Global Education Policies and Procedures


Sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic, financial, and social standing are eligible to participate in HWS semester-long off-campus programs. Please note, however, that some programs require junior status or higher. Students who have completed their first year are eligible to participate in short-term programs. No student may be accepted for participation in an off-campus study program while on academic or social probation.


Program participation is a privilege to be earned through solid academic achievement, demonstration of maturity, and strong motivation for program participation.  Matriculation at the Colleges, in and of itself, does not guarantee the “right” to study off-campus.  Students who wish to participate in a Global Education program sponsored by the Colleges must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 (certain programs require a higher minimum GPA.) In cases where a program attracts more applicants than available places, even students meeting the GPA requirement might not be selected.

Admissions decisions are made jointly by faculty (including the faculty director(s) of the program, if applicable) and the staff of the Center for Global Education in consultation with the Deans’ Offices (for affiliated programs, the final decision rests with the program administrator). A variety of criteria are used in evaluating student applications. As these are academic programs, a student’s “fit” with the program curriculum is very important. In addition to prior academic performance, review committees also look closely at application essays in which students must articulate how a program would meet their academic needs and why they are a good fit for the program. Other factors that may impact admission decisions include class standing, previous participation in an off-campus study program, and social/disciplinary record. A pattern of I, W, or NC grades may be reviewed unfavorably. Students on academic or social probation are ineligible for off-campus study. Students without HWS grades (including new first year and transfer students) will be placed on the waitlist until they have completed a semester at HWS and grades can be reviewed. Students who have already participated in semester-long off-campus study programs will typically be placed on the waitlist until slots become available. Students may appeal admissions decisions by submitting a written letter within one week of the date of the decision letter. The appeal letter must be submitted to Dr. Thomas D’Agostino, Associate Dean for Global Education, and will be reviewed by the Provost and Dean of Faculty.


Some programs have prerequisites that must be fulfilled prior to participation. If a student has not fulfilled a program prerequisite at the time of application they will need to do so if admitted to the program. Students must be on campus the semester before their program starts in order to meet the prerequisites and to attend all mandatory meetings. Exceptions will be made only in extraordinary circumstances, as determined in advance by the Center for Global Education. Once admitted, students must remain in good academic, financial, and social standing through the date of departure. The Center for Global Education reserves the right to withdraw students from their respective programs if they fail to meet these conditions, miss required meetings, or do not submit required documents in a timely manner.

Once admitted, students are responsible for acquiring all necessary travel documents, including valid passport, visa (if required), and other items as mandated by the host country. All program participants must submit a notarized waiver of liability form, signed by their parent(s) or guardian(s), as a condition of participation.


Students participating in HWS off-campus programs are required to take a standard HWS course load (4.0 credits), except in cases where the host institution has a different requirement. Students may not withdraw from courses that are a required part of an off-campus program and will not be permitted to exceed a standard course load of 4.0 HWS credits except in extraordinary cases as determined by a student’s Dean’s Office, academic advisor, and the Center for Global Education.


In order to encourage students to pursue opportunities to gain valuable international experience, the HWS curriculum has been designed to integrate off-campus study into the academic program. An HWS global education program functions in many ways just like an on-campus semester: grades and credits for the courses students take will appear on their HWS transcripts and the grades will factor into their GPA. Students may receive credit toward their major, minor, or other graduation requirements as determined in consultation with their academic advisor and appropriate department chairs.

As on the home campus, students may request to take any course outside their major or minor on a credit/no credit basis so long as they do so no later than 2/3 of the way into their term abroad. Deadlines for HWS students participating in off-campus programs are based on the host program’s calendar and not on the HWS campus calendar.


Students participating in semester-long HWS off-campus programs through the Center for Global Education retain financial aid on the same basis as previously awarded (with the exception of work study) as determined by merit or demonstrable financial need. Any student, even those not currently receiving financial aid, can apply for aid based on economic eligibility. Students interested in off-campus study who have questions about financial aid matters should seek the advice of the Financial Aid officers on campus well in advance of applying.

Financial aid applications will be available in early January for the following academic year. Students desiring an early evaluation should have the application completed and submitted to the processing center by the deadline determined by the Financial Aid Office. A copy of the application must be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office on campus at the same time.

All off-campus programs sponsored by the Colleges require a non-refundable deposit of $500 that will be applied to the overall program cost. If this payment presents a significant and demonstrable burden, a student who has been accepted into a program should submit a deposit waiver request form, available from the Student Accounts office, which would allow payment of a reduced deposit.


Students participating in semester-long HWS off-campus programs will be charged tuition and associated fees at the same rate as on the HWS campus (with the exception of the Student Activities fee, which is not charged), plus an administrative fee of $600. Room and board charges vary, depending on what is provided as part of the program. Please consult the individual program pages on the CGE website for more specific information on costs.


If a student withdraws from an off-campus program, their deposit will be forfeited. Note that students also may be responsible for additional expenses beyond the deposit if they withdraw from a program while it is in progress or less than 90 days before the program arrival date. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup, such as housing, tuition and program fees paid to other institutions, excursion expenses, and the like.

A student participating in any off-campus program who withdraws from that program after arrival at the program site may not return to the HWS campus to take classes that semester except under extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the student’s Dean’s Office, the Center for Global Education, and the Vice President for Student Affairs.


Students who wish to join another institution’s program or study independently at a foreign institution will be expected to have established a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better at the time of application and be a junior or senior by the beginning of the proposed program. Receiving approval to transfer credit from a non-HWS program to fulfill HWS degree requirements is highly competitive. A limited number of slots to participate in such programs will be approved annually. These slots are reserved for students whose academic needs/degree requirements cannot be met by any HWS off-campus program.  Merely preferring another location is not a sound academic reason for petitioning for credit for a non-HWS program. Some non-HWS programs are ineligible for consideration of transfer credit (for example, Semester at Sea, SEA Semester, Sea-Mester, and NOLS programs). Therefore, a student who wishes to participate in a program sponsored by another institution should check first with the CGE to ensure that the program is accredited and that credit transfer is allowed. The student should present his/her case in writing as follows:

  • The student submits a Non-HWS Program Application form (available from the CGE) outlining a strong academic justification for the program, a supporting recommendation from his/her advisor attesting to the lack of fit of HWS’ own off-campus programs and endorsing the non-HWS program, and a full description of the program he/she wants to apply for to the Center for Global Education. The deadlines for non-HWS program applications are typically in early October for Fall or full Academic Year programs (Example: Due October 02, 2017 for Fall 2018 and full-year 2018-19 programs) and in late February/early March for Spring programs (Example: February 28, 2018 for Spring 2019 programs). Dates are subject to change. Please view the Upcoming Events section on the main Global Education page for updated dates and deadlines.
  • The student's application is reviewed by the Committee on Global Education, including faculty, CGE staff, and a representative of both Deans' Offices.
  • If an application is accepted, the student goes to the appropriate departmental chair to request preliminary approval of courses, providing evidence of the substance of each course (course description, syllabus, reading list). Upon return, the student must submit an official transcript. As with all transfer credit, a course in which a grade below C is earned will not be accepted. Departments will decide if and how many credits from a non-HWS program may count toward the major/minor.
  • Students who apply for and are granted permission to participate in a non-HWS program will be billed an administrative fee of $600 directly by the Business Office after he/she submits a transcript and requests a credit transfer. All other fees will be paid directly to the non-HWS program. Students participating in non-HWS programs will not receive institutional aid from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. State and Federal aid is transferable and students should check into how their other financial aid may be affected by participation in an off-campus study program sponsored by another institution. Finally, students who know that they will be off-campus during the application period for financial aid for the following year must make arrangements to complete all application materials in advance or from off-campus. Late applicants will be penalized.
  • Transfer credit will not be awarded for students who have not completed this process and received written approval in advance.


Hobart and William Smith Colleges offer a broad menu of off-campus study options around the world and the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff participating in these programs is of the utmost importance. The staff of the Center for Global Education regularly monitors a variety of sources of information regarding the safety and security of our off-campus program sites, including communications from domestic and international institutional partners as well as official government sources. Primary consideration is given to information and recommendations provided by the US Department of State.

As a matter of policy, Hobart and William Smith Colleges do not offer study abroad programs or provide funding for student travel in countries that are under an active US Department of State Travel Warning. In situations where a program is in session or students are on-site when a Travel Warning is announced, the Center for Global Education will coordinate with on-site staff and home campus officials to assess the situation, determine the proper course of action, and arrange evacuation of HWS students and employees, as needed.

Students participating in an HWS off-campus program may not travel to any country under an active Travel Warning during the duration of their program.


FALL 2017

  • Fall 2018 Study Abroad Information Session: September 6, 7:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room (followed by individual small group Q&A meetings).
  • Short-Term/Summer Info Session: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. in Merritt 100
  • Application Deadline for Fall 2018 programs: Monday, October 2, before 11:59 p.m.
  • Short-Term Application Deadline: Tuesday, Oct. 31, online before 11:59 p.m.
  • Decision notification: Before semester registration closes, through students’ online study abroad account.
  • Spring 2018 accepted study abroad students scholarship meeting: September 1, 5 p.m. in Trinity 305.


  • Spring 2019 Study Abroad Information Session: January 30, 7:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room (followed by individual small group Q&A meetings).
  • Application Deadline for Spring 2019 programs: Wednesday, February 28, before 11:59 p.m.
  • Decision notification: Before semester registration closes, through students’ online study abroad account.
  • Fall 2018 accepted study abroad students scholarship meeting: January 26, 5 p.m. in Trinity 305.

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