $3,000.

When can/should I go? 
Most programs allow students to study abroad when it best fits their academic program.  Generally, students must be of a minimum of sophomore standing upon commencement of a program (for Communication majors), and transfer students must have completed one full semester at USC prior to applying to go overseas.  Journalism and Public Relations majors are restricted to spring semester of their Junior year or during their senior year.  Please review our individual program pages for specific admissions requirements as they differ from program to program.

HOW IT WORKS 
How early can I start applying? 

For fall programs, applications are due in February; for spring programs, applications are due in August or September.  Summer program deadlines vary.  Applications are available on our website one to two months before they are due.

What is the application process like? 
All applications come with specific detailed instructions; however, each application requires an online Annenberg application, 2X2” photo, resume, essay, official or unofficial transcript and at least one letter of recommendation written by a professor or TA.

After the application deadline, applications are reviewed by our office. Students will receive program admission decision within a month of submitting their application. Interviews are required only for the International Communication Studies (summer program). 

SJACS/COMPETITIVE APPLICATION CYCLE WARNING:
During competitive application cycles (when Annenberg International Programs receives more applications than the number of spots in a study abroad program), all factors that negatively impact applications will be taken into consideration when evaluating students for admission. Please click here to read more information about competitive application cycles and factors for possible disqualification.

Can I apply for more than one program? 
No.  More information is available here.

If I am not accepted to a study abroad program can I appeal the decision? 
No. All study abroad admission decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

Will all the courses that I take transfer as USC credit? 
Almost all courses will come back as USC credit.  Courses taken through Annenberg International Programs will be articulated at USC for USC credit and will count toward the 64-unit residency requirement.  However, if a class that you take overseas does not have an equivalent department at USC (e.g., Basket Weaving 101), it will not be accepted for credit at USC.  Credit toward major or minor requirements is dependent upon departmental approval.

Can I earn minor credit abroad?
It depends.  Students should consult with their academic advisor regarding the feasibility of studying abroad if seeking minor credit.  Our programs are designed primarily for majors to earn major credit.  As soon as you start thinking about studying abroad you should let your academic advisor know. Your academic advisor can create a course plan to help you fit study abroad into your studies at USC.

How will a semester abroad affect my GPA? 
The grades that you earn while abroad will not count towards your USC GPA.  On your USC transcript, it will show that you received Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) for those courses and not letter grades.  The only programs where letter grades will count towards your GPA is London and Rome; students are directly enrolled in upper-division USC Annenberg catalogue courses.

If my GPA is not affected by a semester abroad, why should I still care about grades? 
If you decide to apply for graduate school or need official transcripts for any reason, you will have to submit your USC transcript AND an official transcript from your host university.  If you fail a course during your semester abroad, it will show as "No Credit" (NC) on your USC transcript; however, your host university transcript will indicate that you failed.  Do not risk your chances of being admitted into graduate school by mistakenly thinking that a failed course taken overseas will not matter.

What about my housing at USC? 
Students who wish to return to USC housing after their semester abroad need to arrange this before their overseas departure.  For students in non-university housing, it is their responsibility to make housing arrangements both before and after studying abroad.  Unfortunately, Annenberg International Programs cannot assist study abroad participants who need to find other students to take over their housing leases.  When considering studying abroad, you may want to find off campus housing where you can sign a contract on a semester-to-semester basis.

What are the overseas living arrangements?
Accommodations vary among Annenberg's study abroad programs, but in almost all cases students reside in either dormitories (either with dining halls or cooking facilities), or shared apartments.  Rio de Janeiro is the only location where staying with a host family is required.

What can I do to start preparing today? 
• Let your academic advisor know that you are interested in studying abroad
• Make connections with professors as they can be potential recommendation letter writers
• Start researching programs on our website and/or make an appointment with us