Getting Started with Study Abroad

Eligibility Requirements

  • Complete 12 credits at UMW and declared a major before studying abroad.
  • Must have a minimum 2.0 GPA (most programs require a higher GPA) to study abroad.
  • Transfer students must spend at least one semester in residence before studying abroad.
  • Students on academic probation are not eligible to study abroad.
  • Students must complete at least 15 of the last 21 credits at UMW. If you are abroad during the first semester of your senior year, you must take 15 or more credits in your final semester at UMW to meet the residency requirement. Students may seek a waiver to the residency requirement prior to studying abroad by making an appointment with Fred Pierce, Associate Provost for Enrollment and Student Services.
  • Students cannot study abroad the last semester of their senior year.

Clarifying Goals

Academic Goals - Is your goal to study a foreign language?  Are there specific courses you would like to take that are not offered at UMW?  Do you want to take some courses related to your major, or do you have other subjects in which you are interested?

Geographic Interest - Are you interested in a particular region of the world or a specific country? Do you prefer to stay in one country, or travel to multiple countries?

Personal Goals - Do you want to live with a host family? Are you interested in a semester or year-long program, short-term summer program, faculty-led program, or multiple options?

Program Selection

There are many types of programs from which you can choose. Students can choose from UMW Faculty-Led Programs, Partner University Programs, and Education Abroad Programs. If you find a non-UMW program in which you are interested, it must be approved by CIE.

Study Abroad Advisors, are available for personal study abroad advising sessions by appointment.  They can tell you about the study abroad experience, as well as the program selection process.  Call 540.654.1434 to schedule a session.

Which Study Abroad Program is right for you?  Research online by clicking here  or stop by CIE, located in Lee Hall, Suite 434, to find out more about program options.

Academics

Course credits will transfer as long as students get approval from department chairs. Courses can transfer as a UMW equivalent course, major elective credit, or elective credit. In order to guarantee the study abroad credits will transfer, students must get the courses approved PRIOR to departure. Students must receive a “C” or better in order to receive credit.

Certain general education requirements are well suited to fulfill while studying abroad, such as the language requirement.  Most students who study abroad successfully fulfill part or all of their language requirement by getting the language course(s) approved by the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and receiving the required “C” or better to receive credit for a study abroad course.  Other general education requirements may be fulfilled through study abroad, but each one has its own set of procedures AND deadlines for approval.  Always consult the Undergraduate Academic Catalog to learn what all of your general education requirements are.

Experiential Learning or Global Inquiry General Education Requirements – An approved academic education abroad program can fulfill either requirement if it includes a satisfactory evaluation of a written reflection of a student’s experience in that program by a UMW faculty member.  Examples of a reflective component include: essay, travel blog, journal, etc.  The same study abroad experience may not be used to satisfy both the Global Inquiry and Experiential Learning requirements.  In order to fulfill either requirement through study abroad, students must submit the Experiential Learning or Global Inquiry General Education Contract  to the Center for International Education PRIOR to departure.  

Speaking Intensive and Writing Intensive – Students may request to have a study abroad course fulfill the Speaking Intensive or Writing Intensive requirement. PRIOR to going abroad, students should understand what is required to fulfill each of these requirements by contacting the Director of Speaking Intensive Program, Dr. Anand Rao arao@umw.edu, or the Director of Writing Intensive Program, Dr. Gwen Hale ghale@umw.edu.  Upon return, you must submit the Request for Re-Evaluation of Transfer Credit form to the director of the appropriate program.

Double Majors – Students may request to have study abroad courses fulfill both major requirements through a process known as an “exception to the major.”  Students must contact or meet the department chairs of both majors PRIOR to going abroad and obtain approval for the course(s) to count toward each major.  Department chairs should sign the Course Approval Form.  No more than 9 credits can overlap between majors.  Once the approvals are obtained, students must meet with Fred Pierce fpierce@umw.edu, Associate Provost for Enrollment and Student Services for final approval.

Residency Requirement – Students must complete at least 15 of the last 21 credits at UMW. If you are abroad during the first semester of your senior year, you must take 15 or more credits in your final semester at UMW to meet the residency requirement. Students may seek a waiver to the residency requirement PRIOR to studying abroad by making an appointment with Office of Academic and Career Services.

Funding Study Abroad

Apply for scholarships! As a rule of thumb, students should apply for scholarships one year before studying abroad. Click here for more information or visit CIE for additional scholarship information.