Carleton students choose from among hundreds of programs that fall broadly into three categories: Carleton programs, Global Engagement, and non-Carleton programs. Financial Aid can be applied to all three types.

Carleton programs are departmentally sponsored and faculty-led. They are offered each term and during breaks. Students take classes taught by the Carleton faculty director and local instructors. Experiential learning and excursions are built into the programs. The cost is the same as a term on-campus plus airfare, visa, and personal expenses. 

Carleton Global Engagement programs take Carleton students, along with students from other schools, to study Buddhism in India, Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe, and Ecology and Anthropology in Tanzania. Global Engagement programs are offered each fall. See each program’s website for dates and fees. 

Non-Carleton programs encompass many different options including direct enrollment at foreign institutions, programs with a singular academic focus, and field-study or internship-based programs. They are offered every term and during breaks. Cost varies by program and financial aid may be used for ONE non-Carleton program during a student’s time at Carleton.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Program

  • Which language(s) have you studied? Is improving your language skills an important goal?
  • Is there a particular region of the world that attracts you?
  • Do you want to take classes in your (intended) major or minor?
  • Do you want to be in a group of other US university students, local students, other international students, or a mixture?
  • Are you interested in doing fieldwork, volunteering, service-learning, internships, or independent research?
  • Do you have particular interests or concerns related to your personal background or identity (race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic heritage, etc.)?
  • What are the social and/or environmental consequences associated with your OCS experience?
  • How much will your off-campus study program cost in comparison to a term at Carleton?

How to Learn about OCS programs

Off-Campus Studies and our partners offer many ways for students to learn about programs:

Personal Research

  • Programs page with links to a program directory within the OCS Student Portal and other ways to search for programs
  • Individual websites for Carleton and Carleton Global Engagement programs
  • Individual websites for non-Carleton programs (google the program name)
  • Brochures and flyers for Carleton, Carleton Global Engagement, and non-Carleton programs available in Leighton 119
  • Binder of student evaluations of non-Carleton programs available in Leighton 119
  • List of past participants who have consented to be contacted by prospective students available in Leighton 119

Informational Presentations

  • Informational meetings for Carleton programs
  • Information tables and sessions for non-Carleton programs
  • Presentations for first- and second-year students
  • Presentations on financing OCS programs
  • Annual student-to-student World’s Fair

Individual Advising

  • Advising appointments in-person or via video conference
  • Quick response to questions posed via email ( or phone (507-222-4332)

Students are also encouraged to consult with professors, friends, family members, and other trusted individuals.

Program Features

When evaluating programs, consider what learning opportunities the program offers and how they fit with your goals.


  • Is instruction classroom or field-based?
  • Are faculty primarily local or visiting professors from US institutions?
  • Does the program have a thematic focus or do students choose classes from a variety of subject areas?


  • Will you live with a local host family, local roommates, or with other students on the program?
  • Will you stay in a house, dorm, apartment, or hostel/hotel?


  • Are meals included in the cost?
  • Where do students typically eat?

On-site support

  • Is there someone available to contact 24/7?
  • Is that person located nearby or in another part of the country?
  • Where, specifically, is the program located (in city center, at or near a university, in rented office space, etc.)?
  • Can the program accommodate any of your special needs (academic, health, diet, etc.)?


  • How many hours/week is the internship?
  • What kinds of internships are available?
  • Are placements guaranteed or competitive?
  • Is the internship accompanied by an academic course (necessary to receive credit)?
  • Is the internship done part-time throughout the program or full-time for part of the program?

Independent research

  • Is independent research an integral part of program or one option among many?
  • Who supervises the research?
  • How is the independent research project structured (weekly seminars, discussion group, final paper, presentation, etc.)?
  • Does the program have an IRB (Internal Review Board) approval process for human subjects or will you need to request IRB approval from Carleton?

Civic engagement

  • Does the program offer non-credit volunteer opportunities?
  • Do any of the classes include a service-learning component?