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Selection Criteria for Off-Campus Study

Study off campus is an opportunity available to Dickinson students, subject to a selection process. It is the responsibility of the student to present a persuasive case for off-campus study and to be aware of all prerequisites and observe application deadlines.

Program committees select students for off-campus study. Committees are composed of faculty members and administrative staff from the Office of Global Education. Selection is based on a written application and, in some cases, an interview. Admission to programs may be competitive.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the following qualifications for off-campus study:

Academic Background

  • Students must successfully complete all prerequisite courses before participating in a program.
  • Preference is given to students who have completed background courses for the program in which they intend to study.
  • Strong language preparation is especially important for foreign language programs.
  • Preference may be given to students who have taken an appropriate foreign language course in the semester preceding their anticipated study abroad.

Academic Appropriateness of Program and Location
Applicants must justify their program choices in terms of appropriateness for their academic, linguistic and cultural learning goals. This may be within the context of a liberal arts education, or specific academic goals, normally focused on a student’s major field. The location of a program is less important than how the program uses a location to foster learning.

GPA Requirement
Generally, a 2.8 GPA is required for acceptance into an off-campus program. Some programs have higher GPA requirements. While a student’s GPA is an important factor in the selection process, meeting a program’s GPA requirement does not guarantee acceptance.

Initiative, Maturity, Responsibility and Adaptability
The successful completion of an off-campus program requires initiative, maturity, responsibility and adaptability. Studying off campus requires tolerance and a willingness to adjust to living and learning conditions very different from and often much less comfortable than those in Carlisle. While studying off campus, students are responsible for representing Dickinson College well in all of their behaviors. As part of the selection process, therefore, Student Life records are taken into account.

Progress Toward Graduation
The proposed off-campus stay may not impede students’ normal progress toward graduation. Students must indicate in their applications how they plan to complete major and graduation requirements. Students should discuss their off-campus plans with their academic advisers.

Declaration of Major
Students will not be allowed to study off campus on a semester or academic year program until they officially declare a major. Major declaration forms are available in the Registrar’s Office or on the Web at: <www.>.

Ineligible Students
Students who are on academic or disciplinary probation or suspension, or who have delinquent accounts, are not eligible to apply for or to participate in off-campus study.

Application to and Selection for Dickinson Approved Programs
Students may participate in a Dickinson Approved Program when they can demonstrate compelling reasons why a Dickinson Program or Partner Program cannot fulfill their academic objectives. Students may not apply to programs in countries that host Dickinson programs without demonstrating compelling academic reasons why they choose not to apply to the Dickinson Program. Reasons include but are not limited to:

  • a student’s academic major cannot be accommodated by a Dickinson Program or Partner Program;
  • another program fits the design of the student’s personal independent study or career goals;
  • the student applies to, but is not accepted into, a Dickinson Program or Partner Program.
Under no circumstances may a student study, enroll or register independently at an institution where a Dickinson Program or Partner Program currently exists. If a student does study, enroll or register at one of these institutions, the student will receive no transfer credit in any subject for the coursework. Once a student is accepted by Dickinson for study in an Approved Program, he/she is given a letter of permission and can then apply directly to the host program. If a stu-dent applies to a program without official approval from Dickinson College, the credits from the program will not transfer.

Situations Requiring Special Permission
Off-campus study in the final semester of the senior year requires special approval from the Academic Program and Standards Committee. Special approval also is necessary for participation in more than two semesters of study off campus. Petitions should be addressed to Brian Whalen, associate dean and executive director, Office of Global Education, and should include the following:

  • an essay describing how study off campus fits in with overall academic goals and plans;
  • letters of support from the academic adviser, department chair, program coordinator and/or resident director, as applicable;
  • an audit showing in detail how off-campus courses will fit in with graduation requirements.
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