Semester and Year-Long Study Policies

Participation in any of the off-campus study programs is available to qualified students. Student participation in semester and academic year off campus study programs is governed by the following policies. For more information about these policies, contact the Study Abroad Advisor.

Academic Policies

Student Eligibility

  • Applicants for off-campus study should be in good academic standing at Gustavus. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is required for participation in off-campus study. Some programs require an even higher standard.
  • Sophomore, junior or senior class standing is normally required in order to participate in a semester or year-long program. 
  • Students on academic or disciplinary probation are not allowed to participate in off-campus study programs. If a student is on probation at the time of application, the student may receive a conditional acceptance. However, a student who is not removed from probation before their program begins will not be accepted into the program. Students will be responsible for unrecoverable fees incurred at that time.
  • A student's Gustavus billing account must be in good standing in order to participate in off-campus study.
  • Gustavus students on off-campus programs cannot offer housing accommodations, meals or participation in classes and/or field trips to non-participants without the approval of the Program Supervisor. Any costs connected to these visits will be borne by the visitor(s).

Application Process

  • Students must complete an application and receive approval for the study program from the Center for International and Cultural Education. Extensions of stay and change of programs must have the College's approval.
  • Applications must be submitted by March 1 for fall semester, spring semester, and academic year programs.

Academic Prerequisites

  • Some off-campus study courses have a prerequisite. Students who are enrolled in a course that is a prerequisite for off-campus study must satisfactorily complete that prerequisite in order to participate in the off-campus study. If the student does not satisfactorily complete the required prerequisite course, he/she is responsible for all cancellation penalties related to the program.
  • Study overseas should include study of a native language, where appropriate. Advanced language study is strongly encouraged.

Credit and Grades

  • Students studying off-campus for either a semester or year must be registered as full-time Gustavus students.
  • Students normally complete the same number of credits in an off-campus study program as they would at Gustavus. Before making a commitment to an off-campus study program, Gustavus students need to consider their major, minor and liberal arts graduation requirements to ensure that their participation in off-campus study will not hinder their progress toward graduation. See the Credit and Registration Information for Off-Campus Studies Handout here: Credit Information sheet rev 1-20-14.pdf.
  • Credits may not count toward curriclum requirements when courses are worth fewer than three semester credits at an off-campus university.
  • Credit earned by the student on approved programs will normally transfer as credit toward graduation, and may fulfill major/minor requirements subject to departmental approval. One successful semester of study abroad in a non-Western country satisfies a Non-Western culture requirement (NWEST). Credit may be applied toward other area requirements only with the prior approval of the Registrar.
  • In order for a student to receive credit for their off-campus study experience, they need to achieve a grade of at least a C- in each course they wish to receive credit for. A grade of D+ or below does not transfer back to Gustavus.
  • Courses may not be taken for pass/fail unless that is the only grading option available for the course. In those cases, it must be verified by the off-campus study institution that a "pass" grade meets the standards of a C- or higher in order for the credit to transfer back. Any student taking a course for pass/fail must notify the study abroad advisor prior to taking the course.
  • Transfer credit is awarded only after receipt of an official transcript from the host institution.
  • Courses must not be a repeat of previous coursework or more elementary than previous coursework.
  • Courses must be appropriate for a college liberal arts curriculum (e.g. no intermediate algebra).
  • Letter grades earned on a study abroad program appear on the Gustavus transcript but are not figured into the GPA unless the course/program was instructed by a Gustavus faculty member. Letter grades cannot be switched to pass/fail grades. (NOTE: Graduate/Professional/Medical Schools may recalculate your GPA incorporating your study away grades.)
  • Students do not receive transfer credit if they make their own arrangements to participate in a program approved by Gustavus. If a student is to receive academic credit, application and registration must take place through Gustavus Adolphus College.
  • Occasionally a student takes an approved leave of absence from the College in order to enroll in another institution's off-campus study program. Students should be aware that if they do this and choose to enroll in a program in a country for which the U.S. State Department has issued a Travel Warning, Gustavus Adolphus College will not accept any transfer credit from the non-Gustavus off-campus study program. Gustavus Adolphus College financial aid does NOT apply for students who take a leave of absence from Gustavus Adolphus to participate in a non-Gustavus Adolphus sponsored off-campus study program.
  • Students who take an approved leave of absence to enroll in a program that is not on the Gustavus approved program list may transfer credits subject to approval by the Registrar and the major department.

Finance and Cancellation Policies

Program Fees and Billing

  • All students will be charged their appropriate Gustavus Adolphus tuition for the term of the approved program. In addition, the student will be charged a program fee which generally includes the host provider tuition, room and some board, and any other required cost at the host institution. However, depending on the program, students may pay their room and/or their board direct on-site, as well as other costs. Except in rare cases, the program fee or tuition charge does not cover the cost of transportation (airfare) to the program site. Students are encouraged to consult the Semester Program Brochure or Study Abroad Advisor to discuss estimated costs for each program. See the Program Fees page for more information.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $65 must be submitted with the Gustavus application.
  • Specific programs may also require an application fee which is non-refundable.
  • Specific program deposits must be paid to the Center for International and Cultural Education at the time of acceptance to a program. This deposit is applied to the cost of a program.
  • Application fees and program deposits cannot be covered by financial aid awards nor can they be charged to a student account. They must be paid directly to the College by the participant as a check written to Gustavus.
  • The balance of payment is due according to billings sent by the Student Accounts Office.
  • If a student studying off-campus for the Fall semester wishes to enroll in a January Interim course at no additional cost, that student must attend Gustavus on a full-time basis in the following Spring semester. If a student is studying off-campus for both Fall and Spring semesters, that student may enroll for an on-campus January Interim course.

Cancellation and Refunds

  • Cancellations of application for semester and year-long programs must be submitted in writing to the Study Abroad Advisor.
  • Students who cancel will always forfeit their application fees. Beyond that, all non-recoverable charges will be assessed to the student at the time of cancellation. This policy also applies to cancellation due to medical reasons.
  • Gustavus students who withdraw from both the program and the College are subject to the above fees plus the non-refundable college deposits.
  • Students or their families may wish to purchase travel cancellation insurance. Our office works very hard to recover expenses that have already been paid on behalf of the student, but we cannot guarantee our providers will reimburse us. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at Make sure to determine exactly what the insurance you select includes and what it does not include.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in the cancellation of an entire session of a Gustavus program before commencement of the program, all recoverable costs paid by Gustavus on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any recoverable program deposits paid to Gustavus will be refunded. The College ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the College cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement. This policy also applies to cancellations related to worldwide pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, civil unrest, threat of terrorist activity, or other unforeseen occurrence result in removal of students from the program site after the program has commenced, every effort will be made to ensure program continuity at a safe location. This policy also applies to situations related to worldwide pandemics such as influenza.
  • Should a State Department Travel Warning be issued for a country after students have been accepted into the program in that country and before they leave the U.S., and the College decides to cancel the program, all recoverable costs paid by Gustavus on behalf of the student prior to that time will be refunded. Students will always forfeit their application fees but any recoverable program deposits paid to Gustavus will be refunded. The College ensures a good faith effort to reimburse students in the event the College cancels a program, but cannot guarantee 100% reimbursement.

Financial Aid

A cost estimate sheet is provided to each student approved for off-campus study. Financial aid applies toward Gustavus approved programs, with the exception of work-study awards for the term they will be abroad, and certain scholarships that require a student’s participation on-campus (e.g. some music and theatre scholarships). Students are reminded that they are not allowed to earn their work-study award while they are abroad, but they may be able earn their full year work-study award working additional hours the term they are on-campus (see the Financial Aid Office). Students applying for a non-approved Gustavus program may retain their Federal Aid but are ineligible for Gustavus restricted and unrestricted scholarships or loans. Students may file an amended FAFSA application based on additional costs of an off-campus study program.


A variety of scholarships are available for off-campus study through outside agencies. Please see the Scholarship Handout available at the Center for International and Cultural Education. The Study Abroad Advisor will assist students seeking additional financial support for an off-campus study program.

Health and Safety Policies

Medical Preparation and Insurance

Students are required to maintain their U.S. based health insurance for the duration of their time abroad. In addition:

  • Some programs require inoculations, and the details regarding what regions require certain inoculations can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Many programs require students to have a physical examination no more than six months prior to their departure date. This is required for students' health and safety.
  • Insurance
    • EIIA: All Gustavus students and accompanying faculty members are covered under Gustavus Adolphus College insurance administered by Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA). This insurance provides secondary coverage for international emergencies and accidents as well as other benefits. Some exclusions apply. Pre-existing conditions are covered up to $3000 with a $500 deductible.
    • Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI): Students and accompanying faculty members on Gustavus-run semester or short-term international programs, and other semester and year-long students who choose to add this coverage, are covered under Gustavus Adolphus College insurance with CISI. This insurance serves as primary health insurance in the host country and will provide medical benefits for injury and sickness and includes coverage for pre-existing conditions and prescription drugs.
    • Information on insurance coverage is included in student acceptance packets and in parent mailings. If you have further questions, please contact Carolyn O'Grady.

Health Concerns and Medical Withdrawal

  • It is to a student's advantage to provide information about current or past medical problems of which the Instructor or program site administrator should be aware. In cases of illness of a student, the Program Supervisor will consult with local medical authorities regarding hospitalization and treatment. In emergency situations, the Program Supervisor will authorize surgery, but in non-emergency situations will only order surgery upon receipt of parental authority. If, in the judgment of local medical staff, serious illness warrants return to the student's home, the Program Supervisor will make the necessary arrangements for such return and advance funds for return travel if needed.
  • In the case of medical withdrawal, the student will receive a refund of recoverable charges. The student must submit a physician's statement to CICE along with a request for the return of funds.
  • Students or their families may wish to purchase travel cancellation insurance. Our office works very hard to recover expenses that have already been paid on behalf of the student, but we cannot guarantee our providers will reimburse us. We do not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at Make sure to determine exactly what the insurance you select includes and what it does not include. For more on travel insurance and the best policy for the trip go to Travel Insurance Review, Inc.

State Department Travel Warnings

Students who have been granted approval to study off-campus will be allowed to study in a country under a U.S. Department of State travel warning only in rare exceptions (and additional application procedures apply). Should such a Public Announcement or Travel Warning advising individuals to defer travel to the region come into effect prior to the beginning of a program, students will need to work with the Center for International and Cultural Education to make alternative plans. In cases where such a Public Announcement or Travel Warning is issued while a program is in progress, a decision to cancel a student's approval to study off campus may be made based on the advice of the U.S. Department of State.

Risk Management

Any off-campus program may involve risk. It is the responsibility of students and providers to take whatever steps are necessary to minimize those risks. Every effort is made to protect the health and safety of students on off-campus studies programs but Gustavus Adolphus College, the Center for International and Cultural Education, or members of the Gustavus faculty or administrative staff cannot guarantee a risk-free environment or accept responsibility for accidents or illnesses on a study abroad program. When an emergency arises, the CICE staff follows an Emergency Management Plan that is quite comprehensive. Students can help avoid emergencies by observing the following guidelines:

  • Operation of Motor Vehicles. It is strongly recommended that students do not operate a motor vehicle in another country. Traffic laws and regulations differ from those in the U.S. In some countries, an international driver's license is required. If an accident occurs, you may find yourself responsible for all damages and costs. You must therefore assume responsibility for your own safety.
  • Independent Travel. Many students make arrangements to remain on site and/or travel rather than return directly to the U.S. at the end of a program. Gustavus responsibility for students on off-campus programs ends at the scheduled end of an international domestic or international program, or at the time the group flight departs to return to the U.S. Students assume full responsibility at that time.

For many helpful tips on safety, and more general information about safety, read one of these documents:

Gustavus Alcohol and Drug Policy

Visitors in countries abroad are particularly vulnerable when it concerns violations—intentional or unintentional—of local rules and regulations concerning alcohol and, in particular, drugs. The process of law and punishment is far more arbitrary than within the United States and more often than not may lead to prolonged imprisonment under substandard conditions. Consequently, it is of utmost importance for the welfare of the individual that extreme caution and prudence be applied when it concerns these matters. In the United States, all federal and state laws govern the use of illegal drugs and alcohol.
The use, purchase, or sale of illegal drugs (hallucinogens, narcotics, stimulants, or depressants) is a critical issue. Any student who uses, buys, or sells illegal drugs will be expelled from the program and immediately returned to their home at his/her own expense. One violation will be cause for removal from the program. Separation from the program will result in loss of academic credit. The cost of legal advice, fines, and return travel must be borne by the violator. Providing alcohol to persons under the legal drinking age is illegal and against Gustavus policy. Transporting quantities of alcohol to program sites with the intent of sharing the alcohol with members of the group is considered to be irresponsible use of alcohol.

Travel Information

Required Documents

  1. Passport. A valid U.S. passport is required for participation in all international programs. Application for a U.S. passport is filed in person at the nearest county courthouse. Note: The CICE will need a copy of the information page of all passports from students who wish to study internationally. The office uses the passport to register students, for security purposes, with in-country embassies.
  2. Visas. Some programs require visas, and the details of the visa application process can be discussed with the CICE.


Orientation for off-campus semester and year-long study programs takes place November through December for students enrolled in spring semester programs, and April through May for students enrolled in fall semester programs. Orientation must be completed online. Information about this is sent to the student via their StudioAbroad account. Students must successfully complete the Orientation in order to have final approval to participate in off-campus study programs.

Assessment and Re-entry

Students will be asked to complete an electronic assessment of their off-campus program at the end of their period of off-campus study. This assessment helps the CICE monitor the quality of our approved programs as well as the learning experience for students. Students are encouraged to participate in re-entry sessions after they return to the Gustavus campus. These sessions are provided to help students make connections between their off-campus study experience and their on-campus study experience. These sessions provide discussion opportunities and information about activities and events that incorporate students' off-campus study experiences.

Student Responsibilities

When a student accepts a place on a Gustavus approved program, they agree to support the policies and procedures set down to help ensure the success of the program. Students have a responsibility to make off-campus learning the best possible personal and academic experience.

Students are expected to:

  • Observe College policies, including those related to drugs and alcohol. Violations may result in disciplinary action during off-campus study or upon your return to campus
  • Conduct themselves in a responsible and mature manner at all times. This includes being sensitive to cultural dress, norms and behavior in the sites visited. The Faculty Director on Gustavus led programs will inform students of the appropriate attire, norms and behavior in each site, and it is the responsibility of each student to adhere to these requirements.
  • Cooperate with schedules for travel, movement at airports, and other areas concerning travel logistics.
  • Attend all classes and other scheduled activities.
  • Observe College policies, including those related to drugs and alcohol. Violations may result in disciplinary action during off-campus study or upon return to campus.
  • Be responsible for all information contained in CICE materials, especially where fees and program details are concerned.
  • Return all required forms and materials by the deadlines.
  • Attend all orientation meetings and/or appointments (unless considerable distance prevents them from doing so).
  • Pay all fees and personal expenses incurred while studying abroad.
  • Arrange for and complete all academic work within the allotted time abroad.
  • Respect the reasonable wishes of their hosts when living in a private home.
  • Obey laws, police regulations, and practices of the host country. Diplomatic representatives and U.S. laws will be able to offer little or no help to a student arrested and/or convicted of drug-related or other crimes.

Program supervisors have the full authority to act on behalf of Gustavus Adolphus College faculty and administration in any matter concerning the academic program, travel procedures, or student personnel. Should it be decided that a student must be separated from the program because of violation of rules, disruptive behavior, or conduct which could bring the program disrepute, that decision will be final. Separation from the program will also result in loss of academic credit.

CICE Application Deadline is March 1 for all semester and year programs for the following academic year (fall, spring or academic year terms).