NEURUS: Study planning best practices in Europe

SGSUP students have the opportunity to study a regional, planning, or urban studies issue of interest in Europe through the Network for European and United States Regional and Urban Studies (NEURUS) program, which promotes scholarly exchange among students and faculty from around the globe.

As a NEURUS Exchange Fellow, students are able to study at one of three European host universities: the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Humboldt University Berlin in Germany, and Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Austria. NEURUS is a traditional semester-length program but is unique in that students spend time at their host university conducting research on the topic of their choice, rather than taking coursework. NEURUS fellows interact through meetings with their host university advisors and a multiday fall semester seminar in Europe and a spring semester seminar in the U.S. In addition to conducting research in Europe, students can also complete the International Certificate in Urban and Regional Development (ICURD) during their time as a NEURUS Fellow.

Interested students should contact Dr. Sara Meerow ( to discuss potential projects, sites, and logistics in the fall or winter the year prior to studying abroad. A 3-5 page research proposal is due to Dr. Meerow by March 31, and students are matched to host universities by early May. The NEURUS coordinator at the host university helps exchange students with travel, housing, and visa arrangements that spring, and the following fall travel commences. NEURUS is a unique study abroad opportunity for SGSUP graduate students, we highly encourage interested students to ask questions about the program!

You can learn more at, including seeing recent research papers by NEURUS Fellows, student testimonials, and frequently asked questions.

Kevin Rayes, an MUEP alumnus, shares his experience as a participant in the NEURUS program as a student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does it cost to do NEURUS?

Students pay their normal ASU tuition, because they stay enrolled here at the university while they study aboard. Additional costs come from travel and visa fees, plus everyday costs for housing, food, and entertainment. Because students pay ASU tuition, rather than tuition to a foreign university, NEURUS can be a more financially feasible study aboard option for students.

Is there financial aid?

There are multiple sources of aid for students in the NEURUS program. Options include the Gage Davis Travel Award (up to $700); MUEP Research and Travel Support funds (up to $400); Graduate College Travel Award (up to $500); GSPA Travel Grants (up to $950); and GSPA Research Grants. There are also several scholarships and awards offered by educational and professional foundations, such as the National Defense Transportation Association Scholarship, and we encourage students to apply based upon their research interests.

Do I have to know a foreign language to do NEURUS?

No. All instruction is conducted in English.

Can I do NEURUS as a TA?

Yes. We ask that students note in their Teaching Assistant application that they will be participating in the NEURUS program. Students are matched as best as possible with an iCourse or oCourse being taught the fall of their exchange program.

Can I take courses from the host university?

There is potential to take courses from your host university, but they will be audited courses.  The NEURUS program is researched focused, not coursework focused. Students in the NEURUS program are visiting student scholars and are not enrolled in courses at the host university. Students stay enrolled at ASU during their entire exchange semester.

 Can I get elective credits for NEURUS?

Yes, up to 12 credits of electives usually taken as PUP 590 Reading and Conference, or PUP 592 Research.

What if I have a course conflict but still want to study abroad?

Students with course conflicts should get in touch with the MUEP Program Coordinator or the Manager of Graduate Programs to discuss options.  

 Can I turn my NEURUS research into my capstone project?

Yes. Students typically use their research to complete a thesis for PUP 599, but if there is a client students can use their research to complete the professional applied project for PUP 593.

Are accelerated students eligible?

Yes, however it does require advance planning if you want to avoid taking an additional semester to graduate. There are four required MUEP core courses that are scheduled in fall semesters only, and none are available as iCourses. Accelerated students wishing to participate in the NEURUS program during their graduate year without prolonging their time to graduation are recommended to take all four required MUEP courses during their first fall semester (senior year). This deviation from the standard plan of study course sequence would free up the second fall semester (graduate year) for independent research or iCourse elective credit while on NEURUS. However, this deviation will also reduce the number of graduate-level credits that can be taken during the spring semester of the senior year. Accelerated students must consult with their undergraduate advisor, graduate advisor, and Dr. Meerow prior to making any plans.

Accelerated students who do not follow the modified plan can still participate in NEURUS and graduate in just one extra semester.