Study Abroad Policies
Policies to Review
- Class Standing: Students must be sophomores to apply to study abroad, and study abroad during the junior year. With the support of faculty and their dean, students may receive permission from the Director of Global Education to apply in their first-year to study abroad in Spring of sophomore year. With the support of their faculty and permission from the Special Cases Committee (which must grant an exception to the expectation that senior year be spent in residence), students may apply as juniors for study abroad in the Fall of senior year.
- GPA & Progress Towards Degree: Students applying to study abroad are expected to have, and to maintain, a minimum cumulative and major GPA of 2.5. Students are expected to be making good progress towards their degree and to be well-qualified for their desired program abroad.
- Transfer Students: Students who have transferred to Bryn Mawr with 12 or fewer transfer credits may be eligible to study abroad. Transfer students who want to study abroad should consult with their dean and major advisor about whether they have grounds to ask for an exception to the residency requirement (which states that a student must earn 24 of the total 32 units in residence at Bryn Mawr College).
- Foreign Language: Students applying to a program in which the primary language of instruction is not English must confirm with the major advisor in the relevant language department that they have adequate preparation. Most non-English speaking programs expect students to complete at least intermediate language courses prior to admission, and some require more advanced preparation.
- Major Work Plan: All students must complete a Major Work Plan with their major adviser and have that adviser submit a Major Adviser Evaluation Form.
- Semester or Year: Bryn Mawr students typically study abroad for one semester in the fall of the junior year. Students who want to study abroad in the spring semester or for a full year must meet criteria below.
- Criteria for Spring Study Abroad: A limited number of spring spaces will be available for students whose academic or athletic commitments require their presence on campus in the fall.
The Committee will consider approving a student to study abroad in the spring if:
- The major program requires that the student be in residence at Bryn Mawr in the fall but not in the spring.
- The student would not be able to take required courses following the study abroad semester in the appropriate sequence without being in residence in the fall semester.
- The student will not meet the prerequisites for the study abroad program until the spring semester, or
- The student has been a member of a fall varsity athletic team during the student's freshmen and sophomore years and wants to remain on campus to compete in the student's junior year as well. Other academic, non-academic, extra-curricular, or personal reasons will also be taken into consideration but will be given lower priority.
If you are requesting to study abroad in the spring semester, the application will ask you to indicate the reason you are unable to study abroad in the fall semester.
- Criteria for full year study abroad: Foreign language majors and students applying to Oxford or LSE may study abroad for the full academic year. The Study Abroad Committee will consider requests for exceptions to this policy from students who present a compelling academic plan for a full year of immersion on a program central to their academic interests.
- Pre-Departure Residency : Each applicant for study abroad is expected to be on campus during the semester preceding study abroad.
- Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation: Students must attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation the semester before their study abroad term, prior to leaving campus to go abroad. For example, a student who will study abroad fall of the junior year must attend a pre-departure orientation spring semester of their sophomore year.
- Full-time course load while studying abroad: Students are required to carry a full-time course load while studying abroad. Each Bryn Mawr course (one unit) carries an equivalent of four semester hours or six quarter hours at other institutions. Because of differences in the academic calendar or course weighting, the number of courses that constitute a full-time load at an overseas institution may be different from the number of courses that constitute a full-time load at Bryn Mawr. The maximum number of Bryn Mawr-equivalent credits that may be awarded for a semester of study abroad is five units, and for a full academic year, the maximum number is ten units.
To earn a semester of credit—four Bryn Mawr units—students need to complete 15 or 16 semester-hours or between 22 and 24 quarter-hours during their study abroad. For example, if each course offered by a study abroad program carries three semester hours, the student will need to take five courses to receive a full semester of Bryn Mawr credit. A student taking a full load for only one term of a three-term year will receive three Bryn Mawr units; a full load for two terms will receive five units; and a full load for three terms will receive eight units.
It is the student’s responsibility to know the required number of courses they must take overseas before leaving Bryn Mawr and how many Bryn Mawr equivalent credits will be awarded upon their return. They should discuss any question they may have with the Director of Global Education, their dean, or their major advisor. In cases where a full-time course load for a term abroad is the equivalent of only three Bryn Mawr course units, the student will still be charged regular Bryn Mawr tuition.
- Courses Used to Fulfill Requirements in a Student’s Major: All courses taken abroad to fulfill major requirements must be approved by the student’s major advisor. Courses in subjects or: departments not offered at Bryn Mawr may need approval from a related Bryn Mawr department to assure their eligibility for credit. For example, Geography courses might be approved by Growth and Structure of Cities, Geology, or Political Science. Students should be sure to work out a tentative plan of courses to take upon returning to Bryn Mawr.
- Foreign Language Study While Abroad: To enhance cross-cultural understanding, a student is expected to enroll in the language course offered by their study abroad program. If the student attends a program where the instruction is in English, but the local language is not English, they must study the local language. For example, if a student participates in the DIS program in Denmark, they are required to register for Danish.
- Transferring Credits from Abroad: To transfer credits to Bryn Mawr, students must earn a "C" grade of 2.0 or above. "C-" (minus) grades are not acceptable for transfer credits. Courses that lie outside the liberal arts will not be transferable (e.g., Business, Communications, Fashion Design, etc.). Students should not take courses graded as pass/fail while abroad. Both units attempted and units earned are recorded on the Bryn Mawr transcript. In cases where a grade below a C or its equivalent are earned, the Units Attempted will display the count of units taken and Units Earned will display the number of units awarded in transfer credit.
- Grades Earned Abroad and Bryn Mawr GPA: Grades earned abroad, which are judged by individual instructors according to local practice, are not included in a student’s Bryn Mawr Grade Point Average. Only the number of transferred credits is recorded on the Bryn Mawr transcript. Students typically are asked to submit their study abroad transcript when applying to graduate or professional schools, which take the study abroad grades into consideration when evaluating the application.
- Academic Honor Code: Study abroad students remain concurrently enrolled at Bryn Mawr while studying abroad at their host institution or program. Therefore students are expected to follow the Bryn Mawr Honor Code and serve as representatives of the College. Students are also required to observe all the academic and disciplinary regulations in effect at the host program or institution.
- Bryn Mawr Travel Registry: All students are required to complete the Bryn Mawr Travel Registry no later than one month prior to departure. This includes uploading a copy of the information page of their passport, signing a travel agreement, and entering their complete trip details into the registry. Failure to do so will jeopardize the students College approval to study abroad.
- Leaving Your Program Early:Students are expected to attend for the full dates of their study abroad program. They should plan their travel to arrive in time for the start of the program and to stay through the end of the program.
If a student cannot complete their coursework and must leave their program early due to medical or personal reasons they cannot control or foresee, they must do the following:
- Consult the on-site program staff. The overseas program or host institution may consult with the Director of Global Education before deciding whether to make an exception and if so, what arrangements need to be made.
- Consult with their Dean.
- Obtain written permission from Bryn Mawr’s Director of Global Education.
- Obtain written permission from the overseas program director granting the early departure.
If a student leaves their program early for personal or medical reasons, Bryn Mawr will treat them as if they have taken a medical leave of absence and will expect them to apply for re-enrollment before resuming studies at Bryn Mawr, and, if appropriate, secure medical clearance.
- Incomplete Coursework: Students must complete all assigned work before leaving the study abroad program at the end of the semester.
If medical or personal reasons a student cannot control or foresee prevent them from completing all work for a course, the student is subject to the extension policies, if any, of the program. The expectation is that the student will work directly with the program and, if appropriate, the instructor, to make a plan for completion within the program guidelines.
- Exams: Students are expected to complete all exams before leaving the study abroad program at the end of the semester. If a student needs to defer taking exams due to unforeseeable circumstances, the student is subject to the policies of the host program, and must work directly with the program to make a plan for completion within the program guidelines. The student must also notify and obtain the written permission of Bryn Mawr's Director of Global Education before deferring exams and departing the program.
Although some programs allow “resit” exams (an exam that someone takes again, usually because they did not do well the first time) that must be taken at the program site, study abroad students are not usually eligible nor is it feasible for students to take a resit exam. Bryn Mawr does not offer resit exams.
- Leave of Absence and Study Abroad: After a leave of absence for medical or academic reasons, it is usually deemed necessary to spend one semester back on campus before being permitted to study abroad. If a student needs to take a leave of absence for personal reasons, they should plan ahead and discuss with their dean, the Director of Global Education, or their major advisor any plan to study abroad immediately after returning from leave.
Bryn Mawr College Financial Policy
- Tuition: All Bryn Mawr College students who study abroad pay Bryn Mawr tuition regardless of the tuition cost of the study abroad program. Students are responsible for paying room and board costs directly to the study abroad program. While studying abroad under the auspices of Bryn Mawr College, students are fully enrolled at Bryn Mawr College, and may make use of other resources at Bryn Mawr, including faculty advising, fellowships advising, career counseling, etc.
- Account balance at Bryn Mawr: Students must pay in full any outstanding balance on their student account before leaving for study abroad. If they do not pay the balance, the College will notify their study abroad program that their approval to study abroad has been rescinded. If the student nonetheless attends the program without paying the remaining balance, the student will be doing so independent of the College. The College will not pay the student’s study abroad tuition to the study abroad program, the student will receive no financial aid, and the student's academic credits will not transfer back to the College.
- Study abroad room and board costs: Study abroad students are not charged Bryn Mawr College room and board. Students do not pay room and board to Bryn Mawr. Instead, students are responsible for paying room and board costs directly to the study abroad program.
- Study abroad and external scholarships: If a student receives a scholarship from a study abroad program, it will be credited to the student’s Bryn Mawr College student account and it will reduce the amount of tuition the student needs to pay. Any outside scholarship received by a financial aid recipient may cause an adjustment of Bryn Mawr Grant in accordance with the college’s outside scholarship policy. For more information, please visit Undergraduate Policies in the Financial Aid section.
- Program deposit: The College does not pay program deposits on student’s behalf and does not reimburse students for payments students make for deposits. Students are responsible for paying all program deposits directly to study abroad programs. This may include application fees, admission deposits, housing deposits, etc. The study abroad program will credit students for the deposits they paid toward non-tuition fees, for example, housing fees. Students should contact program directly to get reimbursed or receive credit for the deposit amount paid.
Please note that some programs say on their website that the deposit is applied to the tuition portion of the program fee. However, all approved programs that are in partnership with Bryn Mawr do not credit the deposit amount to the study abroad tuition invoice to Bryn Mawr.
- Personal expenses: Students are responsible for personal expenses such as airfare, local transportation, health insurance, visa and passport fees, housing, meals and any optional academic programs before the program starts or after the program ends. Please refer to the Additional Costs in Study Abroad table below for more details.
- Study abroad withdrawal fees and penalties: Some host universities and/or study abroad programs charge students large withdrawal fees if the students drop out of the study abroad program after a specified date. Students and families are responsible for paying all penalties and fines imposed by the program. The College does not absorb such fees on any student's behalf.
- Delinquent payments abroad: Students are responsible for clearing all outstanding non-tuition program balances with their study abroad program. Programs will not issue a transcript until a student has submitted the final payment. Please address any such issues with the program and have a transcript sent to Bryn Mawr as soon as possible. Delay could jeopardize a student's enrollment at Bryn Mawr for the following semester and the student's ability to graduate on time.
Withdrawal Policies and Penalties
Some host universities and/or study abroad programs have very strict withdrawal policies and penalties. These policies vary by university and/or study abroad program. However, in general, students should expect to pay a large penalty for dropping out of their study abroad program after a specified date. Students and families are responsible for paying all penalties and fines imposed by the program. The College will not absorb any such fees on any student's behalf. The College will not refund any tuition that is not refunded to the College by the study abroad program. To avoid fines, penalties, and non-refundable tuition that result from late withdrawals, students and families are advised to communicate, as early as possible, directly with the study abroad program about the financial implications of withdrawing from the program.
- Room and Board payments and withdrawal policies: Students pay room and board costs directly to the program, instead of to Bryn Mawr College. Some host universities and/or study abroad programs require large housing deposits, which the student may end up forfeiting if they withdraw after the date specified by the program. In addition, the program may impose a withdrawal fee, and charge for the cost of the room and board. Students remain responsible for paying the fees to the program after withdrawal. The College will not absorb any such fees on any student’s behalf.
- When a student withdraws from their study abroad program after Bryn Mawr College has paid their tuition to the study abroad program: Students pay Bryn Mawr tuition to Bryn Mawr College, which in turn pays the study abroad tuition to the program on the student's behalf. When a student withdraws from their study abroad program, after the withdrawal date specified by the program and after the College has paid the study abroad tuition to the program, the program may impose a withdrawal fee by withholding a portion or the entire amount that the College has paid on the student's behalf. The College will pass the withdrawal fee in this case onto the student. The study abroad tuition withdrawal fee will be posted on the student's Bryn Mawr Student Account. The student will be responsible for paying all penalties and fines imposed by the program. The College will not absorb any fees on any student's behalf. The College will not refund any tuition that is not refunded to the College by the study abroad program.
- When a student withdraws from their study abroad program before Bryn Mawr College pays their tuition to the study abroad program: Students pay Bryn Mawr tuition to Bryn Mawr College, which in turn pays the study abroad tuition to the program on the student's behalf. In the event that a student withdraws from their study abroad program, after the withdrawal date specified by the program but before the College has paid the study abroad tuition to the program, the student will be responsible for paying all penalties and fines imposed by the program. This may include program tuition, room and board costs and withdrawal fees. The College will not absorb any fees on any student's behalf.
All students are required to have medical, dental and mental health coverage that is acceptable in the study abroad country throughout the duration of their stay abroad. Some host programs might include a health fee in their charges. Others will not accept personal insurance in lieu of their own policies, and the student may be required to purchase the program insurance. Also note that some of these policies cover the students only while they are on the program and are not valid if the student chooses to travel after the program ends or before the program officially begins.
Students and their families are responsible for ensuring adequate coverage while abroad.
Please note that Bryn Mawr College provides free travel health insurance for medical emergencies abroad. All students traveling for a College-sponsored program outside of the United States are eligible. Coverage isn't eligible for international students traveling in their home country. No action is required to enroll in the College's travel health insurance program.
All students should remain enrolled in their domestic health insurance plan while abroad.
Students studying abroad should carefully consider the risks in consultation with official sources of travel information such as the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is the responsibility of the student, in consultation with their family, to assess the safety of a student’s proposed trip.
All students participating in a study abroad program must sign a release. (the Student Safety, Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability, Release, and Indemnification Agreement) prior to their departure abroad, acknowledging the risks of travel and education abroad.
Student signature affirms that they have read the US Department of State’s Travel Advisories and Country Specific Information, as well as guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Travel to countries with an overall U.S. DOS Travel Advisory of Level 4 or a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Health Notice Warning Level 3 is generally prohibited. However, exceptions may be made by the College, at its sole discretion, for participation in programs that have been reviewed and approved for the College’s Approved Programs List.
The College reserves the right to withdraw its approval, at its sole discretion, should conditions for approval change.
The College reserves the right to take the following actions, at its sole discretion, in the event that a Travel Advisory or Warning is issued or changed before, during or after a student is in country:
Suspend travel to a country.
Direct students to leave the study abroad program and return to the United States.
The College reserves the right to take the following actions, at its sole discretion, in the event it withdraws its approval for study abroad before a student is in country:
Decline to provide funding or process financial aid for study/travel to the country.
Decline to grant academic credit for courses for study in the country.
Bryn Mawr is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive living and learning environment where all can feel secure and free from harassment. All forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence are violations of Bryn Mawr’s policies, whether they occur on or off campus. Bryn Mawr Global Education is committed to helping to create a safe learning environment for all students and for the College community as a whole. If you have experienced any form of gender or sex-based discrimination, harassment, or violence, know that help and support are available. Staff members are trained to support students in navigating campus life, accessing health and counseling services, providing academic and housing accommodations, and more.
The College strongly encourages all students to report any incidents of sexual misconduct. Please be aware that all Bryn Mawr employees (other than those designated as confidential resources such as counselors, clergy, and healthcare providers) are required to report information about such discrimination and harassment to the Bi-College Title IX Coordinator.
Information about the College’s Sexual Misconduct policy, reporting options, and a list of campus and local resources can be found on the College's website: