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Developing Full-Term Programs

Full-term programs are those whereby students spend one or more terms studying at one of Drexel’s international partner institutions. Full-term programs are classified into two general categories: free standing or exchange.

Free Standing Programs

Free standing programs are designed specifically for study abroad audiences, most often by a study abroad provider organization, though sometimes by partner universities. Drexel Global partners with providers such as the Foundation for International Education (United Kingdom), International Center for Development Studies (Costa Rica) and the Council for International Education Exchange (various locations).

Academics: Free standing programs tend to offer a select list of course offerings, taught by a combination of local and US instructors. Classes are generally self-contained for the study abroad cohort (from Drexel and other universities); though some providers also offer direct enrollment into classes with local students. Students receive standard letter grades on their Drexel transcript.

Onsite Experience: Study abroad providers offer onsite support via their residential director and/or support team. Classes commonly take place at local universities, allowing students to interact with local students for extracurricular and social activities.

Program Development: Working with a study abroad provider or partner university is beneficial for bespoke programs that fit the unique curricular needs of your students plans of study. Bespoke programs have enrollment requirements and require active involvement from the sponsoring Drexel department to sustain program participation. They general require a minimum of 10 – 15 students to run and all students take the same courses.

Free Standing Financials: Study abroad providers and partner universities charge fees for educational (tuition) and non-educational (housing, co-curricular, excursions, on-site support) costs related to the program. Students are billed through Drexel Central for the non-educational costs of their program.

Exchange programs immerse students fully in the host university life and culture, allowing them to take courses with local students and faculty, and participate in on campus activities. In addition to sending students on exchange, Drexel also welcomes incoming students from many exchange partner universities.

Academics: Exchange programs provide direct immersion into the host university academic experience. Similar to study at Drexel, students select courses from the host university catalogue according to their interests and plan of study. They take courses alongside local matriculated students with the same academic culture and assessment standards. For this reason, students receive credit/no credit on their Drexel transcript. Courses are often taught in English and the local language depending on the partner.

Onsite Experience: students on exchange enjoy full immersion into the academic, extra-curricular, and social dimensions of being a student at the partner university, such as living in the residence halls and joining student organizations. They are often part of a large group of international exchange students coming from many other countries, providing a diverse cross-cultural experience. Any supports that the partner university has in place (i.e. counseling, tutoring, etc.) are made available to exchange students.

Program Development: Exchange partnerships are often inspired by faculty research collaborations at universities abroad and / or because their curricular offerings are a good match for Drexel.  Working with an exchange partner is beneficial because it allows for selecting courses directly from the partner’s existing catalogue, offering a wide range of options. Exchanges are not cohorted and thus do they have enrollment minimums. Drexel generally prefers university wide exchange agreements that are open to all majors, rather than those limited to one program. University-wide agreements are more flexible and sustainable over time.

Financials: Students pay tuition to their home universities on both sides of the exchange. As long as the exchange remains balanced between Drexel and the partner university, there are no fees incurred and exchanges are cost neutral for both universities. Students pay for housing and other non-educational expenses directly to the host university rather than through Drexel Central.

Considerations for developing a new full term program (free-standing or exchange):

  • Curriculum: What courses (if any) must students in this major take during this term abroad? Are there areas of specialization offered abroad that would enhance/compliment their Drexel curriculum?
  • Program Model: is the department / program seeking a university partner with good curricular match, whereby students take courses from the catalogue with local students – or seeking a bespoke option with students taking select courses together as a cohort? If bespoke, does this major have enough students to sustain a cohorted program?
  • Academic Calendar: what term(s) are most suitable for students in this major to study abroad? How does the term(s) align with the potential partner’s academic calendar?
  • Language of Instruction: (for exchange programs) does the potential partner offer substantial courses in the desired disciplines that are taught in English?   
Any department / program that has identified a partner university or provider, or is interested in developing a term-long option for their students are invited to email Ahaji Schreffler, Senior Director of Education Abroad at