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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Khon Kaen, Thailand
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: 1 Area Studies Course in Language or Culture (Recommended) Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, Homestay Visit Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

CIEE Khon Kaen: Development and Globalization
The CIEE Study Center in Thailand’s focus is on development and globalization and involves an intensive hands-on approach to learning. Students work closely together to deepen their understanding of development and globalization and their role within them.

Khon Kaen University (KKU), the major educational institution in the Northeast, is located four kilometers north of the city on 2,500 acres of partially wooded land. Founded in 1964, KKU has 19 faculties that offer Bachelor’s Master’s, and professional degrees.  KKU has 44,000 students including 31,000 undergraduate in 13,000 postgraduate students. The program offices and classrooms are located just off campus at the CIEE Study Center.

For additional information, visit the CIEE Khon Kaen website here, and the Khon Kaen University website here
The City of Khon Kaen

With a population of 300,000, Khon Kaen is Thailand’s 4th largest city.  About 300 miles north of Bangkok, it is the educational and government center of the Northeast, as well as the headquarters for many development organizations. Khon Kaen is an important center for the region’s silk trade.  Compared to other parts of Thailand, the region has retained many traditional Thai customs as well as Lao and Khmer influences.  The official language of the city is Thai.

Did you know…?

When in Khon Kaen, students should make it a point to visit Treasure Hall.  Established to strengthen local identity and serve as a study center, the local museum exhibits the history of the city – including Khon Kaen town history, historical culture dating back over 5,000 years, and the Khon Kaen lifestyle historically and at present.



The program at CIEE Khon Kaen is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: No previous study required.

Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of 1 Area Studies course by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure recommended, but not required.  


Language of Instruction



A full course load at CIEE Khon Kaen consists of 4 classes per semester.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

Program participants are required to take all of the following four courses:
  • The Human Perspective on Development and the Environment (115 Contact Hours)
  • Directed Research Field Study/Practicum (96 Contact Hours)
  • Social Research Methods (45 Contact Hours)
  • Thai language course (55 – 65 Contact Hours)

CIEE Khon Kaen Academic Calendar
CIEE Khon Kaen Course Information

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here

Special Features

BKK Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by CIEE prior to the start of each semester.  More information on CIEE Khon Kaen’s orientation activities can be found on the program website.

Students will begin their study abroad experience before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation.  Upon arrival, students initially meet in Bangkok and then travel straight to the Study Center in Khon Kaen.  During orientation, students will be introduced to the country, culture, and academic program, as well as practical information about living in Khon Kaen.

Peer Tutors

About once per week, students will be paired with Khon Kaen University students for Thai language tutorial sessions.

BKK Special FeaturesField Work

The program seeks to bring students into authentic exchange with villagers, NGOs, and others who are working for social change at the grassroots level.

Community Stays

You should expect to spend substantial amounts of time staying with families in rural communities.


BKK CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students, which may lack amenities to which students are accustomed on their home campus.

Students are required to live in housing arranged by CIEE for the duration of their program abroad. While not on community stays, and staying with host families, students live in off-campus rental units with a Thai roommate. The accommodations are located a short walk from where classes are held.  Meals are the responsibility of the student and can be taken at the university cafeteria or at local restaurants. Students have access to email venues at inexpensive local internet cafes.

Information regarding accommodation can be found on the CIEE Khon Kaen website.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets


Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation. 

CIEE Scholarships & Grants: Provides both merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants for undergraduate studying abroad on CIEE programs. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Khon Kaen, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.