Program Models

USAC offers two different program models. You may want to focus first on programs that meet specific needs and then consider the program model to understand some of the differences. Some key model differences include pricing, type of transcript awarded, the type of support on-site, the level of student independence, etc. Both models offer a variety of courses in English, immersion opportunities, access to the host university clubs and activities, language courses, housing support and assistance, and more.

Specialty Programs

USAC has 30 Specialty program locations across 18 countries. Specialty programs are run by on-site USAC Resident Directors, staff, and faculty who are hired and employed by USAC.  Approximately 84 percent of USAC students attend a Specialty program. A Specialty program provides a great deal of individualized support and attention prior to departure and throughout the program term.

Specialty programs are based at a host university where we maintain an office and classroom space. All of the resources at that university are available to USAC students and provide extraordinary integration opportunities: language conversation partners, campus activities and clubs, cafeterias, internet labs, recreational facilities, etc.

Classes are taught by USAC faculty drawn from the host university and the local academic community, as well as occasional visiting US professors. Classes are taught mostly in English, taken with other USAC students, and earn US academic credit. At the end of the program students receive a USAC grade report and, if required by the student's home university, a US university transcript. These programs typically offer intensive language study, as well as an assortment of courses from disciplines such as economics, political science, history, etc. Furthermore, each program may offer a concentration of courses in one or more disciplines, for example, international business in Shanghai, China; life sciences in San Ramón, Costa Rica; and art history in Madrid, Spain. 

USAC on-site staff members arrange housing, plan USAC-sponsored field trips/tours, seek out internship placements, organize volunteer and service learning opportunities in the local community, and are available to students for travel suggestions, advising, emergencies, and other needs while abroad.

Explore USAC Specialty programs here.

Partnership Programs

USAC has 24 Partnership program locations across 13 countries. Partnership programs are exchange-based agreements in which USAC functions as the intermediary between the students and our partner university abroad. The international office and staff at the foreign university run these programs. Students take classes mostly in English and earn foreign university credit from the partner university. At many sites, students will have access to the full university curriculum in addition to courses taught specifically for visiting students. At the end of the program abroad, USAC will deliver the foreign university transcript to the student's home university along with recommendations for converting the foreign university credits and grades to US equivalencies.

The USAC Central Office will provide students with US-based support prior to their study abroad experience, such as pre-departure suggestions, housing contacts, immigration and visa instructions, travel tips, organizing group flights, and providing specific arrival information. Upon arrival at the program site, services will be offered directly by the on-campus international programs office of that foreign university, such as orientation, student activities, and assistance with course registration.

Both USAC and the partner university provide advice and support; however, there is no USAC-employed staff on-site and students are expected to assume considerable responsibility and initiative for their academic and social life.

Explore USAC Partnership programs here.