Browse approved programs, read student evaluations, and learn about petitioning
Learn the steps for to transfer credit, about passports, visas, budgeting, and how to prepare for your health abroad
Learn about course approval once abroad, readmission, pre-registration and room draw
Stay connected to your study abroad experience and read important information about transcripts
You can "attend" the general information meeting right from your dorm room! Watch the brief Steps to Study Abroad Prezi and learn the basics of studying abroad at Amherst. Students must watch the Prezi before meeting with an adviser so our conversation is more program-specific. Click on the image below to start the Prezi.
While you are not required to meet with an adviser in the Study Abroad Office, we highly recommend doing so. We have a breadth of experience and knowledge about the variety of programs approved by the college and will work with you to idenfity a program that meets your personal and academic goals, as well as take into account any special needs you may have. Appointments are made online.
Browse the program list for opportunities in the U.S. and abroad! Remember that some programs are not pre-approved and you must petition the faculty Committee on International Education for approval. (See below for information on petitioning.)
The experience of previous students is invaluable. Remember that evaluations represent one student's point of view, which could be different from another's (and yours). Evaluations are available here.
Seniors must petition to study abroad in the first semester of their senior year. (Study abroad in the final semester is not permitted.) Please see your class dean and the Director of Education Abroad if this is of interest to you. Please more about credit implications here.
Transfer students may also study abroad, but it greatly depends on what other types of experiences you wish to have at Amherst and how much credit you have already transferred to your Amherst degree. Please more about credit implications here.
DACA students consider study abroad should consult with Amherst's general counsel at least three months in advance of traveling.
DACA students who are interested in studying abroad need to obtain the Advance Parole document that permits entry into the U.S. after spending the semester overseas. Having the Advance Parole document, however, does not guarantee entry into the U.S. and students need to carefully consider the risks. It is strongly recommended that DACA students consult with an attorney if they are considering a semester or year abroad. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for local immigration attorney references. Please note that if a DACA student chooses to file an application for Advance Parole for an approved study abroad program, the Office of Student Affairs may be able to provide financial assistance in filing. Students should contact the Office of Student Affairs directly.
Additional resources are below:
- Information about Advance Parole (in general) from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- Official Department of Homeland Security information about DACA and specifically about travel
- UT Austin guide on study abroad for DACA students
DACA (including DACA-eligible) and undocumented students may also want to consider a semester at another U.S. institution. Domestic study is an excellent way to experience a different academic culture and the Study Abroad Office can assist students in finding a college or university that offers regional cultural differences that would enhance the student's educational experience.
The faculty Committee on International Education, under guideance from the Study Abroad Office, has carefully chosen a robust list of programs that are pre-approved for credit and aid transfer. Not all study abroad programs are of equal quality and Amherst wants your study abroad experience to have strong academic and cultural components. Students who are interested in a program not currently on the approved program list must have strong academic reasons as to why they want to petition. Students may only petition one program.
Checklist and timeline for petitioning:
- Meet with an adviser in the Study Abroad Office. You must discuss the program you intend to petition with either the Director of Education Abroad or the Education Abroad Coordinator at least two weeks in advance of the petition deadline (see below). Come prepared with a strong argument as to why the non-approved program is the best fit for your personal and academic interests. Also be sure that the program meets our expectations for study abroad and, if it does not, be prepared to outline why an exception should be made for you. Just because a student has successfully petitioned a program before you does not mean that it will be an automatic approval for you.
- Complete the petition. After your meeting with one of us and if petitioning is recommended, you will then be provided with the petition form and instructions for submission. This includes sharing the name(s) of your major adviser(s) and a faculty member who will be contacted by us to write a letter of support for your petition. You do not need to request formal letters of recommendation, but only notify them they will be contacted by us. We expect you will share your petition with them.
- Submit your petition by the appropriate deadline: April 1st (fall or full year) and October 1st (spring). Unfortunately, late petitions are not accepted.
- The faculty Committee on International Education reviews your petition and supporting documents. Your petition, letter of support and other relevant information will be brought to the Committee on International Education. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified via email.
- Apply to (at least) one program on the approved list. Petitions are approved on a student-by-student basis and, should yours not be approved, you will want a back up option.
You may want to apply to the program you are petitioning and your back-up program before the petition deadline, especially if the application deadlines are close the petition deadlines.
Amherst transfer credit from Study Abroad
In order to receive transfer credit toward your Amherst degree, you must complete the Educational Leave Form and Waiver of Liability and bring it to the Study Abroad Office. You must thoroughly read the terms and conditions of transfer credit. The form and the terms are available under Academic Policies & Deadlines. The Educational Leave Form and Waiver are due:
- May 1st for fall semester or full year study abroad
- December 1st for spring semester study abroad
You will not receive credit from study abroad if you do not submit this form!
Apply for your passport well in advance of your study abroad semester. You need a passport for any travel outside the U.S. and obtaining one can take up to 8 weeks. You can apply for a passport through the mail at U.S. post offices and some town halls. Please see the U.S. State Department's Passport webpage for more information, including application materials, how to expedite the application process, etc.
A visa is a document that allows you to legally enter a country or stay for an extended period of time. For more information on whether or not you need a visa for your study abroad host country, please check with your program and consult the U.S. State Departments Visa webpage. It is the student's responsibility to apply for and obtain the visa. Protocols and processing times vary greatly; apply early and make copies of all your documents. Some students might want to enlist the assistance of a company that can assist with obtaining the visa. These companies are particularly useful if you need your visa expedited. Fees vary depending on destination, citizenship, and if you want expedited service. Previous students have consulted with Travisa and A Briggs, but it is up to the student to determine if such a service is appropriate.
Some visa applications require you to submit a "statement of good conduct" from a police station. Amherst College Campus Police is not able to produce this letter for you under MA state law, but you should either check with your hometown police department or make a formal request to the MA Criminal History Services Board.
The options for booking cheap travel evolves quickly. These resources are good places to start booking your travel and researching your host country destination.
- Let’s Go Series offers country and region-specific information
- Student Universe
- Cheap Flights
- Travel Cuts
- STA Travel
STA Travel has a “Book Now, Pay Later” program which allows study abroad students to reserve a ticket but not pay in full until 7 days prior to departure. Contact STA Travel for the full details and conditions.
For European Rail information:
For information on hostels:
The International Student Identity Card offers a wide range of discounts on air and rail fares, acts as a proof of student status for lower admission fees, and emergency evacuation, travel and accident insurance. The card costs $25.00.
Pre-departure Meetings at Amherst
In addition to submitting your official educational leave and waiver forms, you are required to participate in a two-part pre-departure meeting:
- You are required to view an online presentation that has a short quiz to test your knowledge of the material. The presentation contains essential information about credit transfer, pre-registration, insurance, etc.
- You are required to participate in the workshop "Navigating Social Identities Abroad," an hour-long discussion with your peers about the intersection of our complex identities and how they become more or less apparent when abroad.
All study abroad students will also receive an electronic copy of the Study Abroad Handbook. This book will have all you need to know about Amherst policies, offices and contact information, health and safety, as well as helpful pre-departure travel tips as you prepare to depart.
Your health is one of the - if not THE - most important factor of your study abroad experience. It is so important, we've devoted a special page to it! Please read the Health & Safety section thoroughly as you make your plan for staying healthy and safe while abroad.
Many programs will provide you with estimated expenses particular to the locale, but there may be other expenses that arise throughout your time abroad. It's important to plan ahead for this. Please refer to the Finances section for detailed information about budgeting for your term abroad.
Your campus mail box will be closed while you are away. Anything that is sent to you from outside the college will be forwarded to your home address via first class mail. Any campus mail will be returned to sender. To change/update your home of record, you must contact the registrar's office (email@example.com).
Visit our FAQs page to see if your question can be answered there!
Approval of Courses
It is essential that you have your courses approved by the Registrar before you finalize your registration once overseas. You will be sent the online course approval form and it is your responsibility to review the academic policies for study abroad and submit the form online.
Settling into your new surroundings can be invigorating - but also challenging and stressful. Most students find themselves riding waves of excitement and exhaustion. It is a natural part of the experience to feel a wide range of emotions. Your program or host university can offer resources to help you settle in, but you can always contact us, too!
You will be invited by the Registrar to pre-register online for Amherst courses. You will need your academic adviser's approval for your courses. If your faculty adviser and you are interested in a Skype advising session, Academic Technology can assist.
Readmission and Personal Leaves
The Office of Student Affairs automatically readmits students to the college following their study away term. If you wish to take a personal leave after study away, you should contact your class dean since we will assume you are returning to campus.
Residential Life will invite you to participate in Room Draw mid-semester. Please see information on the Residential Life’s Housing Selection page.
Transcript from Study Abroad
For credit from study abroad to be transferred to your Amherst degree, your program or host university must send a copy of your official transcript directly to the Registrar. Send it to: Mr. Jesse Barba, Interim Registrar, Converse Hall, Amherst College, PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002, USA.
It is your responsibility to make sure the transcript arrives before the end of your first semester back at Amherst after your semester or year abroad. Please note: if you received a grade of C- or below in any of your courses abroad and/or if you did not take a minimum of the equivalent of 15 U.S. semester credits, you will have deficiencies. Deficiencies from study may result in academic dismissal or warning and you will be required to make up the deficiencies in a semester away from Amherst or at another time agreed upon by your class dean and the Registrar. Read full details in Academic Policies and Deadlines.
Adjusting Back "Home"
When preparing to go abroad, we expect to encounter difference. We do not necessarily expect such difference upon returning home and to Amherst. But we are not the same people when we first departed and, when greeted by our family and friends and in places well known to us, it doesn't always feel quite like home. Just like cultural adjustment in the host country, this too is a natural part of the study abroad experience. The Study Abroad Office has planned several events for returned study abroad students each semester to help you reconnect with your experiences abroad and integrate them better into your life at home and at Amherst.
Special Topics Courses or Thesis
A growing number of students return from a semester or year abroad and either enroll in a Special Topics Course or write a thesis related to a study abroad course or experience. We highly encourage you to consider one of these two options as it is an excellent way to continue engaging with your host country on a personal and intellectual level.