Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Study Away Petition?
    You must request a leave of absence from Williams to study at another institution for credit towards your Williams degree. You do this by submitting a study away petition by March 1st of the year before you plan to study away in your PeopleSoft Self Service account.

  • How do I apply to a Williams program?
    If you are considering studying at Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (WEPO) or Williams-Mystic, you must submit a Study Away Petition in PeopleSoft prior to applying to either program. For WEPO click here for instructions and for Mystic click here.

  • When should I apply to a program or university?
    Application deadlines vary from program to program. For year-long programs beginning in the fall applications are generally due in the preceding spring semester, some as early as December, others not until April or May. Fall semester only applications are generally due in mid- to –late spring.

    Applications for spring semester programs are due in the fall, however, your Williams Study Away Petition is due the previous spring. Many programs are more competitive in the spring and may have rolling admissions, so it is wise to submit your application well before the deadline if you want to study away for spring semester.

  • How do I find out where I can go?
    The International Education and Study Away Office sponsors meetings throughout the fall semester. Some of these are concerned with programs in one specific area or language of study; others are general information sessions. Program representatives come to campus in mid-September to attend our Study Away Fair. They are available to talk with prospective applicants about their programs. You can research Willliams Approved Programs here.

  • Does Williams College have a language requirement in order to study abroad?
    Not exactly. All students must study the language of the country the whole time they are there or take courses in the language. Many, but by no means all, approved programs require 2 years of college level language study OR THE EQUIVALENT, which can be determined by a placement exam. The hyphen rule for language courses taught at Williams applies to language studied abroad as well. Language policies are complicated and nuanced, follow this link to read more.

  • Are there places I cannot go?
    Check the US State Dept for countries with travel warnings. Students who are considering studying in countries where there is a US State Dept travel warning must have their Study Away Petition approved by Senior Staff.

  • Do I have to return for Winter Study?
    If you are studying away for a full year, in two different countries, at Williams-Mystic, or if there is a conflict in dates of your program and Winter Study, you will automatically be granted credit for Winter Study. Since you are granted credit, you are not allowed to enroll for Winter Study on campus except by petition.

  • What courses can I take while I am away?
    All courses must fall within the liberal arts, i.e. courses that you find offered at Williams (generously interpreted; you may find something like what is offered here).  We do not give credit for internships or practicums without prior approval. We do not accept credit for business courses, accounting, marketing, and so on.

  • Can I seek credit in my major while studying abroad?
    If you plan to seek credit in your major, you must discuss courses with your department chair and he/she can approve courses in your petition on PeopleSoft at any time before or after the petition deadline.  The courses listed must be approved prior to your completion of the program.

  • Can I take courses in English in countries where the official language is not English?
    In France, Spain, and Germany (with very few exceptions) students must study in the language of the country. In many other countries there are approved English language foreign study programs. But you will be required to study the language of the country while you are there, and if Williams teaches the language, you must be prepared to complete one full year of study of that language even if you only go abroad for one semester.

  • May I meet my distribution requirements while I am away?
    No. And you should have completed 2 of the 3 courses in each division, as well as your P.E. requirement, before leaving for study away. Students attending Williams-Oxford may, with prior CAS approval, fulfill one division requirement while at Oxford.

  • Do study away grades count in my GPA?
    Williams’ policy is that only those courses taught under the auspices of the College will be considered part of your academic record. Courses at Williams-Mystic and the Williams Exeter Programme at Oxford are listed as part of your record at Williams and the grades are counted in your GPA. In all other cases your transcript will record that you have been granted academic credit for the year/semester of your study away but the courses and grades are not recorded. You should request and hold copies of the transcript of your study away to use in the future as part of your personal academic record. The College does not make copies of study away transcripts. Graduate schools, professional schools, and job interviewers will all request to see a copy of your transcript from study abroad.

  • What is the Study Away Fee?
    All students will be charged $1500 for study away, except those on Williams’ programs. There is only one fee assessed even for those students who study on two separate programs. Financial aid will cover this fee for students on aid.

  • Do I pay Williams tuition while away?
    You will pay only the fees of the institution you are attending. If you are attending the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford or the Williams-Mystic Program you will be billed by the college and pay Williams tuition.

  • What address should my study away transcript be sent to?
    Your official transcript of grades should be mailed to:  Williams College, International Education and Study Away, Attn: Tina Breakell, PO Box 518, Williamstown, MA  01267. (Some programs offer a "School of Record" transcript which may require an extra fee. Do not select this as Williams will accept a program or university transcript.)  Request a transcript for yourself to have a record of your study away grades at the same time you request a transcript for Williams.

  • How do my study away credits get transferred?
      You will receive credit provided you have earned the number of credits specified in your CAS (Committee on Academic Standing) approval letter, with passing grades. If you have failed to meet Williams College minimum academic requirements (grades of C- or better) your academic record will be considered by the CAS. You must also complete a Study Away Evaluation and submit it before your transcript can be forwarded to CAS.