Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Off-Campus Study

Semester and Academic Year

The Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study prepares students to “be at home in all lands” through advising and programming that promote intentionality and integration to broaden and enrich the Bowdoin education. Whether off-campus study occurs abroad or in the United States, students are encouraged to participate in semester-long and yearlong programs of off-campus study as an extension of the on-campus educational experience, and expectations are that the courses in which students earn credit toward the degree be in a field of study characteristic of the liberal arts and be academically engaging and complementary to their studies at Bowdoin.

A student who wishes to count academic credit earned in an off-campus study program toward the Bowdoin degree is required to obtain approval, in advance, from the Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study. If the student wishes to count credits earned in the program toward the major or minor, the approval of the major and minor department is required as well. Students contemplating off-campus study should consult the Off-Campus Study website; they are urged to begin planning early in the academic year before that in which they hope to study away, and must complete both a registration of intent in November and a full application in February to request permission to study away. Separately, students apply directly to the university or program they wish to attend. (Application deadlines for individual programs vary considerably; it is the responsibility of the student to determine these deadlines and ensure that they are met.) Approvals of late applications to study off campus are rare and considered on a case-by-case basis. To be approved for Bowdoin degree credit, the proposed program of study away should satisfy the College’s academic standards and form an integral part of a student’s overall academic plan. Approval for which semester students may study off campus may also be affected by the College’s concern to maintain a balance between the number of students away during the fall and spring terms.

Students are expected to carry a full course load in any off-campus study program, and students typically study away for one or two semesters. If a student wishes to study away for more time, the student needs to petition the Recording Committee. Credit earned is not formally transferred until the Office of the Registrar has received and reviewed appropriate documentation, including the official transcript from the program. In some cases, it may be required that the appropriate Bowdoin department review the student’s completed work.

Bowdoin charges an off-campus study fee. Students on aid should expect that their family contribution toward comprehensive fees should remain the same whether they are on or off campus.

Depending on their academic needs, students normally are expected to select from the options list of approximately one hundred programs and universities kept by the Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study, which may be found on the website


A student may also elect to study away during the summer. To transfer credit for courses taken in a summer study-abroad program, a student must gain approval in advance by submitting an Application for Transfer of Credit to the Office of International Programs and Off-Campus Study, as well as to the Office of the Registrar; refer to Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions in the Academic Standards and Regulations section. Financial aid does not transfer for summer study abroad, nor is the student considered enrolled at Bowdoin for federal reporting purposes.