Academic Policies: Study Abroad During the Academic Year
Approval to study abroad is given by the Committee on Examinations and Standing. While all students are encouraged to study abroad during the academic year, there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met.
- Class standing as a spring-term sophomore, junior, or fall-term senior.
The earliest most students study abroad is spring of sophomore year. Students interested in studying abroad in fall of sophomore year should discuss their plans with a study abroad adviser and submit a petition with a letter of support from a faculty member.
- GPA of 3.0 or above for the fall and spring of the academic year prior to semester/year of study abroad.
Students whose GPA falls slightly below 3.0 should discuss their situation with a study abroad adviser. An exception will be considered if
- the lower GPA is a result of a particular situation, such as switching majors, a medical leave;
- the student has strong support from advisers and their residential college dean;
- the student has a compelling academic reason for pursuing a particular program abroad.
- Seriousness of purpose and a clear reason for choosing the program abroad.
- Departmental approval.
Students need the support of their department or prospective department.
- Student Conduct.
The OIP will consult with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students to determine whether the applicant has a disciplinary record and will discuss the nature and circumstances of any infraction with the student and the impact this may have on eligibility for study abroad. Such information may also be shared with the student’s study abroad program. Students who will be on disciplinary probation during the term in which they plan to study abroad are normally not permitted to study abroad through Princeton.
During a semester or year of study abroad, the minimum prerequisite for study in a country where courses are taken in the local language is completion of a Princeton language course at the 107/108 level, but it is highly recommended -- and in some programs required -- that students take at least one 200- or 300-level course before they go abroad. Princeton’s ideal is full immersion in the language of the country, both in terms of the language of instruction and in daily life, so the stronger the language skills, the better.
In some cases, students may take some coursework in English while continuing to study a language abroad. Certain languages require a longer time to achieve fluency (e.g. Near Eastern and Asian languages). In these cases, not all students will be ready to follow discipline-based courses in the target language and therefore can take them in English while continuing language study. However, it is important to note that completion of the Princeton language course through the 107/108 level is still required.
Princeton has created or approved a limited number of programs that offer coursework in English in non-English-speaking countries. These programs are either connected to a department at Princeton or a specific discipline, e.g., the Tropical Field Study Program in Panama offered by the EEB department, the exchange with Bocconi University in Economics, and a number of programs in Italy that focus on art, classics, and architecture. There are also programs in countries where the local language is not taught at Princeton, so students have no way of gaining linguistic skills in advance. In all these cases, we encourage students to study the local language while abroad, and the following policy applies:
1. Although Princeton does not grant credit for one semester of a beginning language taken on campus, students on an approved study abroad program for the semester may earn one course credit by studying the local language at their study abroad site. They should enroll in the most intensive course available (usually worth 6 credits), have the course pre-approved, and pass it with a C or above. The course will be transferred as general study abroad elective credit (SAB) and not be the equivalent of a specific language course at Princeton unless the language is continued at Princeton at the next level.
2. However, students who study a language offered by Princeton while they are abroad at the 100-level (101, 102, 105, 107/8) and want it to count as a specific Princeton language course so that further study can be pursued on campus or to fulfill a requirement can do so by taking a Princeton placement test so that the level achieved can be verified and the course equivalent noted in the academic record.
N.B. This policy is only for students abroad for a semester or year. Summer language courses must be taken for a Princeton equivalent, not general elective credit. Please note that credit cannot be granted for one semester of a beginning language taken in the summer.
|Type of credit||Approved by||Number Limit|
|Departmental requirement||Departmental representative||Usually 2 courses per semester; 3-4 per year|
|Distribution area||Relevant departmental representative||2 in any of the areas|
|Certificate requirement||Certificate program director||Varies|
|Elective||Study abroad staff in OIP||Usually 4 courses per semester|
- To be awarded credit, courses must be passed with at least a C or its equivalent. Courses abroad cannot be taken on a Pass/Fail basis.
- Credit cannot be transferred until the official transcript and the Study Abroad Evaluation are received and processed. It is the student’s responsibility to have a transcript sent to the OIP at the end of the term abroad.
- Note: If you had a course pre-approved for credit but did not seek distribution credit before studying abroad, you may use the Distribution Area Requirement Form (.pdf) after you return to campus to seek permission to use the pre-approved course to fulfill a distribution requirement.
Departmental Independent Work
Students who are required to complete junior independent work abroad are advised either by a Princeton faculty member on campus or by an academic abroad who has been appointed by Princeton to supervise the paper. The paper is submitted to the adviser by the pre-set due date. As is the case on campus, students may request an extension of the due date if circumstances warrant. In some cases, when the academic calendar abroad differs significantly from Princeton’s calendar, the due date for Junior Independent Work will be adjusted to fit the different schedule.
Grades, GPAs, and Transcript
The Princeton University transcript records the program or university attended, its location, and the credit awarded. The grades for Junior Independent Work and for courses completed on the Tropical Biology Program in Kenya and Panama are recorded on the transcript and are included in the calculation of the departmental grade point average. Grades for courses in other programs and foreign universities do not appear on the Princeton transcript and are not included in the departmental grade point average. A "T" appears on the transcript to indicate transfer credit.