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Types of Study Away Programs

Our programs are reviewed annually by the Study Away Review Committee (SARC) in consultation with faculty from academic departments and concentrations. In addition to meeting the standards of a high-quality liberal arts education, these programs meet the expectations and offer various pathways outlined in the Macalester College Study Away Learning Goals.

Macalester Faculty-Led Programs

These are programs led by Macalester faculty and with other Macalester students.

Macalester Exchange Programs

These are exchange programs between Macalester and another university. Not all qualified students may be approved for exchange programs because of exchange balance requirements, therefore students applying for some exchange programs must select an alternate program.

Macalester Approved Study Away Programs

Programs in this group fit a wide variety of student learning goals. Explore our approved programs.

Macalester Limited Enrollment Study Away Programs

Programs in this group have limited enrollment due to a number of different factors. Historically we have seen some of these programs have a good deal of competition for spaces at the program level, the program may limit the number of Macalester students they will accept, or we may need to limit the number of Macalester students that participate in the program due to a high level of interest. Macalester approval will be decided based upon academic fit, student qualifications, and quality of the study away application. Not all qualified applications may be approved due to the limitations stated above, therefore students applying for a limited enrollment program must select an alternate program.

Limited enrollment programs can be found on our approved program list. If a program has limited enrollment, you will see that on the “Eligibility” tab of the program brochure page.

Programs Not on the Approved List

You may submit a “Non-Approved Program Request” for programs that offer unique learning experiences that aren’t already available through the approved programs list. As non-approved program requests will only be granted in specific circumstances, all applicants are required to select an alternate program when applying.

SARC will decide Macalester approval based on two primary criteria: unique fit and program quality. Unique fit can include a combination of factors including individual learning goals, desired academic content, or other learning opportunities that cannot be met through programs on Macalester’s Approved Programs List. In considering program quality, non-approved programs must meet the college’s criteria for study away programs (see program review details below). It is unlikely that requests for programs that duplicate learning experiences available through programs on the Approved List will be granted.

You are responsible for doing your own research in identifying appropriate program options. Advisors in the Center for Study Away (CSA) may or may not be familiar with non-approved programs in your areas of interest. However, they will offer feedback and insight to the best of their abilities. They can also provide past program evaluations if Macalester students have previously participated in a program in which you are interested.

When submitting a Non-Approved Program Request, students should note that direct enrollment at a foreign university is preferred over facilitated  direct enrollment through a study away provider. Where Macalester has little or no recent experience with the university, or there are insufficient student services, or where safety, health, or security concerns may justify the use of a provider, SARC will take the issues into consideration.

Considering Program Support

In general, student support services vary by program type. There are four types of program structures:

  • Study Away Programs through approved providers: Typically, these programs offer high student support services as well as facilitated excursions or other activities. Students only take courses at a study away program center with other study away students, either taking a set curriculum, or choosing from a limited list of courses. The required coursework likely includes or offers an internship or ISP component.
  • Hybrid: Students are still working with an approved program provider, and still can expect to have significant programmatic student support and activities, but the difference here is that students are also enrolling in courses at local universities. Students take a mixture of courses at those local universities and at the study away program center. Students take courses with local and/or other international students and other study away students. Some internship or ISP opportunities may be available. The program typically organizes additional activities or excursions for participants.
  • Facilitated Direct Enroll: Students register at local universities, but have some help in doing so from a program staff who is familiar with working with study away students. Other student support resources may also be available. Students take most, if not all, courses with local and other international students. There may be fewer program-facilitated activities.
  • Direct Enroll: Students register directly at local universities without the support of a provider. Macalester offers advising support, but the student is on their own to navigate the enrollment, course selection, and housing processes independently and within specific set deadlines. Students will need to be proactive in identifying and advocating for resources they need before arriving and once on site. Students take courses with local and other international students. University-facilitated activities vary greatly, depending on the school.

Questions about selecting an appropriate program type:

  • What support resources do I use at Macalester?
  • Will I need similar types of support during study away?
  • Which program type will help facilitate my success during study away?
  • If the program I select does not have similar support structures to those I utilize at Macalester, is it possible for me to find or create that type of support for myself?

Program Review

Programs on Macalester’s approved list have been reviewed and meet the criteria below:

  1. The program (1) is offered by a U.S. or international accredited, degree-granting institution of higher education; or (2) issues transcripts through a U.S. or international accredited, degree-granting institution, or has a special credit-granting relationship with Macalester (e.g. ACM, CIEE, DIS, IES, etc.).
  2. The program offers students significant opportunities to build:
    1. Intellectual Independence
      1. Make choices that further their individual learning goals.
      2. Further learning goals associated with a Macalester education;
    2. Self-awareness
      1. Be exposed to multiple ways in which people draw upon aptitudes, values, and aesthetic interests in professional work and civic involvement.
      2. Consider experiences in the context of the program / host community from the perspective of that community or its members.
      3. Be exposed to the ways in which life in the host community interacts with or otherwise relates to life in their home environments.
  3. In accordance with a student’s individual learning goals, the program facilitates (where appropriate):
    1. Cultural Learning
      1. Provide intentionally structured or inherent exposure to local populations, institutions and infrastructure.
      2. Enhance cultural learning through reflection or other curricular means;
    2. Applied Experience
      1. Provide for direct engagement in a field of interest combining theory and practice.
      2. Enable students to conduct primary research, produce creative work, or be involved meaningfully in local civic society;
    3. Language Learning
      1. Offer formal language instruction.
      2. Offer instruction in the student’s area(s) of study conducted in the target language (for students who have attained a sufficiently advanced level).
      3. Offer interaction with competent speakers of the target language in a variety of settings.
      4. Offer exposure to different kinds of information sources in the target language;
    4. Enhanced Learning through Curricular Opportunities Unavailable at Macalester
      1. Establish and articulate a strong, clear fit between the content, goals and location.
      2. Provide a distinctive or even unique context for the students’ field of study.
      3. Offer courses, fields of study, or human resources beyond what is available at Macalester.
  4. The program’s cost is balanced with the overall quality educational experience provided.
  5. The program encompasses one semester of study that does not present an irresolvable conflict with Macalester’s academic calendar.
  6. The program meets standards for health, safety, and student support as determined by SARC:
    1. Health
      1. Coordinates or provides recommendations for the healthcare of students.
    2. Safety
      1. Macalester College does not allow students to study away in countries or areas within countries that have a US State Department Travel Advisory of Level 3 or 4 OR a US Centers for Disease Control warning level 3 unless approval is granted by the Travel Advisory Review Committee. Please view Macalester’s Travel Advisory Policy (PDF) for complete details. Additionally, Macalester College reserves the right to not approve a student’s study away plans solely based on safety and security concerns, regardless of whether a program’s location is currently under U.S. State Department Travel Warning.
    3. Student Support
      1. Provides adequate student support for administrative processes, housing, co-curricular support, etc.

In approving participation in a particular program, Macalester warrants that to the best of its judgment, it is an appropriate curricular option and is worthy of Macalester credit. Except for those programs it organizes and runs, however, Macalester does not directly control how study away programs operate. The Center for Study Away will provide advice and guidance on study away programs, but the ultimate responsibility for the “proper fit” of the program and a successful learning experience rests with the student.

Note: Applying to a program on the Approved List does not ensure approval by SARC.