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Guiding Principles


Study abroad is an enriching educational experience that is most beneficial when it is fully integrated in your overall academic experience.

The Dean of Student's Office and the Committee on Academic Standing follow certain principles in recommending and approving study abroad programs and applications:

Study abroad programs should reflect Hamilton's liberal arts curriculum.
  • Internships and non-liberal arts courses (ie: business, journalism) will not receive credit.
  • Students will not receive credit for language courses below the level of Hamilton's language requirement for the country.
  • Programs must be equal in length to a Hamilton semester, including vacations. Year-long programs must equal two semesters.
  • Students must take final exams at times regularly scheduled by their host school.
 
Study abroad should be a serious academic experience complementing a student's Hamilton studies.
  • Students should discuss with their advisors which courses to take and how these will fit with their concentration or minor.
  • Students should only choose programs that offer options that complement their Hamilton program, if possible offering courses not available to them at Hamilton.
 
Since the principal educational advantages of study abroad are in-depth cross-cultural exposure and language learning, study abroad programs should maximize these benefits.
  • Whenever possible, Hamilton approves programs that fully immerse students in the host country's educational system and culture. We do not approve "island" programs for American students only.
  • We encourage students to choose programs that build on previous language study.
  • Students must meet Hamilton's language proficiency requirement for countries whose language is taught at Hamilton.
  • Study abroad programs must include courses that increase the student's proficiency in the language of the host country or, for more advanced speakers, are taught in that language. Those courses must equal at least one-fifth of the total course work presented for transfer credit.
 
To meet the above goals, study abroad is normally intended for the junior year, when students have established their foundation in the liberal arts, declared their concentrations and completed language requirements.
  • Most study abroad programs are designed for juniors and are most effective for juniors, who will have already completed important requirements and foundational coursework for their concentrations, but will not yet be busy with senior theses, GRE and other testing, and preparing for graduate school or the job market.
  • Hamilton's expectation is that students will normally reserve study abroad for their junior year.

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