Guide to Study Abroad (pdf version)
- Read the Williams Guide to Study Abroad. Read this document carefully and thoroughly: Everything you need to know about the process and logistics of Study Abroad is written here.
- Attend one of the “General Information Meetings” held in the Fall and Spring. Meetings are announced in the Daily Advisor, Weekly Calendar, Campus Daily Messages, WSO announcements, campus and electronic bulletin boards, and notices are sent to sophomore email. Attendance at ONE of these meetings is MANDATORY. You will be required to complete “Study Away Questionnaire” before meeting with Dean McKeon. It is submitted electronically.
- Stop by the Dean’s Office and take some time to read and research the program literature and evaluations from students who have studied away.
- Talk with students who have studied abroad in the country or program in which you are interested. A list of students who have recently returned from abroad is available .
- After you have an idea of where you wish to go, make an appointment to meet with the Dean to discuss your plans. (Please call to work out a time that suits your schedule, do not email.) Be sure you have completed your Study Away Questionnaire so the Dean can review and discuss it with you.
- If you are considering a program not listed in this Guide , please email email@example.com with the name of the program and country. It is possible that it is on our inactive list. If it is a new program, you will need to complete a “New Program Approval” form. When you have decided on a program or programs, complete the study away petition on PeopleSoft. Download the program applications or fill them out online. Check deadlines carefully and submit all materials well before the deadline.
- Discuss your plans with the study abroad advisor, usually the Chair, of your major department. He/she can approve your plan for credit in the major on PeopleSoft.
- Submit a study away petition (requesting permission from the Committee on Academic Standing to study away in your junior year) by the deadline in early March. This form must be submitted by the early-March deadline if you wish to study away in the FALL, FULL YEAR, OR SPRING of the following year. NO study away petitions will be accepted after the deadline. The program designated on the study away petition may be changed only once after submission. Be sure you have done your research! You may apply to more than one program simultaneously, however, you must list your first choice initially. NOTE: You will need to submit two petitions if you plan to study away for a full year on two different programs, one for each semester. All instructions apply to both petitions submitted.
- Attend the mandatory pre-departure meeting held in the spring semester if you plan to study away for the upcoming fall semester or full year away. Attend the mandatory pre-departure meeting held in the fall if you plan to study away in the spring semester.
Academic Year Abroad . Published by the Institute of International Education. Lists more than 2,000 foreign study programs offered for the full academic year or a semester (Fall or Spring). Listings arranged by country and city, with an index of programs by field of study.
Online at http://www.iiepassport.org/
Peterson’s Study Abroad . Lists programs offered during academic year, arranged by country and city. Good introduction on choosing a program and arranging details. Online: http://www.petersons.com/stdyabrd/us.asp?sponsor=1&path=ug.fas.go
IAU International Handbook of Universities . Addresses and brief profiles of universities worldwide.
After you have thoroughly read the “Guide” there are several other sources to consult for advice and information about study away.
There is an extensive library of study abroad brochures and catalogs in the Dean’s Office for most programs which Williams approves. Sawyer Library has a large selection of books specific on countries and area studies which will help you to learn more about possible destinations. You are expected to have read the literature on your program before meeting with the Dean. This is very important, come to your meeting prepared!
General Information Meetings
In September, November and February the Dean will hold general information meetings on study abroad. You must attend one of these sessions before meeting with the Dean. The meetings will be announced in the Daily Advisor, WSO Announcements, Weekly Calendar and a Schedule of Study Abroad Events will be emailed to sophomores.
Study Abroad Fair
Many program representatives will come to campus in mid-September to attend our Study Abroad Fair. They will be available to talk with prospective applicants and to describe their programs. The Fair goes on for several hours at mid-day and students are strongly urged to attend. The program representatives can provide you with first-hand information about the programs in which you are interested, as well as brochures, catalogues and applications.
These are kept in notebooks in the Dean’s Office. Students considering study abroad are urged to read these evaluations carefully and talk to students who have returned recently from study abroad. Each student who studied abroad is required to complete a program evaluation when he/she returns. Your program transcript of grades will not be processed for Williams credit until we receive your program evaluation.
Meetings with the Dean
You should schedule an appointment with the Dean after you have attended a study abroad information session, done your research and have a plan of where you want to study and why. The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes. Please call x4262 to set this up.
In order to study away you must:
- Be in good academic standing with no deficiencies. The junior year is the traditional time for study away. If you wish to study away in your sophomore or senior year you must petition the Committee on Academic Standing for permission. All students are expected to be in residence during the final semester of their senior year.
- Have completed at least 2 out of 3 distribution requirements in each division. You may not complete distribution requirements elsewhere.
- Have completed two writing intensive courses by the end of the sophomore year if you plan to study away for a full year. If you plan to study away for one semester, you must have completed one writing intensive course by the end of the sophomore year.
- Have completed the Quantitative Formal Reasoning (QFR) requirement if you are studying away the full year.
- Declare your major and discuss your plan to study abroad with the chair of the department or designated advisor.
- Submit the study away petition and the essay by the designated deadline (early-March) for study away during Fall, Spring, or Full Year.
- Meet the language requirements of Williams and of the program.
- Attend a program approved by Williams, or a new program approved by the CAS.
- Have completed all of the 4 P.E. credits by the end of the sophomore year. (Contact Athletics if you need to make arrangements for Study Away approval and completion of PE credits.)
- Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 for most programs. Some programs may require a higher grade point average. Williams does not have a grade point average requirement for study away.
Many, but by no means all, programs require 2 years of college-level language study OR THE EQUIVALENT, which can be determined by taking a placement exam. This is typically true of the languages taught at Williams and commonly available in high schools (e.g., French, Spanish, German). IF a student places into Spanish 105 (or beyond), for example, or is a native speaker, he/she has met the requirements of two years of college-level work or the equivalent. Italian programs typically do not require two years or the equivalent of college-level work.
Language courses taught at Williams are hyphenated; i.e., the work of two semesters constitutes an integral, indivisible course. The hyphen rule applies to French, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian language studied abroad as well. This means that if you are studying abroad for only one semester you are advised to take one semester of language at Williams in the fall before you go and complete the second semester while abroad. An alternative option is to complete the equivalent of the first semester of language during the summer and complete the second semester while abroad. If you decide to study the first half of one of the languages regularly taught at Williams while abroad, you must complete the second half when you return. This may be difficult to accomplish and is not recommended.
If the courses in your study away program are taught in English, but English is not the native language, you are required to study the language of the country the entire time you are there.
In order to receive credit toward your Williams degree for your study away, you must take the full course load of the program in which you are studying and fulfill the credit requirements stated in your formal CAS approval letter. This is usually 5 courses per semester (equal to 4 courses at Williams), although at some programs it is 3 or 4 courses or even as many as 6. Most departments will accept between l and 3 credits toward your major, with prior approval. All work successfully completed on an approved program will apply toward the Williams degree. Unless you are attending a Williams Program in this country or abroad, grades earned on study away are not factored into your GPA.
Williams requires that each course meet for at least 12 weeks. One term out of a three-term calendar (e.g., in the UK) is not a sufficient period of classroom instruction. Students should plan to attend two terms in spring or choose a program on a semester calendar. Final assessment must be by examination or a final paper. You must sit all examinations at the same normally scheduled time as those host country students working toward the degree. Special exam arrangements are not acceptable unless the same options are offered to host country degree candidates.
Study Away Program Transcript: It is your responsibility to request a transcript from your program and see that it is sent to the Dean’s Office at PO Box 518, Williamstown, MA 01267. You are strongly urged to request a transcript for yourself for future references for graduate school and/or employment. You will not be able to retrieve the Williams copy of your transcript.
1. Applications can be downloaded or you may apply directly online.
2. Most applications require one or more of the following:
a) Essay. Programs usually wish to assess your motivations for study abroad and will ask for a short essay. This also serves as an example of your writing ability.
b) Letters of recommendation. These should be written by professors who know you and your academic abilities. Ask a faculty member who knows your work best, even if the professor is outside your major. Be sure to give the form to the professor at least 10 days before you wish it to be submitted. The recommendation can be mailed directly to the program or university, or you can ask for it in a signed and sealed envelope to enclose with your application. Always request to have recommendations from your professors completed on a specific date so there can be no confusion.
c) Dean’s Approval. Many programs require the signature and assurance of the Dean that you are in good academic standing and will receive transfer credit upon successful completion of the program. The Dean’s Approval From needs to be downloaded and printed from your online application for the Dean to sign, and my be simply dropped off in the Dean’s Office; you need not make an appointment to have this form signed. Since hundreds of students submit applications to study abroad in a year, it is imperative that you submit your approval forms to the Dean several weeks before the deadline. Do not wait until a few days or even a week before the application is due. It is to your advantage to submit the application to the program as early as possible. Many programs fill their quotas early and acceptance is on a rolling basis.
d) Transcripts. You must order an official copy of your transcript(s) from the Registrar’s Office. Some programs request two copies. You may have your transcript sent directly to the program or you can pick it up and enclose it with your application. Transcript requests require a signature so e-mail is not acceptable. Allow a few days for the processing of your transcript request.
e) Medical Report. This form can be completed at the Health Center. Be sure to discuss with the folks at the Health Center any physical or medical/psychological problems which might interfere with your ability to take full advantage of your foreign study experience.
f) Application Deadlines. The deadlines vary from program to program. Basically deadlines for fall or full-year programs are from December l to mid-April; for spring programs from October l to mid-November. Be sure to check deadline dates carefully. Many programs have rolling admissions rather than a specific deadline, so the general rule is: submit your application as soon as you know which program(s) you want to apply to. You must assume responsibility for checking on the application deadline and on the status of your completed application. Normally, applicants will be notified of acceptance to the program within four to six weeks after receipt of the completed application.
You will pay the fees of the institution you attend plus a $1,500 study-away fee to Williams. Financial aid will cover the fee for students on aid. If you are attending the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford, the Williams Mystic Program, or the Williams in Africa Program, you will pay Williams tuition, with no study-away fee.
Students receiving Financial Aid from Williams may take advantage of studying away. Financial aid eligibility can be applied to your study away program, provided your plans receive approval by the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS), via the Dean’s Office. The Financial Aid application process remains the same as if you were attending Williams. You should be sure to attend the Financial Aid information meeting for study away students in February, keep the Office of Financial Aid informed of your plans to study away, and complete all necessary forms at the appropriate times. A seperate Study Away Budget Proposal must be submitted when your study away plans and costs are firm.
The Office of Financial Aid will use your study away budget, up to the cost of attending Williams, whichever is lower, to determine your level of need for Williams scholarship assistance. You will not receive more Williams scholarship if your budget is higher than the cost of attending Williams. However, it may be possible to offset a higher cost by increasing the student loan component of your package.
Your family contribution, including your student summer earnings expectation, remains the same proportionally as if you were attending Williams. A less expensive program of study does not affect your family contribution (unless the cost of your program is less than your family contribution).
Your award is based on your study away budget less your family contribution. Your total self-help (loan and job) expectations will be the same as if at Williams. Whenever possible, we will replace the normal job expectation with additional student loan. In those cases where the study away budget is significantly lower than the Williams budget the loan component will be reduced proportionately.
Williams offers three fellowships in support of student travel abroad during the summer following their junior year (i.e., rising seniors). The Wilmers, World, and Lawrence Fellowships support travel outside the United States only, and projects must be fully designed and implemented by the students who propose them; fellowship funds may not be used to pay tuition or expenses for any organized coruse of study aborad. The World Fellowship provides support for research during the academic year for those students who are studying abroad during their junior year, as well as continuing assistance for summer study leading towards a senior thesis. The application deadline for the summer travel fellowships is in mid-February.
If you are considering a program not listed in this “Guide,” email firstname.lastname@example.org with your program request. It is possible that the program you are interested in is on our inactive list. If it is not, you must complete a “New Program Approval Petition” form to be submitted to the Committee on Academic Standing. The form is available in the Dean’s Office. You will be asked to provide the Dean with program literature including:
- The Course Catalog
- Course Syllabi for two or three courses, especially in the area of your major or other subjects in which you are interested
- Student evaluations of the program and the names of some students who recently attended the program
- A list of colleges that approve the program
- A list of faculty and their credentials and teaching affiliations
There are several study away alternatives available for students who do not wish to study abroad. Students can study at any four-year liberal arts institution or with one of the exchange programs in which Williams participates listed below:
Williams-Mystic Seaport Program (Semester)
in American Maritime Studies
Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (Full Year)
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole (Semester)
You may register online for the next semester’s classes or request by e-mail that a registration packet be sent to you at your study away address. All registration deadlines for students on campus will also apply to those studying away.
When you return to campus there will be a reception with the Dean and other returnees where you will have an opportunity to celebrate your return and talk about your experiences.
The evaluation of your program is a vital part of the study abroad process and your transcript will not be evaluated for credit by the CAS until you have submitted a program evaluation to the Dean. The evaluation form can be found on the Dean’s Office web page under Study Away and can be submitted electronically.
directed to email@example.com.