SPI Frequently Asked Questions


What do I need to do to apply?

You will need to complete an online application, email us a scan of the I.D. page of your passport (international applicants only), and pay a $50 application fee.

I applied and was accepted to attend SPI last year. Can my application from last year count for this year?

No, you will need to complete a new online application and submit a new passport scan (international applicants only).

Cost to Attend SPI

How much will everything cost?

Please see the costs chart on our website.

What is the $130 materials fee for?

This fee covers the cost of the readers for courses, class supplies, Frontier Luncheons, and other expenses not normally incurred during the regular semester classes. Everyone needs to pay this fee for each course taken.

How do I pay the application fee?

Domestic applicants should pay the application fee online through the online application. After you click submit on this application, you will be directed to a page with payment instructions. International applicants should make their deposit payment through peerTransfer. For more payment information, please see our Payments and Refunds webpage.

What if my plans change or I do not get a visa? Are refunds offered?

The application fee is nonrefundable. But we do provide refunds of your paid course fees, minus a processing fee, the cost of any visa-related postage, and a wire transfer fee.. For more specific refund information, please see our Payments and Refunds webpage.

What if I need financial assistance?

SPI has limited funding and cannot guarantee money for anyone. SPI encourages applicants who do not have funding to attend the Summer Peacebuilding Institute to look to their own region for a reliable funding source. We encourage you to start looking for funding now as this process can take a while.

SPI does offer a few scholarships. These scholarships generally cover only the training and materials fees for one session if a participant has funding for at least one other session. Please note that SPI usually does not give scholarships for people who want to take classes for credit.

In addition, SPI will offer a Winston Fellowship to one participant in 2018. The fellowship covers the person’s entire participation for three sessions of training at SPI, including all visa fees, course and materials fees, lodging, a per diem for food and books, and transportation from your home country to EMU and back.

To read more about the SPI Scholarship and the Winston Fellowship. Before any monetary consideration is given, a complete application must be received.

SPI also advises persons who do not have sufficient funds to not take courses for credit (unless you want to pursue a MA in Conflict Transformation), as taking the courses for training costs half the price and financial assistance is not offered to those who take courses for credit.


Do I need to take all four sessions?

No, you need only take as many or as few of the sessions as you would like or have availability for.

How many courses can I take per session?

Only one course may be taken per session.

What is the difference between taking courses for credit and taking courses for training?

There are several important differences between taking a course for training and taking it for credit. Taking courses for credit costs significantly more, and also requires more work than a course taken for training. For most courses this would include a few smaller assignments (some reflections papers, reading reviews, etc…) and a larger course project or final paper.

In addition, financial assistance from SPI is only available to those that take courses for training. Those who take courses for credit are not eligible for either the SPI Scholarship or the Winston Fellowship.

Can I get a Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation by taking courses during SPI?

Yes, we do provide a limited residency option that allows students to take SPI courses towards their Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation. Please note that the limited residency option still requires that students spend at least one Fall or Spring semester on-campus. If you are interested in getting a Masters in Conflict Transformation you will need to apply separately for the Center for Justice and Peacemaking Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation. For more information see the web at https://emu.edu/cjp/grad/ or email ctprogram@emu.edu.

If I take the courses for credit, can I transfer the credits to another program?

It is possible for you to take a course for graduate credit and transfer it to another university. You would just need to verify with your university that the class you are taking would be appropriate to transfer. If it is not possible to take a course for credit they will be noted as such as a non-credit course.

What is the extra workload if I take a course for credit?

Many of those taking classes are not taking the courses for credit so the classes are a combination of persons taking the classes for training only and persons taking the classes for credit. Those taking the classes for credit will meet with their instructor during the week to receive information that outlines the additional responsibilities for persons taking it for credit. After the course is over you have until October 1, 2019 to complete all the course work (for our fulltime students we ask that they complete the work by August 20, 2019 so that it is not overwhelming once they start other classes). For most classes that would include a few smaller assignments (some reflections papers, reading reviews, etc…) and a larger course project or final paper. More information for those interested in taking courses for academic credit can be found here.

Where can I find my course syllabus and readings?

Course materials will be distributed via Moodle online and/ or in your classroom on the first morning of class. Syllabi can also be found on our website here. Required texts for courses can be purchased at the University Bookstore or read on reserve at EMU’s Hartzler Library.

International Participant Visas

Once I have been accepted to attend SPI, what type of visas do you require international participants apply for that need a visa to enter the U.S.?

Participants needing visas will want to apply for either a B-1 visa or a J-1 visa.

What is the difference between a B-1 and a J-1 visa?

The J-1 visa is an exchange visa that can be used at SPI to take courses for training or for academic credit. It is also a time specific visa. Participants who are taking courses for academic credit will be required to enter the US on a J-1 visa. More information on this visa can be found here, http://j1visa.state.gov/.

The B-1 visa can be used at SPI to take courses only for training. Please note, you cannot arrive on a B-1 visa and decide during SPI that you want to take courses for credit. If you think it is at all possible that you are going to want to take classes for credit or switch to credit, you must enter on a J-1 visa. More information on this visa can be found here,  https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/short-term-scholar.

Transportation to SPI

How do I get to SPI?

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) is located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Please note that there is no public transportation between EMU and the nearest international airport is located about 120 miles away. To get to campus, you will need to request an SPI pick-up, hire a taxi, rent a car, or use your own car. Please visit our Travel Information webpage for more information.

If I am not using the SPI pick-up to travel to SPI and I am using on-campus lodging, how do I get to my room on-campus?

SPI on-campus lodging is located in the Hillside Suites at 1381 College Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Once you arrive at Hillside, locate a Community Assistant, who will be able to check you into your room. If you are arriving in the evening, we will gladly send you the Community Assistant phone number, so you can contact them once you arrive. More information on SPI arrival and departure can be found here.

What’s next?


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