Opportunities for Study Abroad and Domestic Off-Campus Study

Rhodes encourages its students to study off-campus through the programs it administers or through programs administered through other institutions. Off-campus study, whether domestic or international in scope, requires substantial prior planning. Students interested in pursuing such a course of study should formulate and clarify their plans well in advance.

Off-campus study opportunities are coordinated by the Buckman Center for International Education. The staff in the Buckman Center can assist students in researching off-campus study programs and can facilitate completion of the program’s application process. Students are responsible for meeting with their academic advisors to discuss program choices and for course selections. Students applying to study off-campus must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5, unless specified higher by the program, and must be in good social and academic standing.

Students may study off-campus on a one-semester or year-long Rhodes Program, Exchange Program, or Affiliated Program. In general, students pay tuition, room, and board to Rhodes and receive tuition, room and board on the program (there are some differences, depending on the type of program; these are specifically noted in the sections below). Rhodes institutional aid and federal/state aid are portable for these programs. In any given year, Rhodes offers over 350 such options for off-campus study.

Off-Campus Study Application Process

Each student who intends to pursue off-campus study must complete the Off-Campus Study Application available on the Buckman Center website. This Application, after being changed from “pending” to “accepted”, grants approval for the program of study and, subject to general college policies regarding transfer credit, assigns appropriate credit for the academic work successfully completed. Normally a student cannot earn more credit while on a semester study abroad program than could have been earned in a regular semester at Rhodes. The Buckman Center website contains instructions, checklists, deadlines, application materials, and policies.

Types of Off-Campus Study Available

Briefly, there are three broad categories for off-campus study, listed below. For more detailed information on each of these, please click the links to be taken to their page in the Catalogue.

Petitioning to Study Abroad with Non-Affiliated Programs

A student may petition for variance from the policy regarding Affiliated Programs via a Buckman Center application reviewed by the Director of the Buckman Center for International Education. Petitioners may request approval to participate for a semester abroad with non-Affiliated Programs from a discrete list of exceptional programs maintained by the Buckman Center. Petitions may be granted or denied based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: the quality of the petition, the rationale on the inadequacy of an Affiliated Program for the student's academic purpose, and the number of petitions already granted for that term, among others.

If the petition is granted, the student will be able to participate on the program by paying tuition, room, and board (in some cases, partial or no board) to Rhodes and receive tuition, room and board (or partial or no board) on the program abroad, using portable institutional and federal/state aid on the petitioned program. Credit earned on these programs is treated as transfer credit. Petitioners are encouraged to secure placement on an Affiliated Program in the event their petition is denied.

Exceptional Programs List

The Buckman Center maintains a list of exceptional programs for students to review in the event the Affiliated Programs do not seem sufficient for the student's academic needs. Rhodes community members may request a program be considered for inclusion on this list by communicating with the Director of the Buckman Center for International Education.

Off-Campus Study Program Transfer Credit Policies

  1. For all transfer credit, it is the student’s responsibility to do the following:
    1. Verify that the program of study is a Rhodes, Exchange, or Affiliated Program, or has been successfully petitioned. 
    2. Verify that courses intended to be taken in the major or minor area of study have been approved by the appropriate department or program chair in consultation with the faculty adviser. Such approval is granted only through the signature of the department or program chair on the student’s Off-Campus Study Application.
    3. Request an official transcript with final grades from the program attended be sent to: 

      Office of the Registrar
      Rhodes College
      2000 N. Parkway
      Memphis, TN 38112
  2. At the relevant academic department’s discretion, transfer courses taken abroad can be used to satisfy major and minor requirements. Courses for transfer credit must be passed with a minimum of “C-” to be eligible for transfer credit.
  3. Credit should be approved prior to enrollment in courses. However, in some cases it may be necessary to postpone approval until course descriptions, syllabi, papers, and tests are examined.
  4. Should a student’s course selection change for any reason after submission of the application, substituted courses are not transferrable unless approved by an appropriate department or program chair. Such approval must be sought immediately (i.e., email); copies of any such correspondence should also be directed to the Director of the Buckman Center for International Education and to the Registrar.
  5. Students are strongly encouraged to contact the Director of the Buckman Center for International Education prior to final course registration at the host institution in order to confirm course credit approvals. Retroactive approval may be sought but is not guaranteed and must be obtained before the conclusion of the first semester of the student’s return to Rhodes.
  6. To be accepted for credit, each course, whether for major/minor credit or elective credit, must be judged comparable in terms of content and quality to a course in the curriculum at Rhodes or it must be judged to be consistent with the liberal arts and sciences curriculum and of a quality comparable to that expected of courses at Rhodes. Courses intended to be taken for major or minor credit must be approved by the appropriate department or program chair in consultation with the faculty adviser. Such approval is granted only through the signature of the department or program chair on the student’s Off Campus Study Application. Elective credit will be reviewed by the appropriate academic officer acting on behalf of the Foundations Curriculum Committee.
  7. Students who study abroad on an Affiliated Program will normally satisfy the F11 requirement. In addition, students may, through appropriate course work, satisfy up to two additional Foundation requirements while abroad on a semester-long program or up to three additional Foundation requirements for a year-long program. The Director of the Buckman Center for International Education will recommend to the Foundations Curriculum Committee, in consultation with the Registrar and other relevant faculty members as necessary, the appropriateness of the course(s) taken abroad for Foundational credit.
  8. Programs vary greatly in their academic structure. At some universities abroad, three courses is considered a full load, while at others a full load may be as many as 8-9 courses. Rhodes College students must maintain what is considered a full-time course load by both Rhodes College and the institution abroad. Normally, a student cannot earn more credit while on a semester study program than could have been earned in a regular semester at Rhodes. Failure to satisfactorily complete coursework needed to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes may result in the loss of financial aid renewal eligibility.
  9. No strict correlation exists between contact hours in courses taken off-campus and credits awarded by Rhodes. Many European institutions utilize the ECTS crediting system in which one ECTS credit is comparable to one-half credit at Rhodes. For example, a course worth 8 ECTS credits will normally transfer to Rhodes as 4 credits. If the host program’s transcript does not translate easily to “American” credit (e.g., credits, quarter hours, semester hours, units) or does not provide a conversion scale, or if the host institution’s academic calendar differs significantly from the Rhodes semester calendar, the following statement can act as general principle:
    A student pursuing a fully approved, full-time program of coursework on study abroad for a period roughly equivalent to Rhodes’ fall or spring semester will usually receive 16 transfer credits from Rhodes upon the successful completion of all coursework. Successful completion is defined as earning a grade equivalent to “C-” or better in each course.
  10. All courses should be taken for graded credit.