Off-Campus Study


The preamble to the curriculum states that the Wabash graduate “ the study of foreign civilizations and people, ...has found himself not only the creature of his time and place but a citizen of the world-wide human community” and that he will “...judge thoughtfully, act effectively, and live humanely in a difficult world.”

It is the position of the faculty that the objectives stated above and others expressed in the preamble will be well served by enabling study off campus, whether in a domestic program or in a program in another country, for as large a number of qualified students as possible.

Off-campus experiences provide opportunities for learning and adapting to new environments. In addition, off-campus study fosters critical thinking and offers students the opportunity to develop another perspective on learning and their lives. The benefits of off-campus study are not limited to those who actually study away from campus, rather they accrue to the entire community. Students returning from off-campus study rejoin this community and contribute to it in the classroom and informally among their peers, who learn more about other cultures as well as their own culture in conversation. In addition to contributing to our students’ education in the general ways suggested, appropriate programs of off-campus study enhance the education of certain students in their specific fields.

Off-campus study is an integral part of our educational offerings. Students are encouraged to spend time in off-campus programs in the United States or abroad in one of three ways:  a full semester off campus; summer study off campus; or a short-term, faculty-led Immersion Course off campus.

Semester-Long Off-Campus Study Process & Procedures

The off-campus study selection process and staff procedures are guided by the vote of the faculty in 1994. The Wabash College Off-Campus Study Committee (OCSC) reviews and approves student proposals for off-campus study as well as the programs in which students may participate. Acceptable programs must be equivalent to the Wabash curriculum in their academic rigor.

Students interested in off-campus study should begin planning the completion of their college requirements (particularly their major/minor requirements) with their academic advisor during the freshman year, prior to any consideration of off-campus study. They should consult with their academic advisor, major/minor advisors, the Director of International Programs, and program representatives. The off-campus study application process is outlined on the International Center's website. This website also provides information regarding off-campus study programs, the most up-to-date information about requirements, and important deadlines. Students will make their application through this website during the fall semester of their sophomore year. Wabash students study off campus in either the fall or spring semester of the junior year.

Only students approved by the OCSC may apply Wabash financial aid towards the costs of their off-campus program and only for the committee-designated semester and program. To the greatest extent possible, the amount and distribution of credit must be discussed and determined in cooperation with the academic departments involved, the Registrar's Office, and the International Center. There is a clearly-outlined advising and application procedure for interested students to follow. With the exception of courses taken at American University (Washington, D.C.), grades from off-campus study programs do not transfer or affect the Wabash GPA.

Anyone who considers pursuing off-campus study without OCSC approval does so at his own risk, especially with regard to transfer credit and graduation requirements. In such a case, the student would be responsible for all of the costs of the program and would not be eligible for any form of financial aid since there is no OCSC approval.

Evaluation of Applications for a Semester Off Campus

The Off-Campus Study Committee (OCSC) evaluates applications according to the following:

  • Students must have junior status during their semester off campus. The OCSC will not approve a course of study that would delay graduation.
  • Sufficient academic record: A cumulative GPA of 3.00 is preferred, but attainment of a 3.00 cumulative GPA does not guarantee committee approval given the limited number of semesters off-campus allowed by the College each academic year.
  • Quality of off-campus study plan as expressed in the essay portion of the application. Demonstration that the proposed program enhances a student’s academic career, such as his major.
  • Indication of the extent to which the proposed program and ancillary experiences will contribute to the student’s personal and cultural growth or long-term career plans.
  • Demonstration in his application that the student has the appropriate motivation and preparation for the chosen program and that the program and experience themselves are right for him.
  • Evidence during the application process of the student’s seriousness, maturity, readiness, and ability to profit from the program.
  • Preference is given to students who have never had a significant international educational experience or an educational experience at other domestic institutions as compared to students who have had such an advantage.
  • A student must be in good standing with the college, without any outstanding financial or behavioral issues.

Orientation and Reentry After a Semester Off Campus

The International Center conducts pre-departure orientation programs to aid students in preparing for off-campus study. It also conducts re-entry programs to facilitate the readjustment/reintegration of students returning from off-campus study. Students who have been approved for off-campus study are required to attend these programs. The Off-Campus Study Committee also seeks to evaluate off-campus programs by having returning students fill out an evaluation questionnaire and discussing their experiences with one of the International Center's staff members.

Summer Off-Campus Study

Students who are unable to participate in a full semester off campus may elect to study abroad or off campus during the summer. Most students do this with the assistance of a third-party providing program. Program timelines, course offerings, and costs vary widely. Interested students can learn more from the International Center’s website and staff.

Immersion Courses

Immersion Courses feature a faculty-led, short-term off campus study trip as part of a semester-long course which takes place on Wabash’s campus. The College has a long history of offering Immersion Courses, and each academic year there are many courses available with either a domestic or international travel component. Wabash’s Immersion Courses are unique in that they College covers nearly the full cost of the travel component, making this type of off-campus study financially accessible to every student. To review current Immersion Course offerings, see the Registrar’s website.

Some Other Guidelines

Wabash College expects a student to earn at least four (4) course credits during his semester away, and he may not transfer more than five (5), while on off-campus study. (Note: students on programs of less than a semester’s duration will generally receive fewer credits than they would earn in a semester.) Credit will not be given for pre-professional courses (e.g., law or business).

Students must obtain at least a C- grade to receive credit for any course taken while on off-campus study. With the exception of courses taken at American University (Washington, D.C.), grades do not appear on the transcript and do not affect the students’ GPAs. Each course must carry a credit value between three and five (3-5) semester hours in order to yield one full Wabash course credit.

Students are responsible for their personal conduct and remain subject to the Gentlemen’s Rule. Students are responsible for applying to the off-campus study program for which they seek approval, bearing in mind that in some cases program application deadlines may need to be met prior to a student’s final approval of the Off-Campus Study Committee.

Course Approval, Pre-Registration, and Off-Campus Study Transcripts

Students must have pre-approval for courses to be taught by non-Wabash faculty members during off-campus study. Courses for the major or minor must be approved by the chair of those departments. Distribution courses will be approved by the Registrar's Office. Courses pertaining to Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, and World Language must be approved by the chair of those departments.

Upon completion of semester-long or summer off-campus study, the student should request that an official transcript from his program be sent to the Wabash Registrar. These official transcripts must be received prior to pre-registration for the second semester following the off-campus study experience.