Students at Harvey Mudd College have the opportunity to study away from the HMC campus. Students may spend a semester or a year at a university abroad, or they may choose to participate in the domestic exchange program with Swarthmore College or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. This is most commonly done in the junior year. Students may also choose a summer abroad or short-term, faculty-led program.
The Harvey Mudd College Study abroad program provides students the opportunity to develop an international perspective and broaden their education in ways not possible in Claremont. The selection process first begins with the Study Abroad Committee (SAC). This committee is composed of three faculty members representing the academic divisions of HMC and three staff members who have close ties to the study abroad process; the Director of Study Abroad, the Director of Financial Aid, and the Student Accounts Manager. Selection for study abroad is based on a written application, and the SAC’s review of each application is confidential.
Selection for study abroad is a two-step process. Applicants are reviewed by the SAC and, if approved, are referred to the respective study abroad programs. Each program abroad has its own selection criteria, which may differ from the criteria used by HMC. The number of applications program sponsors receive from other institutions may also affect the selection process, and a competitive situation can occur in programs with a limited number of available spaces. In direct enrollment programs at foreign universities, students usually have to be accepted by a division of the university (often referred to as a Faculty or School) as well as the international office of the university. Because some programs have early application deadlines, notification from the program sponsor may occur prior to the final decision of the SAC, however, under normal circumstances, students are required to first apply to HMC for approval. Students must have approval from both the SAC and the program sponsor.
Evidence of academic competence and preparation in the proposed area of study is required. Students must complete all prerequisite courses before participating in the program. Students should note that many programs in foreign language environments require the completion of at least one college-level course at the designated level. This requirement may not be fulfilled through AP or SAT-II scores. For students interested in taking courses in the host countries’ language, strong language preparation is especially important for these programs. Students should be able to follow university lectures in the language in which they are given, participate in seminar discussions, take notes and understand written material in their field. Generally, four or five semesters of a foreign language at the university level is required.
Academic Appropriateness of Program
Applicants should present reasons for the appropriateness of the program in terms of academic, linguistic, and/or cultural goals. This may be within the context of a liberal arts education or specific academic goals, normally focused on a student’s major subject. In addition, the proposed program must be suitable in terms of academic content.
Suitability of Destination
The proposed destination should be suitable in terms of a student’s stated goals for the semester abroad. The SAC will consider the academic resources of the proposed program, as well as if and why a proposed city, country or region presents a particularly advantageous environment in which to pursue one’s stated goals.
GPA and Grades Requirement
A student’s academic record is highly considered during the application review. HMC requires a GPA of 2.5 or higher to apply for study abroad. The SAC cannot approve the application of a student who does not meet the HMC and the overseas program’s minimum GPA and/or foreign language requirement. Meeting a program’s GPA requirement does not, however, guarantee acceptance.
Initiative, Maturity, Responsibility and Adaptability
The successful completion of a program abroad requires individual initiative and a sense of maturity and responsibility concerning social matters as well as academic duties. Students also must accept responsibility for representing the College well. Study abroad requires tolerance and a willingness to adjust to living and studying conditions very different from, and often much less comfortable than, those in Claremont. All of these qualities will be taken into account when the SAC judges the suitability of each candidate.
Normal Progress Toward Graduation
The proposed period abroad may not impede students’ normal progress toward graduation. Students must indicate on their application how they plan to complete major and graduation requirements. Students’ advisors must approve and sign the application.
Most HMC students study abroad during their junior year. Although students may petition the Scholarly Standing Committee (SSC) to study abroad as early as the second semester of their sophomore year, many programs do not accept sophomores. If petitioning for sophomore study abroad, students must complete the Core before going abroad. Though challenging, students may also petition the SSC to study abroad during their senior year.
Students who are on academic or disciplinary probation, social supervision or who have delinquent accounts are not eligible to apply for or to participate in study abroad programs. Students should be aware that the SAC may access their disciplinary record. Grades for the semester prior to departure will be reviewed before final approval is granted for participation in study abroad. Should grades fall below qualifying standards, approval for participation will be withdrawn.
Because the College wants all student study abroad decisions to be driven by academic, rather than financial, factors, students pay a comprehensive fee to HMC that is equal to charges for tuition, room, full board and fees for the same period of time at HMC. The fee covers the costs of the academic program, reasonable room and board in the host country and an allowance for round-trip transportation to the program site.
Students must take a minimum course load equivalent to HMC’s full-time student requirements (12 credits hours). While abroad, students normally take a course load equivalent to four HMC semester courses (15–16 credit hours), whether or not they need the credits to graduate. Except under extraordinary circumstances, overloads will not be approved. If students would like to overload, they must petition the SAC for approval.
Departmental approval is required for all courses to be counted toward their major or Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts concentration, and is also a requirement to go abroad. For this reason, students should discuss course selection with both faculty advisors. It is highly recommended that students retain all syllabi, reading lists, copies of submitted work, including all papers and exams as a record of academic performance abroad.
All courses taken while studying abroad are to be taken for a grade unless the course is only offered on a Pass/Fail credit basis. Transfer credit will be awarded only on grades of C or better, and some departments require grades of B or better for courses to fulfill major requirements. Students must verify the departmental minimum grade requirements.
All grades earned will appear on the HMC transcript, but the grades will not be computed into the HMC cumulative GPA. It is the student’s responsibility to consult with her/his academic advisors to affirm the applicability of her/his proposed coursework. Any changes from this plan should be communicated, in writing, to the advisor and the OSA. HMC’s acceptance of coursework taken abroad is contingent upon approval by the student’s major department, the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts Department and the Registrar. For further information refer to the Study Abroad website site or the HMC Study Abroad Guide.
Acceptance to most programs is a two-step process requiring both HMC and the program sponsor or host institution approval. Below is the process for applying to study abroad at HMC. Students are required to:
- Attend an HMC Information Session
- Meet with study abroad advisors
- Meet with academic advisors
- Submit the Intent to Study Abroad form
- Submit the HMC study abroad application
- Submit the Program Sponsor application.
Credit toward graduation from HMC is granted only to participants in programs of study officially approved by the HMC SAC.
In addition to HMC applications, most students will need to complete a Secondary Application required by their program sponsor. Students are responsible for obtaining and submitting the appropriate forms to the OSA and the program sponsor, when applicable, by the deadline. Information on obtaining these applications is available in the “Applicants” section of the OSA website.
As a reminder, students interested in going abroad apply for most programs in the semester preceding their proposed term abroad. The HMC Study Abroad Application is accessible on the Study Abroad website. The HMC Application, along with the Secondary Program Sponsor Application must be submitted by the appropriate deadline.
Notification and Acceptance
The OSA will notify students of the SAC’s decisions. Notification is emailed to the student’s HMC campus email usually before fall break or spring vacation. SAC approval does not guarantee final acceptance to a study abroad program. Participation in the program is contingent upon approval by the program sponsor and continued good academic standing in the current semester. This includes satisfactory completion of all program prerequisite courses and related language courses. In addition, students should maintain the GPA required for the program.
Accepted students must return a signed contract indicating their intent to participate. It is important that students submit all required OSA forms and respond to all requests from the program sponsor in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in automatic withdrawal from the program.
All students accepted for studying abroad affirm their understanding that they must conform to rules and regulations not only of HMC, but also of the program and the country in which they study. Failure to do so may result in the student being immediately discharged from the program and returned home, at their expense, without a refund of program fees.
Health and Safety
All students participating in study abroad are required to carry comprehensive health insurance. Students may either rely on the insurance provided by the program sponsor or use their own personal insurance. Students with pre-existing illnesses should inquire about supplemental insurance while abroad. A list of students approved by the HMC OSA will be forwarded to the HMC Dean of Students, the HMC Registrar and to Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services of The Claremont Colleges.
Students accepted for studying abroad affirm the additional academic and personal risk involved and recognize as well the limited responsibility of the College for such programming. Before final approval for participation is given, each applicant must complete the Waiver, Release and Indemnification Agreement that outlines the limits of the College’s liability.
Domestic Exchange Program
Students may participate in the Domestic Exchange Program during their sophomore or junior year. The application is processed though HMC, and students may choose to attend Swarthmore College or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for a semester. Because acceptance into either exchange is based upon availability at the visiting institution, interested students should contact the OSA for assistance.
Students are advised to speak with their academic advisor regarding this option to plan their academic schedule. Students are able to enroll in the same manner as students at the host college. Transfer credit is awarded on grades of C or better, and some departments require grades of B or better for courses to fulfill major requirements. All grades earned will appear on the HMC transcript, but the grades will not be computed into the HMC cumulative GPA. Cost for the program is the same as if the student were on-site at HMC; payment is made to HMC and payment plans may continue to be implemented.