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Skidmore College
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges

Getting Started

Choosing to study off-campus is a big decision that requires planning. We're here to help you through this process and we encourage you to start researching and asking questions as soon as possible. Below are a few topics to get you started:

  • Declare your major: To be eligible to study off-campus, you must have declared your major. Please don't start your application with OCSE until this step is complete. Not sure how? Read instructions here.
  • GPA requirement: The minimum GPA requirement to study off-campus is a cumulative GPA of 2.75. If you have below this requirement, you may have the option to petition
  • Academic & Social Standing with College: As part of the application process, OCSE will contact the Office of Academic Advising and the Student Conduct office to confirm you are in good social and academic standing with the College. An issue could affect your ability to study off campus. 
  • Progress towards your Degree: Most students choose to study off-campus during their junior year, but for some students this opportunity fits better into their sophomore or senior year. If you are applying to study off-campus outside of your junior year, you will need to complete a non-junior petition, demonstrating your plan to remain on track with your degree at Skidmore. 
  • All students should meet Skidmore requirements and the requirements of their chosen program before applying. Consult with OCSE if you have any questions regarding your eligibility.

As you research your off-campus options, one important factor to consider is what academic structure best fits your needs. What type of learning environment do you do best in? What level of cultural engagement are you seeking? What are your academic, professional, and personal goals for choosing to study off-campus?  Here are a few of the most common program models to consider:

Direct enrollment

Students are enrolled directly in an overseas institution and take courses from the host institution’s regular curriculum. Therefore, courses are usually taken alongside students from the host country and taught in the host country’s language. This is often a good fit for the more independent student, the student with more advanced language skills (if the course work is taught in the host language), and for students looking for a broad range of classes. Examples of this model would be Skidmore in London and Skidmore in New Zealand.

Center-based programs

Center-based programs are designed for U.S. study abroad students and are not usually linked to a host institution, though the faculty likely come from local universities. Classes will be with other program participants, not local students, and the course selection will likely be smaller than with direct enroll. The classes are often taught in English or in the host language but taught towards language learners. Center programs can have very small enrollments or be quite large. Since these are built for U.S. study abroad students, these programs are often more structured in terms of on-site support and built-in excursions. This is a good fit for students who may not have the language skills needed to direct enroll, for those who want to remain in a similar academic classroom style to the U.S., and for those seeking more structured support. Examples of this model would be Advanced Studies in England, College Year in Athens, and DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia.

Hybrid programs

Hybrid programs are a mix of both center-based and direct enroll, offering students some coursework specific to the program as well as the option to take one or two courses at a local university. This model is a good option for students who are drawn to both options. Students who select this program type may want to challenge themselves by taking one or two university courses with local students but are not looking to fully immerse in the new higher education system. Some students might choose this option when center-based appeals to them but they need certain classes that are only available outside of the center.  Examples of this model include our Skidmore in Spain program and our Skidmore in Paris program.

Field-based programs

Field-based programs offer students a set curriculum, focusing on a specific topic or issue. These programs often include some sort of internship, independent study, or research project as a component of the curriculum and much of the learning happens outside of a traditional classroom. Due to the nature of the program, they are often much smaller in size. Students who choose this model are interested in diving deep into the subject matter, enjoy experiential learning, and can adapt to varying learning and living environments. Examples of these programs would be the The School for International Training (SIT), The School for Field Studies (SFS), and the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS).

Faculty-led Travel Seminars

Travel seminars are short-term programs that allow students to accompany one or two Skidmore faculty members as they explore a focused topic that uses the destination as a classroom. These programs take place during the winter, spring, or summer breaks and may be linked to a course on-campus before the travel portion.  This model can work well for students who have academic or extracurricular commitments that prevent them from spending a semester off-campus. This is also a good option for any student, at any class level, that wants to experience a more guided and intentionally structured learning experience.

Step One: Declare your major.

Step Two: Meet with an advisor at OCSE to discuss your options and the OCSE policies.

Step Three: Complete the appropriate OCSE online application by the deadline. Please take note of your program's deadline. While we have a final application deadline of October 15th for spring semester programs and March 15th for fall/full year, many programs have earlier deadlines and you must apply to our office at least two weeks before you apply to your program provider.

Step Four: Wait to receive your approval through email and through notification in the online system.

Step Four: If approved for a non-Skidmore Program, apply directly to your program provider. If approved for a Skidmore Program, await further instruction from the Program Manager.