Study Abroad

Westminster College offers a wide variety of study abroad programs to meet students' academic programs, budgets, and time constraints. When choosing a program, students are encouraged to consider 6 criteria: academics, language abilities, cost, time constraints, need for support services, and location. The Office for Global Engagement helps students sort through the many options to find the program that meets as many of these criteria as possible.

Find the Perfect Study Abroad Program

  1. Research the types of study abroad programs available.
  2. Understand the cost for each program and which programs allow you to use Westminster scholarships and which do not. Additionally, there are 3 main resources for funding your program.
  3. Meet with a study abroad advisor by e-mailing Alison Vasquez,, or by visiting the Office for Global Engagement in Walker One.
  4. Attend a Study Abroad Fair. The Study Abroad Fair is held twice a year, typically in September and January.
  5. Complete the program application and the Westminster study abroad application including the transfer credit form.
  6. Apply for financial aid and scholarships.
  7. Attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation typically held in April for Fall departures and December for spring departures.

Why Study Abroad

Kristina Benoist in Chile
One of my favorite classes was Restoration Ecology. We were working on real-life issues in a real-life place. We were at the edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. We spent time backpacking through the most amazing forests and working our way over mountain passes in order to study the endangered huemul deer.
Kristina Benoist, Chile, Fall 2014
Mariah Sakaeda in Australia
Study abroad has completely changed my future career goals because it showed me just how possible and easy travel can be. I now understand that there is so much of the world to experience, and I would to have a career that allowed me to do that.
Mariah Sakaeda, Australia, Fall 2014
Leah Miller in Spain
Studying abroad was the best decision I have ever made. I had such an incredible time and was able to learn Spanish as well as meet and learn about multiple cultures, people, foods, and lifestyles.
Leah Miller, Spain, Spring 2014
Sean Arruabarrena in Turks and Caicos
Never in my life would I have imagined grabbing a seven-foot shark by the tail. Yet there I was, catching fish that many people wouldn't dare encounter. We acquired data that didn't only represent the Turks and Caicos, but the oceans from all over the world as the sharks migrated from place to place.
Sean Arruabarrena, Turks and Caicos, Fall 2014
Lilly Sybrant in Prague
Studying abroad gets a person out of their comfort zone. It will open your eyes to a new world. It takes you out of the realm of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because there always seems to be more important things you could be doing. It pushes you to find adventure.
Lilly Sybrant, Prague, Fall 2013
Kenyon Gentry in Japan
The best part about studying abroad is a draw between being able to interact with people from all over the world and living with a great host family. Many of my classmates were from countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Brazil. Because some of them didn't speak English, we had no choice but to interact in Japanese, which was challenging but a lot of fun.
Kenyon Gentry, Nanzan, Japan, Fall 2014
Karissa Killian in Botswana
Experiencing hands-on work in my field helped to guide my career goals. Studying abroad has added an experience to my life that most of my other colleagues have not taken advantage of. I think this will put me at an advantage in any type of work I pursue.

Karissa Killian, Botswana, Fall 2014

Study Abroad FAQs

Study Abroad refers to a college or university student's participation in a structured, credit-granting program of academic study in a foreign country. The academic program of study is sponsored either by an accredited U.S. university or by a foreign university that is recognized in its own country. About 225,000 US students (out of 16 million university students) study abroad annually.

You can study abroad any time during the academic year—for a summer, a semester, or whole academic year. Study abroad programs vary in length from1-3 weeks (for May Term & Summer Study Experiences), to 4–8 weeks during the summer, to approximately 15 weeks for Fall or Spring semester, to approximately 30 weeks for a full academic year.

Eligibility requirements vary by program, but the following requirements apply to all Westminster students:

  • You must be in good academic standing at Westminster College at the time of application and you must also meet the specific GPA requirements for the program that you are applying to.

  • You must have completed at least one full-time academic semester at Westminster before you study abroad (completion of two full-time semesters prior to departure is encouraged).

  • You must have the personal maturity needed to study abroad.

  • You may not study abroad during your last semester at Westminster. (Note: Study abroad allows for an exception to the Residence Requirement that states that you must take your last 36 hours at Westminster.)

  • You cannot have a medical withdrawal hold or accounts receivable hold at the time of your application.

No, Westminster works with a variety of study abroad program providers who offer programs in nearly every major.

Westminster recommends that you choose your study abroad program based primarily on the academic offerings and secondarily on the destination. With the help of a study abroad advisor and with some consideration of the kind of living situation you prefer, you should be able to find a program that meets your needs. In 2013, Westminster underwent a review process to select program providers that most closely align with our College-wide learning goals. As of the 2014-15 academic year, students can only participate in Westminster exchange programs, the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), or programs through a recognized provider.

You can study abroad for a maximum of one full year (one summer semester and two academic semesters). There is no limit to participating in May Term and Summer Study Experiences. Some academic majors and minors limit the number of transfer credits that can be applied to a Westminster degree, so be sure to discuss your plans with your academic advisor.

No. Although many study abroad programs offer the opportunity to learn a foreign language as part of the curriculum, you do not have to learn a foreign language to study abroad. Many programs in non-English speaking countries offer courses in English. However, study abroad is a great way to learn a language or deepen your language skills, so don't be afraid to try something new!

Every program is different. The most common housing options are in a student dormitory, an apartment, or with a host family.

Westminster College encourages its students to study abroad in high-quality and challenging programs that include a combination of academics and cultural immersion. The College has vetted and approved programs that align with the college-wide learning goals and provide a diverse portfolio of program options to meet students' needs and interests.

Yes, you may study abroad. In most cases, your options will include any country except your home country. If you wish to study abroad in your own country of origin, you will need to provide good academic reasons for this and your plans must be approved by the Director of International Student Services and the Associate Provost for Diversity & Global Learning.

Yes, you may study abroad. However, you should discuss the possibility with your coach to see what effect this might have on your position with the team. If you are a student athlete in a NCAA sport, there are several things to consider. You must still fulfill all NCAA progress toward degree requirements usually while you are studying abroad. Because any courses approved for transfer credit by your faculty advisor will meet those requirements during your first two years, we encourage student-athletes to study abroad during their sophomore year or during May or summer terms if possible.

During the junior year, courses taken while abroad must fulfill more specific program requirements. Also, the college must receive your transcripts or documentation that you completed the approved study abroad course work before we can certify you as eligible for competition. This timing can be a challenge with programs in some countries. In addition to working with the Study Abroad Advisor and your faculty advisor, you will need to meet with the designated athletics staff. If you have an athletic scholarship, you should also discuss your study abroad plans with a Financial Aid advisor.

Yes. However some programs/institutions will be better able to meet your needs than others. You will need work closely with a study abroad advisor to identify the program that is best for you. (Disability services are not mandated overseas, so depending upon the nature of your disability, you may be required to provide for your own accommodations. This makes the conversations with the study abroad and disability services directors very important.)

When you study abroad you earn transfer credits from the institution where you study. As part of the application process, you will have your proposed classes and class syllabi reviewed by your faculty advisor. Your advisor will determine what requirements the proposed classes will fulfill. You must earn a C- or better for the credits to transfer. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure that the classes you earn abroad will count towards your degree at Westminster. With careful planning, study abroad does not extend your time to graduation.

Note: If your study abroad transcript is not in English and/or is not issued by a U.S. institution, you will be responsible for any costs related to having the transcript and course descriptions translated into English and having your transcript evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation company. This costs an average of $200.

Transfer credits are never calculated into the Westminster GPA, but graduate and professional programs will look at your study abroad grades when reviewing admissions applications.

The number of credit hours you earn depends on the planning you do with the study abroad advisor and your faculty advisor. Most students will earn between 12–15 transfer credits per semester abroad.

Approved study abroad programs are the only exception to the Residence Requirement policy that states you must take your last 36 hours at Westminster. You may study abroad on an approved program during your last 36 hours; however, you may not study abroad during your very last semester.

Yes and no. If you fail a class on campus or do not receive the minimum grade required, you may take the course on study abroad if approved by your faculty advisor. The course can fulfill the degree requirement but will not replace the previous grade. To replace a failing grade or to improve your GPA, you must repeat the class on campus.

You may still be able to study abroad with the permission of the Director of International Student Services and the Dean of Students. In addition, you will need to check with the Financial Aid Office to determine whether relevant scholarships or aid will be impacted. Your grades earned at Westminster the semester following Study Abroad are used to determine whether you return to good standing or are suspended.

Westminster scholarships can be used only on programs that require you to pay Westminster tuition to study abroad. These programs include ISEP-Exchange, the Prinicipia Honors Consortium, and universities with which Westminster has established exchange agreements. Westminster scholarships can be used for up to one academic year (two semesters) on ISEP-Exchange and can be used only one time for the Principia Honors Consortium or other exchange programs. Westminster scholarships can not be used for summer study abroad or May Term and Summer Study Experiences. If you choose a study abroad program that does not allow you to apply your Westminster scholarship, that scholarship will be put "on hold" for you and you can use it when you return.

Federal Financial Aid can be used on most study abroad programs. Students are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid Advisor early in the process to determine transferability of aid.

Yes, many study abroad scholarships are available through study abroad providers, non-profit and private organizations, and federal agencies. Review the list of study abroad scholarships to understand what is available for you. Note: Most scholarships are for semester-length programs and very few scholarships are available for summer programs.

In most cases, you will not be able to work while on study abroad. One exception is Australia, which allows students to apply for a special student visa that also authorizes part-time employment.

Yes, tuition remission may be used for one semester of a study abroad program that requires you to pay Westminster tuition (exchange program). This benefit does not apply to other study abroad options.