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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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I want to study abroad. Where / how do I start?

There are a number of places to start.

  • Speak first with your academic advisor to learn about special considerations for your major
  • Research programs on the International Programs Office website (
  • Stop in our office (CSU 250) and talk with a study abroad advisor to learn about your many options

[PDF] We have created a full outline of the process to make it easier for you (2 MiB)

When can I study abroad?

Once you have achieved sophomore status (30 credits) you are eligible to study abroad. If you want to go on a faculty-led program, first-year students may participate with the instructor's permission. Typically, you must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 (higher for some programs) to be considered. You may study abroad for either Fall or Spring semester or consider going for the full acadmic year. Summer is also becoming a popular option for an international experience!

What types of programs can I go on?

There are a number of different types of programs. Minnesota State Mankato sponsors:

  • Faculty-led short-term programs (7 days - 6 weeks)
    • Group travel with students and professors you know
    • Earn 1-3 credits
    • Some courses are for specific majors
  • Direct exchanges (one or two semesters)
    • Lowest cost alternative for a semester program (you pay MSU tuition rates)
    • Grades contribute to your GPA
  • Spanish language programs (2 - 16 weeks)
    • Options in Costa Rica, Ecuador, or Spain
    • Credits are pre-determined and fit right into your program at MSU
    • Contact Dr. Jim Grabowska, Chair of the World Languages & Cultures Department, for more information
  • University partnerships (University of Stirling, Scotland)
    • Specially negotiated, reduced tuition rate for Mankato students
    • Transferred credits come back as Pass / No Pass
  • Third-party providers (Students pay additional fees for services). These organizations arrange and facilitate study abroad experiences, including summer programs and internships, in countries where Minnesota State Mankato may not have a program.
    • Additional assistance and advising before, during, and after your study abroad program
    • Most programs include regular excursions and weekend trips
    • Scholarship assistance
    • Transferred credits come back as Pass / No Pass

Can I use my financial aid for study abroad?

Absolutely! Since you are going for an academic experience, most costs qualify for financial aid, including passport, visa, international airfare, and other mandatory expenses. During the application process, we will create a new budget covering your program dates and you can adjust your financial aid package with Student Financial Services. Advanced planning helps this process go smoothly. The first step is to complete your FAFSA application, which determines the mix of grants and loans for which you qualify. You must register for the equivalent of 12 credits during the semester and 6 credits during the summer to qualify for federal aid.

I would like to go on a longer program, but cost is a big issue for me. What are the most cost-effective programs?

Our exchange programs would be a good fit for you. You pay MSU tuition and get help and support from the Kearney International Center and our overseas partners. Normally, the only additional costs are your plane ticket, visa/passport costs, and your living expenses abroad. We are constantly expanding the number of exchange programs.

Will my credits transfer back to MNSU?

Yes. Our application process includes a Course Equivalency Worksheet. During the application phase, you will list your planned classes (plus some alternates) and take it to the appropriate campus departments so that they can confirm in writing how the classes will transfer back to MSU. Once MSU receives your transcript after studying abroad (and assuming that you pass your classes), you bring this worksheet and a copy of your transcript to the academic departments to complete a course substitution / equivalency form. This form finalizes the contribution of your study abroad classes to graduation.

What if I run into a problem overseas?

In all cases, students receive on-going support from overseas staff and from the Kearney International Center. Orientation sessions are offered in Mankato and in your destination country. At your in-country orientation, you will learn about what to do in case of an emergency. For non-emergencies, both the on-site staff and MSU staff members are available to answer questions and direct students to resources such as activities, health care, academic support services, etc.