USAC Program Models

USAC offers two different program models, called Specialty and Partnership. 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, etc., but there are a few key differences. Specifically, these models differ in the type of transcript awarded, the type of support on-site, the level of student independence, and the applicability of your Nevada scholarships. 

A Specialty program represents a kind of extension of the University of Nevada, Reno campus abroad, while Partnership programs are exchange-based agreements in which USAC functions as the intermediary between you and our partner university abroad. You can learn more about the differences between these models below, and use these links to see a full list of USAC Specialty or USAC Partnership programs.

Specialty Programs

  • Onsite staff: Specialty programs have permanent, full-time Resident Directors, staff, and faculty onsite. Many Specialty programs are located in regions where English is not a primary language, so USAC staff is available to help you navigate the experience if you do not speak the local language (although we hope you will take this opportunity to practice your language skills and connect with locals!). USAC staff members arrange housing, plan USAC-sponsored field trips/tours, seek out internship placements, volunteer and service learning opportunities in the local community and businesses, and are available to students for travel suggestions, advising, and other needs while abroad.

  • Campus experience: Your classroom instruction will take place on a university campus abroad (the only exception is Puntarenas, Costa Rica), and you will be in class primarily with other USAC students. You will be taught by local and US professors. 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. 
  • Academics: You will earn University of Nevada, Reno credit while abroad, and your courses will appear in your MyNevada account. A Specialty program typically offers intensive study in the local language (beginner to advanced), msicellaneous courses related to the local culture, as well as a concentration of courses in one or more disciplines. For example, the Shanghai, China program offers Chinese language; culture courses such as Chinese Cuisine, Chinese Calligraphy, and Tai Chi; and a variety of international business courses.  Although most courses are taught in English, there are opportunities for those fluent in the local language to enroll in coursework offered in that language. 
  • Scholarships and financial aid: Federal financial aid and most Nevada scholarships, including the Millennium scholarship, can be used toward Specialty study abroad programs. 

Partnership Programs

  • Onsite staff: Upon arrival at the program site, you will receive assistance from the host university's International Programs Office staff. They will provide an international student orientation, organize student activities, and assistant with finalizing your course registration and schedule. 
  • Campus experience: You will be registered directly at the host university, and will have access to the same type of services, support, and resources as any other international student. As a regular student of the host university, you should expect to assume more responsibility and initiative for your academic and social life. USAC will provide you with a list of student clubs and organizations, and volunteer and other immersion opportunities, but ultimately it will be up to you to reach out, connect with locals, and create the type of abroad experience you want.
  • Academics: You will be enrolled at and receive a transcript directly from the host university, and USAC will assist in transferring those international credits back to UNR. Most of our Partnership programs are located in English-speaking countries (or countries where many locals speak English in addition to other languages) and all provide instruction in English. Students typically have access to the full curriculum offered by the host university, as well other courses specifically designed for international students. 
  • Scholarships and financial aid: Federal financial aid and many Nevada scholarships can be used toward Partnership study abroad programs. The Millennium Scholarship cannot be applied toward Partnership study abroad programs.