Academics and Study Abroad

You will need an academic goal(s) or purpose for SF State Abroad. You may work towards one or multiple goals while studying abroad. It is recommended that you write your goals down and then Search Programs. On each Program page, you will find a link to host university course listings in the Program Information section, which can be used to help you determine your academic goal for abroad. 


Academic Goals for Study Abroad

should include progress in one or more of the following areas:

  • Major
  • Minor
  • Lower and Upper Division GE Requirements*
  • Language Learning

*Espeically save Humanities, Social Science, and Life Science requirements (i.e. UD-C & UD-D)

Students enjoying cherry blossoms

Guidelines for each

Academic Goal

  • Meet with your advisor in your department
  • Discuss which courses to take here and abroad
  • Bring with you course descriptions of the classes you wish to take abroad for your advisor to review and approve.
  • Maintain your relationship with your advisor throughout the process and know how to contact them while abroad; save their email addresses!
  • Consider adding a Minor with a focus on African Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies, Pacific Asian Studies, or South Asian Studies.

students pointing at fascinating object


Upper Division GE Requirement

You are required to take a minimum of 9 units of Upper Division GE coursework that will be approved after study abroad by your College's Student Success Center to complete a GE petition. For study abroad planning prior, please feel free to speak with a study abroad advisor. 

  • It is recommended that you save 6-9 of the units for Study Abroad
  • Taking these GEs abroad will enable degree progress and
    provide an opportunity to get to know your host country better in addition to your other coursework
  • These units can be your academic focus or combined with another goal

Students precariously perched on sea cliff

Language Learning

  • With 1-2 semesters of the language prior, you can spend a year learning another language. 
  • This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and build your linguistic skills.
  • You can add a language minor (or even double major) before or after studying abroad, as
    will complete the majority of requirements for a minor abroad.
  • Learning another language is a great academic goal, especially for working in California.
Student studying abroad in Japan


Declared vs. Undeclared

SF State Abroad does not require that you be in your new major or minor at the time of application, but you should state your plans in your personal statement. Please note that a few departments and many programs may require you to be declared prior to departure.

You will still want to speak with academic advisors and SF State Abroad advisors during your planning process.

 Student trekking in high desert

Meeting with Academic Advisors

  • Major/minor advisors and the Undergraduate Advising Center are excellent resources for you in degree planning and making study abroad part of your studies
  • It is recommended that you first identify a few potential programs abroad (with the help of SF State Abroad) and then bring in course descriptions of classes you would like to take abroad.
  • It is important to plan early and leave yourself academic flexibility; it is never too early to plan for study abroad.
  • If you have any questions, speak to with a Study Abroad Advisor.