Frequently Asked Questions

Over 70% of Carleton students participate in Off-Campus Studies (OCS) programs. The OCS Office supports students through the entire experience, from selecting a program to returning to campus. Explore our website or visit our office in Leighton 119 to learn more.

What are the main types of programs offered?

Carleton programs are led by Carleton faculty for Carleton students. There are two types of programs offered each year in a variety of disciplines and locations: 10-week seminars that fit into Fall, Winter or Spring terms and 2-week Winter or Spring Break programs that are part of a two-course Fall/Winter or Winter/Spring sequence on campus.

Carleton Global Engagement Programs are led by Carleton faculty, but recruit students from colleges and universities nationwide.

Non-Carleton programs are sponsored by other colleges, universities or organizations. Most follow a semester calendar and are thus most suitable for Carleton's fall term, however, some are offered during Carleton's winter and/or spring terms. Carleton students MUST seek approval from the College to participate in non-Carleton programs.

What is the percentage of students who study on Carleton vs. non-Carleton programs?

Sixty-five percent of students participate in Carleton or Carleton Global Engagement programs, 35 percent go on non-Carleton programs.    

How many programs are offered?

In 2020-21

  • 19 Carleton Programs
  • 3 Carleton Global Engagement Programs
  • 100+ Non-Carleton Programs

How do I learn about programs?

For all programs:

  • Consult the program website (start at the Programs Gateway) and the program brochure (available in OCS).
  • Talk to an OCS adviser
  • Attend the OCS Worlds Fair held in January
  • Read evaluations from past participants (in the OCS office)

Carleton Programs

  • Attend program informational meetings; see the OCS calendar for upcoming meetings
  • Talk to the faculty director

Carleton Global Engagement Programs

  • Reach out to the program director

Non-Carleton Programs

  • Talk to program representatives when they host information tables or sessions on campus; see the OCS calendar for upcoming visits

How do I choose a program?

Consider program features such as academic content, program type, location, term, cost, and other factors that are important to you. Consult with advisers, parents, alumni, friends, and others to inform your decision.

For more information, review this list of Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting a Program and Resources to Consult When Choosing an OCS Program.

How do I apply for a program?

Carleton Programs

Log in to the OCS student portal to open an application and submit it by the 11:59pm on the date of the deadline. In most cases you will have an interview with the faculty director and will find out if you are accepted or not about three weeks after the application deadline.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    Log in to the OCS student portal to open an application and submit it by the March 15 application deadline.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    Apply directly to the program through its website. In addition, you must log in to the OCS student portal to apply for approval from Carleton. You may need approval from Carleton to apply for the program; OCS staff can help you with this, but gaining Carleton approval is a separate process. For more information, see Approval of Non-Carleton Programs.

    Applications for Carleton approval are due the third Thursday of the term prior to departure

    Learn more about OCS Application and Approval processes.

    How much do programs cost?

    Carleton Programs

    The Carleton comprehensive fee covers instruction, room, board, group excursions, public transportation, medical and evacuation insurance, and most cultural events. Students are responsible for airfare, visa (if applicable), and personal expenses. An Additional Cost Estimate is provided at the time of acceptance.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    Program fees and additional costs are listed on program websites.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    Program fees and additional costs are listed on program websites.  In addition, students pay a $500 administrative fee to Carleton. 

    How do I pay for my program?

    Carleton Programs

    Financial aid applies as on campus. Scholarships and additional loans are available; complete a budget worksheet and scholarship and loan application to apply.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    Financial aid applies as on campus. Scholarships and additional loans are available; complete a budget worksheet and scholarship and loan application to apply.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    Financial aid may be used for ONE non-Carleton program during the academic year (no aid is available for summer programs). Program sponsors often offer merit and need-based scholarships. Additional scholarships are available through Carleton and a variety of other organizations.

    For more information about program costs and financial aid, visit Money Matters on the OCS website.

    What credits will I receive? 

    Carleton Programs

    You will receive credit for your courses as you would on campus. See individual program websites for course titles, credits, and designations.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    You will receive credit for your courses as you would on campus. See individual program websites for course titles, credits, and designations.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    You will receive transfer credit for approved courses on your program. Grades will be posted on your transcript, but will not be figured into your GPA. Courses are initially approved for general Carleton credit, but can apply toward specific degree requirements with approval from department chairs and program directors.

    Once I am accepted/approved, what is the next step?

    Carleton Programs 

    You will need to commit to the program by e-signing the Agreement Form by the stated deadline. Further instructions are given on the OCS Student Portal.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    You will need to commit to the program by e-signing the Agreement Form by the stated deadline.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    You will need to commit to the program by the stated deadline. Often, a non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place. For Carleton, you need to commit on the OCS Student Portal.

    How do I prepare for my program?

    Carleton Programs

    You will need to complete a number of tasks on your student portal, attend a health and safety meeting, and attend 2-3 program-specific meetings.

    Carleton Global Engagement Programs

    You will need to complete a number of tasks on your student portal.

    Non-Carleton Programs

    You will receive instructions from your program sponsor. Follow them carefully. You may also choose to attend some pre-departure orientations offered by OCS.

    Check out the Health and Safety resources on the OCS website.

    What do I do with my stuff while I am away?

    See OCS Storage.

    What if I have a problem or a question while I am on my program?

    In any situation, you can contact the OCS Office. Depending on the issue, you can also contact your program director or your insurance/assistance company (CISI for international Carleton programs). All will be happy to assist you.

    How can I learn more about OCS at Carleton?

    Browse through our website or schedule an advising appointment. We will be happy to assist you!