Introducing the International Opportunities Program
The International Opportunities Program includes all study abroad providers external to the University of California, such as UCEAP or any programs based on another UC campus. Most International Opportunities Program providers are well-established, reputable study abroad programs around the world. Students participating in these programs will need to be proactive and self-reliant as they will need to navigate the course approval and financial aid processes a little more independently compared to other programs. UC Merced has established affiliations with several IOP providers and students may search for others as well.
Advantages of IOP
IOP, because there are so many providers and because there is an inherent competitive nature in the field, means that there are many choices for students, which will give IOP some distinct advantages for students looking for education abroad.
- There are many more countries from which to choose.
- There are many more summer, semester, and year options from which to choose.
- GPA requirements tend to be more flexible.
- Application deadlines tend to be more flexible.
- All federal and California financial aid travels with students for eligible, accredited programs with a full transferable course load.
- For affiliated programs there are often discounts for UC Merced students.
IOP advantages vary because of the diversity of program options.
Students might enter the application process at different points, but this is the typical application process for IOP.
- Research your options.
- Review options already in the UC Merced MyStudyAbroad portal.
- If your program is not listed or you wish to expand your search, find a program via one of the following and notify the Office of International Affairs:
- Read reviews on study abroad either in MyStudyAbroad or with Abroad 101.
- Make sure the program is accredited or issues transcripts through an accredited institution.
- Check the application deadlines.
- Check funding availability.
- Find your program and apply.
- Submit $150 IOP leave fee.
- Update your emergency contact information through the UC Merced Connect App.
- See a list of countries for which the U.S. Department of State has listed travel advisories to see if the country to which you are applying is included among them.
- Request official transcripts to be sent directly to the Office of International Affairs.
- Transcripts must be issued by an accredited institution.
- Transcripts must arrive sealed.
- Submit Course Approval Forms for substitutions of individual courses, major and technical electives, and GE requirements.
Spring 2012 and later participants will need to request course equivalencies through MyStudyAbroad.
Students who do not find a program that matches their needs in UCEAP may seek opportunities through programs offered outside of UC through accredited institutions. Students should remember that in addition to finding coursework through an accredited program, coursework abroad must be similar to coursework available at the University of California. Students who choose to pursue IOP should realize that UC Merced staff members are not experts in these options and that UC Merced policy and infrastructure for working with these programs may still be in flux.