Study Abroad and Exchange

Studying abroad is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn about yourself, and about the world and the role you want to play in it. College is the time to challenge yourself and to learn to function with ambiguity in an ever-changing reality around you.

Study Abroad through the Center for Global Education (CGE) at Claremont McKenna College aims to connect students to off-campus academic and cultural immersion experiences that support their personal, professional and intellectual development in a globalized world. In addition to managing programs worldwide, we evaluate academic requirements and assess safety and well-being needs for each student leaving campus. In collaboration with the student, CMC faculty and administrators, and the programs themselves, students work through the application, course approval, and preparation to live and study successfully abroad.

Find your place in the world. Go abroad through CMC.

COVID-19 and Study Abroad
Choosing a Program
Course Credits/Grades
Program Acceptance

COVID-19 and Study Abroad

CGE continues to offer study abroad and exchange programs with the understanding that each country’s laws and policies concerning COVID-19 are frequently modified and updated. Additionally, the abroad program may be required to alter academic format, program dates, program policies, and course availability due to host country and U.S. policies and CMC’s commitment to student safety.

We review all aspects of study abroad and exchange destinations and programs on a consistent basis. We remain committed to assisting students with global programs and will highlight, notify and/or update students frequently prior to academic or financial decision deadlines. Additionally, understanding the need for flexibility at this time, student applicants are encouraged to remain open and prepare applications for back-up destinations. During the pandemic, students applying for global programs will also pre-register for Claremont courses on the chance their global program is canceled or the host country is not open to visiting students from U.S. colleges or institutions. Additionally:

  • We only work with program sponsors prepared to arrange and include:
    • Quarantine resources
    • On-site emergency updates and services
    • Evacuation plans
    • On-site administrators for emotional, physical, and academic support
    • Flexible refund policies
  • CGE is committed to educating applicants on the financial, refund, emergency, and academic policies in a transparent manner
  • Encouraging each student to work closely with family or loved ones in considering their individual threshold for risk, purpose and goals of global study, acceptance of limited or no travel outside the abroad country during the semester, and personal willingness to be flexible and open to unplanned changes.

Choosing a Program

There are different types of study abroad and exchange programs; one is not necessarily better than the others. Here are options to consider when reviewing programs:

  • Direct Enroll: Students attend an approved college or university, live in off-campus university housing, enroll in courses across most departments with host-country and other international students, and adapt to the host-country studying, teaching, and assessment methodologies. Students with advanced foreign language skills may participate in Direct Enroll programs in a foreign language.
  • Stand Alone: Programs created for students from U.S. colleges and universities to live in a foreign country and take all courses together, frequently taught in English. Courses are traditionally held at a “Program Center,” a building in the host city renovated to include classrooms, student lounge(s), faculty and administrator offices, and library resources focused on the offered curriculum. Faculty from local universities teach in their respective disciplines.
  • Hybrid: A combination of Direct Enroll and Stand Alone programs whereby the student enrolls in some courses at the Program Center and some courses at the local university. Students traditionally live with local residents or in apartments arranged by the program sponsor. Hybrid program courses may be taught entirely or partially in the local language depending upon the student’s foreign language level.
  • Thematic or Experiential Field-Based: Students enroll in one or two seminar courses based on a specific topic along with language study and a research methods course. The semester culminates in an extensive research paper and presentation of an independent study project on a topic selected by the student and, at least loosely, affiliated with the program theme. Students live in a combination of small hotels, and local residents to enhance their on-site, frequently pre-thesis, research.
  • There are additional types of programs that are not easily categorized in the above descriptions, such as the shipboard programs of SeaSemester where students spend eight-weeks on Cape Cod followed by six weeks at sea aboard a tall ship
  • For more information on programs approved by our Global Education Committee, please see approved programs and Study Abroad FAQs.

Consider the type of experience you seek: cultural immersion, language acquisition, thesis research and, internships etc.

  • Which site will contribute the most to you academically and personally? See assistance with this consideration from your professors.
  • Pay particular attention to program philosophy and design: US classmates versus local students? Cultural integration? Fieldwork? Internships?
  • What are your housing options on the program?
  • What is the academic calendar of your program? In the Southern Hemisphere, fall semester at universities is mid-July to mid-November and spring semester is mid-February to mid-July.
  • What extracurricular and cultural activities would be available?

For more insight:

  • Attend a mandatory meeting.
  • Make an appointment to speak with the CGE Director.
  • Meet with program representatives when they visit CMC.
  • Consult program brochures and websites on-line and in the Center for Global Education.
  • Discuss your plans and goals with faculty.
  • Meet with study abroad alumni and international students from the host region for additional information.


What are the basic requirements?

CMC requires a minimum 3.0 cumulative CMC GPA for fall semester or academic year study abroad or exchange and 2.8 cumulative CMC GPA for spring semester. Most overseas programs require a GPA of 3.0. Applicants must be full-time students. Under special circumstances, students with a cumulative CMC GPA below 2.8 may petition the Global Education Committee for approval to study abroad.

Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?

No. Many CMC approved programs have no foreign language requirement. Other programs may require anywhere from one to five semesters of language for acceptance. We have programs for every language level! Despite the level of language required for individual program acceptance, all students are required to study the host language while abroad.

When can I study abroad?

Students may apply for study abroad or exchange during the second semester of the sophomore year, either or both semesters of the junior year, the fall of the senior year, or any combination thereof. In addition to standard application requirements, students applying to study abroad in the first semester of their senior year must provide confirmation from the CMC Registrar’s Office that the study abroad semester will not delay the student’s scheduled progress toward graduation and approval from the major or program chair.


Study abroad and exchange is open for students of every major. Certain programs best suited for specific majors will not be available in all countries but flexibility and willingness to consider alternate program(s) or destination(s) is the first step to being successful abroad. Through one-on-one meetings at the CGE and independent research, students will ascertain early on the best fit for their academic and personal needs.

Can I attend a non-approved program?

The Global Education Committee (GEC) has reviewed and approved over 100 study abroad programs worldwide. During the pandemic the GEC will be very reticent to approve unfamiliar, programs. We have significant experience and understanding of our approved program provider’s reputation and protocol for risk assessment, safety measures, emergency support and services, and academic rigor and flexibility. In rare cases, students may propose study on a non-approved program offering specialized curricular opportunities associated with the student's major(s) not afforded by any of the programs on the accepted list. Approval for such proposals is made on an individual basis.


Starting early is always advised – even up to a year prior to departure, however, we understand that students may consider studying abroad later than others. To assist with this process, except for the months of October, March, and July, CGE offers weekly Information Sessions through Zoom. The simple steps to participate on study abroad or exchange are as follows:

  1. Complete the Study Abroad Advising Form.
  2. Attend a Global Education Information Session if you have yet to do so. Information Sessions for fall 2022 and academic year 2022-2023 will be advertised starting in November, 2021.
  3. Research which program is the best academic and future fit for you.
  4. Make an appointment to speak with the Director of Global Education to discuss your program options and choice(s).
  5. Once you have discussed your preferred program choice with a CGE advisor, you will receive an online application.
  6. Submit your CMC Application in the CGE Portal by the CMC deadline. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.
  7. Complete your Program/Program Provider application by the CMC deadline. Do not wait for the Program Deadline to submit your Program Application or they may already be full.

Course Credits/Grades

Do I get credit for courses I take abroad?

Credit is awarded provided that students receive approval from the CMC Global Education Committee, enroll full time while abroad (not minimum full time), and obtain grades of C or above while abroad. Credit/No-Credit is not an option. Courses from abroad must be the equivalent of at least 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours to satisfy GE or major requirements. Courses of lesser value may be used only for elective credit, and only if approved by the CMC Registrar.

Can I count courses completed abroad towards my major?

Individual departments determine the number of elective credits that can be applied towards a major. In most instances, CMC students can receive up to two courses per major per semester abroad with prior approval from the chair of the department. Core courses should be completed on campus. Not every course students take needs to satisfy a major or GE degree requirement. Studying abroad is a chance to broaden one's education and to take courses unavailable on campus.

Can I complete a General Education requirement abroad?

Do not count on completing GE requirements abroad. While some academic departments will allow students to complete a GE requirement abroad, courses can be difficult to find because survey introductory courses are often taken at the foreign high-school level or are specific to CMC. It is highly preferable to plan to complete your GE requirements at CMC. Please remember that students may not complete more than four general education requirements off-campus, to include any combination of summer school, advanced placement, and study abroad.

Do my study abroad grades get factored into my CMC GPA?

No. Students' grades from abroad will not be factored into the CMC GPA but they will be reflected on students' transcripts, including C-, D, D- and F.

Do study abroad programs have different academic requirements?

Absolutely. Program specific academic requirements are listed within each program description and region or country specific requirements are listed at the end of the region or country section on the CGE portal.

Can I do an internship abroad for credit?

Students may receive one-half CMC credit for an internship completed while attending an approved program abroad. To be eligible for credit, the internship must require an academic course that requires completion for a letter grade. Internships that fail to meet these criteria are not eligible for credit. Receiving compensation for the internship does not preclude the granting of credits.

What happens if I don't follow the academic policies?

CMC has specific rules that must be followed and are outlined in the Academic Policies for Study Abroad. If you do not follow them, you will not receive full credit for your semester abroad. If there are any question about the requirements for your program, please contact the Center for Global Education.

Program Acceptance

What do I do after I am accepted to my program?

Notify the CGE when you are accepted! Nearly all programs will require your official confirmation and possibly a student contract to reserve your spot on the program. Do not sign or submit your program commitment form or contract without reviewing the refund and withdrawal policies, especially during the pandemic, to avoid potential significant fees.

When Should I Buy My Airline Ticket?

You will use your CGE airfare allowance to purchase your airline ticket and we won’t disburse this allowance until very close to your departure date. While this will result in a more expensive airline ticket and, thus, a larger airfare allowance, we want you to be as certain as possible that you will actually go abroad as tickets are non-refundable and you will be required to reimburse the college if you do not participate on the program.


The study abroad application deadlines are as followed: 

  • Fall 2023 semester - 2/24/2023
  • Spring 2024 semester - 9/22/2023

CGE is open and available so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions!