Undergraduate Study Abroad

Study Abroad FAQs

Demystifying Study Abroad - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

As you navigate the study abroad process it's natural to have questions. The questions and answers listed below are intended to answer questions that frequently cross the minds of prospective study abroad students. 

Brown University defines study abroad as:

A period of study at a recognized university or academic program outside of the US, during which a student from Brown is enrolled in regular undergraduate degree courses and integrated into the student body and host culture.

Learn more about the available study abroad opportunities.

When deciding whether to study abroad, there are several benefits to consider. Overwhelmingly, students report that they come back feeling refreshed and invigorated from their experience, approaching their remaining studies with new energy and broadened world view. They may develop new academic interests, change directions, enhance their language skills, and/or bring a new focus to their studies and their lives. Ultimately, study abroad allows students to step out of their comfort zone and hone intercultural skills which are increasingly valuable in an interconnected world.

Any undergraduate student has the opportunity to study abroad. There are study abroad programs available for students in all concentrations (majors). In order to go abroad, students must be in good academic and student conduct standing. For additional details regarding academic eligibility criteria, refer to the Academic Standing guidelines.

Brown students in good academic standing may study abroad for a semester or a year during their sophomore, junior or senior year. Students must have declared a concentration before going abroad. Students may also study abroad through summer programs.

Note: It is important to begin planning at least one year in advance of your time away.

All Brown students who study abroad for academic credit are charged Brown University tuition while studying abroad.

The Corporation of Brown University established a fee structure for study abroad, allowing all eligible students to study abroad on essentially the same terms as on-campus study. As a result, all students who began their matriculation at Brown after July 1, 2006 will be charged Brown University tuition ("Home School Tuition") while studying abroad for academic credit.

This fee structure reflects the University’s belief that all Brown undergraduates — including those receiving university scholarships — should have the opportunity to study abroad. The University meets the full need of students eligible for financial aid, whether they are studying at Brown or abroad. This fee structure allows students to choose their overseas programs based on academics and personal fit rather than cost. Students can apply their financial aid awards — including Brown scholarships — toward the cost of a study abroad program if all financial aid application requirements are met.

If the language of the host country in which you want to study is French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish, in most cases you must demonstrate a certain level of language competency before applying to the program and take your coursework in the local language. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule (for example, engineering programs in France and Spain are available with coursework in English).

Students may enroll in English language study abroad programs at institutions where the local language is not normally offered at Brown. In such cases, students are required to study the local language as part of their academic program.

Programs in English-speaking locations (such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) are also available.

For more information, read the full guidelines on study abroad language requirements.

You cannot take personal or medical leave, go abroad, then apply for retroactive credit. Brown pre-approval of a student’s intention to study abroad on a semester-length or academic year program, following the University's standard study abroad guidelines, must be obtained prior to the student’s participation on the program. Students who do not obtain Brown pre-approval of semester or academic year programs before studying abroad will not be eligible for transfer of any credits pursued abroad.


Students are required to obtain approval for study abroad on a semester-length or academic year program prior to participating in the program. Approval is granted by applying through the study abroad application system, ViaTRM prior to the posted deadline.  Students who do not obtain pre-approval will not be allowed to transfer study abroad credit(s) back to Brown.

Additional Information