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Academic Policies for Study Away

Knowing the College policies for study away is an important part of the planning process. Students are responsible for knowing the academic policies on this page, as well as the travel and tuition policies for study away linked below.

Eligibility to Study Away

Students are eligible to study away once they have declared a major and may study away for up to two semesters. Students may study away in the second semester of their sophomore year or during their junior year; students interested in doing so at different times should consult with their class dean. 

Students may not participate in a study away if: 

  • they fail two courses in the semester immediately prior to study away
  • they have more than one deficiency in the semester prior to study away
  • grades from courses in the semester immediately prior to study away are not recorded before the official start date of the program or if the student has received an incomplete.

Academic Credit from Study Away

hile attending an approved study away program, courses will count towards completion of the Amherst degree according to the following criteria:

  • Course registration must include a minimum of 15 U.S. semester credits of liberal arts courses per semester away
  • Courses need to be approved by the Registrar, and by the academic advisor(s) for credit in the major

Students should be aware that the equivalent of 15 U.S. semester credits per semester away may mean more or less than four courses depending on the credit scheme at the study away program. Students should confirm with the program that enrollment is the equivalent of the 15 U.S. semester credit minimum per semester.

Credit will not count towards the Amherst College degree:

  • for grades of a C- or below in a course, 
  • for orientation courses, 
  • for an internship course,
  • for a course that is taken pass/fail,
  • for a course that has been previously taken,
  • for courses taken in a semester that is less than 12 weeks

Generally speaking, courses must be taken in a semester that is 12 weeks or more. There are some institutions, however, whose semesters are slightly less than 12 weeks, which is permissible so long as the program considers it a full semester and will award the equivalent of 15 semester credits. Students may take internship courses so long as they are taken in addition to the 15 U.S. semester credits required by the College. Students interested in institutions on the quarter system or trimester need to take the required U.S. semester credit equivalent for the duration of their time away, which may mean combining two shorter terms to equal one Amherst semester.

Deficiencies Earned during Study Away

Students who fail to transfer the equivalent of four Amherst courses (15 U.S. semester credits) may be required to make up any deficiencies prior to the start of their senior year or, in some cases, prior to returning to Amherst. 

Course deficiencies incurred during study away may result in additional administrative action regarding enrollment at the College, as outlined in the Catalog. For example:

  • An F for the equivalent of 8 U.S. semester credits will result in academic dismissal for two semesters
  • Half-credit courses taken at Amherst may not be combined with study away credit to make up deficiencies 
  • Failing grades and deficiencies are subject to review by the Committee on Academic Standing and students may be put on probation, warning, or dismissed. Courses taken to make up deficiencies, including where and when they are taken, need to be approved by the Registrar and the Class Dean. Students who have deficiencies in courses they wish to apply towards their major(s) will need additional approval from the academic department(s). 

Students who incur deficiencies during study away should be in contact with their class dean as soon as possible to create a plan for making up deficiencies. 

Students should closely monitor their academic progress in their courses while on study away and  understand how study away fits in with their progress toward graduation. Students should familiarize themselves with course expectations and how to meet those expectations because many programs and host universities do not continually assess a student’s performance.

Additional Academic Policies and Information