Official Program Deposit and Written Commitment

This policy discusses the mandatory program deposit required for all study groups, extended studies, and approved programs.

Effective for all 2023-2024 off-campus study programs, participants must pay a non-refundable $450 deposit at the time of commitment to their program. This deposit is applied to the overall program costs for the semester of participation or forfeited upon withdrawal from a program. Failure to pay the enrollment deposit will result in withdrawal from the program. If this payment presents a significant and demonstrable financial burden, a student accepted to a program may contact the Office of Off-Campus Study to submit a request to reduce the deposit, which will be considered on a case-by case basis with input from the Office of Financial Aid. 

This language may also be found in the Colgate University catalog. 

Payment of the deposit is made by credit card via at the deposit portal:

Off-Campus Study Deposit Portal

Academic Credit Policy

This policy outlines what academic credits earned while studying off campus will and will not be applicable to a student’s Colgate transcript, graduation requirements, and major and minor requirements.

Course Approval

Courses taught by Colgate Faculty

Colgate Study Groups normally include at least one previously scheduled course taught by the Colgate faculty director. Confirmed Study Group courses are listed in the course pre-registration booklet published by the Office of the Registrar. Prior to the start of the study group, the registrar will register students for the study group. No further action is required to clear or receive Colgate credit.

Courses Taught at a Host University or Approved Program Center

Courses taken at a host institution as part of a Study Group or Approved Program do not automatically earn credit. To earn credit, elective courses must be in the liberal arts. Courses in marketing, business, journalism, or other subjects beyond the scope of Colgate’s curriculum are not eligible for Colgate credit.

Major credit must be pre-approved by the department chair, as must all credit (elective or major) in natural sciences and English.

Colgate Study Group students must provide the study group director and Colgate’s registrar’s office with a list of elective courses in which they have enrolled at the beginning of the semester. Note: Individual study groups may have specific registration policies that limit the types of courses a student may receive credit for. When in doubt, students should consult their study group director, the Office of the Registrar, or the Office of Off-Campus Study.

Approved Program students seeking any type of transfer credit must complete and submit a Transfer Course Equivalency form for each course being considered and confirm which courses are being taken using the Course Selection form to the Office of the Registrar prior to departure (by April 15 for Fall programs and November 15 for Spring programs). It's expected that students will submit more courses than they anticipate taking because there are no guarantees that a particular course will be open/available at the time of registration. Learn more about Transfer Credit Approval Process.

Repeating Courses

Courses taken off campus may not be repeated on campus. Courses taken on campus may not be repeated off-campus.

Grades and the S/U Option

Students are required to take courses off campus for a grade. Courses taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory or pass/fail basis will not be awarded Colgate credit.

Semester Course Load A normal course load on a Colgate study group or approved program is 4.00 course credits (the equivalent of four regular Colgate courses), unless additional coursework is a required part of the program.

Students may be required to enroll in more than four courses while on their off-campus program in order to receive 4.00 credits. Since credit systems are different at many foreign universities, students should not assume that one course at a host university or program — whether taken through a Colgate study group or an approved program — equals one credit.


Course titles, credits, and grades from all approved courses taken on a Colgate study group or approved program are recorded on the Colgate transcript.

Grades from courses taken at a host university are converted to the U.S. equivalent by:

  • the director in the case of Colgate study groups
  • The program provider in the case of approved programs

Colgate Study Groups

All approved courses taken on a Colgate study group, including those taken at a host institution, are awarded Colgate credit and factored into the student’s GPA.

Approved Programs

All approved courses taken on an approved program are awarded transfer credit. Although grades are recorded on the transcript, they are not factored into the student’s Colgate GPA.


Questions regarding credit or approval not answered here should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.

Travel Advisory Policy

The U.S. Department of State (USDOS) issues travel advisories in different levels of severity. This policy dictates what off-campus study experiences are permitted by Colgate in locations that receive an official warning level.  

The levels are:

  • Level 1: Exercise normal precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise increased caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

The United States Department of State is responsible for providing information and measuring risk to US citizens wishing to travel to another country. The U.S. Department of State website lists all countries and creates US Department of State Travel Advisories to assess each country from 1 (safest) to 4 (Do Not Travel). The policy below refers to conditions under which Colgate University permits undergraduates to receive Colgate funding and/or degree credit for travel. Colgate policy states that countries should be ranked either 1 or 2. If a country is ranked level 3 that requires special permission. Colgate faculty-led programs will undergo a formal review as part of their approval process. Colgate does not sponsor student travel of any kind to level 4 countries (see policy from the Colgate University catalog.)

Once students have turned in their travel plans form, Off-Campus Study will inform them if they fall into one of the categories below.

Excluded Travel (USDOS Level 4)

Colgate undergraduates may not receive sponsorship for activities abroad, including:

  • Credit for study abroad
  • Funding for internships, research, or volunteer activities
  • Sponsorship for extracurricular activities, such as music or sport,

for countries for which the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory Level 4 that does any of the following:

  • issued a Do Not Travel for that country
  • orders departure of U.S. dependents and non-emergency personnel;
  • recommends that any U.S. citizens remaining in the country should depart;
  • strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the country;
  • warns or urges U.S. citizens to defer (non-essential) travel to the country;
  • or warns that the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide emergency consular services is limited.

For countries for which a Level 4 is in place, the advisory must be reduced to a Level 3 or less before the date of departure for Colgate sponsorship to be given.

Petitionable Travel (USDOS Level 3)

Colgate students may petition to receive sponsorship for activities abroad, including:

  • Credit for study abroad
  • Funding for internships, research, or volunteer activities
  • Sponsorship for extracurricular activities, such as music or sport

for countries for which the State Department has issued a Level 3 advisory, recommend against travel. 

The petition should include:

  • A summary of the student’s plan for the sponsored activity
  • An itinerary that includes likely destinations within the country
  • An explanation of how the student will travel within the country
  • An explanation of where the student will be staying within the country
  • Previous academic courses (including language) or experiences that the student has had that might prepare him/her for this experience

The Off-Campus Study Office and Risk Management will inform the student if their petition has been approved, denied, or if further information is needed.


Colgate University semester programs are arranged in cooperation with universities or organizations that Colgate selects to structure our study groups. These arrangements usually include housing for all participants. If the arrangement is with a University, Colgate contracts for housing provided by the University or a service provider or, in the case of immersion language programs, host families, to house our students. Housing differs from program to program, international or domestic. This housing can take the form of dormitories, apartments or host families. Students should expect to share rooms within apartments or dormitories. Students in language immersion programs should be housed one to a family.

When students are studying abroad in a foreign language setting, students will sometimes be offered the chance to live with a host family. These host families are selected and vetted by professionals in the setting. Our program has been in existence since 2003 and we have many host families (families can mean single mothers, families with grown children or young children) who have been hosting our students for many years. 

Typically students share a room with one or two other students.

Students registered through the Office of Student Disability Services (OSDS) who are eligible for on-campus accommodations are also eligible for accommodations abroad when these arrangements are available off-campus. Housing accommodations are also included in this category. You must already receive housing accommodations through the OSDS on the Colgate campus, to be eligible to request ADA accommodations for your off-campus study program.

Please note that because these services, including housing options, are not available everywhere, the logistics of setting up accommodations can be a complex process. Therefore, we encourage you to begin planning early in your Colgate degree process to include a semester or extended study program off-campus. Planning early can help us to identify options for your particular situation. We look forward to working with you. 

Semester Balancing Policy

This policy is in place to balance participation in off-campus study programs between the semesters in an academic year. This is necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the on-campus academic program, housing, and student activities. Students are being advised about this during fall advising sessions and in individual sessions with our peer advisors and professional staff.  Please see the full policy outlined below.

Colgate considers acquisition of an intercultural perspective an important goal of a liberal arts education. We are proud of the strong and extensive programs for off-campus study offered to students and the high rate at which students avail themselves of these opportunities.

A high participation rate, however, must be balanced across semesters in order to maintain the integrity of the on-campus academic program, housing, and student activities. The university therefore reserves the right to regulate the number of students permitted to study off-campus each semester. Recent years have seen high demand for spring, and it has not been possible to accommodate all requests.

We expect that the majority of students permitted to study on approved programs will be approved for fall. Students who request a fall approved program will be approved by off-campus study on a rolling basis, and should submit the off-campus study application early so that they can apply to their program provider at the start of the spring semester.

Requests for spring approved programs will be considered at the deadline. First priority will be given to students whose study group or program is offered only in that semester. Since most approved programs are available in both fall and spring, students requesting a spring approved program must include a viable fall program option in their application. They should be prepared to apply for admission immediately in the event that they are approved for fall. Students will be notified of permission to participate on an approved program, and which semester, prior to March 1. Failure to include a fall option will not guarantee approval to study off-campus in the spring.

We encourage students to discuss their off-campus study plans with their faculty (major) adviser(s) and an Off-Campus Study adviser.

Schedule an Off-Campus Study Consultation