What are the eligibility requirements?

  • CLASS STANDING: You must have at least sophomore standing (a minimum of 30 completed college-level credits) for most exchanges and study abroad programs. These credits must be earned on a university campus, not through Advanced Placement high school programs. Adjusting to college is difficult enough in the United States. You have a better chance of overseas success if you first have experience on an American campus.
  • Must be a full-time enrolled student semester before term abroad.
  • Required Classes: GS250 and GS251. Students must be enrolled in GS251 the term immediately before their expected term abroad.
  • GPA of 2.5 is a minimum. Some programs are very competitive, and their GPA requirement may be higher. Always check the individual school and/or program for their specific requirements.
    • If you do not have the 2.5 GPA but feel you will have it by the time you go abroad, you may still register for the GS 250. Your ultimate acceptance will be contingent on producing an official transcript with proof of a 2.5 GPA by completing GS 251. You are responsible for producing this transcript to the International Programs Office before you will be registered into one of the specially designated exchange or study abroad courses.
  • HOLDS: You cannot have any academic, financial, or disciplinary HOLDs on your record when we complete the processing of your paperwork during the term you are enrolled in GS251. Registration into the Studies Abroad CRN is contingent on having a clean record. All HOLDs must be cleared before we can register you into the appropriate CRN for your overseas experience. If you are not clear to go when applications are processed, you must wait until the next term to participate. If you still have a HOLD when GS251 is over, you will be dropped from the class with a "W" and must re-enroll in GS251 the next term.

What classes do I need to take?

You must get academic advising before you go overseas to ensure that you understand how these courses will apply to your specific degree requirements. 

You must fulfill two types of requirements to get a degree:

  1. General education requirements
  2. Major requirements

Advising is NOT course approval. Advising directs your course of study before you register for classes. Professors suggest possible transfer equivalencies before departure. Course fulfillment decisions happen after you have taken the courses and faculty see an official transcript (and supporting materials).

Faculty may approve equivalencies for credits earned on an exchange, direct enrollment, or study abroad...after you return.   

The Registrar's Office ultimately awards transfer credits. Before you see your advisor, do the following steps.  (*When you are enrolled in GS 251, you will meet with your major advisor and fill out advising forms.)

  • With your transcript and catalog in hand, do your graduation check.   Which requirements have not yet been fulfilled, and which courses do you still need to take?
  • Which courses MUST be taken at FLC and when?
  • Become familiar with program materials, including course options. Which of the courses in your study abroad program could be used to fulfill these requirements?
  • Do you need to take some FLC prerequisites before signing up for a study abroad program or exchange?  Do these sites offer lower-level courses or all upper-division courses?
  • What courses must you take when you return to FLC?  Find out what classes cannot be fulfilled overseas.   
  • If you want to satisfy general education requirements, check the list of suggested courses in the FLC catalog.
  • Remember, faculty will have to evaluate these courses eventually and need as much information as possible.  They are interested in the course description, the number of contact hours with the professor, the syllabus, textbook used, types of assignments, etc.  The more information available, the better.  This step will have to wait until your meeting after you return, but try to research as much as possible before your appointment.
  • Depending on the courses available and what you want to take, have your major advisor indicate which courses could satisfy major requirements.  Include as many courses as possible since you won't know what your actual choices are yet.  Keep this list with you, or save it on your computer.
  • Keep a copy of this advising form for yourself and turn the other one in to the International Programs Office with your application packet. 

What is General Studies 250?

Students can take GS250 (Exploring Study Abroad) any semester before studying abroad. It is designed to help students investigate the numerous destinations and programs available and how these programs fit within the Fort Lewis College curriculum and credit transferability guidelines.

What is General Studies 251?

General Studies 251 (GS251: International Studies) is required for students who intend to study abroad through the International Programs Office. You must have your instructor’s permission to sign up for the course. This course is taken the semester directly before studying abroad. For example, if you plan to study abroad in Summer 2024 or Fall 2024, you must take GS251 in Spring 2024.

You will also prepare for departure by applying for student visas, learning to stay healthy while abroad, and preparing for credits taken abroad to transfer back to FLC.

To obtain instructor permission, please email your answers to the following questions to StudyAbroad@fortlewis.edu

  1. What’s your FLC ID number?
  2. What’s your GPA?
  3. What program are you applying for, and what city? (for example, USAC, Pau France or ISEP, Lancashire in the UK)
  4. What courses or FLC requirements are you hoping to fulfill while abroad?
  5. Have you verified the courses are available at your host school?
  6. What is the total budget for your program, including tuition, fees, room, meals, airfare, etc.?
  7. How are you planning to cover those costs?
  8. What’s your Study Abroad Program’s Academic Calendar?
  9. What’s your Study Abroad Country’s Visa requirement?
  10. Will you need to apply for a passport? If you have a passport, when will it expire?

How many credits can I earn abroad?

  • The maximum number of credits you may earn either through exchanges, study abroad, or a combination of both is 54 during your college career at FLC.  Students may register for a maximum of 18 credits per 15-week term. Summer sessions usually carry between 4-6 credits each. 
  • The minimum is 12 to maintain full-time status and to be eligible for financial aid. 
  • Check with individual departments for the maximum number of credits they will accept to put toward your major.  Usually, you CANNOT fulfill a major entirely on credits earned abroad. 
  • In all cases, the ultimate decision regarding how the credit will be recorded on the Fort Lewis College transcript will be made by Fort Lewis College faculty and the Record's Office and not by the individual student.

Will I get FLC credit on my return?

FLC International Programs Office (IPO) & Credit Transfer Process:

  1. Course Selection & Transfer Credit:

    • FLC students earn transfer credits through the IPO upon receiving and processing transcripts at the Registrar's Office.
    • Before departure, students must consult advisors for course guidance and fulfill specific requirements after courses are transferred back to FLC.
    • An advising session on course selection is mandatory for all applicants.
  2. Credit Approval & Equivalence:

    • Once foreign institution transcripts are received, students must meet with advisors or relevant professors to determine course equivalencies.
    • Course approval forms will be filled, requiring signatures from relevant faculty and department chairs. The department chairs and Records decide on course substitutions or exceptions, not the IPO.
  3. Official Transcripts & Course Recognition:

    • Only courses on official transcripts are credited at Fort Lewis.
    • Beware of "off-campus" or "in association" courses. Ensure the university records all courses.
    • P.E. and "cultural" courses might not consistently be recognized.
  4. Registration & Course Status:

    • Students register for a 15-credit exchange/study abroad course each term with a unique CRN provided by the IPO after completing the GS251 process.
    • All courses are initially marked "Incomplete" until official transcripts, faculty approvals, and all paperwork are submitted to the IPO. The Registrar's Office then updates the transcript.
  5. Transcript Deadlines & Incompletes:

    • Incomplete courses change to F's after a year. Ensure transcripts are requested before departure and ensure they reach the IPO.
    • Do not leave courses "Incomplete" at host institutions; these may result in fails. Some institutions allow exam retakes if failed initially.
  6. Documentation & Equivalence:

    • Retain course materials to present your case for credit. Not all courses are direct equivalents. Many might be considered Special Topics.
    • Discuss with advisors for clarity on what courses are accepted.
  7. Course Level & Grade Translation:

    • Courses are recorded as per the level taught. For instance, "intermediate" courses can't be recorded as "advanced."
    • Grades are typically converted to PASS (A to C-), NC (D's), or FAIL. Only F's impact the GPA.
    • Credits from international programs with a PASS/FAIL policy don't count towards FLC's pass/fail course limits and can be used for major or distribution requirements with approval.
  8. Elective Courses:

    • Non-equivalent courses may count as electives, with approval.

Am I ready to go?

Academic Preparedness

Do you have the prerequisites completed that will make this experience successful? There's no sense in taking courses in a foreign country if you don't understand the basic concepts they refer to.  Most international universities do not offer lower-level courses to get you up to speed. They expect you to have this academic background in core classes BEFORE you get there. The appropriate introductory courses at FLC will prepare you for the more advanced courses abroad. Read course descriptions carefully and plan your semesters at FLC before departure carefully. 

Are you aware that all academic systems and teaching methodologies are not alike? Generally, students in Europe and elsewhere are expected to be much more independent and actively involved in their learning process and education than in the U.S. The bulk of the learning is expected to happen "outside" the classroom through reading, research, and writing - and this does not necessarily work that is assigned, collected, or graded. 

The class lectures are designed to allow you to explore the subject independently. Some of the mechanisms Americans use that "make" students do the work (i.e., required class attendance, quizzes, daily homework assignments). The professor or faculty member is not expected to make you learn. 

The assumption is that you are there by free choice and will do whatever is necessary to learn the information. Lectures are merely the "framework" essential to explore the subject further. Your semester or year grade may be based entirely on one comprehensive exam with oral and written components or one final paper. Are you ready for this? 

Can I use my financial aid?

Enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by Fort Lewis College may be considered enrollment at the College to apply for Federal Title IV, HEA (Financial Aid) program.

  • If you are deemed an eligible recipient of financial aid to attend Fort Lewis College, you may be able to use this same aid toward your exchange or study abroad. Check the Fort Lewis College Financial Aid website.
  • During GS 251, you will make a program budget. If you receive institutional Financial Aid, you will need to submit this budget and a "Request for Award Adjustment" to the financial aid office as soon as possible. Most awarded financial aid can be used for exchange and study abroad programs, but you must request it. We do not require a budget form for students not receiving financial aid, but it is highly recommended that you prepare one so you (and your parents) are clear on the total costs of your program.
  • Please be aware that most study abroad programs will require payment before you depart from the U.S.  If you anticipate payment from financial aid, you will need to verify appropriate procedures with the program sponsor.  In many cases, they will defer any payment from your financial aid with proof the aid will be awarded. It is your responsibility to clarify payment procedures with the sponsor.
  • You must be enrolled full-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue receiving financial aid. Verification of your enrollment in an approved program will be sent to the financial aid office within one month of your program start date.
  • Scholarships specific to study abroad are rare.  Some program providers have their own scholarships for program participants. 
  • Students on FLC tuition waivers may only participate in FLC exchanges if they wish to utilize this institutional aid.  They are welcome to participate in study abroad programs, but they would be responsible for associated tuition costs charged by these programs.

Will I need a visa?

If your program lasts more than 90 days, usually student visa is required.  Visa procedures vary depending on countries, check with consulate/embassy.  Some countries, such as Spain and France require students to submit their visa application in person in LA consulate.  More and more countries started requiring FBI background check.  It will take a month or more to require FBI background check, so make sure to check all your requirements and procedures carefully and plan ahead.

Do I need insurance?

Programs that include insurance

  • USAC and ISEP have comprehensive travel insurance included in their program fees.

Programs that require insurance

  • Fort Lewis College requires a minimum comprehensive travel insurance policy of $100,000.
  • Finland (Åbo Akademi University) requires 100,000 euros for the insurance. Please ask the International Programs Office to guide you in selecting the correct insurance policy.
  • Students studying on a Partner Exchange are required to purchase travel insurance.

Insurance options

While this list is far from exhaustive, you might consider the following companies when looking for travel insurance:

What languages do I need?

  • Each exchange program has its own requirements, but generally, for the exchange programs in Spain, France and Germany, and Latin America...two years of the appropriate college level language is required.  One of your recommendations must be from the Modern Language Department if you are attending one of these programs.
  • Individual Study Abroad programs will have their own language requirements.  Make sure you have read all of their material and know what they require.  Recommendations are always required and often a pre-test will be part of the application process.
  • If your goal is to study abroad to LEARN a language, you need to look for programs that offer intensive language courses.  These courses usually offer classes at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. You will be given a placement test on arrival (or sometimes in the application packet) to make sure you are in the appropriate level for your initial abilities. 

Note: Some programs require at least one year of language before they will accept you into BEGINNING classes.  Usually, semester long intensive language courses meet 4 hours per day, 5 days a week (20 hours). Some may offer academic classes in English at the same time; others may allow you to take courses from the regular curriculum. Check individual programs for details.

What about graduation?

If you are a senior during your planned term(s) abroad, there are a few obstacles you must clear before you sign into GS251. 

You must be prepared to have graduation postponed for at least one term because many study abroad programs are not over by FLC graduation deadlines. 

If you are completing final credits abroad, you will need to make sure all grades are posted before your final graduation check by the Record's Office. The general advice is if you have all of your major department requirements COMPLETED by your senior year, and you are going abroad for elective credits only, you will probably be granted approval - but this is entirely up to your advisor, department chair, and/or Records Office (not the IPO). 

Check with your advisor and the Record's Office PRIOR to departure regarding petitions to graduate, grad checks, and exception to graduation applications. 

If your graduation is dependent upon taking one or a few specific courses while abroad, you are taking a big chance.  Course schedules are usually not available in advance and you may not know what courses are being offered until you are there.  Certain FLC courses, i.e. Senior Seminars, are seldom available anywhere else and equivalencies are not normally accepted.  Check with individual departments and faculty before you count on fulfilling your last credits abroad. The IPO does not make this decision or advice on this issue. It is up to each student to have this discussion with their department advisor prior to enrolling in GS251 or going abroad their senior year. 

Contact us

130 Skyhawk Station

Scott Miller
SEVIS Officer
International Student Advisor
Email: miller_scott@fortlewis.edu
Phone: 970-986-6898

Yuriko Miller
Study Abroad Advisor
Email: miller_y@fortlewis.edu
Phone: 970-986-6922