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
  • 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. Attend a Study Abroad Fair. The fair is held twice a year, typically in September and January.
  3. Research the cost for each program and what scholarships and financial aid can be applied. Additionally, apply for program-specific and national scholarships for study abroad.
  4. Meet with a study abroad advisor by emailing Alison Vasquez ( or by visiting the Office for Global Engagement in Walker 1.
  5. Complete the program application and the Westminster Study Abroad Transfer Credit Form.
  6. Attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation typically held in April for fall departures and December for spring departures.

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 a whole academic year. Study abroad programs vary in length from 1–3 weeks (for May Term and 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 1 full-time academic semester at Westminster before you study abroad (completion of 2 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 1 full year (1 summer semester and 2 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, studying 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 of the Office of 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 2 years, we encourage student-athletes to study abroad during their sophomore year, a May Term Study Experience, 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 to 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 and universities with which Westminster has established exchange agreements. Westminster scholarships can be used for up to one academic year (2 semesters) on ISEP-Exchange and can be used only one time for 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 approved study abroad programs. Credits taken while attending a Westminster-approved study abroad program may be accepted as Westminster credits for federal financial aid application purposes. Students should 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.

At Westminster, we offer several study abroad and May Term Study Experiences, both internationally and within the U.S.

For study abroad, students can contact Alison Vasquez at The Study Abroad team works with all students individually to find a trip that works for them, including trans and queer students.

Here are some general resources for studying abroad and international travel:

College-Sponsored International Travel Registry

All Westminster College faculty, staff, and students traveling outside of the United States for college-related reasons must register their travel for the college's insurance purposes.

Learn more