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Does Swarthmore have eligibility requirements to study abroad?

In order to be approved for study abroad, students must:

  • Be in good academic and conduct standing as determined by the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Have no outstanding balances/charges on their student accounts.
  • Have no "incompletes" (INCs) in their academic records. (Any incompletes must be completed by the deadline to submit program acceptance forms).
  • Be accepted into a major, or in the case of sophomores, provide a plan for applying for a major.
  • Have completed on average 4 credits per semester in the terms prior to studying abroad.
  • Meet the eligibility requirements of the program(s) for which you they applying (see below). Students are responsible for checking whether their programs of interest have additional eligibility requirements.  

Permission to participate in study abroad can be revoked at any time if the student no longer meets the stated eligibility requirements of Swarthmore College and/or the requirements to study abroad. 

Do study abroad programs have specific eligibility requirements?

Most programs have specific eligibility requirements. Before you decide to apply for a program, it's important to confirm that you meet their eligibility requirements (which you can usually find on program websites). Common eligibility requirements include:

  •  GPA minimum (you can calculate your own GPA)
  • Language requirement (e.g., a minimum number of college-level language courses or minimum score on a language proficiency test)
  • Course pre-requisite(s) (for programs with a specific academic focus)
Can I study abroad during any year of college?

No. Only juniors, second-semester sophomores, and first-semester seniors can study abroad. Requests to study abroad in other terms will not be approved.

  • Most Swarthmore students study abroad during their junior year. 
  • Second-semester sophomores may study abroad if they receive Sophomore Approval from the Division of Student Affairs. To receive approval, students need to meet with the Associate Dean for Student Success and complete their sophomore plan during the first semester of their sophomore year.
  • First-semester seniors may study abroad if they receive Senior Approval from their major department(s)/program(s). To receive approval, students need to meet with these department(s)/program(s) and receive confirmation that they can study abroad and still complete their major(s) on time to graduate.
  • Students are limited to a maximum of two semesters abroad.
Can all majors study abroad?

Yes, Swarthmore students with any major can study abroad! That includes engineering majors, honors students, double majors, or any other major you thought could not study abroad! In some cases, you will have to plan well in advance, and work closely with your major advisor to make sure you can fit study abroad into academic plan, but Swarthmore has programs to accommodate all academic needs.

I’m not a U.S. citizen; can I study abroad?

Depending on your immigration status, there may be limits on your ability to travel abroad and return to the U.S.

International students at Swarthmore may be subject to different travel requirements for leaving the US, entering their destination countries, and re-entering the US, than those to which U.S. citizens are subject. F1 regulations require students to be enrolled in a full course of study in the U.S. for at least two semesters prior to the study abroad experience [8 CFR 214.2(F)(10)]. During study abroad, all F1/J1 students must be enrolled full-time in order to maintain their student status. International students must explore what the student visa requirements are for their destination country (if any). They should consult with the International Student Center about their plans well in advance of their scheduled travel.

DACA students can study abroad and return to the United States when granted advance parole. There are strict requirements, and you will need to plan ahead well in advance. Undocumented students may be able to participate in study away programs within the US. For support with understanding your options, don't hesitate to consult with the International Student Center as soon as you're interested in off-campus study.​​

Do I have to speak another language to study abroad?

No. Swarthmore offers many programs in Anglophone countries, as well as a range of programs in non-Anglophone countries where classes are taught entirely in English. Most programs offer classes in the local language(s) that may be optional or required. If you do speak another language, study abroad is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in that language and to acquire more confidence and fluency. If you have advanced language skills, you can even decide to take some or all your classes in the target language!

Can I study abroad if I plan to be an RA or other student leader?

The Office of Student Engagement is moving to a model of employing Resident Assistants for one term. Therefore, if you wish to study abroad in the spring, you could be employed as an RA in the fall, or vice versa.

Swarthmore students can often participate in a study abroad semester during the same year that they hold other campus leadership positions (Writing Associates, Career Peer Advisors, etc.), if these positions only require a one-semester commitment, and training can take place before or after the semester abroad. For positions that require a one-year commitment, students can usually study abroad the semester before or after the year in which they hold the position, without study abroad impacting their chances of being selected for the position. Please refer to this sheet for detailed policies surrounding campus leadership positions and study abroad.

Can I study abroad if I am an athlete?

With proper planning, many Swarthmore athletes are able to participate in study abroad. Students should work with their coaches to determine the best time frame in which to study abroad and how to network with athletic programs while abroad.

Can I study abroad if I plan to complete an internship?

If you plan to complete an internship before or after a semester abroad, please note that start and end dates might not be flexible and may be in conflict with the dates of the study abroad program. Students are not allowed to change the start or end dates of their programs. You can sign up for e-recruiting and UCAN to access online databases. If a placement requires an interview, consider asking the employer if the interview can be done by phone or Zoom. The Career Services website provides information on how to arrange internships and externships.

Can I study abroad if I have specific accessibility needs?

We encourage you to be as open as possible about your needs or concerns so we can best assist you. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a U.S. federal law and does not necessarily apply abroad. That being said, many international universities and programs do have disability services and at times can provide accommodations. You should research and follow their particular processes. Global Engagement works closely with the Swarthmore Student Disability Services. It is best to plan in advance and discuss your plan to study abroad early on, so that your needs can be matched as part of program selection.

Can I study abroad if I have specific health needs?

Students should consider their own physical and mental health needs when reviewing study abroad programs. When under the care of a physician or mental health professional, it is important to determine if adequate care will be available at the proposed site and to discuss your plans with your health care provider. Please refer to this page for details about whether and how health needs can be met abroad.