Office of International Programs

Study Abroad FAQs

The OIP provides undergraduate study abroad opportunities to approximately 500 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, and processes credit for study abroad students. The questions and answers listed below are intended to assist prospective study abroad students with their concerns.

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 here.

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, enhance their language skills, and/or bring a new focus to their studies and their lives.

Who can study abroad?

Study abroad programs are available for students in all concentrations (majors). In order to go abroad, students must be in good academic standing and not on disciplinary dismissal from Brown. Students on Academic Warning may be allowed to submit an application to study abroad, but must meet with an OIP regional advisor to discuss their circumstances before they apply - and must be off Academic Warning when they go abroad. For details, see the Academic Standing guidelines

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. Students may also study abroad in the summer

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? 

If the language of the host country in which you want to study is French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish, in most cases you must demonstrate a certain level of language competency before applying to the program and take your coursework in the local language. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule (for example, engineering programs in France and Spain are available).

Students may enroll in English language study abroad programs at institutions where the local language is not normally offered at Brown. In such cases, students are required to study the local language as part of their academic program.

Programs in English-speaking locations (such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) are also available. 

 For more information, read the full guidelines on 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 Spain and the United Kingdom -- as special visiting students. See a description of Brown-sponsored programs open to mid-year transfer students. 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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