Office of International Programs

Study Abroad FAQs

The OIP provides undergraduate study abroad opportunities to approximately 600 students every year. As part of the Dean of the College, and in close partnership with Brown faculty, the OIP offers advising and resource services to students interested in study abroad, reviews applications and student records, manages Brown Programs worldwide, processes credit for study abroad students, and sponsors visiting scholars from Brown's partner institutions abroad. The list of questions below has been compiled from study abroad advising sessions, information sessions, program orientations, and our daily interactions with prospective, active, and returned study abroad students.

Question Index

Getting Started

  • What is Study Abroad?
  • Why study abroad?
  • Who can study abroad?
  • When can I study abroad?
  • Benefits of Study Abroad


  • Will I need another language to study abroad?
  • Can I take a personal or medical leave, go abroad and then apply for retroactive credit?
  • Foreign Study Guidelines
  • More on Study Abroad Language Requirements
  • Study Abroad and Academic Warning
  • Studying Abroad as a Science Concentrator (PDF)
  • Transferring Academic Credit


  • Study Abroad Cost Information FAQs


  • I'm a mid-year transfer student who will be matriculating to Brown in the spring. Is it possible for me to study abroad during the fall term, prior to my formal matriculation to Brown?
  • Planning for Study Abroad
  • Finding the Right Program
  • How to Apply


  • A Word about Safety — from OIP Director and Associate Dean of the College, Kendall Brostuen
  • Travel Warning Country List
  • Travel Prohibition Country List
  • Links to Helpful Study Abroad and Travel Resources
  • Your Health While Traveling Abroad
  • Passport, Visas and other Key Logistical Information

FAQ: The Answers

Getting Started

What is Study Abroad?

Brown University defines study abroad as: a period of study at a recognized university outside of the US, during which a student from Brown is enrolled in regular undergraduate degree courses and integrated into the student body and host culture.

Non-university exceptions are allowed in certain cases where it is ensured that students spend some substantial part of their time living, studying and/or working with members of the local society.

Read more about Types of Study Abroad Programs and Brown's Foreign Study Guidelines.

Why study abroad?

When deciding whether to study abroad, there are several benefits to consider. Overwhelmingly, students report that they come back feeling refreshed and invigorated from their experience, approaching their remaining studies with new energy and broadened world view. They may develop new academic interests, change directions or bring a new focus to their studies and their lives.

Who can study abroad?

Students must be in good academic standing and not on disciplinary dismissal from Brown at the time of application. Students who are not in good academic standing must petition to study abroad while on academic warning. For details, see: What If I'm on Academic Warning?

Study abroad programs are available for students in all concentrations (majors). 

When can I study abroad?  

Brown students in good academic standing may study abroad for a semester or a year during their sophomore, junior or senior year. Most students study abroad during their junior year.

NOTE: It is important to begin planning at least one year in advance of your time away.


Will I need another language to study abroad? 

Students attending programs where the following languages are the target languages of instruction, will not receive credit for English language courses:

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Read more about Study Abroad Language Requirements.

Can I take a personal or medical leave, go abroad, then apply for retroactive credit? 

No. Brown pre-approval of a student’s intention to study abroad on a semester-length or academic year program must be obtained prior to the student’s participation on the program. Students who do not obtain Brown pre-approval of semester or academic year programs before studying abroad will not be eligible for transfer of study abroad credit. Students returning to Brown after a medical leave of absence are required to remain at Brown for at least one semester before becoming eligible for consideration to study abroad.


I'm a mid-year transfer student who will be matriculating to Brown in the spring. Is it possible for me to study abroad during the fall term, prior to my formal matriculation to Brown? 

Mid-year sophomore transfer students will be allowed to study abroad in the fall prior to their formal matriculation to Brown provided they participate on certain Brown-sponsored study abroad programs -- primarily in the United Kingdom -- as special visiting students. For a list of Brown-sponsored programs open to mid-year transfer students, please contact the Office of International Programs. In such cases—and in keeping with Brown's four semester residency requirement—students may not transfer in any more than the equivalent of four Brown semesters from their former institutions. Study Abroad does not constitute a semester-in-residence at Brown.

The student will be considered a "special visiting student" by Brown and course grades will appear on the Brown transcript following guidelines previously established for special visiting students. Credit will be processed by The Office of International Programs following the same procedures established for visiting study abroad students. Students will be charged Brown tuition. They will be coded by the registrar's office as SPY Visiting Exchange (OIP) as are all the other special students who participate on Brown-sponsored programs.

Mid-year transfer students participating on Brown-sponsored study abroad programs are not eligible for financial aid from Brown. Students, moreover, will be responsible for adhering to all Brown program policies and fee requirements governing study abroad. Formal matriculation to Brown commences with the start of the spring term. Study abroad during the fall interlude shall in no way affect the transfer student's formal matriculation to Brown.

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