Getting Started

Planning for International Study

Students considering study abroad should consult their class dean and the Office of International Study in the fall of their sophomore year in order to determine eligibility and application requirements. Upon successful completion of an approved program of international study, students may earn up to four Wellesley units per semester. 

As you begin your planning, keep our Timeline and Checklist in mind.

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Eligibility

In order to be eligible to study abroad in the junior year, students must have declared a major and be in good academic standing. Most programs have minimum GPA requirements, which vary from 2.5 and guaranteed admission to 3.7, and a competitive application process. For study in a foreign language destination, Wellesley strongly recommends that students have a background in the predominant local language, even if the program does not have a language requirement. All students planning on studying abroad during their junior year should begin planning during the summer before their sophomore year.

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Selecting a Program

In general, students are expected to select curriculum abroad that will complement studies undertaken on campus, in relation to work in the major field planned for the senior year. Occasionally, a student will spend a semester overseas on a program unrelated to her major, but which gives her the opportunity to explore another dimension of her interests. Study abroad is a great way to master a foreign language begun on campus or to learn a new lanaguage that is not offered at Wellesley. Learn more about language study at Wellesley in this video.

Wellesley College students are encouraged to first consider enrolling in a Wellesley-sponsored or Wellesley-affiliated study abroad program. These programs have been designed by Wellesley faculty with the particular needs of our students in mind. The Wellesley programs provide extensive pre-departure assistance, easy credit transfer, and seamless portability of financial aid.

In addition, Wellesley students may select from among more than 180 programs or host universities located in every world region and offering courses in every subject offered at Wellesley. 

Because there are so many options, most students need some help identifying programs that will be a good fit and will need to do a good deal of research and soul-searching. As a starting point, students are encouraged to:

  • Log into our Study Abroad App in MyWellesley to try out the "Explore Programs" search feature, and fill out the study abroad interest form for suggestions from OIS staff about programs that might be a good fit.
  • Follow up with an in-person, Skype, or phone meeting with OIS staff. Advising hours are posted on the OIS calendar.

In addition, the OIS offers information sessions and panel discussions throughout the fall semester as well as the annual Study Abroad Fair -- all opportunities to get first-hand information from program representatives and alumnae. Check the calendar for dates and times.

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Deciding When to Go

Most Wellesley students study abroad during their junior year. Occasionally, a second semester sophomore or a first semester senior will study abroad but, in most cases, the junior year makes the most sense because students will have had the opportunity to declare a major and start taking courses in the major field but will not be at the point where they are taking 300-level seminar courses. Whether to spend a single semester or full year abroad is a personal decision. See some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.