Information for Departmental Representatives
Approving Programs of Study
Once students have decided to study abroad and have been admitted to a program, they complete a Study Abroad Approval form for Princeton. The form requires students to list courses that they intend to take while abroad. Any courses that they wish to count toward departmental requirements must be approved by the departmental representative. Normally, departments allow students to count up to two courses for departmental credit during a term of study abroad and up to four courses for the year. The exact number of departmental courses a student may take abroad varies from department to department.
Departmental concentrators also need to indicate on the Study Abroad Approval form what arrangements have been or will be made for completing any required independent work. Departmental representatives are responsible for making sure that students who study abroad have reliable academic advising while they are away. In some departments, junior independent work is guided and evaluated by an on-site adviser, who is nominated by the department and appointed by the Dean of the Faculty as a visiting professor at Princeton. In cases where a department does not appoint an on-site adviser, students nevertheless sometimes find a faculty member abroad who can help them informally with their research.
If the local academic calendar abroad is different from Princeton’s, the deadline for Junior Independent Work is usually adjusted accordingly. For example, a student studying in a German university for the spring begins spring-term classes only in April. To ask the student to keep to the Junior Independent Work deadline of late April (in some departments) or early May (dean’s date) is unreasonable. In such cases, the deadline can be extended so that it falls near the end of the semester in Germany, just as the deadline at Princeton falls at the end of the Princeton semester. If the Junior Independent Work is a yearlong project instead of a one-term project, the department may decide to keep to the original deadline.
Students who wish to take courses abroad to fulfill a distribution area requirement need to have the specific course approved by the departmental representative in the department that would offer a similar course at Princeton. For example, an English major who wants to take a politics course at the University of Cape Town to fulfill an SA (Social Analysis) requirement will ask the departmental representative in the politics department to approve the course for distribution area credit. This approval may take place either before or after the term abroad, as long as the course itself had been reviewed for general credit. Students who participate in the Study Abroad Program for the term or year can fulfill two distribution requirements in any area, not only in those areas that require two courses to complete the requirement. Courses taken for elective credit are approved by the dean or associate director of the Study Abroad Program.
Final approval to study abroad is formally granted by the Committee on Examinations and Standing. To be eligible for approval, students must have a B average for the fall and spring semesters of the academic year preceding the year or semester of study abroad and the approval of their home department. Students who are not in good disciplinary standing may be deemed ineligible to study abroad even if they meet the academic requirements.