Olin Global Programs’ list of approved programs will meet the needs of most students. In some cases, students will have compelling academic reasons to submit an alternative program petition in order to be eligible to earn Washington University credit abroad. Students can also take a leave of absence to study abroad without earning Washington University credit.

Petition for Alternative Programs

Students seeking to earn Washington University credit for an alternative program not on the list of Washington University-approved programs are required to petition the Global Programs Advisory Board for approval. Students must have compelling academic reasons, strong academic preparation, and strong endorsement of the appropriate academic department in order to successfully petition for an alternative program. 


  • An Entrepreneurship major wants to study small business development in Africa. Olin does not currently offer any programs in Africa. The student finds an SIT program in Uganda that, in addition to coursework on Africa and entrepreneurship, includes a practicum working with small businesses in the area. His petition is approved.
  • A marketing and international business major has taken one semester of Portuguese and is really interested in the biofuel industry in Brazil. She petitions for a CIEE Program on Business and Society in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in which she would take Intensive Portuguese and marketing and international business classes in English. Her petition is approved.
  • A finance major has always wanted to live in Spain and loves Spanish food and culture. She has not taken any Spanish language and has not taken any courses in her major. She finds a program in Spain taught in English that allows plenty of time for recreational travel. She also chose this program because her best friend from high school is applying as well. Her petition is denied.

Petitioners must complete a petition advising questionnaire and meet with the Associate Director of Global Programs, Sara Stratton, at least two weeks before the application deadline.  Review Alternative Program Petition Instructions and Application.

Approved Petitions | If the petition is approved, your online petition application will be moved to a program application and you will need to complete a set of materials. The program will be considered a WUSTL-approved program with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with that designation, including enrollment in INTL 300A, Planning for International Learning and INTL 300B, and Applying International Experiences. The program transcript will be reviewed upon return for Washington University credit and you will be required to fulfill all academic requirements while abroad.

Tuition and Fees– Semester Programs| The payment of fees and application of financial aid will follow Global Programs financial procedures and policies. Students petitioning an Alternative Program should review all policies prior to application. Once your petition is approved, WU will assume the responsibility for paying the program sponsor, and your program price will be set in the same way as for WU programs. For a fall and/or spring program, WU charges tuition equivalent to the on-campus tuition fee. Because the University has a home-school tuition policy, students should not make a decision to study abroad on an Alternative Program due to the costs of a program fee alone. WU tuition covers only the academic portion of any study abroad program, therefore, WU student health insurance and any housing, food, airfare or other costs paid by WU on the student’s behalf are billed as additional and separate items on the WU student account. The WU tuition and other applicable fees will be posted to your WU account, where financial aid and other credits can be applied. Washington University works with the sponsoring institution to determine the non-tuition-related charges included in the program’s fee. Once identified, any applicable room and board, or other charges billed through Washington University are assessed at cost and are posted to the student’s Washington University account.

Summer Programs| Once your petition is approved, the individual student on approved summer petition programs will assume the responsibility of paying the program sponsor directly. In addition to the sponsor’s fees, students will also be assessed an Olin Global Programs Administrative Fee. This fee will be billed to the student’s WashU account. 

Denied Petitions | If the petition is denied, the student may apply for a regularly approved program.