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GHANA - ISEP University of Ghana

Founded in 1948 as the University College of the Gold Coast, for the purpose of providing university education, learning, and research, it became the University College of Ghana on the attainment of Ghana’s independence in March 1957.

It has trained more than 40,000 graduates who are at the helm of affairs in Ghana and many parts of the world. Currently, the student population is about 30,000 with over 1,000 foreign students.

Today, Ghana is one of the most peaceful and politically stable countries in Africa. The very best of Ghana, however, is the Ghanaian people, who are amongst the friendliest in Africa; prepare yourself for a warm, sociable welcome! AKWAABA.

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  Course registration and environment may be very different than to what you may be accustomed.

Learn more about the University of Ghana here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


The campus is located approximately 13 kilometers northeast of Accra, the capital of Ghana. University Avenue extends from the main gate to Legon Hill, where Commonwealth Hall, Convocation buildings, an open-air theatre, the Great Hall and a tower donated by the Government of Ghana to commemorate Ghana’s independence may be found.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Ghana. 


The university was founded in 1948 as the University College of the Gold Coast and operated as an affiliate college of the University of London, which supervised its academic programs and awarded degrees. The institution was awarded full university status in 1961. The University of Ghana is the largest of the four universities in Ghana and currently enrolls 26,000 students. Originally, the curricular emphasis was on liberal arts, social science, basic science, agriculture and medicine; however, there is currently a national educational reform program to diversify the curriculum and provide more science and technology and post-graduate training. 

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

As a former colony of the British, the teaching and examination style of the University mostly follow the British model of lectures by faculty with an occasional class discussion. The language of instruction is English. The academic year is divided into two semesters, with the first semester (fall) typically beginning in early September and the second semester (spring) in late January. The grading system is similar to that of the United Kingdom, and almost all courses require an end of semester exam, with a 70% = A.

Textbooks are hard to come by, as such most courses may entail the handing out of lecture materials (pamphlets as it is mostly called by students) by lecturers. Some lecturers may require you to purchase such materials from them. For courses in your major, you may wish to bring a basic textbook from home. Class sizes vary; some could have up to 400 students, especially at the lower levels. Some of these also have a regular seminar period divided into smaller student groups. You should expect less continual evaluation of your work and a greater emphasis on memorization. Much emphasis is put on out-of-class study in preparation for the final exam, which is 100% of the grade.

There are absolutely no early examinations arranged for international students. All students are expected to take the examinations during the official examination period. If a student fails to comply with this practice this practice, he or she will not receive a grade for the course in question.

Because University salaries are low; professors often take additional work, which affects their ability to hold classes regularly at the scheduled time. Be prepared for some classes to start weeks after the official starting date. Students should note that the relationships between students and lecturers are very formal. Open debate and/or questions that may be perceived as “challenging the professor’s knowledge” should be restricted to after class, one-on-one discussions with the lecturer. During one-on-one sessions, students may discuss other academic topics as well as bring along supplementary materials they may have (i.e. textbooks brought from home).

Short course descriptions are provided on the University of Ghana’s website

If you need a more detailed description, you may contact the office of the ISEP Coordinator in Ghana and they will do their best to provide you a list of the courses listed on the University’s website, not all are offered every semester. Odd-numbered courses are offered in the fall and even-numbered courses are offered in the spring. If you absolutely must have a course for some reason, please check with the ISEP office in Ghana in order to ensure the course will be offered in the semester that you are planning to study in Ghana.

Most appropriate fields for ISEP students are African studies, geography and resource development, agriculture, and social sciences. Curriculum for science courses is largely theory based. Due to the difference in university calendars, it is possible that you will not receive confirmation of your placement at the University of Ghana until as late as July for the following fall and full-year placement, and November for spring placement. 

Listing desired courses on the ISEP Study Site Request form is not a guarantee that these courses will be available during the term you intend to study in Ghana.

Exchange students should select courses at the 300 and 400 level, which may be closer to 200 level courses at your home institution. Former exchange students recommend taking one course each in a variety of disciplines and taking a lot of courses as electives. Those needing several courses in one field may not get as much course content as they need for their major or minor field.

The process of registering for classes will likely differ from your home university. You will register online for courses, but you will also register in person with each department. This process is usually not more involved than signing your name to a sheet of paper or at most completing a one-page sheet. Past ISEP students advise that registration can take all day (so you may want to bring some fruit or something to munch while waiting in line). It may also take about one month for classes to get in full swing, another reason for learning to relax while observing and learning as much as possible.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

The ISEP University of Ghana program uses the US semester credit system, in which 1 credit = 42-45 in-class hours, and 2 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour.

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

Note: It is the same credit-system at LFC!

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

African Language Classes

As part of the ISEP program benefits, we have arranged for all ISEP students to be given a beginner-level Twi language course during their first semester. This course, suggested by our Resident Director in Ghana as well as past ISEP students, will appear on your transcript from the University of Ghana. Students may also elect to take beginning level classes in any of the major languages of Ghana: Twi (which includes Asante Twi and Fante Twi), Ga, Ewe and Dagbani. Twi is by far the most popular and widely spoken language in Ghana. Ga is the local language of Accra. Learning either of the two languages probably would be useful, but knowledge is not necessary for survival.

Student Life


There is an ISEP-specific orientation dealing with social, cultural, travel, safety, etiquette and lifestyle issues. There will be visits to places of interest including an Accra City Tour, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, W.E.B. DuBois Center, shopping areas in Accra and in surrounding areas near the campus. Immigration and university-wide orientation include information on education, registration, university life, historical and cultural information on Ghana and medical exam required by Ghana Immigration. Students will also visit other regions in Ghana during the semester through organized excursions. 


Free airport pick-up is provided. Students should contact the ISEP Coordinator at UG for more information.


There are ample opportunities to participate in team sports such as basketball, swimming, volleyball, and soccer. Participation on these teams often includes travel to other West African countries or other cities in Ghana for competition.

ISEP students participate in an extensive orientation program including academic, cultural, health & safety information, visits to local areas of interest and two overnight excursions outside of Accra. ISEP benefits include on-site support from an ISEP Resident Director.


  Experiential Opportunities


As a designated Global Engagement Program, ISEP directly facilitates community engagement opportunities that enable ISEP students to enrich their experience in Ghana by becoming actively engaged with the local community.

ISEP-facilitated community engagement opportunities:
ISEP has identified a number of community organizations near Accra that have needs which could be met by ISEP students. Check out ISEP’s current partnerships

Other volunteer opportunities:
If none of the ISEP-facilitated community engagement opportunities above fit what you are looking for, please contact the ISEP Resident Director directly ( for assistance in arranging another opportunity.

Independent Study opportunities in Ghana
Students also have the opportunity to participate in a structured independent study project supervised by a professor from the University of Ghana. The independent study project should be discussed at length at the home university if the student is seeking academic credit for the project. Credit will not be awarded by the University of Ghana, and therefore students must discuss the option of their home university awarding partial or full credit for the arranged project. There is a separate fee associated with a project to be paid to the supervising professor at the University of Ghana.

Students interested in any of the ISEP-facilitated community engagement opportunities listed above should submit a separate statement detailing their interest along with the ISEP Ghana application. See the application for more details.


For current community engagement opportunities in Ghana, please contact Lindsay Moats.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in double rooms in an on-campus international student residence hall (with the option of having a Ghanaian roommate.) The residence hall is equipped with laundry and cooking facilities. A cash meal stipend is provided at the beginning of the semester. Stipends can be used to prepare meals or purchase meals at one of many on-campus cafeterias or food vendors. There are also several restaurants located in close proximity to the school. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to the University of Ghana includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week. The Direct fee includes all of the above plus insurance.  

ISEP costs for Exchange are usually the most cost-effective, as it is intended to promote mobility of students around the world. Direct options are available for those students that prefer to attend a school with limited availability for Exchange, though costs may be different as they are set by the host school. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange, which tend to be less expensive to promote more exchange opportunities for all schools.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item





Lake Forest College Tuition



Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.



Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College



ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees



ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP



ISEP Global Experience Program Fee



Additional Meals



Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award



Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)



Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses






Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office