About Amherst College

About Amherst College


Educational Leaves

Educational Leaves


The College recognizes the educational and personal rewards that many students receive from a semester or two away from the campus. Many departments, especially language departments, strongly encourage or require that students majoring in their department study in a foreign country. Students who go on educational leave from the College usually do so during their junior year, although second-year educational leaves are permitted. It is expected that students will spend their senior year at Amherst. To receive academic credit for study elsewhere, students must perform satisfactorily in a full schedule of courses approved in advance by the Office of Student Affairs and the Registrar.  Students also need their advisor’s approval of courses to be taken.  Students on educational leave from Amherst must enroll at other institutions as visiting non-degree students. (See Transfer Policy statement.) Students who have been suspended from their studies for an academic or disciplinary infraction may not participate in educational leave (see p. 70 of the Catalog). Academic or disciplinary warning may also prohibit a student from studying abroad until s/he is in good standing and can discuss this scenario with the Director of Education Abroad and the Office of Student Affairs.

Educational leaves usually require a considerable amount of correspondence with other colleges and universities, especially in the case of foreign study. Therefore, students who may wish to go on educational leaves should begin discussing their plans at least a full semester before they expect to be enrolled in another institution. Students considering educational leave should visit the website for more information programs approved by the college and academic policies regarding credit transfer, https://www.amherst.edu/mm/67034.

All students considering educational leave must submit their Intent to Study Away with the Study Abroad Office by October 1 for fall or full-year study and April 1 for spring study in the semester prior to studying away. Students are expected to return to Amherst after their return from educational leave, and they must inform the Office of Student Affairs if they decide not to return.

Selected students may participate in Independent Study projects under guidance from a teacher at Amherst College without enrollment at host institutions and may pursue their studies elsewhere in the United States or abroad.


Students may choose to participate in educational programs at other institutions in the United States for their educational leave. In addition to the special programs below, study to either a two- or four-year, accredited, degree-granting institution may also be possible, and students are expected to follow the process for an educational leave.

 The Twelve College Exchange

Within the Northeast, the College has special exchange arrangements with Bowdoin, Connecticut, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wellesley, and Wheaton Colleges, and Wesleyan University, which together form the Twelve College Exchange Program. This arrangement gives students who wish to take advantage of special programs not available at Amherst or who wish to experience a similar, but different, college environment, the opportunity to do so with the minimum of difficulty. Further information is available from the Twelve College Exchange coordinators of the participating colleges. The coordinator for Amherst College is the Study Abroad Office and information is available on the Domestic Study website at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/global-learning/study_abroad/all_programs/node/535760.

 The Williams College—Mystic Seaport Program in American Maritime Studies

This program is available to undergraduate participants through the Twelve College Exchange program. Its purpose is to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to focus one semester of their studies on our complex relationship with the sea. Further information is available on the program website http://mystic.williams.edu/.

 Dartmouth Dual Degree Engineering Program

A student may spend junior year at Dartmouth College studying engineering. After graduating from Amherst, the student would have the option to return to Dartmouth for an additional year to earn a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree from Dartmouth College. Interested students can contact Professor William A. Loinaz for more information and contact the Study Abroad Office for more information about domestic study. See http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/academics/undergraduate/dual/.

The National Theatre Institute

Through a Twelve College Exchange arrangement, undergraduate participation in the program of the National Theatre Institute, Waterford, Conn., is possible. Further information is available on the program website http://www.nationaltheaterinstitute.org/.


American University of Beirut

Amherst has a bilateral exchange agreement with the American University of Beirut whereby Amherst students, typically in their junior year, may spend a semester in Beirut and, in return, Amherst will host a student from the American University of Beirut. More information about the exchange can be found on the website of the Office of Study Abroad, https://www.amherst.edu/mm/67034.

 Doshisha University Fall Exchange Each year Amherst sends three undergraduate students to Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan to spend the fall semester as visiting students and take language and area studies classes alongside Japanese and other international students. This undergraduate opportunity adds to the many ways in which the college partners with Doshisha. Information about the college’s programs and history with Doshisha University can be obtained from Professor Samuel Morse and the study abroad website at https://www.amherst.edu/mm/67034.

 Göttingen Exchange

Amherst maintains a student exchange program with Göttingen University in Germany. Each year, upon application to the Department of German, two Amherst students are selected to attend Göttingen University. In return, Amherst accepts two Göttingen students to study at the College and to serve as Language Assistants in the German Department. Details about the exchange programs may be obtained from the Department of German website at https://www.amherst.edu/mm/54445.

 Yale-NUS College Exchange

Amherst has a bilateral undergraduate exchange program with Yale-NUS College, a new liberal arts college founded in 2012 by Yale University and the National University of Singapore. Students may spend a semester or year studying at Yale-NUS College in Singapore during their junior year and, in return, Amherst hosts students from Yale-NUS College. More information about this exchange program is available on the Study Abroad website at https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/global-learning/study_abroad/all_programs/node/642301.


The Associated Kyoto Program

The Associated Kyoto Program, sponsored by Amherst and 15 other institutions, is hosted by Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. It emphasizes direct and intensive contact with the Japanese and aims to develop in students an understanding of Japan’s culture, history, language, and contemporary society. The program carries credit equivalent to a full academic year’s course work. About 50 students are admitted each year, with applicants from member institutions receiving priority. Information can be obtained from Professor Tim Van Compernolle and online at www.associatedkyotoprogram.org.

 Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program

The Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) Program is a study abroad program affiliated with the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. Consortium members, in addition to Amherst, are Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Carleton, Gustavus Adolphus, and Swarthmore Colleges and the College of the Holy Cross. Students spend a semester studying language, social sciences and humanities and their own academic interests through research while immersed in a culturally rich environment.


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