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Exceptions & Petitions

Students are expected to meet all eligibility requirements listed in these guidelines, and to select study abroad options from among the broad offerings on the list of Study Abroad Programs Approved for Smith Credit. Students are eligible to study abroad once, for a maximum of two semesters abroad.

Exceptions to these rules are made only rarely, and only for exceptional reasons. Exceptions will be considered only in response to a written petition submitted with a Study Abroad Credit Application or Smith Program Abroad Application by the application deadline. See below for additional information and the procedures for petitioning for an exception.

1. Not meeting 3.0 GPA requirement

The College does not normally approve Study Abroad Credit Applications or Smith Program Abroad Applications from students who do not have a 3.0 GPA at the time of application. Students who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement at the time of application, and who have a well developed academic plan for studying abroad that builds on previous coursework at Smith, may petition the Faculty Committee on Study Abroad for consideration of their Study Abroad Credit Application. In the past, students with a GPA that was slightly below 3.0 have successfully petitioned. To begin this process, schedule a meeting with the Assistant Dean in the Office for International Study at least one month in advance of the application deadline to discuss your academic record and proposal for study abroad, and to obtain petition instructions. Petitions should be submitted with completed Study Abroad Credit Application by the regular application deadline. Petitions will be evaluated by the Committee on Study Abroad.

2. Programs not on the approved list

Students are expected to select study abroad options from among the broad offerings approved by Smith College. Students who have a compelling academic reason to pursue study on a program not on the approved list may petition.

Students wishing to petition must schedule a meeting with the Assistant Dean for International Study to discuss whether a petition for that program might be considered. Students should also discuss their plans with faculty members in the appropriate department.

Non-approved Program Petition Form

Petitions for programs beginning in fall 2014 are due on the first Monday in November (11/04/13), and petitions for programs beginning spring 2015 are due on the third Monday in February (2/17/14), with completed Study Abroad Credit Applications. Students must also submit a Study Abroad Credit Application for a program on the approved list, in the event that the petition is not approved.

Programs will be evaluated by the Committee on Study Abroad on the strength of the academic offerings and their match with the student's goals, consistency with Smith academic standards, and arrangements for housing, health, and support services, and other factors as relevant. Petitions are generally not approved for programs in countries where a Smith Program Abroad is located (France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland).

3. Study abroad in two locations

Students are expected to study abroad in one location for one or two semesters. Approval is NOT normally granted for study in two locations for the following reasons:

  • Maximum cultural adaptation takes time to develop; spending a full year abroad at a single location is what the College supports if the student has a full year to devote to study abroad.
  • Adjusting to a new university and a new country is challenging; changing locations repeats these social and emotional hurdles, potentially at the expense of time spent capitalizing on initial adjustment and deepening cultural immersion on a year-long program.
  • Research shows that a significant part of study abroad learning takes place after departure from the host country, as students reflect on and react to the impact of their experience. This strong after-effect can compromise the ability to fully participate in a second program, or conversely, the second program can prevent a student from fully realizing the fruits of the first program.

Only in truly exceptional circumstances does the Committee on Study Abroad give permission for study on two separate semester programs over the course of a year, or in two subsequent years. If you think you can make a strong case for the viability and academic value of two separate programs, be sure that your advisers understand and approve of your plans for both semesters. You also must discuss your plans in detail with the Assistant Dean in the Office for International Study.

Students with compelling academic reasons may request permission to study in two different locations by submitting a petition statement with a Study Abroad Credit Application for each program by the third Monday in February (2/17/14). Petitions for a second program will not be considered after this deadline.