Independent Programs

Independent Programs (IP)  are study abroad or away programs not managed or hosted by the University of California. IP can be a good option for students who are not able to find a UC program that meets their academic, personal, or professional goals.  IP programs can also be more affordable for students who do not use financial aid or are out of state students (out of state tuition does not apply).

Important Factors with IP:

  • Financial Aid is not currently available to students who participate in IP

  • When the steps below are followed, students could potentially receive transfer credit for IP programs. Transfer credit is not guaranteed.

  • UC credit is not possible for IP. 

  • The maximum number of credits a student can transfer to their UCSC degree is 105 quarter units.

  • Students who participate in IP must take a leave of absence for the duration of time that they are abroad during all terms except for summer term.

 For more information on Independent Programs, please see this Independent Programs Database, which contains a range of international education organizations.

How to Apply to Independent Programs (IP)

  1. Complete your Profile.

  2. Select your program

  3. Fill out the Proposed Program Evaluation

    • To determine if coursework taken abroad is eligible for transfer credit, fill out the Proposed Program Evaluation. You do not need to be admitted into the program when you complete this step. Emailing Admissions ahead of time will allow you to make an educated decision about programs.

    • Include the full name of the university or college that will be issuing you a transcript, the syllabi for the courses you plan to take, and a link to the program website.

    • Email if you would like support with this step. 

  4. Apply Directly to your IP

    • Apply online to your IP through their website.

    • List Emma May, Assistant Director of Global Learning as your main contact at UCSC.

  5. Complete an IP Registration Form in the Global Learning Portal

    • Complete the IP Registration to confirm that you are pursuing this opportunity. 

    • There is one generic IP form for all opportunities, you will be asked to fill in program-specific information within the form.

  6. Complete a UC Santa Cruz Leave of Absence (except summer)

Submit an online UC Santa Cruz Leave of Absence (LOA) for the quarter(s) you will be away from UC Santa Cruz on your IP.


Additional Considerations

  • Determine major/minor coursework: If the Office of Admissions approves your coursework for transfer credit after you have submitted theProposed Program Evaluation, meet with your major or minor advisors to discuss if any of the approved courses you take while you are abroad may satisfy major or minor requirements.

  • Pre-Departure Items: If you are selected for participation by your IP, you will need to meet their deadlines, complete their pre-departure requirements, and follow their participation instructions.  


Withdrawing: Email and your IP if you decide to withdraw or your plans change.


IP Affiliates

IP Affiliates are specific organizations that UCSC Global Learning has established partnerships with. Each option is a respected International Education Organization based in the United States that designs programs to include academics, housing, health insurance, on-site support, pre-departure information, and excursions. All of the programs below are widely known and partner with universities and colleges across the United States. 

CEA Global Education
Year, Semester, Summer and Internships

Automatic Grants for UCSC Students:

  • $500 - Year-long programs
  • $250 - Semester or quarter programs
  • $100 - Summer programs

For more information, email CEA directly at

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)

Year, Semester, and Summer Programs in Australia, NZ, and Asia

For more information, email TEAN directly at

International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Year, Semester, Summer, Quarter, Internships, Service-Learning, and Research

Automatic Grants for UCSC Students:

  • $200 - Any program

For more information, email ISA directly at

Academic Programs International (API)

Year, Semester, Summer, Internships, Virtual

For more information, contact API here. 

CIS Abroad (CIS)

Year, Semester, Summer, Internships, Virtual

Semester at Sea

Semester programs on a large ship built as a floating university campus. Students visit 10 - 12 countries in a semester and receive credit from Colorado State University. 

* Financial aid packaging is possible through Colorado State University, email for more information.*

Featured Program: Fall Voyage

  • Location(s): Asia, Africa, and Europe
  • Term: Fall
  • Units: 18-22.5 credits
  • Courses: Global Studies is required, and students take 3-4 other courses in addition (many majors)

For more information, email SAS directly at



Other IP Options at UCSC

Below you will find additional IP study abroad programs. Although these are not current UCSC affiliates, they are popular options for UCSC students.



Independent Programs Academic Planning

To earn transfer credit from an IP, have an official transcript from your program organization sent to the address below.

  • Upon receipt of your official transcript, the Office of Admissions will award transfer credit for UC-transferable courses as long as you have completed the Proposed Program Evaluation.
  • If you forgot to fill out the Proposed Program Evaluation before your program, or your classes changed and you didn’t fill out the PPE with your updated classes please submit a Review of Transfer Credit.
  • Transfer courses do not affect your cumulative UCSC GPA.
  • Once courses are transferred and added to your UC transcript, you can speak with your major/minor advisors about how those courses may be counted toward major/minor requirements.

ATTN: Study Abroad/Away Transfer Credit Evaluation
Admissions Office, Hahn
University of California Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA