Off-Campus Study

Will Bowdoin approve study away for Fall 2021?
Bowdoin has approved study away for Fall 2021 and the academic year 2021–2022. Bowdoin reserves the right, if conditions change, to suspend approval for study away in particular countries.

How do the US Department of State travel advisories affect study off campus?

The US Department of State and CDC travel advisory levels will continue to be important factors in determining study away feasibility. With regard to the risks related to COVID-19, they will not be the sole criteria for the upcoming fall 2021 semester. However, the College will not approve off-campus study to countries with a Department of State Travel Advisory Level 4 where the assessed threat is unrelated to COVID-19. Students should carefully consider the CDC’s and the state department’s travel advisories prior to planning international travel and should also consider individual program, country, and travel requirements related to COVID-19. 

Are there other factors that could affect the feasibility of study away?

Yes. Examples of other factors include overseas countries restricting entry of Americans from the United States, requirements to demonstrate receipt of vaccine, programs canceling or consolidating their programming, programs and universities offering only online or hybrid academic instruction, and consulates experiencing significant delays in processing student visas.

In order to study off campus in Fall 2021, will compliance with any additional policies be necessary?

Yes. All students and guardians will receive an Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnification Form that must be signed by the participant and their guardian.

May students and guardians view an example of the Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnification Form prior to making a decision?
Yes. Please preview the Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnification Form to ensure that you understand the inherent risks associated with studying off campus during a pandemic. 

Will students be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to study off campus?
Bowdoin is requiring all students to be vaccinated, whether they are studying on campus or off campus. There are exemptions made for medical and religious reasons. Proof of vaccinations will be demonstrated through Bowdoin’s student health portal.

What factors should students consider when making their decisions about whether to study off campus for Fall 2021?

It is crucial that your expectations shift to anticipate an experience that will be very different from what you may have envisioned when you initially chose to study off campus. The skills you have developed in the past year for dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty will be vital to having a successful study off-campus experience. The program or country in which you plan to study may have policies around mandated quarantines upon arrival, mobility within or outside its borders being restricted, or other guidelines. Additionally, students must consider individual risk as it pertains to nonrefundable predeparture costs that may be required in preparing for study off campus (e.g., deposits, student visas, program costs, flights) and must be aware of respective program and host institution deadlines for withdrawing and receiving a refund.

Are students allowed to simultaneously plan for off-campus study as well as planning to be at Bowdoin in the Fall 2021?
Students intending to study off campus may participate in course registration and in the June housing lottery. Please note that all students intending to study off campus will be required to select housing in Coles Tower during the housing lottery. Students will need to make a final determination of their Fall 2021 academic plans no later than June 25. Following submission of the Assumption of Risk and Release and Indemnification Form and the Confirmation of Study Plan survey, student status will be permanent and irreversible, except for those students seeking personal leave.

How does transfer credit work when students study off campus?

Bowdoin does not directly run any of the off-campus study programs; therefore, Bowdoin cannot issue credit directly for any courses taken abroad. We rely on our institutional partners, study abroad organizations, and universities to provide grade reports and transcripts on behalf of student participants. Bowdoin can transfer credit for any off-campus study liberal arts course if the program provider or the overseas institution continues to carry credit and records the courses and credit on the academic transcript or statement of grades from the program​ as planned.

Will Bowdoin approve study away at an international institution that is offering remote instruction for Fall 2021?


Will Bowdoin approve study away if my program offers a hybrid model consisting of both online and in-person instruction?

Study away in hybrid models will be considered on a case-by-case basis only at degree-granting institutions (e.g., The University of Edinburgh or the University of Saint Andrews).

How will my student visa process be impacted for Fall 2021?

It is anticipated that there will be delays in embassies and consulates in processing student visas. Please coordinate with your program and host university for the most up-to-date information on the student visa process. Please ensure that your passport is valid for six months beyond your anticipated return date. If you must obtain or renew your passport, you should start that process now, as there may be delays. Please note that passport fees will not be reimbursed if you are unable to study away in Fall 2021.

If a student is unable to study off campus for whatever reason after the June 25 date (e.g., program cancels, host country shifts criteria for entrance, personal change of mind), will they be able to study and live at Bowdoin in the fall semester?
Due to the very limited spaces available to students who wish to live on campus, Bowdoin cannot guarantee/provide on-campus housing to those students who change their minds about off-campus study or whose programs are canceled after June 25. Students may identify their own off-campus housing, but keep in mind that course registration during add/drop 2 will be restricted due to limited spots in courses.

Can students previously slated to study off campus in Fall 2021 defer their off-campus study participation?

Yes. Students may defer their study away to Spring 2022. Please communicate this decision to the Office of Off-Campus Study.

What is Bowdoin’s advice regarding flight purchases for off-campus study in Fall 2021?

It is highly recommended that you postpone flight purchases until late spring or early summer. Aided students are required to purchase flights through Bowdoin’s travel agency: Direct Travel (800) 341-4519. Non-aided students are also encouraged to book their flights through Direct Travel. Purchase of travel insurance is recommended.

If Bowdoin approves my off-campus study program for Fall 2021 and I must purchase an emergency evacuation flight, will Bowdoin reimburse me for those costs?
Bowdoin expects students to be familiar with their programs and universities in terms of what costs may be covered by that program. Bowdoin will not be able to support emergency evacuation flights for Fall 2021 off-campus study participants.

Will I be reimbursed for the predeparture costs of an off-campus study program if I end up withdrawing? Does my aid status impact whether Bowdoin would reimburse me for those costs? 

Bowdoin will not reimburse students for any predeparture costs if you must withdraw or cancel your off-campus study participation. For any student who incurs predeparture costs (application fees, visa, police reports, immunizations, flights, etc.) and ultimately decides to study at Bowdoin, the student is responsible for those expenses. Aided students who use the Davenport Loan process to manage early expenses, such as the deposit, are required to pay back that loan regardless of their ultimate decision to attend the program or not.