Study Abroad

Academic Credit & Transcripts

Academic Credit

Academic Departments' Policies on Study Abroad

Amherst Honor Code and Study Abroad

Course Deficiencies and Study Abroad

Transcripts

Leaving Your Study Abroad Program Early

When Students May Study Abroad


Academic Credit

You may receive college credit towards the Amherst degree for participating in an approved study abroad program or approved domestic institution if you:

  • You must take the equivalent of a minimum of 15 semester credits of liberal arts courses.
  • Courses which duplicate or substantially overlap previous courses taken are not credited.
  • Internships courses will not count as part of your 15 semester credit hours.  You may take an internship course above and beyond what is required by Amherst, but only if the program allows you to do so.
  • Earn grades of C or better.  Failure to transfer in the equivalent of 4 Amherst credits may require a student to make up the deficiency prior to returning to Amherst.  Course(s) must be approved by the registrar, your class dean and by the major adviser if credit in the major is desired.
  • Courses may not be taken pass/fail.
  • The semester must be a minimum of 12 weeks.
  • Amherst requires a degree-granting institution issue the transcript for the semester/year abroad.  Program providers that are not degree-granting institutions (e.g. CIEE, IES) have a "school of record" that will issue the transcript.  Amherst students are required to have the school of record provide the official transcript and there is usually a fee associated with this transcript.  Financial aid recipients are able to include this fee in the study abroad budget.  More information about guidelines for schools of record is available from the Forum on Education Abroad, a professional association for study abroad.
  • Credit is not awarded for orientation courses or programs. (If you are attending the Sweet Briar College Paris program for the fall term, please contact me about the orientation course.)
  • Any coursework you wish to count toward your major (required or elective) should be reviewed and/or approved by your major department before your leave. Check with your major department for their policy regarding transfer credit to the major.
  • You may not double count courses. For example, an economics course taught in French cannot count toward the French major AND the economics major. You must choose the major to which it will be applied.

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Academic Departments' Policies on Study Abroad

The study abroad office has been collaborating with several academic departments to create major-specific study abroad policies.  This is work in progress and only some have outlined their policies for awarding credit for courses not taken at Amherst.  More majors will be added as the policies are formed.  In the event your major is not represented, please ask your adviser or the department chair about your major's study abroad policy.

Asian Languages and Civilizations
Black Studies
Classics
Computer Science
Economics  majorsEconomics majors
English
Environmental Studies
European Studies
French
German
LJST (see "Related Courses")
Mathematics
Neuroscience
Political Science
Religion
Russian
Spanish

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The Amherst Honor Code and Study Abroad

It is important to note that the Amherst Honor Code applies while you are participating in your study abroad program. While the large majority of students have an incident-free experience, on occasion students violate program academic or disciplinary policies or host country laws. Any academic or disciplinary infractions issued to you by the study abroad program or local authorities may result in similar and/or additional sanctions at Amherst. Incidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis with the Dean of Students Office and any other necessary parties.

Course Deficiencies and Study Abroad

It is imperative that students monitor progress in their courses while on educational leave very closely.  Because many programs and host universities do not continuously assess a student's performance as is done at most U.S. institutions, including Amherst, students need to familiarize themselves with course expectations and how students are - or are not - meeting them. Communicating with faculty and program staff can help students understand what is expected of them.  In instances where students are given access to an online system that provides course details, including grades, we strongly encourage students to use this system regularly to know how they are succeeding in the course and to learn of areas where they may need improvement. 

Monitoring your progress will help you ensure that you will transfer in the equivalent of four Amherst credits. Students who do not transfer in the equivalent of four Amherst credits may be required to make up the additional credit prior to returning to Amherst. For a student who studies away in the first semester of the junior year, the student has three semester's in which to make up the deficiencies.  For a student who studies away in the second semester of the junior year, there are only two semesters in which to make up the deficiencies. How and where the student makes up the deficiencies must be approved by the registrar and the class dean and students who wish to apply transfer credit to the major must have additional approval from the major department.

Transcripts

Amherst requires a school of record, a degree-granting institution, to issue a transcript for the study abroad semester or year.  Students are required to have their official transcript submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the end of the semester following the semester away.  For May graduates, the transcript must arrive before April 1, for December graduates, the transcript must arrive by August 1.

Grades from your semester or year away will not appear on your Amherst transcript nor will they be calculated into your Amherst GPA.  They do not, however, go away.  Should you apply to graduate or professional school, all transcripts from academic institutions - including study abroad and domestic study - will be required.  Any additional questions regarding academic credit should be forwarded to the Registrar's Office.

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Leaving Your Study Abroad Program Early

Students are expected to take the equivalent of 15 semester credits or the equivalent of four full Amherst courses while on educational leave and to achieve at least a grade of “C” in each course.  Students who decide to voluntarily leave their study abroad program prior to completion must contact Amherst College prior to departure for approval. Voluntary withdrawals have serious implications for credit and financial aid and may impact a student’s graduation date.  If a student is withdrawn from the program and receives a “W” in every program course on the study abroad transcript, those course deficiencies must be made up in a replacement term of residence at the college. However, if the student receives an “F” in any program course on the study abroad transcript, the student’s readmission is subject to review by the Committee on Academic Standing. In this instance, it is possible that the student will be required to make up the deficiencies prior to returning to Amherst and/or may be placed on probation, warning, or dismissal from the college.  Students receiving grades of “C-“, “D+/-“ will not receive credit and will have to make up those deficiencies before their final semester senior year and should discuss options with their class dean. 

Students are fully responsible for all financial aid funds dispersed on their behalf.  Voluntary withdrawals will result in the full cancellation of all Amherst financial aid funds paid on the student's behalf.  Federal funds will be subject to federal regulations that might require the student to repay federal aid funds. Cancellation of financial aid funds, both institutional and federal, will result in a charge to the Amherst student account.  The balance of that account must be repaid before the student can return to Amherst College.

Students who are considering a voluntary withdrawal from study abroad should contact the Director of Education Abroad immediately to ensure that they understand the likely consequences of the choice they are considering.

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When Students May Study Abroad

Students may study abroad for credit towards their degree studies in the spring of the sophomore year or the junior year. On occasion, a student may study abroad in the first semester of the senior year but only with a compelling reason and with special permission. See Final Year Students for more information.

Students on academic or disciplinary dismissal may not study abroad in the first semester upon their return to the college (see p. 66 of the Catalog). Academic or disciplinary warning may also prohibit a student from studying abroad until s/he is in good standing.