Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

International Center
Markim Hall, Second Floor
651-696-6310
651-696-6129 fax

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Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Who can study away?

Any Macalester student can! The college encourages all students to pursue study away as an enriching component of their liberal arts education along the path of global citizenship. The following majors require a semester of study away: Anthropology, Asian Studies, Chinese, Classics, French and Francophone Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, International Studies, Japanese, Latin American Studies, and Russian Studies. The following minor requires a semester of study away: Hispanic Studies minor in Portuguese Language, Literature, and Culture. All students who wish to study away for a semester or longer must receive approval from the Study Away Review Committee. Read more about eligibility in Policies & Procedures section. 

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Do I have to take courses for my major or minor during study away?

No, unless your major or minor requires it. Many students are able to include a class from study away in their major, minor, or concentration plan, but it is not required. Some students use study away to explore other areas of their liberal arts education.

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How long can I go?

Due to study away enrollment limits, Macalester students may apply for a single semester of study away during their tenure at Macalester. Only in very exceptional cases will students be considered for an academic year, and in these cases only on certain programs or in extraordinary cases where a full year of study is essential to the student's educational program. Please refer to the evaluation criteria in the Policies & Procedures section of the website.

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When can I go?

Students can study away during their junior or senior year, as well as the second semester of their sophomore year. First year students, first semester sophomores, and transfer students who enter as juniors may not participate in study away (except January, summer, and special Macalester-organized programs).

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Can I go during J-term or summer?

Yes, but the process and level of support is different than for semester programs. More information can be found on the January and Summer Programs page.

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How do I find a study away program?

Read more about how to find a program on the Focus on Program Selection page. 

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When do I submit my application?

Students submit their Study Away Application in early December during the academic year before they would like to study away. Whether you study away in the fall or spring semester, the deadline is the same. This means that if you want to study away as a senior, you submit your application in December of your junior year. If you want to study away as a junior (as most students do), you submit the application in December of your sophomore year. And if you want to study away as a sophomore, you submit the application in December of your first year.

The deadline for study away in Fall or Spring of 2015-2016 is December 5, 2014.

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Why is there a single annual deadline for study away applications?

The main goal of this policy is to achieve rough equality between the two semesters, which helps the college with planning and finances. By reducing the overall cost of study away, college leaders hope even more students can take advantage of this excellent learning opportunity.

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Can I choose which semester I go?

In your Study Away Application, you will indicate your semester preference. You will also have space to explain your reasons for choosing a particular semester. We cannot, however, guarantee that you will be approved for your preferred semester, as our goal is to have roughly the same number of students studying away in both semesters. You can read more about deciding between fall and spring semester on the Explore Options page. 

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Who reviews the Study Away Applications?

The Study Away Review Committee (SARC), consisting of the Registrar and two faculty members, reviews and approves all applications.

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Do I need to wait for Macalester approval before applying to my program?

No. If your program has an early deadline or fills up quickly, you should apply as soon as possible. Talk with your International Center advisor about the best timeline for your program. 

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What should I do if my plans change?

If your study away plans change, it is important to contact the International Center immediately. You may have the option to defer your plans to a future semester, cancel your plans, or change programs. Which of these options are open to you depends on the point in time that your plans change, whether a change is voluntary or not, and other factors. The deadline for all deferrals and changes of program from a prior semester to spring semester is the first Friday of October. The deadline for all deferrals and changes of program from a prior semester to fall semester is the same as the yearly application deadline (in early December). Please contact International Center staff and refer to the Policies and Procedures section of this website for more details.

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Will my grades count?

Grades earned during study away will appear on your transcript and are figured into your GPA. The majority of Macalester students actually increase their GPAs during this time. See a report about grades and study away

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How much will study away cost? Is it covered by Financial Aid?

For answers to these questions and more, please see our Finances section.

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Can international students study away?

All international students are eligible to study away at Macalester. Macalester financial aid can be applied to study away costs for international students only in the following circumstances: 

  • Study away is required for a formally declared major* or minor; or
  • The student has been approved to study in any Group A program (note: not all qualified students may be approved for exchange programs because of exchange balance requirements).

Students who have lawful permanent resident status or dual U.S. and other citizenship are eligible to use Macalester financial aid when studying away.

*Study at Macalester fulfills the study abroad requirement for international students majoring in International Studies. As a consequence, international students may not apply financial aid to study abroad for that major.

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Where can I find complete information about the college's policies and procedures for study away?

Students studying away in 2014-2015: Detailed information can be found in the Handbook for Off-Campus Study, available in your Macalester Study Away Account

Students studying away in 2015-2016: Detailed information can be found in the Policies and Procedures section of the International Center website, which will be made available during the first week of September.

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I am an incoming international exchange student. Where can I find information about spending a semester or year at Macalester College?

Information for incoming international exchange students is found here.

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My advisor is on sabbatical. Who signs the Advisor Confirmation on my Four-Year Plan?

When your advisor left for sabbatical, s/he either agreed to advise during this time or requested advisees be reassigned. You should defer to your "advisor of record", according to your 1600grand account.

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The chair is on sabbatical. Who signs the Department Chair Review on my Four-Year Plan?

The department will have designated an "acting" chair during his/her absence; consult your department. 

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I am double-majoring; my official advisor is for major A, but I am studying away mostly for major B. Who signs the Advisor Confirmation on my Four-Year Plan?

Your official academic advisor should sign your Advisor Confirmation; however, you are encouraged to review your plans with your major B advisor, but no official signature is needed.

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I plan to double-major. Who signs the Department Chair Review on my Four-Year Plan? 

You only need one Department Chair Review, as only one intended major is required for your application; however, you are encouraged to review your plans with a chair or advisor from both intended majors, but no official signature is needed.

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