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 2020-2021 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 an online link created by Colgate University.   

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 should submit an application for transfer credit with all applicable approvals and signatures to the Office of the Registrar prior to departure (by April 15 for Fall programs, or November 15 for Spring programs). If your schedule changes on arrival at your program, contact the Office of the Registrar to approve your new courses prior to finalizing enrollment. Learn more about transfer credit for approved programs.

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 expected 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 Warning Policy

The U.S. Department of State issues travel warnings 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.

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

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 warning that does any of the following:

  • 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 warning is in place, the lifting of the warning must occur before the date of departure for Colgate sponsorship to be given.

Petitionable Travel

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 lesser travel warning levels. For example, when the State Department only:

  • warns U.S. citizens of the risks, dangers, or potential risk or danger of travel to the country;
  • urges U.S. citizens to evaluate carefully their security and safety before traveling to the country;
  • warns (cautions) U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to the country;
  • cautions U.S. citizens to take prudent security measures; urges (warns) U.S. citizens to weigh the necessity of travel to the country;
  • urges U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution.

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.

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.

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