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Study Elsewhere

Summer Study

Consult an academic dean to discuss your plans to study elsewhere. Brown students may take courses in the Brown Summer School or they may transfer credits from other summer programs which meet certain conditions. The institutions must be accredited, degree-granting, four-year institutions. Students should obtain preliminary approval of the Committee on Academic Standing with appropriate faculty and departmental support. Extension division courses will not be allowed. Summer transfer credit may not be used to advance a student’s date of graduation, nor will it figure in the determination of academic standing. The maximum number of summer credits from all sources is four course equivalents, with no more than two in the same summer. Students interested in summer study elsewhere in the United States should consult the Office of the Dean of the College; students interested in summer study abroad should consult the Office of International Programs. Please note that there is no arrangement for Brown students to undertake summer study at the Rhode Island School of Design through cross-registration; students wishing to take summer courses at RISD must apply for transfer credit as they would for any other institution.

Within the U.S.

Students who wish to study at other U.S. institutions for transfer credit toward their Brown degree may do so with prior approval of the appropriate departments and the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). The CAS delegates to a specific dean of the College the authority to approve petitions for such programs.

Students planning study elsewhere in the U.S. should consult the Dean of the College website. The student should then work out a program and present it to his or her concentration advisor and other appropriate faculty members for approval. When the preliminary transfer credit form is returned to the Office of the Registrar, it will be presented as a petition to the CAS if the program/institution has not previously been approved.

Students returning from study elsewhere in the U.S. may receive up to eight course credits for work undertaken during one academic year, but normally no more than four concentration credits may be awarded. Credit cannot be granted until the student has successfully completed the work and has had an official transcript sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Students who take a semester or year for study elsewhere must meet with one of the deans of the College to request a leave of absence. Students must notify the Office of the Dean of the College by October 15 (for return for the spring semester) or April 1 (for return for the fall semester) of their intentions to return to Brown to resume their studies. These are firm deadlines; readmission cannot be guaranteed for students who fail to notify the Dean's Office by these dates.

Exchange with Wheaton College


Wheaton College is a small liberal arts college located in Norton, Massachusetts, approximately 20 miles from Brown. An exchange program allows a few Brown students to take courses at Wheaton each semester. Wheaton's program in elementary education allows Brown students to obtain a teaching certificate for grades K- 6 as part of their undergraduate program. Until recently, Wheaton was a women's college. In keeping with that heritage, it offers a number of courses in feminism and women's studies that are unavailable at Brown. Information about individual courses at Wheaton and the elementary education program is available from the Resource Center, the Department of Education, and the Office of the Dean of the College, University Hall.

Foreign Study

The College Curriculum Council (CCC) prepared new guidelines for foreign study at Brown in 1990. The following is a synopsis:

The Definition of Foreign Study

To receive credit for foreign study, students must spend at least one semester enrolled in a foreign institution of higher learning, subject to the same rules and regulations as the host institution's regular students. There are two exceptions: where the language of study is one in which sufficient proficiency is unlikely to be achieved by the average Brown undergraduate, but the student should study the language while in the country; and where the usual assessment procedures may not be appropriate, in which case special arrangements may have to be made. Students may not study on itinerant programs (i.e., those which travel through many sites rather than are based in one primary site). Nor may they study at institutions created for overseas study for Americans, with special exceptions: for study of a specific area and/or field research unavailable at Brown or better pursued at a foreign site or in sites where "the average Brown student" cannot study alongside local students because of the language, e.g., Yonsei, Keio, Denmark, Sweden.

Exceptions include Syracuse-in-Florence, for art history students; ICCS in Rome for classics students; programs which provide a structured "field studies" curriculum appropriate for students in such fields as development studies, environmental studies, ecology, and geological studies; and programs providing for studies pursued at Brown but often not found in regular university programs overseas, such as studio art or theater arts. Prerequisites for such programs will be stated and must include previous course work pertinent to the intended study abroad.

Foreign Study and the Brown Curriculum

Foreign study should be used to complement the applicant's program of study at Brown. This should be ascertained by the Office of International Programs (OIP) in consultation with the College Curriculum Council (CCC) subcommittee on foreign study, the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS), and regional advisory committees. Students must be in good academic standing to study abroad.

Non-Brown Programs

Faculty committees recommend to OIP a short list of programs which are approved for foreign study. This list should include all Brown-sponsored programs and three programs administered by institutions other than Brown in each region. OIP will compile a master list of approved programs. Students do not need CAS approval for study on these programs. All such programs should conform to the guidelines. The list will be reviewed every two years but any new Brown-sponsored programs will be added immediately.

For Programs Not on the List

Students may petition for approval to study on other programs but should be certain to check the foreign study guidelines to see if the proposed program meets the criteria. Grounds for such exceptions include: a program in a country where there is no approved program; or at an institution known for excellence in a specific field. Students must submit a written rationale, a tentative list of courses, a supporting statement by a faculty member familiar with the program or expertise in the field of study being pursued. The proposal will be evaluated by the appropriate regional committee; the CAS will make the final decision. OIP will report annually on petition actions to the CCC subcommittee on foreign study.

The Role of the Office of International Programs at Brown University & Study Abroad Procedures

The Office of International Programs (OIP) coordinates all foreign study undertaken by Brown students either on Brown sponsored programs or on Brown approved programs. At present Brown sponsors programs in the People's Republic of China, France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Tanzania, Japan, Korea, Barbados, Brazil, India, Mexico, Ethiopia, and the Czech Republic.

Students planning to study abroad should visit the OIP Resource Library as far in advance as possible of any intended study and meet with an OIP advisor and a concentration advisor. Students may receive up to eight course credits for work undertaken during one academic year. Normally no more than four concentration credits will be allowed. For concentration credit, the student will have to obtain approval from the appropriate departmental concentration advisor. This credit is usually granted after the student presents documentation, including evidence of work completed in the course(s) to the departmental concentration advisor.

Students must fulfill any language prerequisites required by Brown and by their program. All applications for study abroad must be approved by faculty committees as well as by OIP.

Official transcripts for non-Brown programs should be sent to the Office of the Registrar. For Brown sponsored programs, transcripts are sent to OIP. When other forms of evaluation or other documentation are to be used, these should be brought by the student to the Office of International Programs. Students not on Brown sponsored programs may be asked to take such materials to faculty advisors for review and final approval.

For students not on Brown sponsored programs, validation of credit may be carried out on a course by course basis. If the nature and quality of a student's work in a specific course cannot be sufficiently determined on the basis of the available documentation, the department in question may give the student an oral or written validating examination. Validation should be completed as soon as possible after the student returns to Brown, normally no later than midsemester. It is the student's responsibility to verify with the Registrar's Office that the transcript has been received and to determine in a timely manner the exact number of course and tuition credits to be transferred to Brown.

Time spent on study abroad does not apply to the four semester residency requirement for the degree. All students studying abroad should be registered on approved study abroad leaves of absence through the Office of International Programs which indicate the date of return to Brown. Any student changing the approved leave plan time of return is required to notify the Office of Institutional Programs in writing by April 1 for Fall returns and October 15 for Spring returns.

Credit may be awarded for summer study abroad, particularly for language study. Students considering this option should consult with the Office of International Programs.

Transfer Credit for Study Elsewhere

In a semester system, one Brown course is considered the equivalent of four semester hours. In a quarter system, one Brown course is considered the equivalent of six quarter hours. For that reason, the number of course transfer credits received for study away from Brown may not be equal to the number of courses taken. For example, a student taking four three-semester-hour courses (12 semester credit hours), all properly approved for Brown transfer credit, will receive the equivalent of three Brown course credits, while a student taking three four-quarter-hour courses (12 quarter credit hours), all properly approved for Brown transfer credit, will receive the equivalent of two Brown course credits.

In order to be considered for transfer credit, courses must be completed with a grade of C or better, and an official transcript must be received by Brown University from the host institution. Official transcripts should be sent to the Office of the Registrar. This transcript will be retained by the University. All transfer credit must receive Faculty and Committee on Academic Standing approval. Students should keep all materials from their work away, including, e.g., course syllabi, exams, papers, notes, projects, and portfolios, in the event that post-approval is required from an academic department at Brown. It is the student's responsibility to clarify in advance any concerns regarding the amount of transfer credit which may be awarded.

The Brown transcript will indicate the transfer credits received and the name of the host institution, as well as the approved course equivalencies and/or unassigned credits at Brown. Students applying to graduate and professional schools are often asked to provide official transcripts from all institutions at which they have been enrolled. In such cases, the student will need to request a copy of his or her transcript from the study-away institution to be sent to the graduate or professional school, as Brown will not furnish copies of another institution's official record.