Learning Abroad Center

Non-affiliated Programs

Non-affiliated study abroad programs are those that have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.  The University of Minnesota strongly encourages you to participate in one of the hundreds of programs already vetted and approved by the Learning Abroad Center or another unit on campus. These are high quality programs in terms of academic standards, housing, cultural immersion, health and safety, and administrative support services. 

You can also participate in most affiliate programs not listed on the Learning Abroad Center website. These non-promoted affiliate programs are offered through CET, IES, IFSA, ISEP, and SFS; they are not considered non-affiliated programs.  

You are encouraged to meet with a Learning Abroad Center adviser for assistance in finding a program that aligns with you study abroad interests and goals.

If you still decide to pursue participation in a non-affiliated program after carefully reviewing the programs offered by the University of Minnesota, the LAC is not able to assist you with program arrangements before, during, or after participation. You will need to explore program details including coursework, housing, cultural immersion, health and safety, and support services on your own.  The Office of Admissions provides information about international transfer credit evaluation and how to determine if the courses offered on a non-affiliated program can be posted as transfer credit.

Student Not Eligible for Placeholder Registration

If you decide to participate in a non-affiliated program during fall or spring semester and you are not eligible for placeholder registration (this applies to nearly all students; see below), you will need to apply for a leave of absence from your college.  If your college does not approve the leave of absence, you would need to leave the university and reapply for admission.  Students who are not registered for placeholder credits cannot use financial aid through the UofM. See OneStop for information about other leave of absence impacts to consider.

If you do not require placeholder registration to participate in a non-affiliated program but your travel is for University purposes (travel that fulfills a degree requirement, is supported by University funding, etc.), you must complete the UofM travel registry process through the GPS Alliance. This process includes obtaining support and approval from your college/department, including a 24/7 emergency contact in the college/department.

Eligibility for Placeholder Registration

In very rare situations, the Learning Abroad Center will provide placeholder credits for an undergraduate student participating in a non-affiliated study abroad program. This is the case only when both of the following criteria are met:

  • The student is receiving a government-funded scholarship (eg, Boren) that requires that the student be enrolled at the UofM while abroad.
  • There is no LAC program that meets their requirements in terms of language level and destination.  If there is a UofM program that offers the language level and destination required for the scholarship that the student has received, they will be required to utilize the approved program.

Note that students applying for a Gilman scholarship would not meet these criteria. The Learning Abroad Center will only certify Gilman applications for students participating in a program already approved by the UofM because Gilman does not have any location or language requirements that would necessitate choosing from outside of the list of already approved UofM programs.


Students who meet the eligibility criteria for placeholder registration for a non-affiliated program should contact Scott Daby for information about next steps.