Study Away

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I begin the process of selecting a study away program?

Begin by defining your goals for your time away. You may wish to speak with your academic advisor or come to the Study Away Office (Carnegie 124) for further help. Use the resources on the Study Away Website or search the Study Away Office's program materials for information about specific programs.

When should I begin to research my study away options?

You should begin your research as early as possible because the number of programs can be overwhelming. It takes time to contact a program, to investigate and evaluate it, and to gather all the required documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, essay, and signatures). The more popular programs can have rolling admissions and sometimes fill up quickly.

When can I study away?

You must have a declared major and have studied for at least two semesters at Oberlin. Most students study away in their 5th, 6th or 7th semester of enrollment at Oberlin. Students who want to study away in the sophomore year or in the last semester of their senior year should provide special rationale for the request. 

Where can I study away?

Oberlin offers its own Oberlin-in-London program each spring semester. Departments and programs of the College have approved a list of programs with which we have affiliated. These programs, offered all over the world, are endorsed by the faculty and allow a student to apply both Oberlin and federal financial aid to the cost of the semester away. Students may also choose a program that is not affiliated but may not use institutional funds toward the cost of that program. The list of programs is available at

Can I study away in the US?

Yes, Oberlin College has several U.S. study away programs on our affiliated list. On rare occasions, students are permitted to enroll as full-time students at another U.S. college or university as part of an academic leave only with permission of the Off Campus Study committee based on a clearly stated educational rationale and demonstrated permission to pursue transferrable coursework not available at Oberlin College.

How do I ensure that my credit will transfer?

Preliminary approval from the appropriate department chair is required for any course to be transferred toward major or minor credit. Students attending non-affiliated programs must get both preliminary and final approval for any course taken during the semester away.

How much credit can I transfer?

All students must be enrolled as full-time students as defined by the program they attend. Normally, for Arts and Sciences students, this means completion of the equivalent of 4 full academic courses. Conservatory and double-degree students must complete a minimum of 16 credits. Normally, students may earn a maximum of 4 full academic courses/16 credits for one semester of work on an approved academic leave of absence, and up to 8 full academic courses/32 credits for a full year (two semesters) of work on an approved academic leave of absence.

Must study away be connected to my major?

Some students study away in programs unrelated to their majors. Every department sets its own transfer of credit limits for its major and minor requirements. See the Oberlin Course Catalog for details.

Who decides whether or not I can study away?

For any non-Oberlin run program, you must complete an Academic Leave of Absence Application (ALOA) that is then reviewed by the Off-Campus Study Committee. You must meet all the study away requirements, have your application complete and in on time, have your advisor's support, and include a persuasive essay about why you want to study away. All your financial obligations to the college must be cleared as well.

What resources at Oberlin will help me prepare to study away?

Your academic advisor is an important resource in discussing your study away plans. There are also two study away advisors, a large study away library containing program brochures and student evaluations of programs, and the study away fair in the Fall. Group information sessions are also offered each week. The Study Away library resources are located in Carnegie 124.

Are there any alternatives to the traditional semester or year study away programs?

Students often use the Winter Term to travel abroad, either alone, with other students, or under the sponsorship of an Oberlin faculty or staff member. Many study away providers also offer summer programs. Study away in the summer through a study away provider does not require a special application to Oberlin. However, students are advised to secure preliminary transfer of credit approval for any summer study away credits.