Carleton College has a long and rich history of sending students abroad. The earliest Carleton programs in 1969-70 explored Japan, the Ivory Coast, and Puerto Rico. Off-Campus Studies is an integral part of the Carleton curriculum with a typical participation rate of nearly 70 percent. Each year, we offer 16-20 faculty-led programs to locations all over the world. Carleton also allows participation in a wide variety of programs sponsored by other organizations or universities.

Carleton makes off-campus study accessible to all students by:

  • Offering or approving programs that fulfill major, minor, distribution, and quantity credit requirements toward graduation.
  • Applying full financial aid to multiple Carleton programs and one non-Carleton program. Additional financial aid is available upon request. Scholarships are available.
  • Promoting a culture and academic calendar that encourage off-campus study. Students have nine potential terms to study off-campus during their 12 terms at Carleton.
  • Providing extensive individual and group advising to help students plan their off-campus study experience from start to finish.

The Off-Campus Studies Office is considered an academic department, reporting to the Associate Provost and guided by the Off-Campus Studies Committee, comprised of faculty and staff from across the college.

Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies strives to create inclusive and respectful off-campus study programming that is accessible to all students. Our programs and those we partner with welcome students of all backgrounds and identities and their unique perspectives. Our individual differences enhance our understanding of one another and of the world around us.

Off-Campus Studies enriches Carleton’s extensive international engagements and its mission to educate citizens capable of engaging with complex global issues. By teaching students how to apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary tools in unfamiliar environments, off-campus study helps students make connections between their education and the world at large. Carleton believes that off-campus study contributes to students’ understanding of the world’s diversity and inspires long-lasting curiosity.

Participation Reports (Statistics)

Senior Class 2023

  • 48% of the Class of 2023 (234 students) participated in off-campus studies during their four-year Carleton career. They participated in 75 different programs in 41 countries and territories.

Academic Year 2022-23

  • 20% of the student body (394 students) participated in off-campus studies for academic credit during the 2022-23 academic year. They participated in 70 different programs in 38 countries and territories.

For additional information, see our Annual Statistics 2022-2023.

Global Engagement at Carleton

The Carleton campus is a rich and vibrant international community. Global topics are explored broadly and deeply in the curriculum, the co-curriculum, campus life, engagement with the surrounding communities, and through opportunities for off-campus study, internships, civic engagement, research, and travel.

Global Engagement has a long history at Carleton, some of which was curated into an exhibit in Gould Library in the Fall of 2017. Today, nearly every campus department and unit has a global dimension.

In addition to Off-Campus Studies and Carleton Global Engagement Programs, we invite you to explore some of the other global activities on our campus:

Boards and Affiliations

Associated Kyoto ProgramMember
CET Academic ProgramsBoard Member
Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA)Board Member, past
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)Associate Member
DIS: Study Abroad in ScandinaviaAffiliate
Diversity AbroadMember
Forum on Education AbroadMember
IES AbroadAssociate Member
IFSA-ButlerNational Advisor’s Council
NAFSA: Association of International EducatorsMember
School for International TrainingPartnership Council, past

Projects, Studies, and Initiatives

OCS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion InitiativeLaunched in the fall of 2020 to review and assess OCS practices, this initiative has been guided by the Global Equity and Inclusion (GEI) guidelines and Carleton’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) work. It has included a revision of our mission statement, expanded data collection and analysis (especially as it addresses underrepresented groups and OCS scholarship awards), and a re-examination of hiring practices, OCS curriculum and program design, learning outcomes, and assessment. The work is ongoing.
Assessing global learning outcomes on Carleton OCS programsWe have engaged an external consultant to help us assess how students are meeting institutional learning goals. The initial phase uses a rubric to do secondary analysis of students' academic work on three Carleton programs.
Integrating Worlds: How Off-Campus Study Can Transform Undergraduate Education (Stylus, 2019)Helena Kaufman, Director of Off-Campus Studies, along with Scott Carpenter, Professor of French at Carleton College and Malene Torp, Executive Director of DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia, published a book on the role of off-campus study in the undergraduate curriculum.
Off-Campus Studies Integration SurveyExplored the ways in which OCS participation affects student engagement in Carleton’s curriculum including choice of major, course selection, fellowship applications, and comprehensive exercise (senior thesis/project). Study completed in 2010-11 academic year.
Global Engagement InitiativeParticipated in the steering committee and several activities of a Mellon Foundation Planning & Implementation Grant on global engagement at Carleton College. Planning grant was for the academic year 2010-2011, implementation grant was for four years, from in 2014-2018.
Study Abroad and Liberal LearningParticipated in an ACM/GLCA study on the impact of study abroad on liberal learning outcomes. Data collection completed in 2009.
Study Abroad and Global Engagement (SAGE)Participated in large tracer study of the impact of studying abroad on global engagement from 1965 to 2005. Data collection completed in 2007.
Marine Biology Longitudinal StudyStudied the impact of a long-running Carleton off-campus study program on participants’ careers and life after college. Study was conducted in 2005-2006.

OCS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Carleton’s Off-Campus Studies office celebrated a milestone anniversary in 2019–2020. Please visit the OCS 50th Anniversary website to view our memories!