Study Abroad FAQs

What are the basic requirements?
Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?
Do I have to be a junior to go abroad?
Can I go abroad during the senior year?
Where can I study?
How far in advance should I start planning?
I am a first-year student, and I plan to study abroad during my junior year. What do I need to do?
Can I attend a non-approved program?
Can I study abroad during the summer?
How do I decide where to go?
Where do I begin?
Where do I get an application?
Can I apply to more than one program?
When are the HMC deadlines?
Where do I send my applications?
What happens after I apply?
Do I get credits for courses I take abroad?
Can I count courses completed abroad towards my major?
Do my grades count in my HMC GPA?
Can I complete a core requirement abroad?
Do study abroad programs have different academic requirements?
Do I pay HMC tuition while I am gone?
Do I continue to receive financial aid if I study abroad?
How do I get reimbursed for airfare?
Are there withdrawal fees I should know about?
What expenses should I expect to pay out of pocket?
My chosen university in Ireland or the UK offers a pre-session in the autumn term for an extra fee. Is this covered?
If I have additional questions, where do I go?

What are the basic requirements?

HMC has no minimum GPA requirement, but most programs require a minimum of 2.5, and may require greater than 3.0. Applicants should be full-time students and their student account should be current. Any sanctions due to a judicial case against a student must be completed prior to leaving for abroad plus, a clearance to go abroad needs to be granted by the Dean of Students.

Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?

Many students study in English speaking countries, and in this case no foreign language is required. In non-English speaking countries, language preparation is essential for optimal cultural integration. In countries where the instruction is solely in the host language, four, five or six semesters of college-level language or the equivalent are routinely required. All students are required to study the host language while abroad. If the host language is taught at The Claremont Colleges, students should complete at least one semester of the foreign language at the college level prior to studying abroad. Please note that introductory foreign language courses are only taught in the fall at The Claremont Colleges.

Do I have to be a junior to go abroad?

Due to the nature of the HMC core it is more difficult to Study Abroad as seniors or sophomores, and though we don’t recommend this, it can be done with planning.  This said, most students study abroad during the junior year. Engineers should make sure they register for clinic in their “home” semester of their junior year.

Can I go abroad during the senior year?

In general, studying abroad during the senior year is not recommended and should only be a last resort. Students wishing to study abroad during the fall semester of their senior year must petition the Scholarly Standing Committee for special permission. Applications for the fall semester are due on February 15. Applicants will also need to have completed clinic/research as a junior.

Where can I study?

All over the world! You can choose from numerous programs in various countries. If our approved programs do not meet your academic needs, you can petition the HMC Study Abroad Committee to attend a non-approved program (Word Doc).

How far in advance should I start planning?

It is never too early to begin discussing with your advisors your plan to study abroad. Each department has a study abroad academic advisor who will be able to help you determine which semester is best for you. It is best to start one year in advance. For example, begin your research of the different programs in September for the following fall and March/April for the following spring. However, students have decided to study abroad as late as the semester prior to going abroad, and had great experiences.

I am a first-year student, and I plan to study abroad during my junior year. What do I need to do?

  • Obtain a study abroad sample plan for your intended major
  • Continue your progress through the HMC core courses
  • If you are planning on studying in a non-English speaking country and the language is offered at the Claremont Colleges, it would be good to take a class in your sophomore year. Introductory courses are offered in the fall semester.
  • If you are planning to study abroad in a non-English-speaking country, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam, with a host language not taught at the Claremont Colleges, there is no language requirement
  • Take courses in your major before leaving campus. Doing so will allow you to complete some electives abroad and/or to expand your education by taking courses in the major unavailable on campus. Beware: in order to enroll in upper-division courses in your major at a foreign university, you will need a strong background that is defined as having completed three to five courses in your subject area.
  • Try to compete your PE requirement before going abroad

Can I attend a non-approved program?

The Study Abroad Committee (SAC), in accordance with the College’s academic standards and guidelines, has approved a select range of programs for HMC students. Students who wish to study abroad are strongly advised to give serious consideration to approved programs.

Consequently, student petitions to attend a non-approved program will only be considered if existing programs do no meet their academic needs. The SAC will review the merits of the student’s applications, the academic quality of the proposed program, the student’s academic preparation and the appropriateness of the proposed curriculum to a student’s academic program at HMC. Approval by the SAC does not guarantee acceptance by the program sponsor.

Can I study abroad during the summer?

Many summer programs are available for those who cannot reconcile study abroad with their HMC course of study. Students apply directly to the program sponsor and are not subject to HMC policies for study abroad. However, students must request credit approval in advance from the registrar to be eligible for credit. Final credit determination will be made upon the student’s return. Approval by department chairs or faculty alone does not guarantee credit. As a rule, summer study at programs approved for study during the academic year will receive favorable consideration. No credit will be granted for summer study on programs reviewed, but not approved by the Study Abroad Committee. Financial aid is not available for summer study. Students are advised to research summer study options at iiepassport.org.

How do I decide where to go?

  • Think carefully about the type of experience you seek–cultural immersion, language acquisition, thesis research, internships
  • Think about which subjects you would like to explore while away
  • Consider which site will contribute the most to you academically and personally (Discuss your ideas with your faculty adviser and your department study abroad adviser.)
  • Pay particular attention to program philosophy and design: U.S. classmates versus local students? Cultural integration? Fieldwork? Internships?
  • Housing will play a crucial role in your cultural integration: What options do you have for living arrangements? Are options even available? Is self-catering important to you?
  • Academic calendar in the Northern versus Southern Hemisphere? In the latter, our fall semester begins in July and our spring semester ends in July. In the former, many fall programs end in mid January and require students to remain abroad during the winter break.
  • Thing about extracurricular and cultural activities
  • Do you want a capital city or provincial town? Capital cities have their special attractions such as museums, art shows, concert halls and operas, but provincial towns provide more opportunities to get to know people in their regular daily lives and are usually not as inundated by tourists. Locals may be more open to meeting visitors.

Where do I begin?

Study abroad involves a two-step process: completing and HMC application and a program application, both of which are available in the Study Abroad office. Learn more in our application section.

Can I apply to more than one program?

While it is possible to do so, if proper thought is used to plan, almost all students are accepted to their first choice. We do, however, recommend students apply to a first and second choice program to increase their odds of approval.  Your study abroad advisor will gladly assist you in this process.

When are the HMC deadlines?

HMC applications are due on February 15 for fall and full-year programs, and on September 25 for spring programs with a preliminary application due on February 15 for the following spring as well. Once a student has received permission to study abroad from the Study Abroad Committee the program application can be submitted.

Where do I send my applications?

Both the HMC application, including an essay and letters of recommendation, and the program sponsor application should be submitted to the Study Abroad Office by the HMC deadlines. We will forward the program application to the program sponsor. Students pay the program sponsor application fee (NOTE:  You must receive HMC approval BEFORE you can start the program sponsor application.  Failure to comply may hinder your chances of studying abroad).

What happens after I apply?

The HMC study abroad committee reviews all applications for approval; special attention is given to the student’s progress towards graduation and to his/her academic preparation for the program (i.e. Asian history, European history, foreign language). Students will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision.

Once approved, students are eligible for HMC course credit. Approval of the application presupposes successful completion of the semester preceding the proposed period of study abroad. If a student is placed on academic or disciplinary probation, permission to study abroad for credit may be rescinded and the student stands to lose the commitment deposit. Approval of the application also presupposes the students will participate in the mandatory orientation meeting and submit all the required forms before leaving HMC. The Study Abroad office carefully monitors the U.S. Department of State’s consular information, and it reserves the right to rescind approval in cases of political instability or travel warnings.

While students are approved to receive academic credit at HMC for their study abroad courses, they will be enrolled in programs sponsored by organizations that have their own rules and regulations and HMC students are expected to abide by these regulations. Costs, refund policies and the number of credits awarded can vary considerably.

Do I get credits for courses I take abroad?

Yes, you receive credit toward graduation from HMC if you participate in a program of study officially approved by the HMC Study Abroad Committee. To get credit, you must receive a grade of C or better. Certain departments may have stricter requirements for courses counted toward the major.

Can I count courses completed abroad towards my major?

Individual departments determine the number of credits that can be applied towards a major. It is your responsibility to consult your academic advisors to confirm the applicability of your proposed coursework. Any changes from this plan should be communicated, in writing, to the advisor and the Study Abroad Committee. HMC’s acceptance of coursework taken abroad is contingent upon approval by the student’s major department and the Humanities and Social Sciences department.

Can I complete a core requirement abroad?

While it is possible to imagine this, you should assume the answer is “No.;”

Do my grades count in my HMC GPA?

No. All grades received will appear on the HMC transcript, but the grades will not be computed in the HMC GPA. Many graduate programs require official transcripts from a school attended abroad.

Do study abroad programs have different academic requirements?

Yes, program-specific academic requirements are listed within each program description.

Do I pay HMC tuition while I am gone?

Yes. You will continue to be billed for your time abroad by the HMC Office of Student Accounts. Students pay fees to Harvey Mudd College that is equal to charges for tuition, room, full board(16 meal plan), 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 from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to the program site (HMC reimburses either the actual price paid by the student for round-trip airfare OR the average price of round-trip airfare from LAX to the destination airport in the host country based on your program dates, whichever is less). Students must be prepared to directly pay for expenses, which may include transportation. During the semester of application, students must have funds to cover the program application fee, photos, passport fee, visa and additional immunizations and health insurance (if applicable).

Your family will continue to receive billing statements by HMC, which will detail the comprehensive fee charged for studying abroad as well as any expected or actual financial aid for which you are eligible to receive.

Do I continue to receive financial aid if I study abroad?

Yes, you will continue to receive federal and state aid as well as private and merit scholarships and up to 100% of HMC grants, not to exceed the costs of a semester (or full year) at HMC. You may continue to receive financial aid while studying abroad for one semester or for one full academic year.

How do I get reimbursed for airfare?

HMC reimburses either the actual price paid by the student for round-trip airfare OR the average price of round-trip airfare from LAX to the destination airport in the host country based on your program dates, whichever is less. You must send Student Accounts a copy of your itinerary along with airline ticket receipt, and Student Accounts will mail a check to wherever you specify.

Are there withdrawal fees I should know about?

If you withdraw your application after HMC has sent your commitment deposit, other than for medical reasons, you will be responsible for reimbursing HMC for that deposit.

What expenses should I expect to pay out of pocket?

The program application fee, photos, passport fees, cost of immunizations, visa, refundable security/damage deposits, travel costs while abroad, insurance, gym memberships and internet access, and field trips are all examples of out of pocket costs.

My chosen university in Ireland or the UK offers a pre-session in the autumn term for an extra fee. Is this covered?

You will need to petition the Study Abroad Committee for permission to a) take this term and b) have HMC pay for the session.

If I have additional questions, where do I go?

Stop by the HMC Study Abroad Office in the Platt Campus Center and speak with Rhonda Chiles, Director of Study Abroad. You may send her an email at Rhonda_Chiles@hmc.edu or studyabroad@hmc.edu.