Location: Bowdoin / Off-Campus Study / Bowdoin's Rules

Off-Campus Study

Notes for Program Providers

Off-Campus Study Office

Bowdoin's Off-Campus Study Office handles all off-campus study by Bowdoin students on semester-long or year-long programs. We are also responsible for credit-bearing summer programs abroad. (US summer programs are handled by the Registrar's Office.)

Contact Information

Director: Christine Wintersteen
Assistant Director: Kate Myall
E-mail: offcamp@bowdoin.edu
Phone: (+1) 207 725 3473
Fax: (+1) 207 798 7072
Office location: Kanbar Hall 100C
Mailing address: Off-Campus Study, 4800 College Station, Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME 04011-8439, USA

(How to pronounce Bowdoin: it rhymes with loden or Snowdon.)

Program Options List

Bowdoin students planning to study away for a semester or more normally choose from our program options list of approximately 100 programs with which Bowdoin has established some familiarity through student participation and site visits, and which match our needs in the quality and focus of curriculum and in their location. Students with unusual academic needs may petition to participate in a program that is not on the options list. Bowdoin does not generally approve petitions for programs that have a business focus or that have a central internship component, as we do not give credit for either type of course. Program duration should be at least 12 teaching weeks, and allow students to earn the equivalent of at least 15 semester credits.

There is no options list for summer programs, but students often participate in programs operated by the same providers as those on the normal options list, with the same liberal arts focus. Summer programs should normally be of four weeks or more in duration.

Off-Campus Study Fair

Bowdoin's fair is held in early October; invitations are usually mailed out by late May. (In 2011, the fair will be held on Tuesday, 4 October, from 3 to 5:30 pm.) It is coordinated with the Bates College and Colby College fairs held on the same day or the previous day, but for obvious reasons the three invitation lists are slightly different; we hope that program providers who find themselves invited to one or both of the other fairs but not to ours understand the constraints of space that we are under, as well as the different relationships with program providers that each college has established. Bowdoin's invitation list is based on our program options list; our students are able to petition to participate in programs that are not on that list, but it is more realistic for program providers and less confusing for students if visiting program representatives concentrate on the programs on that options list or those in which Bowdoin students have participated in the last two or three years. It is awkward for us to have to tell students who are excited about a brochure they have picked up at the fair that the program is not suitable for Bowdoin credit.

The Bowdoin website has information for visitors that might help you plan your visit for the fair. In general, our busy schedule and small staff oblige us to restrict visits by program representatives to the annual fair and make us unable to host follow-up visits in the spring; we thank you for your understanding.

Application and Approval Process

Students need to apply to Bowdoin for permission to study off-campus. We have a single application deadline for study away in the fall or spring semester: in 2012, this is 21 February, for off-campus study in the subsequent fall or spring semester. This deadline is strictly enforced; we also reserve the right to deny applications if we anticipate a serious imbalance between the fall and spring semesters.

Students are responsible for sending their own applications to their chosen program, and for arranging for the sending of faculty recommendations and an official Bowdoin transcript. The OCS office can approve a Bowdoin application in advance if it is necessary to meet an early program deadline. We have a strong preference for programs' using a home-school approval form, since it prevents the possibility of students' applying to a program without Bowdoin's knowledge or permission. The approval form will be signed by Stephen Hall or Christine Wintersteen. We have access to students' files, but our comments will generally be restricted to confirmation (or not) of a student's good academic and disciplinary standing. A student who is suspended or placed on probation by Bowdoin subsequent to approval for off-campus study will lose that approval, and the OCS office will inform the program of the loss of that status. Once a student has been admitted by a program, we appreciate brief email notification of that acceptance to our office address offcamp@bowdoin.edu.

Billing and Financial Aid

Please bill Bowdoin students directly for all deposits and fees. Students who are recipients of financial aid from Bowdoin (about 40% of our total) need to send a blank Off-Campus Study Budget Information form to their program. Please complete that form with the required information on fees and costs, and return it to Bowdoin's Student Aid office. It is most helpful if that information can be received by 15 June for the fall semester, or 15 November for the spring semester. The Bowdoin Bursar's Office will transfer eligible funds around 15 September for the fall semester and 15 February for the spring semester.

Transcripts and Credit

Upon the student's completion of the program, please send a transcript to Julie Bedard, Associate Registrar, Office of the Registrar, Bowdoin College, 4500 College Station, Brunswick ME 04011, USA.

The registrar will verify that the student has earned an appropriate number of credits (the equivalent of 4 Bowdoin courses or 15-16 semester credits in a semester) in courses eligible for credit at Bowdoin (no business, accounting, marketing, journalism or other professional training courses); that all grades are the equivalent of a C- or above; and that all courses were taken for a grade. If a university's normal full load is difficult to determine, it will be calculated from the number of credits needed by a degree-seeking student to graduate.