Off-Campus Study Programs

70% of Carleton students participate in at least one off-campus study program during their years at Carleton. To meet the needs of individual students, Carleton offers and supports a wide variety of off-campus study programs: Carleton seminars, winter break programs, and spring break programs in the United States and abroad, led by Carleton faculty; Carleton co-sponsored programs, and other non-Carleton programs. In addition, the Carleton Global Engagement programs are open to both Carleton and non-Carleton students.

Students expecting credit for participation in an off-campus program, whether in the United States or abroad, during the academic year or the summer, must check with the Off-Campus Studies Office, Leighton 119, for procedures, required forms, applications, and deadlines.

Carleton Off-Campus Study Programs

Carleton offers a changing selection of terms, winter break, and 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.

In addition to the Carleton seminars and break programs, students can choose a Carleton Global Engagement program. These programs enroll students from institutions nationwide.

  • Carleton summer seminar participants must take a required leave of absence during the following winter term.
  • 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.

Other Programs for Off-Campus Study

Students can also select from a variety of co-sponsored programs and over 80 additional non-Carleton programs. Students who plan to participate in a co-sponsored or non-Carleton program must complete the online OCS Application for Approval prior to participation. 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 Office has approved the application. 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. Financial aid applies to one non-Carleton off-campus study program approved by the College. Summer non-Carleton off-campus study programs do not receive financial aid.

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:

Carleton Programs 2020-21

Art Now: Global Contemporary Art and the Mega Exhibitions, summer term (cancelled)

Faculty Director: Ross Elfline

Students will have the opportunity to learn about some of the most significant art being produced today by visiting three important exhibitions of contemporary art: the Venice Biennale, the Marseille Manifesta and the Berlin Biennale. By visiting Italy, France, and Germany, students will have an unparalleled chance to survey the art world’s cutting-edge.

Art Now: Global Contemporary Art and the Mega Exhibition Program Courses

Cross-Cultural Psychology in Prague, fall term (cancelled fall term 2020, will run fall term 2021)

Faculty Director: Ken Abrams

Students will live and study in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which brought an end to 44 years of communism, Prague has been at the forefront of the sweeping social, cultural, and economic transformations of Central Europe. To help experience the culture and history of the region firsthand, students will participate in discussions, cultural events, and walking tours, as well as excursions to historic sites and towns both within and outside the Czech Republic.

Cross-Cultural Psychology in Prague Courses

Spanish Studies in Madrid, fall term (cancelled fall term 2020, will run fall term 2021)

Faculty Director:  Humberto Huergo

This advanced Spanish language program is based at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), one of Spain’s top academic institutions.  Courses include Urban Studies, Political Sciences, and Art History, as well as an intense grammar review.  All 20 credits count towards the Spanish major or minor.  In addition to their coursework, students are allowed to audit a course of their choice.

Spanish Studies in Madrid Program courses

Global Engagement Program: Buddhist Studies in Bodh Gaya, India, fall term

Faculty Director: Arthur McKeown

Through comparative study, the program examines each of the three major Buddhist traditions and their historical development: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Students live in a Burmese Vihar, or monastery, where a highly qualified team of faculty and on-site staff provide an engaging and supportive environment. In addition, the program includes group travel to Varanasi and New Delhi, as well as a month-long Independent Study Project at the end of the semester that includes the opportunity to travel to a Buddhist community in India or neighboring countries.

Buddhist Studies in Bodh Gaya Program Courses

Global Engagement Program: Women's and Gender Studies in Europe, fall term

Faculty Director: Iveta Jusová

Since 1984, the Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe (WGSE) program has offered students a unique opportunity to explore feminist and queer theory in practice across Western and East Central Europe. Interaction with academics, politicians, activists, and homestay hosts in Utrecht, Berlin, Prague and Krakow encourages comparative approaches to independent research projects.

Women's & Gender Studies in Europe Program Courses

Global Engagement Program: Ecology and Anthropology in Tanzania, fall term

Faculty Director: Anna Estes

This program combines guided study with field research and cultural immersion and is designed to help students learn about the inter-connectedness of human-environment systems using tools from the social and natural sciences. Over the course of the program, students will live with local host families in the Usa River community near Arusha and take classes in ecology, anthropology, and Swahili. Excursions and field trips to sites such as local villages and national parks provide unique opportunities to learn about and interact with the people, wildlife and landscape of Northern Tanzania. The culmination of the program is research conducted under the guidance of regional experts, with the goal of serving student scholarship and contributing to a larger community benefit in Tanzania.

Ecology & Anthropology in Tanzania Program Courses

Public Health in Practice in Washington DC and the Twin Cities, winter break

Faculty Director: Debby Walser-Kuntz

The field of public health touches everyone and is by nature interdisciplinary, with important contributions made by epidemiologists, sociologists, physicians, economists, statisticians, scientists, and nutritionists, among many others. Through both coursework and the two-week field experience, students will be introduced to the field of public health based on a social-ecological model. Participation in a local, collaborative, community-based project coupled with study in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington, D.C. allows a comparison of public health efforts at the local, state, and national level.

Public Health in Practice in Washington, D.C. and the Twin Cities Program Courses

Climate Change and Human Health in Ethiopia: From Science to Practice, winter break

Faculty Directors: Deborah Gross and Tsegaye Nega

Climate change is dramatically impacting our environment and society.  In addition, there are direct impacts on human health.  In this program, we will explore some of the linkages between the changing climate and human health, with a specific case study of the impact of household energy choices in Ethiopia.

Climate Change and Human Health in Ethiopia Program Courses

India: Globalization and Local Responses, winter term

Faculty Directors: Meera Sehgal and Brendan LaRocque

India is a place of immense contrasts and diversities, being home to a wide array of languages, cultures, religions, and communities. Amid this diversity, the impact of globalization on the country’s 1.3 billion people is a topic of intense debate.  This OCS program will explore the responses of several distinct communities to the pressures and opportunities generated in India’s globalizing economy. With a focus on the intersections of tourism, politics, development, sustainability, and gender relations, we will see how individuals and groups navigate social structures and institutions as they work to make a decent living. Questions that will frame our enquiries include: What is globalization and how does it impact different regions and groups of India?  What are the major paradigms of economic and social development that currently dominant in India? How do these play out on the local level? What roles do the government and NGOs play in Indian communities today? What are the forces of modernity and tradition in India and how do they affect different strata of society?

India: Globalization and Local Responses Program Courses

Contemporary Media Arts: New York and Europe, winter term

Faculty Director: Laska Jimsen

This seminar will engage New York City and Europe as creative laboratories for contemporary media arts. We will explore diverse mediums in moving image arts including video, photochemical film, and installation. Through a combination of coursework and visits to film festivals, artist-run spaces, studios, galleries, and museums, students will expand their understanding of contemporary media. Students will develop technical and conceptual skills, and practice both collaborative and independent approaches to media production and study. Specialized workshops will introduce students to new tools for their own creative projects.

Contemporary Media Arts: New York and Europe Program Courses

English Theater, Literature and Art in London Program, winter term

Faculty Director: Pierre Hecker

Literature, theater, and the arts flourish in London. The city has an incomparably rich literary and cultural history and is arguably the world’s preeminent city for theater. The goal of the London program is to provide Carleton students with an immersive experience in this exciting milieu, with a focus on the life and times of Elizabethan and Jacobean England, encompassing literature, theater, art, music, architecture, and history.

English Theater, Literature and Art in London Program Courses

Studio Art in the South Pacific, winter term

Faculty Director: Eleanor Jensen

The goal of this program is to bring together a studio art practice and off-campus study: drawing from nature in a new environment, producing narrative artwork in response to travel, and studying cultural and environmental issues in context. Students will work to improve their drawing skills and to see drawing as a unique way to understand the world. Work from the entire term—both drawing and printmaking—will form a visual journal in which they record their experiences of travel abroad. Additionally, students will learn about physical landscapes, local communities, indigenous and post-colonial artwork, and experiential understanding.

Studio Art in the South Pacific Program Courses

Vision of California: Searching for the Golden State, winter term

Faculty Director: Mike Kowalewski

The “Visions of California” Seminar was first offered as a Carleton off-campus program in 1995.  An intensive, “total immersion” experience, the seminar is a broad-ranging exploration of California literature, art, cinema, history, and environment.  An experiment in putting education “in place,” the seminar features multiple fieldtrips to literary and historical sites.  It also features an array of guest speakers – writers, artists, historians, actors, geologists, winemakers, architects, surfers, movie-makers – all sharing their knowledge of and passion for the complex life and history of the Golden State. “Visions of California” is a unique venture in American education, and has been written about in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee.

Visions of California: Searching for the Golden State Program Courses

(Beyond) Nationalism and Xenophobia in Central & Eastern Europe, spring term

Faculty Director: Mihaela Czobor-Lupp

The tension between the historical and cultural diversity of Romania and its monolithic view of national identity makes it an interesting case to study for a topic of intense debate today: the relationship between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, between claims to national sovereignty and the ethical demand to hospitality. The OCS program will explore the socio-cultural and political factors that contribute to nationalism and xenophobia in Romania, as well as in the larger area of Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the promise that social and cultural diversity in this part of the world bears for developing more cosmopolitan sensibilities in the citizens. Bucharest, a city whose memories bring together a plethora of Western influences, as well as Ottoman, Russian, and Soviet traces, provides an ideal location for the program. The program We will uses the complexity and the tensions of this city to explore some of the problems of nation building in Eastern and Central Europe, but also some of the promises that its diversity might bear for those who attempt to open national politics in a cosmopolitan direction. Students will learn to think about the complex ways in which society, culture, and politics interact with each other in the process of nation building.

(Beyond) Nationalism and Xenophobia in Central & Eastern Europe Program Courses

History, Religion, and Urban Change in Medieval & Renaissance Rome, spring term

Faculty Directors: Victoria Morse and William North

How do cultures and communities construct, preserve, re-purpose, and destroy spaces and places to achieve new political, social, or religious aims or to press new ambitions and sensibilities? How do urban and rural landscapes and sites come to play vital roles in the realization of political or religious ideas? How do cities as complex agglomerations of people, places, and activities develop and by what historical forces are they shaped? How do historical legacies shape and enable yet also constrain a city’s present? Centered in Rome, a city with one of the richest historical pasts in Europe, this program will provide students with diverse opportunities to explore these broader questions through the close examination of texts, images, sites, and landscapes produced during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond. A central purpose of the courses in the program is to have students experience and explore the city and environs in depth and to learn how to integrate this experiential knowledge with academic sources of insight and information. Each course will therefore have a significant number of site visits inside and outside Rome as well as assignments that require independent exploration.

History, Religion and Urban Change in Medieval & Renaissance Rome Program Courses

French and Francophone Studies in Paris, spring term

Faculty Director: Éva Pósfay

A location with a particularly rich cultural history, Paris is today a diverse and dynamic city influenced by many distinct traditions. The program will explore key aspects of the historical, cultural, and artistic foundations of Paris, through both study and experiential learning in the city. The role of France’s colonial legacy in contemporary Paris will also be explored, culminating in a trip to Morocco, one of the most significant sources of French immigration.

French and Francophone Studies in Paris Program Courses

Linguistics and Culture in Japan Program, spring term

Faculty Director: Michael Flynn

In addition to two courses in linguistics, the program will take advantage of its location in Kyoto, the capital of Japan and the heart of its cultural life until 1868. While there, students will explore many aspects of Japanese history and culture, including religion (Shinto and Buddhism), literature of the Heian Period, Kabuki theater, the bombing of Hiroshima, and Japanese baseball.

Linguistics and Culture in Japan Program Courses

Language and Culture in Global Russia, spring term

Faculty Director: Diane Nemec Ignashev

Though its implications have been debated for centuries, Russia's geographic span of the Eurasian continent has contributed to the formation of a rich blend of cultural influences unique in the modern world. Visitors to "Russia" who speak "Russian" quickly discover that both terms share plural meanings: from Lipetsk to Ulan-Ude, from Petrozavodsk to Krasnodar, people(s) of different heritages who call themselves Russian both share a common sense of national identity and take pride in regional and ethnic difference within the nation.

Language and Culture in Global Russia Program Courses

Carleton Co-Sponsored Programs 2020-21

For specialized areas of study, Carleton has partnered with other colleges to develop off-campus study programs. For each of these programs, Carleton representatives participate in the management, Carleton faculty often serve as instructors and directors, and Carleton students participate along with others from the member colleges and universities.

Associated Kyoto Program (AKP), in Kyoto, Japan, fall and spring semester, academic year
Students with a background in Japanese live with Kyoto families and enroll at Doshisha University in intensive language classes plus two courses each term conducted by visiting professors from AKP member colleges or Doshisha faculty.

Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), fall and spring semester
These 15-week programs provide the opportunity to learn from local and international faculty who integrate theory with real-life urban issues. Home stays, internships, community immersion activities, and field research are used throughout the programs, which are open to all majors.

  • Art for Social Change: Creativity, Belonging and Transformation, spring term only
  • Environmental Sustainability: Ecology, Policy, and Social Transformation, fall term only
  • Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment, fall and spring semester
  • Ecuador - Community Internships in Latin America (CILA), fall and spring semester
  • Italy - Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Justice, fall semester only
  • New Zealand - Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future, fall and spring semester
  • Northern Ireland - Conflict, Peace and Transition, fall and spring semester
  • Norway - Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging, fall semester only (on hiatus for fall 2020)

Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM)

The ACM programs in the United States have a resident director recruited from the member colleges. Courses are conducted by the ACM director and by staff at the program site.

  • ACM Newberry Seminar: Research in the Humanities, fall semester

Great Lakes Colleges Association and Associated Colleges of the Midwest

  • Japan Study at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, fall semester, spring semester, academic year