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Preparing to Go Checklists

Select the appropriate checklist, Penn State Programs or Non-Penn State Programs, and complete the necessary paperwork the semester before departure abroad.

Penn State Education Abroad Checklist

The Strickler Office of International Programs supports students’ efforts in planning their time abroad. Schedule an appointment with us to talk about program course selection and scheduling as well as general timelines and next steps to take as you prepare to go abroad.

Please note that Education Abroad planning is a complex and sometimes confusing process that typically requires you to meet with individual offices more than once before you leave.

Before/While Applying to Study Abroad:

Planning Courses Abroad

  • Overall Academic Plan and Study Abroad: Use the Smeal Study Abroad Planning Worksheet to start planning which degree requirements you need to satisfy abroad and how they will fit in your overall academic plan. It may be helpful to refer to the recommended semester-by-semester plan for your major https://ugstudents.smeal.psu.edu/academics-advising/degree-requirements/majors.
  • Academic Adviser Appointment: Make an appointment with your Academic Adviser to review your study abroad academic plan.
  • Study Abroad Courses: Go to the Penn State Program page for your study abroad program and click on Host Program Website to find courses offered on your study abroad program. Choose courses of interest and fit your goals. The Strickler Office of International Programs can help you with this!
  • Smeal Forms: Once you have committed to a study abroad program and have planned which courses you will take abroad, complete the Smeal Study Abroad Course Approval (SACA) Agreement and IB Minor Academic Plan (if applicable) below. These forms should be completed the semester before you plan to study abroad.


After Approval/Commitment to Study Abroad:

International Business (IB) Minor Academic Plan

  • If interested in the International Business minor, be sure you have reviewed the Global Immersion Track approved program list on this web site under Choosing a Program.
  • Meet with an International Programs Coordinator to discuss the IB Minor at any time in the process and submit your IB Minor Academic Plan form after you have committed to an approved program. This must be done in person or on Zoom with the Strickler Office of International Programs. Please use the schedule an appointment link to schedule online via Starfish.

Smeal Study Abroad Course Approval Agreement (SACA)

  • Smeal students studying abroad will be asked to complete this online form the semester before studying abroad to determine how courses may satisfy Smeal degree requirements. (i.e. US, IL, Interdomain, GN, GA, GH, GS, or elective). ***The SACA should be completed after committing to a study abroad program and meeting with your academic adviser to discuss what courses you can satisfy abroad. *** 
  • Access the Smeal Study Abroad Course Approval (SACA) Agreement Online here: https://app.smeal.psu.edu/uge/studyabroad/  
  • The Smeal SACA Agreement is a planning tool specifically for Smeal or Smeal-bound DUS students. It is not connected to course registration with your program provider. Therefore, if your schedule changes, even after you have begun classes abroad, please revise and resubmit the form. This will help to get your degree audit (academic requirements) adjusted quickly and as intended once you return to Penn State.


During/After Study Abroad:

Penn State Global - Course Equivalency Request

  • The Course Equivalency process through PSU Global Education Abroad is different than the Smeal SACA Agreement process above. The Smeal SACA tells you how abroad courses can be used in Smeal for gen ed or elective requirements whereas the Penn State Course Equivalency process assigns a course number so that a course/grade can be posted in Lion Path. Therefore, these are two different processes!
  • After you are sure of your scheduled courses abroad, typically in the first week or two of classes abroad, check if your classes are already on the Historical Course List for your program. If not, submit a Course Equivalency Request for each course that is not on the list. Taking time to do this before returning from abroad, can save you months of delay for processing grades onto your record upon return!
  • Refer questions about this process to the Ellie Labrin (elf103@psu.edu) in the Strickler Office of International Programs.



Non-Penn State Program Abroad

Credits earned abroad during fall or spring semester at a non-PSU program will NOT be accepted toward any Smeal degree requirements including general education and electives. Credits toward Smeal majors will be accepted from programs on the full list of Penn State Education Abroad Office programs.

Students with strong academic motivations for considering a non-PSU program may be interested in petitioning for credits to count and should meet with a member of the Strickler Office of International Programs.

World Campus is NOT a Study Abroad Program

Penn State World Campus is NOT a Penn State Study Abroad program Please read this brochure for a better understanding of the differences.