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Academic Regulations & Procedures

Off-Campus Study

OCS website:

All students considering off-campus studies must work directly with the Office of Off-Campus Studies, Leighton 119, on all aspects of planning, applying, and confirming participation in any off-campus studies program.

First-year students are not permitted to study off-campus. College regulations for off-campus study are explained online at the OCS website and in handouts available in the Off-Campus Studies Office.

Off-Campus Studies Applications for Carleton Seminars and Break Programs

Carleton offers a changing selection of seminars and winter or spring break programs every year. These programs offer a related group of courses designed and led by Carleton faculty for Carleton students, using the resources of a site other than the Northfield campus. Students are selected by application two to three terms preceding the actual program. Students pay the Carleton comprehensive fee, which covers room, board, tuition, plus excursions and social events at the program site. Transportation to the site, books, and personal expenses are the responsibility of each student. Financial aid applies to these programs. A brochure for each program is available in Leighton 119, as well as on the OCS website. Applications are online and found at the OCS website. 

Seminar Cancellation Policy: Carleton College shall have the right, at its option and without liability, to make cancellations, changes, or substitutions in cases of emergency or changed conditions, or in the interest of the program.

Off-Campus Studies Petition for Non-Carleton Programs

Students interested in non-Carleton or consortia programs start their program search at the OCS website. Students are encouraged to discuss program ideas with an OCS Adviser and their academic adviser in order to find the best program that will further their educational goals. An OCS adviser can answer questions and help students differentiate among programs, or direct them to other useful resources.

Once a student has found a suitable program, s/he applies directly to the program provider.

Students who plan to participate in a non-Carleton or consortia program must complete an OCS petition and receive approval from the OCS office prior to participation. The petition is found at the OCS website. Students participating in these programs pay a $500 administrative fee. The fee will be charged to the student’s Carleton account after the Off-Campus Studies Petition has been approved. Students who are approved for off-campus study by the College may earn up to 54 credits (one year’s worth) to be applied to their Carleton degree. Credits are applicable toward general graduation credits. Financial aid (except for work study; see “Financial Aid” below) applies to one non-Carleton off-campus study program approved by the College.

Students are encouraged to learn more about off-campus study opportunities and information about specific programs by visiting the Off-Campus Studies office in Leighton 119 and by visiting its website.

Submission of the OCS petition commits the student to studying off campus for the designated term(s), pending acceptance into the program and approval of the OCS petition. Once the student submits the OCS petition, the student is not eligible for registration or room draw for the term designated for off-campus study.


Deadlines for programs and petitions are published on the OCS website. Students may also contact the Office of Off-Campus Studies with questions regarding programs and petitions by calling ext. 4332 or e-mailing Rob Quanbeck,

Late petitions will not be considered. Withdrawal from a Carleton seminar after signing a letter of commitment also has financial consequences. Refer to the OCS website for details about Carleton’s policies concerning missed deadlines or canceled participation.


A student may apply a maximum of 54 credits earned off-campus to the total number of credits required for graduation (one full year of study). Students must be registered for the equivalent of 12 Carleton credits minimum on any off-campus program. Credit overloads are not permitted on any off-campus study programs.

Carleton off-campus study seminar credits are considered Carleton credits and do not count toward the 54-credit off-campus credit limit. They do count toward the College residency requirement.

Transfer students must earn a minimum of 108 credits on campus, including the senior integrative exercise, toward their Carleton degree and must be in residence for a minimum of six terms.

Credit for participation in an off-campus study program will be recorded at Carleton only after the Registrar has received an official transcript from the student's program of study. A student's registration for upcoming terms may be held pending receipt of this official transcript.

Whether or not a student needs these OCS credits to complete course requirements, the Registrar must receive official transcripts documenting completion of all non-Carleton OCS programs in order to clear a senior for graduation. If these are not received in time for commencement, an asterisk will be placed next to the student's name on the commencement program.

Approval of credits toward general education, concentration, or major requirements

Students must submit an Approval for Special Credits for Off-Campus Studies form (available in the Office of Off-Campus Studies, in the Office of the Registrar, and on the Registrar’s website), to the Registrar, upon approval of the appropriate department, for credits earned on non-Carleton off-campus study programs.

Grade Point Average

All grades earned on approved off-campus study programs appear on a student's Carleton transcript. Only Carleton off-campus seminar grades are counted in the Carleton GPA.

Required Leave of Absence

Students participating during the summer in Carleton seminars (e.g., Carleton Economics Seminar in Cambridge, Irish Literature and Culture in Ireland) will be required to take a leave of absence one term (typically winter) during the following academic year. In the case of non-Carleton summer programs, no leave of absence is required, and credits earned during the summer are received as additional credit if approved in advance.


Upon acceptance into a Carleton off-campus seminar, participating students must register with the Office of the Registrar in the same way they would for any other Carleton term.

Students participating in non-Carleton off-campus programs are not eligible to register for the term designated for off-campus study.

Financial Aid

Financial aid applies to one non-Carleton off-campus study program approved by the College. Students participating in non-Carleton off-campus study programs pay a $500 administrative fee. The fee will be charged to the student’s Carleton account after the Off-Campus Studies Petition has been approved. Students should contact the Office of Student Financial Services and the Business Office about billing procedures. Contact the Off-Campus Studies Office for more details and a budget worksheet.

Students must be enrolled full time to receive financial aid for off-campus study (15 credits for Minnesota State Grant Recipients and at least 12 credits for other financial aid recipients).

If students receive other scholarships or travel grants for off-campus studies, they must report those to the Office of Student Financial Services before departure.

See also Credit Maximum and Minimum, Credit Unit, Declaration of Major, Drop/Add, Grade Point Average, Leave of Absence, Senior Residency, Summer Independent Study, and Summer Study at Other Institutions.



Keywords: off-campus study, credit maximum and minimum, credit unit, declaration of major, directed reading, drop/add, grade point average, lave of absence, senior residency, summer independent study, summer study at other institutions

Last Reviewed: Aug 19th, 2014

Maintained by Off-Campus Studies