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Petitioning to Study Abroad

In order to ensure that students keep on track with academic requirements and are fully prepared to take advantage of the academic experience abroad, Hamilton requires that students meet certain requirements to study abroad. These eligibility requirements must be completed in order for students to declare a leave of absence, receive study abroad program approval, and transfer credits. 

Students who do not meet one or more of the eligibility requirements for studying abroad must petition to the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS). Students must also petition if they seek to participate in a program that is not on the preapproved list of programs.

Well prepared and well-written petitions with a strong academic justification have a high approval rate by CAS. The Global Learning office works closely with students to guide and assist them through the process as they prepare their petition materials. 

Possible Reasons for Petitioning

The Office of Global Learning maintains a list of pre-approved programs. A study abroad program that is not named on this list is considered off-list.  Students who wish to study on an off-list program need to petition. Students who plan on being away for the full year on two different programs and who would like to participate in an off-list program during either semester must petition before they leave to study off campus. 

Students who have not completed a combination of the QSR requirement (1 QSR course), PE requirement (2 PE tests and 3 PE classes), or writing requirement (3 WI courses) need to petition. If only one class requirement is left to complete, a student does NOT need to petition. In this case, students need to complete the Acknowledgement of One Incomplete Requirement form.

Students must meet the language requirement if they are interested in studying in a country that speaks a language taught at Hamilton. Students must pass a course or otherwise show proficiency at the following levels:

  • Fourth semester (140) – French, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Second semester (120) – Arabic, Italian, Chinese, Japanese
  • Second semester (120) – any language offered by Hamilton Critical Languages program on a regular basis

Environmental Studies majors may be exempted from the study abroad language requirement if they attend one of the pre-approved environmental studies programs.

Classics majors are exempted from the Italian language requirement if studying on a Classics program in Italy for which the focus is on classical studies and languages. Classics majors studying on a Classics program in Greece do not need to enroll in a Modern Greek language course if they are studying a classical language.

Students who have a study abroad GPA lower than 2.7 need to petition. The study abroad GPA is calculated by averaging the GPA of the two consecutive semesters preceding the last semester at Hamilton before studying abroad.

Transfer students who have only one semester of Hamilton grades need to petition. 

Some academic departments require their concentrators to reside on campus in the senior year and enroll in courses specific to their senior project.  Students who need, for good reason, to study abroad in the last semester of the senior year need to be aware that they must be in a program that can guarantee completion and receipt of an official transcript by the Registrar's graduation certification deadline, May 10.  Failure to receive the official transcript by this date means that a senior abroad will not be eligible to graduate with the class.  Because of the academic calendar of many universities abroad, it is difficult to comply with this requirement.  For that reason, approval of a petition to study abroad in the last semester of the senior year may not be approved. Please consider this carefully before deciding to study abroad in the spring semester of your senior year.

From time to time, personal extenuating circumstances such as illness, family issues, and other personal issues may be an important factor in your choices.  It is your choice whether to discuss these personal issues in your petition, but if they are pertinent to your situation, we recommend that you discuss this with a study abroad advisor or the Assistant Dean of Off-Campus Study.  Petitions are treated with the highest confidentiality and are circulated only to those in a position to make a decision. 

Petition Process

The petition process can take three or more weeks. Please plan your time accordingly. Beginning the process early may enable you to accept a placement in a study abroad program upon receiving an offer. If you have a petition in progress, the College cannot grant approval to study abroad until the petition has been reviewed.  The Global Learning Office provides guidance and assistance to help you prepare a strong, successful petition. However, hurried, last-minute petitions may not be approved.

Make an appointment and meet with a study abroad advisor. Your study abroad advisor will work with you through the petition process.

Review petition documents with your study abroad advisor.

Submit all your petition documents to the Global Learning Office (Christian-Johnson 105 or global@hamilton.edu). Incomplete petition documents may delay when your petition file is delivered to CAS for review. Double-check that all documents have been submitted and are complete.

Await CAS approval. CAS usually meets every two weeks. You should receive an email notification about your petition from Karen Boots in the Dean of Students office. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please make sure to still turn in a Declaration of Off-Campus Study form by the deadline even if you are still awaiting approval from CAS.

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