Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a program?
Is it my right to be able to study abroad, or is it a privilege?
How long may I study off campus?
How many Dickinson students study off campus?
When should I study abroad?
Are students from other colleges and universities eligible to apply to Dickinson programs?
Is there an application deadline?
Where can I find the application forms?
What happens once my application is complete?
What should I do before I go abroad, to ensure that my credits will transfer?
Do I need to do anything while I'm abroad, to ensure that my credits will transfer?
What do I have to keep in mind when registering for classes abroad?
Will the grades I earn abroad appear on my Dickinson transcript?
Will the grades I earn abroad be included in my Dickinson GPA?
How many credits may I earn for a semester of study abroad?
Is it possibleto take an overload abroad?
What do I do to complete the credit transfer process when I return to Carlisle?
How do I obtain major, minor, or distribution credit for classes taken abroad?
How do I transfer credit from a non-Dickinson summer program abroad?
Dickinson has several resources for you to explore off-campus program options:
- The Center for Global Study and Engagement maintains information regarding off-campus program options, including evaluations by former participants to assist you in selecting the program best suited to your needs and interests;
- The Center sponsors program information sessions and an annual study abroad fair in the fall;
- Dickinson Programs and Partner Programs have on-campus faculty coordinators who act as resources for students interested in studying off-campus. You are encouraged to explore your options and discuss your plans with these faculty coordinators as well as Center staff.
The short answer is that it is a privilege. Acceptance to Dickinson does not in any way guarantee acceptance into the college's study abroad programs. Acceptance into a study abroad program is a selective process, and your application will be denied if you do not meet the standards for admission set by the college. See the section on Policies.
You are permitted to study off campus for one full academic year plus an additional short-term program (a summer program or Globally Integrated Course). You may petition the Associate Dean and Executive Director of Global Education for permission to participate in more than one year of off-campus study. In the past, students granted such permission have spent as long as two years studying off campus on as many as four different programs. Information on the petition process is available from the Center for Global Study and Engagement.
Dickinson ranks in the top five colleges in the country in numbers of students who study abroad for an entire academic year and we encourage you to consider this option. Approximately 58% of a class will have studied off campus by the time they graduate. Of those who study abroad:
25% participate in an academic-year program
55% participate in a semester program
20% participate in a short-term program
Dickinson students typically study on semester and academic year programs during their junior year, but some students may choose to study abroad during sophomore year or for the first semester of senior year. Globally Integrated courses and summer programs appeal to all students, either as a one-time-only off-campus experience or in addition to a semester or year abroad.
Each year, more than 20 students from other institutions participate in Dickinson study abroad programs, some through special consortial arrangements. These students are warmly welcomed as "guest students" of the college for the duration of the program. As such, they enjoy all the rights and privileges granted by the program, the one restriction being ineligibility for Dickinson grant money and endowed scholarships.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and programs may reach full capacity well before the deadlines below. It is in your best interest to complete the application process as soon as possible. Exceptions to these deadlines are noted in the specific program descriptions.
Program type: Academic Year Fall Spring Summer
Dickinson Feb. 15 Feb. 15 Sept. 15 Feb. 1
Partner Feb. 15 Feb. 15 Sept. 15 n/a
Non-Dickinson Feb. 1 Feb. 1 Sept. 1 n/a
Applications to study abroad are available online by searching for the program of your choice here. Once on the program page, click "Apply Now".
Decisions are made by faculty program committees that assist in the planning and development of the off-campus programs. You may be interviewed as part of this process, depending on the requirements of the individual program.
Notification and Acceptance
The Center for Global Study and Engagement will notify you of admission decisions via email and the online application system. If you are accepted, you must return a signed confirmation of participation form and a $300 confirmation payment by the deadline specified in your acceptance letter. Students who do not return their confirmation payment and confirmation of participation form by the deadline may be removed from the list of participants.
You should apply for a passport before or at the time of your application to an off-campus program. A copy of the first page of your passport must be included with the off-campus study application.
A general pre-departure orientation is held each semester to disseminate necessary information regarding study abroad preparation for all students. Program-specific orientation meetings are also held to address site-specific topics related to health and safety, cross-cultural adjustment, and learning goals and objectives. These orientations are led by Center staff, on-campus faculty coordinators and returned students. An orientation handbook is produced by the Center for Global Study and Engagement and distributed to students via the online application system and mailed to parents.
Dickinson College does not formally pre-approve courses for transfer. However, students should thoroughly discuss their off-campus plans with their academic advisor(s) prior to leaving Carlisle. Students should talk with their advisor(s) about what may or may not fulfill Dickinson transfer credit requirements, specifically which courses taken off-campus may fulfill major, minor, or distribution requirements. Keep in mind that it helps to have more courses than you can actually enroll in selected so that you have a back-up list in the event you are unable to get into all of your 'first-choice' courses. In some cases, conversations with appropriate department chairs may also be helpful. Some departments on campus may require extra work, especially for advanced-level credit. It is the student's responsibility to inquire about any extra work required. Center staff are available to answer general questions about transfer credit policies.
Yes! You should maintain e-mail contact with your academic advisor while you're abroad, especially during the first weeks of the semester when you are in the process of finalizing your course schedule. To document coursework, you should keep a portfolio for each course, including a syllabus, reading list, completed projects, written work, journals, examinations, etc.
Specific transfer credit policies vary depending on whether you study on a Dickinson Program, a Dickinson Partner Program, or a non-Dickinson program and, sometimes, policies can vary among courses from different institutions or disciplines on the same program. However, the following guidelines apply to all courses taken abroad:
- Only liberal arts classes will qualify for transfer credit.
- Generally speaking, courses should have an equivalent at Dickinson. Exceptions include classes that focus on the culture and/or history of the country in which you are studying.
- Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework that duplicates what you have already completed at Dickinson.
- You must take a normal full load of classes as defined by your host program or institution.
Transfer credit is awarded only for classes in which you earn a grade of "C" or better. However, all courses and grades will appear on your transcript.*
Grades for Dickinson courses taught at many, but not all, of the Dickinson Centers (i.e., courses approved by the Academic Program and Standards Committee and taught by faculty approved by the Faculty Personnel Committee) are included in your GPA, regardless of the grade earned.
Grades for courses taken at a cooperating institution (including those at many of the Dickinson programs, most Partner Programs and non-Dickinson programs) are recorded on your transcript but are not included in the GPA. Please note the following exceptions:
The following courses taken at cooperating institutions have been approved as "Dickinson courses" by the appropriate academic departments. Letter grades earned will be included in your GPA for:
- University of East Anglia (Norwich) courses in English, American studies, economics, fine arts, theatre, music, history, philosophy, and religion. Courses in sociology except for core courses 240, 241, and 330/331, for which pre-approval is required.
- University of East Anglia (Norwich) courses in biology, chemistry, environmental science, environmental studies, geology, mathematics, psychology, and computer science.
- All courses taken through the School for Field Studies.
- All courses taken at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) in Rome, Italy.
To take more than 4.5 credits per semester on a Dickinson or Dickinson Partner Program, a student must petition Brian Brubaker, Director of Education Abroad. If a student registers for more than the maximum credits allowed without permission of the Center for Global Study and Engagement, the course credit will not transfer.
To take more than 4 credits per semester on a non-Dickinson program , a student must petition Carla Maranto-Arnold, Education Abroad Coordinator. If a student registers for more than the maximum credits allowed without permission of the Center for Global Study and Engagement, the course credit will not transfer.
Dickinson students enrolled in a Dickinson or Dickinson Partner Program abroad may receive up to a maximum of 4.5 course credits for one semester. Some programs require a separate pre-program orientation course that may yield an additional credit (please consult your orientation handbook for more information).
Dickinson students enrolled in a non-Dickinson program may receive up to a maximum of 4 course credits for one semester.
* Students who take an overload of courses without the proper permissions from Dickinson, the extra course will not transfer and will not show up on the transcript.
If you participated in a Dickinson or Dickinson Partner Program:
Upon return to the Carlisle campus, you must complete the Enrollment in Another Institution Form. Seniors are required to submit these forms prior to the course request period for their last semester. If the form is not in the Registrar's Office by that time, the student will not be permitted to participate in the course request period. Please note that this form is required only when you are seeking major, minor, or distribution credit for coursework completed at a cooperating university. The form is not required for Dickinson Center courses, or for courses at a cooperating university for which you are seeking only general credit. After obtaining the required signatures, you should bring to the Center for Global Study and Engagement. The form will then be forwarded to the Registrar's Office.
If you participated in a non-Dickinson program:
Upon return to the Carlisle campus, you must complete the Enrollment in Another Institution form. Seniors are required to submit these forms prior to the course request period for their last semester. If the form is not in the Registrar's Office by that time, the student will not be permitted to participate in course request. Please note that this form is required whether you are seeking major, minor, distribution, or general credit. After obtaining the required signatures, you should bring the form to the Center for Global Study and Engagement for approval by the Study Abroad Coordinator. The form will then be forwarded to the Registrar's Office. Students should work directly with their host program to ensure that an official transcript is sent to the Registrar's Office as soon as possible after the program has ended.
Determination of eligibility for major, minor, or distribution credit is up to the academic chair(s) of the relevant department(s). You should be prepared to provide course descriptions, syllabi, reading materials, as well as papers and/or exams that you wrote as part of the class. For example, if you are a history major and you took a history course abroad, you should meet with the chair of Dickinson's history department, who will then determine whether the course is eligible for major credit. If the course is approved for major credit, the chair will sign your Enrollment in Another Institution Form. For a list of current department chairs, as well as interdisciplinary program advisors, click here.
Please note that students interested in participating in non-Dickinson study abroad programs during the summer are not required to complete a Dickinson application. However, the following steps must be followed in order to transfer in any credit from non-Dickinson summer study abroad programs:
1. You must fill out an Enrollment in Another Institution, listing the course (or courses) you plan to take.
2. If you are seeking major, minor, or distribution credit, you must obtain signatures from the chairs of the relevant academic departments, who may want to see course descriptions and/or syllabi.
3. You should then bring the signed form to the Center for Global Study and Engagement, along with an unofficial copy of your transcript.
4. The Center will check to make sure that you have at least a 2.0 GPA (the minimum required to transfer in credit); that the proposed summer course does not duplicate coursework you have already completed for credit at Dickinson; and that you have not already transferred in four summer and/or January-term credits (the maximum number allowed).
5. If everything is in order, the Center will forward the Enrollment in Another Institution Form to the Registrar's Office, where it will be kept on file pending receipt of your summer transcript.
6. You must earn grades of "C" or better in order to transfer in credits.