What are the eligibility requirements to study abroad?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all RIT students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a valid RIT exemption in order to study abroad. Please visit the RIT COVID-19 Vaccination Information website to do one of the following:
- Learn how to upload proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status
- Learn how to request an exemption from the vaccine
- Find resources to schedule vaccination appointments locally
In addition, all students planning on studying abroad must:
- Be an RIT matriculated student at the time of the program.
- Have a minimum 2.5 GPA (students under the minimum GPA may be considered on a case-by-case basis)
- Be cleared by RIT's Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution office
- Have no financial holds on your RIT eServices account a the time of your program acceptance/confirmation
Additional eligibility requirements may apply to individual programs. These additional requirements can be found as part of specific program details on the Compass (RIT Faculty-Led programs) or on the affiliate website (Affiliate Programs). Please note that you cannot audit study abroad courses.
Once you’ve been accepted to a program, you may need to meet other requirements in order to participate. These requirements will be communicated via the faculty-director, study abroad office emails/webinar/advisor meeting and the Compass. Failure to comply could prevent you from participating at your own cost. These requirements will likely include:
- Remain in good academic standing
- Have a valid passport
- Obtain any necessary visas on your own
- Complete your profile on the Compass
- Attend the mandatory pre-departure meeting
- Meet all course requirements as outlined in syllabus
What kinds of courses can I take when studying abroad? Will I receive credit?
You can take courses towards your major, minor, immersion, or general education credits while abroad. Planning early and saving a few free electives or liberal arts courses for studying abroad will provide you with more flexibility. If you would like to take courses in your major, a good place to start is with the Study Abroad & Your Major section that will assist you with researching studying abroad programs that fit within a particular field of study. Included in this section are info sheets that highlight the benefits of studying abroad for a particular career path and identifies overseas programs that provide course offerings that align with specific majors. Always discuss with your academic advisor if and how the courses you choose to take abroad will count towards your degree.
All students who study abroad on a program approved by RIT will be eligible to earn academic credit. As part of your RIT study abroad application process in the Compass you will submit the courses you plan to take abroad for approval from your department and to determine how the credit will be applied to your degree program. Your study abroad advisor will go over the course pre-approval process during your advising meeting. Requesting courses for approval
What types of programs are offered? How do I decide which is the best fit for me?
There are five types of programs offered by RIT Global: Global Campus, Faculty-Led, Affiliate programs, Exchanges or International Research. For detailed descriptions of these programs please go to Types of Programs.
Each program has unique pros/cons and it’s up to you and your study abroad advisor to determine the best provider that will meet your needs. For example, some programs may offer more scholarships to applicants, have generally lower priced programs, offer a variety of coursework or be more culturally immersive. To help you make a decision, it is best to compare program types and providers and consider things like application process, fees, program costs, course flexibility, level of program support, etc. A study abroad advisor can help you find a good program fit (make an appointment with an advisor) or the Study and Work Abroad fair each fall is a great place to directly compare and communicate with various providers and ask them, “why should l study abroad with you?”
When can I go abroad? For how long can I go?
Typically, most students go abroad in their sophomore or junior year, but you can apply to study abroad as early as spring semester of your freshman year. Programs vary in length and range from short term summer or faculty-led programs of a few weeks to a full academic year. Most students study abroad for one semester at a time and the summer semester is the most popular.
How much does study abroad cost? Can I use financial aid?
The cost of studying abroad varies depending on the program. In general, you will pay tuition, a program fee (which typically covers housing, excursions, local transportation, visa fees, etc.) and out-of-pocket expenses such as your flight, food and spending money. Students going on an affiliate program will also be charged an RIT external program fee. Your exact fees will be detailed on a budget worksheet given to you by a study abroad advisor or faculty-director. In most cases, students are eligible for financial aid if they maintain full-time status (12 credits) overseas. We suggest you do additional research on things such as flight costs, travel costs within your host country, travel costs to other areas you would like to visit while abroad, daily living expenses and exchange rates. It is the student’s responsibility to make an appointment with their RIT Financial Aid Assistant Director to discuss the budget worksheet and a potential aid package.
Please note that students may still be charged the RIT activities fee and RIT health fee while studying abroad. These fees are not part of study abroad program fees and will be billed to your RIT eServices account separately from your study abroad costs.
In most cases, you may be eligible to use your financial aid as long as you maintain full time status of 12 semester credits. Specific financial aid questions are best addressed on a student-by-student basis with your RIT Financial Aid Assistant Director, so after obtaining a budget worksheet from either the RIT Education Abroad office or the faculty director leading the program, please contact the Financial Aid Office to set up an appointment with your financial aid assistant director to understand how your aid might apply to your study abroad program costs.
For more details on study abroad costs visit the Funding Study Abroad section.
Study abroad scholarships are also available and it's important to apply early in your study abroad application process! Featured study abroad scholarships or ask your study abroad advisor for scholarship details.
When and how do I pay for study abroad?
Once you've been accepted to a program, you are responsible for paying the required deposit (amount varies for every program) directly to the affiliate or RIT.
- Affiliate Programs:
- The affiliate school bills RIT for the cost of the program, minus the deposit paid, and RIT will bill your RIT student account directly. Payment is made to RIT just as if you were taking classes on campus, only the amount will be based on the affiliate charges, not RIT tuition. RIT then pays the affiliate.
- A budget worksheet will be provided to you which breakdowns all fees and tuition charges, as well as an estimate of personal costs you may incur while abroad. You can get a copy of the budget worksheet for your program from your study abroad advisor.
- RIT Global Campus, Faculty-Led or Exchange Programs:
- Students will be charged RIT tuition and a program fee directly to your RIT student account.
- A budget worksheet will be provided to you which breakdowns all fees and tuition charges, as well as an estimate of personal costs you may incur while abroad. You can get a copy of the budget worksheet for your program from your study abroad advisor (global campus or exchange programs), or faculty director (faculty-led programs).
Can I receive scholarships to study abroad?
Yes! There are many study abroad scholarships available.
RIT students participating in an RIT Global Campus direct enroll, faculty-led, exchange and international research programs may be eligible for RIT Education Abroad travel grants between $500 and $1,000. The scholarship was created in an attempt to reduce traditional barriers to study abroad and support student engagement in international education. To be considered for a travel grant, fill out the Compass program application for your desired program by the appropriate deadline. Make sure to "opt-in" for scholarship consideration and complete the essay requirement.
RIT Education Abroad also has resources available for you to research and apply for a variety of scholarships to assist with the cost of study abroad. For more information, visit the International Fellowships section.
Scholarship funding for study abroad may be available through these departments/colleges at RIT:
- Honors Program - contact Kerrie Bondi, email@example.com
- College of Liberal Arts - contact LaVerne McQuiller Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Saunders College of Business - contact Lisa Boice, email@example.com
- College of Engineering - contact Amy Neufeglise, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many affiliate programs also have scholarships available, so speak to your provider for more information about these. Some may have a separate application process, so make sure to find out about the process and any deadlines.
National study abroad scholarships are available. Keep in mind that these scholarships sometimes have specific eligibility requirements and typically have early deadlines so looking into these options early in your study abroad planning is essential.
- Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
- Fund for Education Abroad
- Diversity Abroad Overseas Ambassador
- Go Overseas Study Abroad Scholarship
- Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship
- Other featured study abroad scholarships
Keep in mind that study abroad scholarship deadlines are often early, so it’s best to investigate these now. We also have a scholarship advisor in our office who can provide feedback on your scholarship essays to make sure they are competitive (email email@example.com if you are applying for scholarships)
How does registration and grading work for study abroad?
Global Campus Direct Enroll
While you are overseas on a global campus direct enroll program, you will be enrolled in your RIT class(es) as normal by a study abroad advisor or college administrator (you will not be able to enroll yourself in the course(s)). You will receive letter grades for these classes and all grades will be calculated into your GPA. If you have any questions about this process, please address them with the study abroad advisor.
While you are overseas on a faculty-led program, you will be enrolled in your RIT class(es) as normal by a study abroad advisor or college administrator (you will not be able to enroll yourself in the course(s)). You will receive letter grades for these classes and all grades will be calculated into your GPA. If you earn credit in one term and travel in another, you may earn an “I” (incomplete) for the course until the travel is complete. If you have any questions about this process, please address them with the study abroad advisor.
While you are overseas on an affiliate program, you will be registered for study abroad classes at RIT (Study Abroad Country for ## credits) by a study abroad advisor or college administrator. Your RIT registration will match what is approved on your course pre-approval form. For example, if are studying abroad in France for one semester and you received approval for the classes abroad to count for five RIT classes worth three credits each, you would be registered for five different courses titled "Study Abroad - France" for three credits each. You will work with your study abroad provider and host institution to register for your actual overseas courses before you depart or as soon as you arrive. Approximately 3 months following the completion of your program, the RIT Education Abroad office will be sent an official transcript from your affiliate provider detailing the courses you took abroad and the American letter grades that you earned for each course. These grades will be converted to pass/fail. For each grade of a C or above, you will receive a passing grade. For a C minus, D or F, you will receive a failing grade. Passing grades are not calculated into your GPA but failing grades are. If you have any questions about this process, please address them with the study abroad advisor
How immersed in the culture will I be?
Our programs offer varying levels of cultural immersion and the student should choose a program based on the immersion level that is most comfortable for them. Less immersive programs are typically shorter, offer courses taught in English and students live with other study abroad students. More immersive programs are typically longer, may allow options for living with local students or in a home stay and include some or all classes in the local language or in study of the local language.
How do I apply for study abroad through RIT?
Complete your profile and online application on The Compass as the first step. The Compass is our program and application database. After logging into the Compass with your RIT username and password, you can search for programs by clicking on the "Search Programs" tab in the Compass. You can use the drop down menus to narrow your search by location, program type or course discipline.
If you are interested in an affiliate, global campus or exchange program, you will then need to schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor.
If you are interested in a faculty-led program, you should contact the faculty-director to let them know you have started an application and to get more details on the program. It is also recommended that you watch this short video that outlines the application steps for faculty-led programs.
For your convenience, the Education Abroad office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-5:00 pm. We are located in Global Village, Building 400, Room 2075 in the Constellation Commons for Global Learning on the second level of Global Village above Salsarita's Cantina & Grille. Our study abroad advisors are happy to meet with students who would like to learn more about study abroad or who are ready to begin the application process. Schedule an appointment.
If you need an interpreter, please contact myaccess.rit.edu to request one.
Our office environment is generally informal and you may feel free to call our staff by our first names.
If I am deaf or hard of hearing, what access services will be available to me on a study abroad program?
Requests for access service support are handled on a case by case basis. It is strongly recommended to request services early to increase your chances of receiving services. Other determining factors include, but are not limited to, the length of the program, the dates of the program and the ability to find access service staff/contacts who have the specific skill sets required. For more information or to place service request, please contact Angela Hauser at firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I manage my health and safety while abroad?
Study abroad, as with any major life change, (regardless of length of time, location, etc.) has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing medical, mental health or personal issues or contribute to new ones. Local culture, custom and practices may not have/provide the support systems you might be accustomed to here.
When you are selecting an overseas program or preparing for your departure, you should consider how medications, allergies, meal restrictions, mental health, physical health, sexual health, drugs, alcohol, learning disabilities and interpersonal relationships may affect you while abroad and utilize RIT resources available to you before you go abroad. More information and resources can be found in the Preparing to Go section.
RIT requires all students studying abroad to have international health insurance. The vast majority of students never have to use it, but it is best to have just in case. Students going abroad on an RIT study abroad program will be provided international health insurance - either through RIT's provider On Call or through your affiliate study abroad provider. More details will be provided by your RIT study abroad advisor.
All students studying abroad will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure meeting where health, safety and emergency planning will be discussed in detail. RIT has a International Traveler Emergency Response Plan for students studying abroad that outlines steps to take in case of an emergency as well as a "Report An International Emergency" button which can be found at the bottom of all RIT Education Abroad webpages and links directly to RIT Public Safety. More information and resources can be found in the Emergency and Preparing to Go sections.
Can I study abroad on a program not affiliated with RIT?
Yes, but you will not be able to be billed and registered at RIT during your time abroad. This will make you ineligible for RIT financial aid and may affect your health insurance if you need to prove full time enrollment as a student to stay on your current plan. It is also strongly recommended that you meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss the steps you will need to take including talking with the Registrar's Office and your academic advisor to ensure that your credits earned while abroad will transfer back and count towards your degree and that this conversation is documented in writing. Make an appointment with a study abroad advisor and visit the Independent Study Abroad section under the types of programs page.
What if I am on tuition waiver/tuition exchange?
If you are receiving tuition waiver or exchange, (for example, you have parent who works at RIT, etc.) you will need to inform the Education Abroad office so we can make sure your study abroad budget worksheet accurately reflects your tuition fees. On study abroad, you may not be able to apply your full tuition waiver (or exchange), however you may be eligible for a discounted tuition rate. Please consult RIT’s benefits policy (page 5) detailing tuition waiver and exchange as it applies to study abroad.
What happens to my housing in Rochester while I am studying abroad?
Students living on campus:
Studying abroad during the fall semester:
If you are studying abroad in the fall you have two options:
1) You can release your room for the fall semester and you will not be charged a cancellation fee. However, you would not be guaranteed the same room or housing type when you return in the spring. To secure your spring housing you would need to apply for spring semester housing in early November when the contract becomes available. You should be able to do this while you are abroad with online access through the RIT Housing Portal.
2) Or, you can choose to pay half of the semesters rent to hold your room for the spring. You would be able to keep your things in your room and no one else would live there while you are gone.
You will need to let the housing office know that you will not be on campus for the fall semester and how you plan to handle your RIT housing during your time abroad. Email email@example.com to say you will be studying abroad in the fall and whether you would like to release your room for fall or choose to pay half rent. If you cancel your fall housing assignment to release your room you need to be sure to re-apply for spring.
Please remember that housing selection dates/deadlines for the following semester may be occurring while you are overseas so you need to make sure you are completing any necessary steps while you are abroad.
Studying abroad during the spring semester:
If you will be studying abroad in the spring semester, you would check out of your room at the end of the fall semester and you would not be responsible for paying any rent during the spring semester that you are abroad (your room would be made available for another student during the semester you are absent).
You will need to participate in Housing Selection while you are still on campus in the fall to secure housing for the following fall. If you are in a renewable apartment, you would be able to reserve the same space for when you return.
When you check out at the end of fall semester, check the study abroad option on your key return packet AND email firstname.lastname@example.org to let the housing staff know you will not be returning to your room for spring semester due to study abroad. This will waive any cancellation fees.
Students living off campus:
Students living off campus would need to work with their individual landlord/roommates to determine the best course of action for your Rochester housing while you are studying abroad. Options may include subletting your room/apartment (with your landlord’s approval) or making arrangements with your roommates to ensure your room would be available when you return.
Park Point and the Province offer study abroad leasing which allows students to amend their full year lease term to accommodate study abroad if needed. This option allows students studying abroad for a semester to still be guaranteed their housing for the following year. Students would need to provide a letter to Park Point or the Province with their study abroad program details which can be provided to you by the RIT Education Abroad office. Please email email@example.com if you require a letter.