Academic Catalog


IV.Special Academic Programs and Support: C. Off-Campus Study

The first step for students planning for off-campus study is to attend a Study Abroad 101 session. Next, students schedule an appointment with an OCS advisor.  Students should schedule the required advising appointment to start the OCS Proposal process in April or at the very beginning of fall semester, and then work diligently to complete the planning meetings and forms required for that appointment. Working with OCS and their academic advisors, students articulate learning goals for an off-campus study experience, explore a range of options among the Denison-accepted programs, and carefully consider the timing of participation and integration with degree requirements. Students normally seek approval for one semester and/or a summer of off-campus study during their Denison career, though approval for an academic year of off-campus study is also possible. Note that institutional financial aid may be applied to a maximum of one semester of study.  Institutional need-based aid is available for eligible students, but Denison does not provide institutional merit-based aid for off-campus study.

Denison maintains a list of accepted off-campus programs that meet the pedagogical and academic standards associated with a Denison liberal arts education.  The current list can be found at <>.  Students who withdraw from the university to attend a program that is not on Denison’s list of approved programs are not eligible to receive transfer credit. 

To pursue off-campus study for academic credit, students must first propose a plan and obtain Denison approval for such study. Once approved by OCS, the student is then responsible for completing an application with the program provider.  OCS staff assists and advises students with both steps in the process.

Denison approval is granted only if the student is adequately prepared for the proposed off-campus program.  Some of the evaluation criteria are as follows:

  • The proposed off-campus study program represents a well-defined continuation of the curricular and pedagogical goals of a Denison liberal arts education and the individual student’s academic program.
  • The student’s academic record demonstrates clear evidence of curricular preparation and academic achievement appropriate to the proposed off-campus study program and the specific learning goals associated with the student’s proposal.
  • The student has completed a minimum of forty-eight credits prior to participation on an off-campus program.  Transfer students must complete one year of study at Denison prior to participation in an off-campus program.  These residency requirements do not apply to summer study.

Denison approval is granted only if the student is adequately prepared for the proposed off-campus program.  Some of the evaluation criteria are as follows:

Eligibility guidelines for Off-Campus Study are reviewed annually and subject to change. Up-to-date, full eligibility guidelines can be found on the MyDenison page for Off-Campus Study.

Denison does not require students to pay its tuition or room/board fees during their term off-campus. An administrative fee of $280 for a summer program, $895 for a semester program, and $995 for an academic year of study with a single program or provider is charged to cover the administrative support associated with off-campus study. 

Denison requires that students participate fully and responsibly in all academic aspects of the proposed off-campus study program, including required language and area studies courses.  Failure to do so will result in a grade of U (Unsatisfactory) for the off-campus study placeholder course listed on the Denison academic record for the term abroad. Students are enrolled for a holding place registration of 12 credits for each term of off-campus study in order to report full-time study to the Federal Clearinghouse to facilitate the portability of financial aid and/or to use of 529 college funds.  Students are therefore required to enroll for at least 12 transferable U.S. semester credits for each semester of off-campus study, but may choose to enroll for up to 20 U.S. semester credits per semester.  Students are limited to one course on an S/U grade base per semester.  The arrangements for such a choice must be made with the program provider at the time of final registration.

To receive transfer credit for an off-campus study experience, students must work with the Registrar’s Office and academic advisors to obtain pre-approval for their courses through the OCS course approval process.  The University is under no obligation to transfer coursework or apply transferred coursework toward specific degree requirements unless that coursework has been approved in advance.

Students wishing to apply a course toward a major, minor, or concentration requirements must receive approval directly from the relevant department/program.  Other coursework will be evaluated for its relevance to the Denison curriculum through the combined efforts of the Registrar, OCS, and, as necessary, specific departments/programs.

All courses reported on the program provider’s transcript are posted to the Denison academic record with course titles, credits, and grades.  This includes any course for which a student receives a failing grade, even though credit will not be awarded.  However, the grades for off-campus study coursework are not factored into the Denison cumulative grade point average.

Denison Seminars: In addition to semester abroad, Denison Seminars are 4-credit interdisciplinary courses offered for sophomores and juniors.  Because of the unique nature of Denison Seminars, students may take no more than one (unless a Denison Seminar remains open after all juniors and sophomores have registered).

Denison Short-Term Seminars are normally 2-credit courses (credit applied in the fall semester following completion of the summer experience).  The summer seminars are advertised in the fall semester and are enrolled via contacting the instructor.  Students pay all costs, unless they are judged to have very significant need by the Financial Aid Office.  Every effort is made to make Denison Seminars and other faculty-led opportunities affordable for every student.

Educational Enrichment Leave of Absence (EEL): Students may apply for an Educational Enrichment Leave of Absence (EEL) to pursue experiential learning opportunities that are not credit bearing or structured educational opportunities whose coursework is not applicable to a Denison Baccalaureate degree.  Examples of structured educational opportunities whose coursework is not applicable include the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Outward Bound, Semester at Sea, specialized technical or training programs, religious education, or culinary institutes.

Students wishing to pursue an EEL are required to meet with and an advisor in OCS, as well as their academic advisor, and then to submit a written rationale to OCS.  The rationale must articulate a clear connection between the student’s broader educational goals and the proposed enrichment program.  A student may opt to pursue study at a local institution as an adjunct activity as part of an EEL.  However, this coursework may not exceed eight credits and must be approved in advance through the normal transfer credit evaluation process. The written rationale should address the plan to obtain credit elsewhere.

During an EEL, the student retains her/his Denison enrollment deposit and information systems privileges. However, the student is considered withdrawn from Denison during her/his period of leave for the purposes of financial aid and loan deferment.  EEL’s are usually for one semester, but may extend to an academic year.  See the Student Handbook for specific details regarding the processes for registration, housing, and financial aid following a leave. If a student does not enroll at Denison following the EEL, the leave reverts to a Withdrawal and the enrollment deposit is forfeited.

For more information about any of these opportunities, please contact the Off-Campus Study Office located on the 4th floor of the Burton D. Morgan Center.