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Amherst College wants your study abroad experience to be as academically sound and inter-culturally enriching as possible. Programs that are fully approved on the program list meet this criteria. Because not all study abroad programs are of equal quality, any program not currently on the approved program list must go through the approval review process before we will allow a student to receive transfer credit for that program. Programs are approved on a student-by-student basis and are approved because a student has argued that the non-approved program was the best fit for his or her personal and academic interests.
If you review the approved program list and do not find a program of interest to you, please make an appointment with Janna Behrens, Director of Education Abroad (x2265). You can also find programs on these search engines:
- Meeting with the Director of Education Abroad. You must meet with the Director (x2265) to discuss the program you intend to petition. 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 meeting with the Director, you will then be provided with the petition forms. One part of the petition is for you to complete and one is to share with a faculty member who will write a letter of support on your behalf.
- Choose a faculty member who will write a letter of support. You are required to share your petition form with the faculty who will write a letter of support prior to submitting it to the Director. It is recommended that you meet with your professor at least a week before the petition deadline in case s/he has suggested changes. Don't forget to share program materials (e.g. brochures, websites, syllabi) with your professor, too, since this information will be helpful when s/he is sent the instructions for writing the letter of support by the Director. Please note this is a not a letter of reference; rather, it is a letter that evaluates the academic content of the program in relation to your academic goals (and that of the department, should you want credit in the major).
- Seek approval for your course of study with the petitioned program from your major adviser. If your major adviser is writing your letter of support, s/he can comment and approve this course of study via the letter. However, if your major adviser is not writing your letter of support, you need him/her to approve this course of study. Please have your major adviser email the Director of Education Abroad to approve your course of study with regard to the petitioned program.
- Submit your petition by the appropriate deadline: March 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.
Students may only petition ONE program not currently on the approved program list.
Yes, we cannot guarantee that your petition will be approved. Therefore, we require that you apply to at least one back-up program from the approved programs list.