Through several administrative understandings, the University has cultivated a series of institutional relationships that notably enlarge the educational opportunities it offers. The University enjoys long-standing student exchange agreements with Sophia University in Tokyo, Nanzan University in Nagoya, and Kansai Gaidai University in Kyoto, Japan. In recent years the University has also added exchange programs with the University of Hull, England; the University of Dortmund, Germany; and Universidad del Pacifico, Peru. In addition, the University is affiliated with several third-party providers which offer study abroad opportunities worldwide.

Students can entertain several programs of international study for one semester or two, depending on the program. In England, business students can enroll in the University’s Boler Business Semester in London; non-business students can enroll in the London Liberal Arts Semester in cooperation with Regent’s College. In Italy, students can participate in the University’s own Vatican Program in cooperation with the Pontificia Universitá Urbaniana; Loyola University of Chicago’s Rome Center; or John Cabot University in Rome. The University has recently established study abroad programs in Ireland (Maynooth), Spain (Madrid), and Costa Rica.

In addition to the program offerings listed above, cooperative agreements exist with programs in numerous countries on all continents.

John Carroll University also participates in agreements with many colleges and universities in the Cleveland area that offer cross-registration opportunities for all full-time undergraduate students. In cooperation with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, the University provides the academic component of the formation program for college-level seminarians of the diocese.

In cooperation with Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland, the natural science departments provide a five-year joint dual-degree program by which students may receive a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University as well as a bachelor of engineering degree from Case Western Reserve University. A similar dual-degree program culminates in a bachelor of science from John Carroll University, and a master of nursing degree from Case Western Reserve University. In addition, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and John Carroll University have an agreement whereby up to twenty seats per year are reserved for John Carroll students to enter LECOM’s medical, dental, and pharmacy schools. The University also has an early acceptance program with Ohio University’s Heritage College of Medicine (10 medical school positions annually for incoming JCU first-year students). An agreement with Case Western University's Anesthesiology Assistant Program provides preferred early admittance for up to 20 JCU students.