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, following the University's standard study abroad guidelines, 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. 

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