Carleton students who are in good academic standing and meet the stated program requirements are eligible to apply for off-campus study. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to participate.

Students participating in off-campus study are required to graduate in 12 terms. Prerequisites and GPA requirements are listed on individual programs’ websites.

Application and Approval Processes for OCS

Applications for Carleton Programs

Click on the “Apply Now” link from the program website to open an application.

Complete all required forms and documents (including recommendations) by the application deadline.

  • Summer 2023: Monday, January 23, 2023
  • Fall Term 2023: Monday, February 6, 2023
  • Winter & Spring Break 2023 & 2024: Monday, April 3, 2023
  • Winter Term 2024: Monday, April 10, 2023
  • Spring Term 2024: Monday, April 17, 2023

Upon invitation, sign up for an interview with the faculty director.

Three to four weeks after the deadline, you will receive an accept/waitlist/regret email from OCS with further instructions.

Applications for Carleton Global Engagement Programs

  1. Click on the “Apply Now” link from the program website to open an application.
  2. Complete all required forms and documents (including recommendations) by the application deadline (March 15).
  3. Three to four weeks after the deadline, you will receive an accept/waitlist/regret email from OCS with further instructions.

Applications and Approval of Non-Carleton Programs

Students wishing to participate in a non-Carleton program MUST OPEN an application for Carleton approval through the OCS Student Portal at the same time they initiate their application for a non-Carleton program. The application must be completed by the third Thursday of the term prior to the program.

Approvals are processed on a rolling basis. Applications for approval will not be considered retroactively and late requests are accepted only at the discretion of the Off-Campus Studies Director. Financial aid will be released after the Student Financial Aid Office has been notified by the OCS Office that your application has been approved.

Submitting an application for approval of a non-Carleton program is considered an intention to be off-campus for the stated term. Students will be removed from housing and registration priority lists.

You will receive a letter of approval or denial of participation in your proposed off-campus program from the OCS Office with (if approved) a checklist of required and recommended pre-departure tasks.

If your application for Carleton approval is denied, you may not participate in the program for Carleton credit. You may inquire in the Dean of Students Office about taking a leave of absence to participate in the program without earning Carleton credit.

If your application is approved, but you are not accepted into the program, OR if you decide not to participate in the OCS program for which you were approved, you must withdraw your online application and notify the OCS office in writing (email is acceptable). You will be able to register for classes as usual, and you will be guaranteed campus housing.

Application and Approval Process

Choose the program you wish to apply for. For help selecting a program, consult our advising resources and talk to an OCS adviser.

Select the program in the OCS student portal and click, “apply now” to apply for Carleton approval at the same time you apply for program admission. If the program is not in the directory, email Fabia Calabresi Dennison for assistance. You must open an application for Carleton approval before OCS can complete any home school nomination or recommendation forms for you.

Complete all of the required forms and documents (including academic adviser’s signature) by the deadline:

  • Winter Term 23 and Winter/Spring 23: September 29, 2022
  • Spring Term 23: January 19, 2023
  • All Year 2023-24 and Fall Term 23: April 13, 2023
  • Winter Term 24 and Winter/Spring 24: September 28, 2023
  • Spring Term 24: January 18, 2024

OCS may contact you for additional information, otherwise, you can expect to receive an approve/not approve email two to three weeks after your application is submitted with further instructions.

Carleton charges a $500 administrative fee for all non-Carleton programs. The fee will be posted to your student account and due before the program begins.

Registration and Grades


Students must discuss registration plans with an academic adviser prior to registering. Students can find all registration instructions on the Registrar’s Office website and should register as they would on campus.

Students who will NOT have Internet access during registration must make arrangements to have a proxy register for them via the following paper process: The proxy meets with the off-campus study student’s adviser to agree upon a proposed list of courses; the adviser signs a sheet of paper (no special form required) on which these proposed courses are listed; and the proxy brings this sheet to the registrar’s office during normal business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Proxy registration can also take place 8 a.m.-5 p.m. any day after the above through 4 p.m. the last day of classes.

The Registrar’s Office does not accept registration by mail, e-mail or FAX, and cannot arrange contact between off-campus students and proxies.

You may also register once you’ve returned to campus during the first week of classes. Your selection of courses will be limited to those remaining after normal registrations are complete.



You are responsible for making sure that an official transcript of your off-campus studies is sent to Carleton upon completion of the program. Make sure that you have requested your transcript in writing before you leave the program/country. Please note that it usually takes several weeks for Carleton to receive transcripts and post grades. Whether or not a student needs these OCS credits to complete course requirements, the Registrar must receive official transcripts documenting completion of all non-Carleton OCS programs in order to clear a senior for graduation. If these are not received in time for commencement, the student will not receive their degree at that time.

Grade Point Average

All grades earned on non-Carleton off-campus study programs are entered on your transcript, but are not computed into your GPA. However, graduate schools or employers may use all your grades, including those earned off-campus, to determine your GPA for their own purposes. Grades are sent from the sponsoring institution and the Registrar converts the grade (A+ through C– = S, D+, D or D– = CR, F = NC) on your transcript.


Satisfactory/Credit/No Credit (S/CR/NC Option) S/CR/NC policies apply to off-campus studies including the limit of 30 S/CR/NC credits used during your four years at Carleton. In a Carleton seminar, the seminar director will distribute S/CR/NC cards at the beginning of the seminar and collect them by the published deadline for S/CR/NC declaration (7th Friday of the term), signing off as the instructor for all seminar courses. The seminar director will then notify the Registrar’s Office via email of all S/CR/NC declarations. The seminar director will also deposit the cards with the Registrar’s Office upon arrival back on campus. 

To enroll for S/CR/NC credits in a NON-Carleton program you must pick up a S/CR/NC card in the registrar’s office prior to departure. You must return that card (either as a scanned attachment to an email or by mail), with your signature declaring that you did S/CR/NC the course, no later than 7th Friday of the NON-Carleton program term. 

If an off-campus course is offered only satisfactory/no credit, you must provide documentation to the Registrar. The Registrar will not accept S/CR/NC grades from an off-campus study for credit unless you have filed the S/CR/NC form or have proof that the sponsoring institution does not offer the course for grades.

Getting Credits

General Requirements

The following rules apply for getting credit for work done on off-campus programs:

  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student to receive credit for off-campus study.
  • You may transfer up to 54 non-Carleton credits to your Carleton transcript. Credits from non-Carleton programs will transfer to your transcript upon receipt and evaluation of your official program transcript.
  • Total number of credits awarded for a non-Carleton program may not exceed 22 credits for a 10-week term, 28 credits for a 15-week semester, 14 credits for a summer, and 54 credits for a full academic year. Programs of other lengths may be awarded other credits by the Registrar. Students considering a spring semester non-Carleton program must meet with their academic adviser, Student Financial Aid, and an OCS adviser to discuss the credit and financial aid implications of spring semester programs. A minimum of 24 Carleton credits must be taken on spring semester programs.
  • Transfer students must earn at least 108 credits toward their degree at Carleton and be in residence for at least six terms. Carleton seminars count as “in residence.”
  • Credit is given only for academic work, including independent study, research, lectures, seminars, writing, musical practice, art, foreign language, etc. Credit will not be transferred to your transcript for travel, cultural events, work/internships, or living experiences. Approval of a maximum number of credits is not a promise that the College will grant credit for everything you do on your program.
  • All extensions and/or incompletes must be approved by the Dean of Students at Carleton.

The following circumstances within an approved program could result in credits not transferring to your Carleton transcript:

  • Courses that do not resemble courses taught at Carleton (liberal arts in nature, more theoretical than applied); for example, sociology but not social work, economics but not business administration. Applied music and art courses are accepted under conditions similar to those on campus.
  • Off-campus courses that are similar to a Carleton course you studied on campus. You should also consider whether an off-campus course may affect later enrollment in a Carleton course with similar content.

Credit Approval toward Major, Minor, and Distribution Requirements for non-Carleton Programs

You must complete an Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form if you want off-campus credits to apply to your distribution or major/minor requirements. You do not need to complete the approval form if you simply want the credits to apply to the 210-credit graduation requirements. The Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form is available in the OCS office and the Registrar’s office.

For major and minor credit, the approval form must be signed by the appropriate department chair. Discuss approval of these credits with the department chair. Policies vary by department.

The Registrar’s Office approves distribution credit. Consult with the Associate Registrar for details.

Courses applied to teaching certification should be cleared with the Educational Studies department, using the Approval of Special Credit for Off-Campus Study form.

Dropping and/or Adding Courses

Carleton seminars are considered a package. No single course may be dropped from the program, and no overloads are accepted. For non-Carleton programs, courses may be dropped or added according to the sponsoring program’s policies. However, you must remain registered for the equivalent of at least 12 Carleton credits for fall, winter, or spring term programs. For spring semester programs, you must be registered for a minimum of 24 credits. You cannot exceed the number of credits approved. All extensions and/or incompletes on off-campus study programs must be approved by the Dean of Students at Carleton.

Program Billing and Expenses

Semester/Term Programs

Carleton Programs

The comprehensive fee for a one-term program covers tuition, room and board, and program-related expenses. Travel to the seminar site, visa, books, and personal expenses are the student’s own financial responsibility, as they are when studying on campus. In the unlikely event that a program is cancelled, these costs remain the student’s responsibility.

Billing and financial aid are handled as on campus.

Carleton Programs Withdrawal Policy

Students who withdraw from a Carleton term-length program after signing the Off-Campus Study Agreement Form and before the beginning of the seminar will be required to pay a $500 withdrawal fee plus any costs incurred on their behalf (including, but not limited to, monies advanced on their behalf for non-refundable deposits, tickets, airfare or other travel documents, legal documents and fees, housing deposits, etc.). Students withdrawing for documented medical reasons will pay a $500 withdrawal fee only. All withdrawals before the start of the program should be made in writing to the Director of Off-Campus Studies at Carleton. Withdrawals after the off-campus program has begun should be made in writing to the Faculty Director on site.

Students who withdraw from a program in session with the permission of the Director of Off-Campus Studies and/or for documented medical reasons may be eligible for a partial tuition refund according to the standard College policy outlined in the Academic Catalog. Eligibility will be computed from the first day of the program abroad, not according to the on-campus calendar.

  • A refund of 25 percent of tuition will be made if the student withdraws during the first 25 percent of the term; financial aid will be reduced proportionately.
  • Tuition will be reduced in the case of illness: one-half will be returned if the student withdraws because of illness before the end of the fifth week of the program term, after which no fee will be refunded.
  • No refunds will be made to students suspended or dismissed from a program.

If the student withdraws from a program to participate in another off-campus study program, the student must apply and receive separate approval for the second program.

If the student withdraws from a seminar and wishes to return to campus, the student may ask the Dean of Students to place his or her name on the space-available list.  

Carleton Global Engagement Programs

Carleton Global Engagement Program fees are posted on the program websites. Carleton students pay the published fees and financial aid can be adjusted accordingly. The restriction to one non-Carleton program (detailed below) does NOT apply and there is no $500 administrative fee.

Non-Carleton Programs

Carleton students pay the published program fee for most non-Carleton programs, which may be more or less than a Carleton term. Airfare, books, and personal expenses are not generally included, but when comparing program costs, be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. For example, are meals included in the program fee? How about excursions? What are the housing options and expenses? Your program provider should provide a comprehensive cost estimate on their website or upon request.

For all non-Carleton programs, financial aid, grants, and scholarships can be applied to ONE non-Carleton off-campus study program only. You are responsible for paying the application fee, if there is one, and the deposit required by that program directly to the sponsoring institution, often to confirm your place in the program.

Students participating in non-Carleton off-campus study programs pay a $500 administrative fee. The fee will be charged to the student’s Carleton account after the Application for a non-Carleton OCS program has been approved.

If you want your financial aid to apply to non-Carleton programs or if you are paying the College through a monthly payment plan, you must make the following arrangements with the Business Office, Leighton 109:

  1. Ask the sponsoring institution to send the bill or invoice (not a program brochure) with your name and program name to the Carleton Business Office, or, forward it to the Business Office if you receive it from the institution.
  2. Provide the Business Office with complete information as to the address of the sponsoring institution and the schedule of payments due.
  3. Make those arrangements before leaving campus. Remember that it is your responsibility to see that bills are paid and to supply all necessary information.
  4. After July 1, Carleton will pay the billed amount to the program sponsor and then bill you the difference between that amount and your financial aid (excluding work). The due date for remittance is August 15.

Check with the institution about billing procedures and deadlines. It is your responsibility to convey that information to your parents and to the Business Office before you leave campus. Program fees are established by the sponsoring institution and are usually based on the academic calendar year of that institution. Fifteen-week semester programs are more common than 10-week term programs. That means that participation in a fall semester program may be more expensive than fall term at Carleton, because you are paying for up to 28 credits and 15 weeks of room and board (compared to Carleton’s 18 credits and 10 weeks of room and board). Conversely, a spring semester program (which replaces winter and spring terms at Carleton) may be less expensive. A program deposit fee and expenses not included in the program fee, such as travel, are your responsibility. In any case, your financial aid will be adjusted based on the actual cost of attendance.


Carleton seminars

Participants in Carleton summer seminars are eligible to receive aid and are required to take a term’s leave of absence during the academic year, typically winter term.

Non-Carleton programs

Financial aid, including government grants and loans, is not available for non-Carleton summer programs.

Student Research Abroad

Institutional Review Board Approval

As students at Carleton College, you are not permitted to do any research on human subjects without first getting Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Human subjects research includes conducting interviews, administering surveys, or observing public behavior. Importantly, not everything is research. And not all research is research on human subjects, however, if you have any questions about whether or not you need approval, you should consult with a member of the IRB board BEFORE beginning your research.

In some cases, the program (e.g. SIT) has an IRB process which Carleton honors. In other cases, students need to apply through Carleton’s IRB. You should inquire with your program about their IRB procedures.

Failure to obtain IRB approval prior to beginning your research can result in a number of outcomes including, but not limited to: the requirement that you inform all subjects of your study that you conducted research on them without IRB approval, the determination that you cannot present or publish your work in any public or scholarly forum, or the determination that you will not receive course credit.

Visit the IRB website to apply for approval from Carleton for potential research work on your OCS program.

Disability Accommodations

Off-Campus Studies in collaboration with the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) at Carleton encourages and supports students with disabilities as they explore opportunities to study off campus, domestically and internationally. Different cultures and communities offer different degrees of access and the availability of accommodation resources can vary significantly. The key to a successful off-campus study participation is early notification and planning. We encourage you to contact ocs@carleton.edu early in your planning process.

Carleton and Carleton Global Engagement Programs

Filling out the Health Questionnaire on the OCS Student Portal alerts OCS staff to needed accommodations. An OCS adviser will follow up to discuss arrangements appropriate for the program site. Note that accommodations do not automatically transfer to an OCS program. They must be requested (enacted) by the student on the Health Questionnaire. You should also renew your accommodations through OAR as you would on campus.

Non-Carleton Programs

Follow the process outlined on the Office of Accessibility Resources website. Please be advised that your Carleton-approved accommodations do not automatically transfer to your non-Carleton program provider.

Leave of Absence

Required Leave of Absence

Carleton summer programs (Economics in Cambridge and Ireland) function as a term of the Carleton academic year. Participants are required to take a leave of absence during the following winter term.

Students unable to take their leave during winter term (due to required courses or participation in varsity athletics, etc.) may petition the Academic Standing Committee to request a change to fall or spring term.

The deadline for submitting the petition is the Friday of seventh week, winter term, e.g. for Summer 2023 programs, the designated required leave of absence term is Winter 2024. Petitions to change to Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 are due on February 17, 2023.

Students who participate in non-Carleton summer programs are NOT required to take a Leave of Absence.

Housing & Storage

Housing and Storage

Planning for your Departure

When you submit your application for a non-Carleton off-campus study program, you are automatically removed from the housing process for the applicable term.

If you are not approved for OCS, cancel, or withdraw your OCS plans, you must first notify the OCS office. Residential Life will reinstate your eligibility for housing once notified of the change by the OCS office.

When planning to depart campus you are responsible for checking-out of your current living space. You may utilize Student Storage to store your belongings. Visit Residential Life for more information about storage locations and policies.

Planning for your Return

When planning for your return from OCS you should complete the Housing Information Request form. You are also encouraged to designate a Housing Proxy to help make decisions on your behalf. If you are on OCS during any part of the Housing Selection Process (Northfield Option, Interest House Selection, Room Draw) for the upcoming academic year, you can complete those processes if you have reliable internet access or communication with your Housing Proxy. If you have questions or concerns about housing or student storage contact reslife@carleton.edu

Sophomore Year Requirements

Declaring Your Major

Sophomores declare their major in spring using the online form as on campus. If internet access is not available, students should confer with the Registrar’s office about alternative arrangements.

Writing Portfolio Requirement

All Carleton students must submit a writing portfolio after the third term, and no later than the sixth term at Carleton.  If you have not yet submitted your portfolio and plan to study off-campus in your 6th term, you must complete your writing portfolio before you leave campus.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  1. Pay attention to ALL program-specific communications and take action promptly when required.
  2. Meet with your adviser to discuss registration for the term you return to campus. If you will not be able to register on-line from your program site, designate an academic proxy to register for you.
  3. Make sure you understand how your financial aid works with your off-campus program. Inform Student Financial Aid of any external scholarships receive.
  4. Designate a housing proxy to represent you at room draw. If you don’t make your preference known, you will be assigned housing by Res Life.
  5. Store your belongings while you are gone.
  6. Research your destination and learn more about how teaching and learning off-campus is different from what happens at Carleton
  7. Attend to your travel logistics early and plan thoughtfully
  8. Be mindful of your health needs and personal safety
  9. Sophomores only: Ensure that your writing portfolio is completed by the appropriate deadline.
  10. Non-Carleton programs only: Confirm participation in your program with Carleton AND the program provider and follow the program’s pre-departure instructions.
  11. Non-Carleton programs only: If intending to S/CR/NC a course, pick up a S/CR/NC card from the Registrar’s Office and make sure to return it to the Registrar before the 7th Friday of the program’s (not Carleton’s) term.