Office of International Studies

Regulations for Study Abroad


Study abroad is an essential gateway to the cross-cultural awareness so necessary today, as well as to competence in a foreign language. Knowledge of the language, history, and culture of another country, as well as its political, economic, religious, ethnic, linguistic, societal, and environmental particularities, greatly enriches any academic pursuit on the home campus. Study in another culture and society sharpens our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world in which we live, and is thus a central component of a liberal-arts education. For most students, total immersion in the culture and language of another country is the only path to becoming bilingual.


We recommend that all students have a valid passport, regardless of when they plan to study abroad. You cannot go abroad without a passport, and most countries require that you have a student visa, which you cannot secure until you have a passport. If you plan to study abroad, and either do not have a passport or have one that will expire less than 6 months AFTER THE END OF YOUR PROGRAM, it is imperative that you apply immediately. Use the regular or expedited passport process and express postage to send your passport application and receive your passport back from the Passport Agency. Expediting costs more, but will get your passport back to you sooner. You are likely to need this time to apply for and receive a student visa AFTER you receive your passport. 

Passport applications can be obtained at U.S. Post Offices. In Middletown, passport applications may be obtained at the U.S. Post Office, 11 Silver Street (telephone 638-6977). You must send a certified copy of your birth certificate and two passport-sized photographs with your application. Passport photos can be purchased at various locations in Middletown, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreen’s.   The Passport Agency recommends that you use U.S. Postal Service Express Mail to send your application and to receive it. Please check with your local post office for changes in passport and postage costs.


Wesleyan-Administered Programs

Wesleyan-administered programs, alone or in a consortium, are:

France: Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris
Bordeaux Immersion Program
Germany: Wesleyan Program in Regensburg (with Vanderbilt University and Wheaton College)
Italy: Eastern College Consortium (ECCO) Program in Bologna
Japan: Associated Kyoto Program
Spain: Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid

Wesleyan-administered programs are overseen by committees that establish the criteria for admission and process all applications, with support from the Office of International Studies. For information and application forms, students should contact the Office of International Studies.

Study on these programs does not count toward the residency requirement.

Many courses on Wesleyan’s own programs are coded for general education equivalency, and students may request that other individual courses be considered for equivalency. A description of the course for which the student would like to be awarded general education equivalency should be submitted to the director of the OIS for submission to the appropriate Academic Dean, who will make all such decisions. This must be done before the course is completed, and will not be done retroactively.

Each of these programs is monitored by faculty on the home campus and run by a resident director on site. Most programs offer a varied selection of courses in the humanities and social sciences, as well, in some cases, as direct enrollment at a local university; students from all majors are encouraged to apply. In these programs Wesleyan has a voice in the establishment of the curriculum, housing, and extracurricular activities (such as field trips, concerts, and plays); thus we feel confident that these programs are excellent choices for our students.

For this reason, students intending to study abroad should first consider Wesleyan's own programs. For brochures, application forms, and further information, consult the Office of International Studies or the relevant language department.

Wesleyan-Approved Programs

The Educational Policy Committee has approved programs for Wesleyan credit in a wide range of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Oceania. The list is reviewed and updated annually. Students may obtain a copy of the list from the Office of International Studies or access it through the Internet at

In addition to applying directly to the sponsoring institution, students must fill out and submit to the Director of International Studies a Wesleyan application form for permission to study abroad. The form is available at the Office of International Studies or online, and all applications are subject to approval by the Committee on International Studies.

The Office of International Studies maintains program evaluations from past Wesleyan participants, and makes them available to students in the process of selecting programs. 

Wesleyan requires that all American institutions whose study abroad programs are used by Wesleyan students have, as part of their policy documentation, a non-discrimination clause comparable to Wesleyan's. Petitions for programs run by American universities or organizations that do not have such a clause will not be approved.

Programs Abroad Approved by Petition

In exceptional cases, the Committee on International Studies may grant ad hoc approval for a program not included on the official List of Approved Programs. Students must submit a petition, accompanied by a letter of support from a member of the Wesleyan faculty. Students should understand that the burden of justifying their choice (i.e., providing an academic justification for their participation in the program) is theirs. Approval for such programs is granted on a one-time basis and exclusively for the applicant. Regulations governing Wesleyan-approved programs apply to any program approved via petition.

Foreign Language Policy

Most programs in non-English speaking countries require that students complete a certain number of semesters of language study before going abroad. This number varies according to the program; in some cases, Wesleyan has more stringent requirements than the program. Students should therefore consult the List of Approved Programs, and plan their course selections accordingly and as early as possible. 

It is Wesleyan policy that: 

  1. Students going to a program in a region whose common language is not English but is a language taught at Wesleyan study that language to an appropriate level (identified in the List of Approved Programs) before attending the program;
  2. Students going to a program in a region whose common language is not English but is a language they have studied take courses only in that language;
  3. Students going to a program in a region whose common language is not English, and is a language Wesleyan does not teach, study the language of that region while abroad. 

Exceptions to this policy are made only for certain thematic programs (identified in the List of Approved Programs), or by petition to the Committee on International Studies within two weeks of the start of the program’s courses. Students attending one of the thematic programs for which language is not a prerequisite are strongly encouraged to study the relevant language for as long as possible before attending the program.

Students who participate in programs with instruction in English in regions where English is not the common language are required to enroll in at least one course in the language of the region as part of their academic program.

Students majoring in East Asian Studies are required to study abroad in Asia. Students majoring in Wesleyan's College of Letters are required to spend the second semester of their sophomore year abroad, preferably in a country where French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, or Spanish is spoken. Before studying abroad, COL students are required to complete two full years of French or Spanish, three semesters of German, Russian, or Hebrew, or two semesters of Italian, at the university level. Psychology requires a cultural immersion experience (starting with Class of 2013).  Direct interaction with other cultures through study abroad facilitates an understanding of cultures not one's own and of global issues.  Psychology majors need to spend at least one semester engaged in a cultural immersion experience.  Study abroad automatically fulfills the requirement.  Students may petition the chair to fulfill the requirement with the cultural immersion experience within the U.S., with a summer program, or with other equivalent experience.  Note that students are not automatically granted permission to study abroad or acceptance to a program on the basis of a major requirement.

Students taking courses abroad on approved programs in foreign languages taught at Wesleyan, but who have not progressed beyond the intermediate level before going abroad, should be prepared to take the placement test upon their return. This will allow us to determine the appropriate level for the continuation of their language studies at Wesleyan, and also help us assess the quality of language instruction in approved programs abroad.

Students with native or fluent competence in a foreign language may enroll directly in universities abroad without petitioning, but only with the approval of the Director of International Studies.

English-Language Programs

The list of Wesleyan-administered and Wesleyan-approved programs includes opportunities for study abroad in various English-speaking countries. The Committee on International Studies gives preference to programs that place students in universities, rather than programs that offer courses organized only for American students, outside a university context, with the exceptions of a small number of highly-focused programs in the sciences or arts that meet specific disciplinary needs. Direct enrollment in universities is also encouraged where feasible. 

Programs with instruction in English in countries where English is not the native language form a separate category. Although Wesleyan prefers students to have the linguistic training to communicate in the (or at least a) language of the host country, there are important academic reasons for including a few such programs on the list of Wesleyan-approved programs. Students are required to enroll in at least one course in the language of the country as part of their academic program, and full weight (1 Wesleyan credit) is always given to that course. The Committee on International Studies prefers programs with instructors from the host country, even if the instruction is in English, rather than American instructors, and avoids approving programs where students find themselves isolated from the host culture.

Course Approval

Students who wish to study abroad must obtain written pre-approval for their proposed courses from their faculty advisors for the semester during which they wish to study abroad.

Students must have the approval of their faculty advisor for all courses they take abroad. The advisor must indicate which courses, if any, may be counted toward the major for which s/he is an advisor. Students with more than one major must obtain approval for courses that will receive credit in each major from each respective major advisor. The faculty advisor(s) may specify a minimum grade and/or other conditions for counting a course toward the major. If, after arriving on site, a student wishes to take a course that has not been pre-approved by his/her faculty advisor, s/he must seek written approval for this course from the faculty advisor as early as possible, and no later than the end of the program’s registration period. If it is impossible to do so because of the means of communication available on site, the student may request approval for the course from the faculty advisor before the end of the drop/add period of the first semester in which the student returns to campus, but should be aware that such approval is by no means guaranteed.

Students will receive a final course approval form from the OIS, which they must fill out and submit to their faculty advisor. 

Individual departments and programs have specific regulations regarding the granting of major credit for work done abroad; these are posted at

Students wishing to receive credit for an internship abroad must complete the Internships Abroad Guidelines form and have the chair of the relevant academic department sign the Internship Pre-Approval Form; both forms are available at the OIS. Note that some departments do not grant credit for internships and that others may have specific requirements students must fulfill in order to earn credit. Internships must be taken for a grade and will be recorded on the Wesleyan transcript with a CR/U, and can earn no more than 1.0 credit.

Students will not receive credit for courses taken in departments Wesleyan does not have (e.g., engineering, nursing, business, law). Exceptions will be made only when a Wesleyan faculty member notifies the OIS in writing that a specific course may earn credit in his/her department. This must be arranged before or during the program registration period.

General Education Credit

To earn general education credit while abroad, students must submit to the Director of International Studies a request for said designation for a specific course, along with the relevant course description. The Director will process the request and forward it to the relevant academic dean for a decision. This must be handled before the beginning of the program or, in programs that permit a drop/add period, during that period, and cannot be granted retroactively.

Semester Credits and Course Load

Students are expected to enroll in an academic program totaling the equivalent of four Wesleyan credits during each semester they study abroad. Students should be aware that credit for approved programs may be measured differently than at Wesleyan, such as in semester-hour credits or, for students enrolling directly in universities abroad, other units. One Wesleyan credit is the equivalent of four semester-hour credits, for example, such that a student participating in a program that measures credit in semester-hour credits is expected to enroll in an academic program totaling 15-16 semester-hour credits. 
A student who plans to enroll in an academic program totaling fewer than 4.0 Wesleyan credits (fewer than 15 semester-hour credits) must have the approval of his or her class dean and faculty advisor. A student who plans to enroll in an academic program totaling more than 5 Wesleyan hour credits (20 semester-hour credits) must have the approval of his or her faculty advisor. In both cases, such approval must be communicated to the Office of International Studies by the faculty advisor (and class dean in the case of a reduced course load). When credits for study abroad are reported in a format whose conversion to Wesleyan credits is not obvious and thus requires interpretation and conversion, this conversion will be carried out by the OIS under guidelines approved by the Educational Policy Committee.

Students should be sure, before they leave Wesleyan to study abroad, that they understand the credit system of the institution from which they are earning them credit abroad; the OIS can provide this information and explain how courses will be weighted. The OIS ensures that courses and grades are entered on the Wesleyan transcript by the registrar.

Credits will be noted on a student’s transcript once the program transcript is received and the student has submitted to the Office of International Studies a completed evaluation for the program(s) in which s/he participated. Students are required to complete an evaluation for the program(s) in which they participate in order to ensure that current information about the program is always available to the Committee, the OIS, and prospective participants.

For a fuller explanation of how credits are awarded, please see the yellow “Credit for Study Abroad” sheet available at the OIS and online at

Grading Policy

Grades are reported on the Wesleyan transcript and count toward the student's overall GPA. All courses including internships must be taken A-F unless this option is not available, but credit for internships will appear on the Wesleyan transcript with CR only. COL majors should consult with the department for grading mode information. Some modifications in grading systems for study abroad have been found necessary, and A+ grades received abroad will be posted to the Wesleyan transcript as A grades.

Additional Academic Regulations

Students placed on strict academic probation at the end of the semester and students on medical leave are not eligible to study abroad the following semester. Exceptions may be made in the latter case. 

Any grade of incomplete, X, or AB must be resolved two weeks prior to the student’s departure date. Students with such grades on their transcript should consult with their class dean about the resolution process.

All other University academic regulations apply to students studying for Wesleyan credit abroad. Withdrawal from a study abroad program will be treated in the same way as withdrawal from the University. Wesleyan may withdraw a student from a program abroad or place a student abroad on medical leave, should it be deemed advisable to do so.


Wesleyan-administered programs: An inter-departmental campus committee establishes criteria for admission and reviews applications. Applications for Madrid, Paris, Bologna, and Regensburg are processed by the Office of International Studies. For the Sussex, Cork, Dublin, and Sciences Po exchanges and the Bordeaux Immersion Program, selection is handled by the relevant department (English, Music, Physics, and the French section of Romance Languages and Literatures, respectively), and successful applications are processed by OIS. Applicants also must complete Wesleyan’s general study-abroad permission application, due March 1 for fall or full-year and October 15 for spring. Information about all Wesleyan programs is available at OIS. Admission is competitive, and students are encouraged to apply to an approved-list program as backup.

Wesleyan–administered program application deadlines:


Semester of Study



Fall/Full Year

February 15
October 1


Fall/Full Year

February 15
October 1


Fall/Full Year

February 15
October 1



October 15

Wesleyan-approved programs: Students apply directly to the sponsoring institution for acceptance and also to the Office of International Studies for permission to study abroad. OIS applications are available in the office and on-line. Application deadlines for permission to study abroad are March 1 for the fall semester or full year and October 15 for the spring semester.Deadlines for individual programs may be earlier than Wesleyan's deadline. Programs increasingly fill well before their deadlines, so early application is essential to avoid being closed out of many of the most popular programs. However, students always should consult with the Office of International Studies first, since OIS must check every student’s academic and disciplinary status before certifying to the sponsoring institution that credit will be transferred or that the student is in good standing.


In exceptional cases, the Committee on International Studies may grant ad hoc approval for a program not included on the official List of Approved Programs. Following discussion with the Director of International Studies on the specific program, the student’s goals, and the petition process, a student must submit a petition to the Committee on International Studies, accompanied by a letter of support from a member of the Wesleyan faculty. Students should understand that the burden of justifying their choice (i.e., providing an academic justification for their participation in the program) is theirs. Approval for such programs is granted on a one-time basis and exclusively for the applicant. Regulations governing Wesleyan-approved programs apply to any program approved via petition. 

DEADLINES for submitting a petition are February 15 for fall-semester or year-long programs and September 30 for spring-semester programs. Only one petition can be submitted at a time. The Committee on International Studies meets every other Wednesday during the academic semester, and cannot consider petitions at other times; petitions are reviewed on a rolling basis. The Committee's decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

The Committee on International Studies considers three primary factors in a petition: the quality and substance of the proposed program, the petitioner's academic preparation for participation (e.g., language study, area studies courses, academic performance), and the petitioner's academic justification as to how this program meets his/her academic needs in a way approved-list programs do not. Approximately 60% of petitions are approved; petitioners are strongly encouraged to apply to at least one approved-list program as a backup.

N.B.: Although the OIS will work to help Wesleyan students gain admission into the programs of their choice, OIS approval does not guarantee admission. Students are responsible for understanding and meeting the regulations, requirements, and deadlines specific to the programs of their choice. In general, deadlines range from early February to mid-April for the fall semester or year-long programs, and from mid-September to mid-November for the spring semester. Many programs process applications on a rolling basis, so to avoid disappointment, students should check space availability. 


Students must commit themselves to full-time enrollment (the equivalent of FOUR Wesleyan credits), regular class attendance, and strict compliance with all program regulations and individual course requirements in their study program(s) abroad. Students who leave a program before it is officially over will not receive credit for their work. The Committee on International Studies reviews various factors, including but not limited to the contact hours required for each course, accreditation, faculty credentials, and feedback from students who have attended a program via petition, before approving a program. Courses are expected to be academically rigorous, meeting approximately the same number of hours as a Wesleyan course and requiring assignments of equivalent length and difficulty within the context of other nations’ pedagogical systems. The Committee recognizes that class participation, reading, and writing assignments are more difficult when courses are not taught in the student's native language, and adjusts its expectations accordingly.


Students who apply to study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at Wesleyan. In applying for foreign study, they must sign a waiver allowing the OIS to check with the Dean’s Office regarding both academic (Good Standing and Honor Code) and disciplinary (Code of Non-Academic Conduct) standing. Any current or pending disciplinary issue will be reported to OIS and taken into account in evaluating a student’s application for permission to study abroad. Should a student be placed on academic discipline or have disciplinary proceedings filed after receiving approval to study abroad, this will be reported to OIS, at which point approval to participate in a program may be revoked.

Students must sign a “Standards of Conduct Pledge” as part of the internal Wesleyan application. This pledge holds students accountable to Wesleyan’s Honor System and Code of Non-Academic Conduct while participating in a Wesleyan-administered or –approved program. Infractions abroad may result in Honor Board or Student Judicial Board charges or, in extreme cases, expulsion from the program. 

Students must submit an online health form to Wesleyan’s Davison Health Center and CAPS (Counseling & Psychological Services) as part of the Application for Permission to Study Abroad. For reasons of privacy, these forms do not go to the OIS; however, students with medical or behavioral health concerns or learning disabilities are strongly encouraged to discuss their situation with OIS staff to ensure that programs of interest can provide needed medical, behavioral, or learning support.

Permission to study abroad may be denied or withdrawn if a student’s account with Wesleyan’s Student Accounts Office has a delinquent balance from the semester prior to the proposed semester(s) of study abroad.

Students required to resign may not use study abroad as a way of gathering the credit they need to return to Wesleyan, unless they are citizens of the country in which they wish to study. In that case, their credit taken abroad is processed as if it were domestic transfer credit, and they do not work through the Office of International Studies. 

Head Residents make a full-year commitment to the Office of Residential Life; students who accept positions as head residents for a particular academic year are not eligible to study abroad during that time.


Students are considered to be enrolled at Wesleyan while abroad, in the category of non-resident study (NRS), and thus pay Wesleyan tuition and, in many cases, program room and board fees, directly to Wesleyan University; Wesleyan then pays the program. This is the only way in which credit from academic-year programs abroad can be applied toward the Wesleyan degree. Students remain eligible for financial aid, for which they apply to the Financial Aid Office. They receive assistance from the OIS in planning the financing of their programs. Since the formulae by which Wesleyan-approved program costs are assessed and billed vary considerably, students are asked to consult the detailed statement of Financial Procedures, and to make an appointment with Gail Winter, Assistant Director ( or x3006) to discuss their particular situations.

Some programs offer their own scholarships, for which Wesleyan students may be eligible; the same is true for several federal and non-program specific scholarships for study abroad. It is the student's responsibility to investigate these opportunities. The OIS can provide limited funding to assist students for whom study abroad poses a financial hardship above and beyond the cost of remaining at Wesleyan (e.g. due to airfare, higher cost of living, or forgone work opportunities) and whose need cannot be fully met by financial aid. These grants are not intended to replace summer earnings, so unless the program calendar makes summer work impossible, applicants should plan accordingly. Students may apply, providing a budget and explanation of their circumstances, for amounts not to exceed $1000 for a single semester or $1500 for the full year. Application must be made by the last day of classes each semester.


Health concerns may dictate where and whether some students can study abroad. Such students are encouraged to speak with OIS or Health Center/CAPS staff regarding these concerns, as well as to research health, medical, and medication issues in the country or countries of interest. Students who plan to study in Australia and take medication for chronic health conditions should refer to for the most current information on laws covering the kinds and quantities of medications that can be brought into Australia.


Whether on Wesleyan-administered or -approved programs, students are responsible for obtaining their own student visas for study abroad unless they are specifically informed otherwise by the program.  A student must have a passport valid at least six months beyond the end of the program in order to apply for a student visa.  Visas are obtained through the consulates of the country where the program takes place and students should visit the appropriate consulate's website to find out the process.  Most programs provide students with information and, in some cases, documents needed to apply for a student visa.


The US Department of State issues Travel Warnings when long term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning also may be issued when the US Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a decrease in its staff. Wesleyan students planning to attend a program in a country with a US State Department Travel Warning, and their parent, must sign a country-specific waiver of liability, to which the OIS will attach a copy of the relevant Travel Warning. We strongly encourage students considering study in such countries to read not only the relevant US State Department Travel Warning, but also the British and Canadian equivalents, which can be found at and, respectively. 


Students are responsible for their own health insurance if the program does not provide it.  One option is to purchase the student insurance plan available through Wesleyan, which will cover students for the same matters and at the same rates as in the U.S.  We strongly encourage the purchase of an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), available through the OIS.  In addition to discounts on travel and activities, this card provides supplemental insurance coverage, including medical evacuation and repatriation.


Since visa, passport, and US and foreign country immigration requirements and regulations differ widely, students who are not US citizens MUST speak with Janice Watson, Coordinator of International Student Services, at x3704, North College, 1st floor, for counsel on the necessary steps to follow in order to stay in compliance with immigration regulations if you are a US visa holder, and to discuss your plans for obtaining a visa for your country of destination if you are a permanent resident of the US.


Students accepted to Wesleyan-approved programs (including those approved via petition) must provide the OIS a copy of their acceptance letter immediately, with a notation that they plan to attend said programs, so that their status change at Wesleyan can be processed in a timely manner. The OIS will communicate with students abroad via email on events at Wesleyan and logistical and adaptation issues during their stay abroad.

If a student decides at the last minute not to go, it is important that the OIS be notified promptly, so that arrangements for the coming semester can be handled smoothly. Students are encouraged to keep the Office posted as to their activities and travel plans.