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

Off-Campus Study

Bowdoin's Requirements

For academic credit earned in an off-campus study program to count toward the Bowdoin degree, a student must obtain approval from the Office of Off-Campus Study, in advance. Approval is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Academic rationale. The central requirement is that you show your academic advisors and the OCS Office that you have good academic reasons for wanting to study off campus. You must demonstrate that you have carefully considered the following important points:
    • the coherence of your proposed courses with those already taken at Bowdoin
    • the extent to which the program offers solid courses that are not available at Bowdoin but are compatible with the College's liberal arts curriculum
    • the contribution of the program to the strength of your proposed major(s)
    • your level of preparation for the program
  2. Completion of an application. All students who wish to study at another institution for a semester or year must submit an application to Bowdoin for permission to study off campus, by the February deadline in the academic year before the off-campus study. Students who wish to study on a program or at an institution that is not on Bowdoin's options list must submit a more detailed application, called a petition. The firm deadline for submission of fully completed applications or petitions, signed by major department advisors, is 5:00 PM on 21 February (or the first business day after that, if the 21st falls on a weekend).
  3. Timing of off-campus study. As a small college that sends a high proportion of its students away, Bowdoin is particularly vulnerable to the fluctuations in enrollment that are caused by an imbalance in the number of students studying off campus in the fall and spring semesters. Permission to study off campus may be affected by the College's need to maintain a reasonable balance in the number of students on campus each semester. If you are applying for permission to study on a single-semester program, you should investigate the possibilities in both fall and spring; on your application you will be asked to justify your choice of semester on academic grounds. Although the College will attempt to meet all reasonable needs, you should be prepared for the possibility that you will not receive your first choice. In most years, the spring semester is significantly more popular for off-campus study than the fall; it is highly recommended that you give first consideration to the fall semester. Students applying to study away in their sophomore year may not receive permission, even if otherwise qualified, if they would take a space from students intending to study away in the junior year.
  4. Other requirements:
    • Students applying as second-semester sophomores, for off-campus study in the junior year, must have declared their major(s) before submitting an application.
    • At least two of the last four semesters before graduation must be spent in residence at Bowdoin during the junior and senior years.
    • Students may not study off campus while on probation or suspended from Bowdoin, for academic reasons or for breaches of the academic honor code or social code.
    • All Bowdoin coursework must be completed before departure.
    • All Bowdoin bills must be paid in full.
    • An Agreement of Participation and Release must be returned by the stated deadline.
    • A Special Waiver and Release must be signed by the student and a parent, in addition to the Agreement of Participation and Release, if the student is approved by Bowdoin to study in a country under a US State Department Travel Warning.
    • Upon completion of the program, a program evaluation must be returned to the OCS Office.