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Study Abroad Policy

These policies govern all study abroad during the academic year, and contain criteria against which all applications will be evaluated by the Committee on Leaves and Privileges.

  1. Study abroad must tangibly enhance the student's academic program of study at Vassar. It is important for academic planning that the student acquaint him/herself with the academic calendar of the foreign university in question and that he/she, if possible, provide a list of proposed courses approved by the student’s advisor for the Committee on Leaves and Privileges' consideration prior to leaving.
  2. The college has no official preference for fall, spring or full-year academic leaves. However, some universities overseas are on a trimester system that usually consists of three 8-10 week terms. In such a case, Vassar students must opt to study either for the full academic year or for the two terms in the spring in order to receive credit.  Once your study abroad term has been approved it cannot be changed without approval from the Committee on Leaves and Privileges. To petition CLP, you must complete the Petition to Change Term of Study Abroad form.
  3. Ordinarily, the Committee on Leaves and Privileges will not consider requests for sequential a/b semester leaves in two countries. Thus, application for full-year study abroad should address plans for only one country. If a student and his/her advisor feel that specific academic needs require study in two countries, the student must submit a detailed rationale for such a plan with the study abroad application.
  4. All conditions for provisional approvals for study away must be met by the end of the sophomore year or the leave will not be granted. If necessary, individual cases must be reviewed by CLP. Note that students with a grade of INC on their academic record, on academic probation, or students who are under disciplinary censure are not allowed to go study abroad. If the Committee on Leaves and Privileges has granted a student permission to go abroad and the student then falls into one of the above categories, study abroad status will be revoked. The student does, however, have the option of reapplying provided all the requirements stated in the guidelines are met.
  5. For all programs which include an independent study or internship as integral to the program coursework, participants should consult with the major advisor to discuss a topic and pre-participation bibliography for the Independent Study Project. Credit for Independent Study Projects will be given in consultation with the appropriate department.
  6. If you desire to extend your study abroad experience beyond your approved term you must apply to the Committee on Leaves and Privileges as soon as possible, by submitting a Petition to Change the Term of Study Abroad form. In addition you must notify your advisor and obtain his/her approval.
  7. For non-English speaking countries where Vassar does not offer formal language instruction or requires less than two years of language study before study abroad, participants attending programs in English are required to study the language of the host country while abroad. One semester of language study does not satisfy the College’s language requirement. Only 1⁄2 unit of credit will be awarded for one term of language work at the introductory level.
  8. Students studying a language at the introductory level which is taught on campus, such as Italian or Arabic, must take a second semester of the language upon their return to campus in order to receive credit for the language course taken abroad.Where the college does offer language instruction, including SILP, students planning to study abroad must demonstrate sustained interest in language acquisition while at Vassar.
  9. Approved study abroad participants who have satisfied the minimum language requirement are expected to continue taking at least one course in the language appropriate to their study abroad plans each semester prior to departure. In addition, where the college requires a minimum of two years of college-level language study before study abroad, all coursework abroad must be taken in the language of the host country in order for the student to receive credit. This includes France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Spanish or French-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean, Francophone Africa, Russia, and China, among others. Scientific fieldwork programs taught in English, such as the School for Field Studies, are exempt from the on-site language requirement, though Vassar may require pre-participation language coursework in some cases.
  10. One year of SILP language courses regularly offered at Vassar - Hindi, Korean, Portuguese and Swedish - is most often required for study abroad in India, Korea, Brazil, Portugal, and Sweden respectively. Please note: as introductory SILP courses are full-year, students interested in study in these countries must begin language instruction in September of either the freshman or the sophomore year.
  11. Approved and provisionally approved study abroad students may not register for courses at Vassar for the term(s) applied for, nor will they be assigned housing. Those who choose to withdraw from study abroad status the semester prior to expected departure are required to do so before the beginning of registration in order to be assigned a draw number and housing for the following term.
  12. Letter grades are recorded on the Vassar transcript for non-Vassar post-matriculation transfer work, but these grades are not included in the Vassar grade-point average. These grades appear with an asterisk preceding the grade.
  13. Letter grades from Vassar-based programs, such as Bologna, Madrid, and Paris, are included in the Vassar grade-point average.
  14. Double majors must have the support of the Department Chair and/or the major advisor of both major departments. Double major request forms are available in the Dean of Studies Office.
  15. Applying for study abroad programs precludes applications for the Twelve College Exchange, the Historically Black College Exchange, Washington Semester programs or other academic leaves of absence during the same period.
  16. Students who wish to cancel their plans to study abroad may return to campus up to the first day of classes each semester. Such a decision should be made with care, however, and will require consultation with one's family, the program Director, The Dean of Studies Office, the Office of International Programs and major advisor at Vassar. Naturally, late cancellations may entail difficulties in course registration, financial aid and, perhaps, housing, which the Office of International Programs, the Dean of Studies Office and the Office of Residential Life will do their best to alleviate. There is also no guarantee that the programs themselves will make full refunds, nor that credit will be awarded for partially completed coursework. Withdrawal from a program must be submitted in writing to the director of the Office of International Programs.
  17. If you choose to transfer schools after completing a term or year of study abroad, any Vassar scholarship that you received as part of your JYA financial aid package will revert to a loan and must be repaid to the college.
  18. All students studying abroad must submit Emergency Contact Information to the Dean of Students Office, before leaving campus. This form will be available online for you to complete. Please note that The Office of International Programs cannot pay your program tuition until the College has the Emergency Contact Information on file.