Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Terry Huffman, PhD


This exploratory study examines the impact of short-term study abroad programs on students at one small, religious, comprehensive university on the West Coast. In particular, four dimensions of influence are investigated: academic impact, personal impact, social impact, and spiritual impact. The primary objective of this investigation is to determine whether the short term study abroad programs at this institution provide substantive opportunities for student growth in these four dimensions. A secondary objective utilizes Astin’s Student Involvement Theory to discover the extent to which student engagement affects this student growth. The literature review examines the impact of study abroad experiences in each of this study’s four dimensions, as well as the implications of study abroad duration on student outcomes. All participants in this study attend the same university and enrolled in a short-term study abroad program nine-months prior to participating in this research. The survey instrument relied on student self-assessment. Findings revealed that the short-term study abroad experience did have a measurable impact on study participants. Each of the four dimensions studied exhibited areas of positive impact, with the greatest impact occurring in the areas of personal and social growth. While less substantial, some degree of impact was felt in the areas of academic and spiritual growth. Further, the research found a positive correlation between quality and quantity of student investment in the short-term study abroad experience and the impact that students realized as a result. This study builds on a shallow base of scholarship specifically pertaining to the impact of short-term study abroad. Due to its methodology, this study is limited in its universality. The findings and conclusions are directly applicable to the institution and participants studied, but are not intended to be representative of all short-term study abroad programs.