The opportunity to study in another country is an integral part of Colby’s educational philosophy. Colby’s precepts maintain that students should “become acquainted with other cultures by learning a foreign language and by living and studying in another country or by closely examining a culture other than one’s own.” Consistent with that precept, off-campus study should

  • be part of the student’s overall academic plan and should enhance the program of study following the student’s return to Colby;
  • provide a substantially different cultural experience;
  • involve, when appropriate, a language different from the student’s own.

The Office of Off-Campus Study, located at DavisConnects in Grossman, ensures that Colby’s programs abroad, as well as other programs approved by the College, 

  • provide an educational experience consistent in quality with the educational experience at Colby and that can reinforce, complement, and broaden a student’s educational program;
  • contain a substantial, high-quality academic component; and
  • provide a cultural experience and, when appropriate, a linguistic experience consistent with the goals stated above. To promote cultural integration, at least one full semester must normally be spent in a single host country.

Colby’s financial aid is applicable to Colby programs and portable to other approved programs. The Office of Off-Campus Study works closely with faculty liaisons and an Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study, which includes faculty, staff, and student members.

The Office of Off-Campus Study helps students make appropriate study plans, preparing students for departure, evaluating programs abroad, administering Colby’s programs (see below), assisting with students’ reintegration to Colby, and monitoring the program selection and application processes. The office facilitates study abroad as well as participation in a few domestic off-campus programs that are integrated into each major and academic program.

Applications and requests for program approval are processed in advance of the student’s enrollment in a program of study away from Colby. Students who transfer credits for full-time study in a non-Colby program are subject to a fee of $1,500 per semester. Financial aid may be applied, for qualified students only, to Colby programs and approved non-Colby programs.

Students are required to consult their major advisor and the off-campus faculty liaison in their major department while making plans for study abroad. Sophomores will participate in a mandatory information session in mid-September and have access to online information detailing procedures and listing of approved Colby and non-Colby programs early in the fall semester. Applications for off-campus study during the year 2022-23 are due by Feb. 20, 2022, regardless of the semester for which the student is applying. Colby students normally study abroad for one semester. A 2.7 GPA is required to study abroad, and students on probation of any kind may not study abroad.

Colby-Sponsored Foreign-Language Semesters
Colby offers an opportunity for students to satisfy the College’s language requirement and earn a semester’s credit by living abroad and studying the language intensively. These programs are available to sophomores and juniors.

Colby in Salamanca: This program provides the opportunity for students to learn Spanish at the University of Salamanca, one of the oldest universities in Europe. Students reside with families, attend intensive language courses, and have a full schedule of excursions to enrich their knowledge of Spanish life and culture. The program is under the supervision of a resident Colby director and is offered in the fall and spring semesters. Students must have completed Spanish 125 or at least two years of high school Spanish.

Colby in Dijon: This program offers students the opportunity to study French language, history, and art in Dijon, France, at the University of Burgundy. Cultural activities and excursions are included. Students live with French families. To qualify, students normally should have completed French 125 at Colby or have completed two years of high school French. The program is offered in the fall semester only.

Colby-Sponsored Global Entry Semester Programs
The College offers the following programs abroad designed specifically for entering first-year students:

Colby in Salamanca Global Entry Semester: Colby offers some first-semester first-year students the opportunity to satisfy the College’s language requirement and earn a semester’s credit in a Colby program at the University of Salamanca in Spain. Participants study Spanish intensively in a group of about 20 other Colby students before arriving on campus in Maine in January. The program is described in more detail at Colby in Salamanca above.

Colby in Dijon Global Entry Semester: Colby offers some first-semester first-year students the opportunity to satisfy the College’s language requirement and earn a semester’s credit in a Colby program at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. Participants study French intensively in a group of about 20 other Colby students before arriving on campus in January. The program is described in more detail at Colby in Dijon above.

Colby-Sponsored Off-Campus Programs for Juniors
While courses needed for most liberal arts majors are offered at the College, many students are attracted by the opportunity to study abroad for a comparative examination of their major field or a different perspective on their studies. Such programs are generally undertaken during the junior year. Colby offers study programs in France and Spain.

Colby in Salamanca: This program offers complete integration into the Universidad de Salamanca, where students can take courses in any division alongside Spanish students. Students of any major may be accepted provided they have taken at least Spanish 135 and Spanish 231. Participants choose to live with Spanish families or in apartments with Spanish students and agree to speak only Spanish for the duration of the program. The program is offered for the academic year or the fall or spring semester.

Colby in Dijon: For students who have satisfied the language requirement, Colby in Dijon offers advanced French language courses as well as courses in literature and history. Students live with French families and participate in a rich program of cultural excursions. This program is offered during the fall semester only.

Colby at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: This semester-in-residence program at Bigelow Laboratory in East Boothbay, Maine, is for Colby students interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of oceanography and hands-on research experience through immersion in a professional laboratory environment. Available in the fall only, the intensive research experience is focused on ocean science within a changing global climate and covers topics such as microbial oceanography, marine biogeochemistry, the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle, molecular approaches to biological oceanography, and pelagic ecology. Implications for public policy are explored within each of these topics. This program offers a unique opportunity for any student interested in becoming a marine scientist.

Other Study-Abroad Programs
In addition to its own programs, the College approves study away at a number of institutions and programs throughout the world that meet Colby’s standards for academic rigor. A handbook of opportunities that lists all approved programs is available on the Off-Campus Study website and is distributed to all sophomores near the beginning of the fall semester. For programs not administered by Colby, the College requires that students obtain approval for their course of study before the stated deadline; without prior approval, credit cannot be transferred to Colby. Approval forms are available from the Office of Off-Campus Study. For study abroad during the academic year 2022-23, a preliminary application must be filed with the Office of Off-Campus Study by Nov. 15, 2021, and a final application or request for program approval must be submitted by Feb. 20, 2022. Students receiving financial aid continue to receive that aid if they attend a Colby-approved program.

With the exception of students in Colby’s language acquisition programs in Salamanca and Dijon, students who wish to study in a country whose language is taught at Colby must have taken the equivalent of at least three semesters of the language before departure (some programs and majors require more advanced preparation). Students are advised to keep this in mind while selecting courses during their first two years. For study in countries where the host language is other than English, students are required to take at least one course in the host country’s language for the duration of their program. Students should be aware that, due to enrollment constraints, they may not be able to study abroad in the semester of their choice and that opportunities to study abroad for the full year may be restricted. Colby students must petition for study abroad undertaken in any country for which a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 has been issued. (Exceptions to this policy may apply during the pandemic.)

Approved Domestic Programs
Students wishing to participate in approved domestic programs must meet the same deadlines for preliminary and final applications as students who wish to study abroad. These programs are listed in the Handbook of Off-Campus Study Opportunities, available each fall on the Off-Campus Study website. Opportunities include:

Exchange programs: Colby participates in student exchange programs with Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, Calif. Ordinarily, exchanges are arranged for a single semester of the junior year. Each student pays tuition, board, and room charges at the home institution; travel is at the student’s expense. Participation is not guaranteed and dependent on housing at the chosen institution.

Opportunities to Study and Intern in Washington: Colby students may study and intern in Washington, D.C., for a semester. Students from a variety of majors take advantage of this opportunity. More information is available through the Office of Off-Campus Study.

Engineering Programs: Colby has a coordinated dual-degree engineering program with Dartmouth College, in which both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of engineering can be earned. Students spend their first two years and their senior year at Colby and their junior year and a fifth year at Dartmouth. The usual Colby graduation requirements must be met in addition to engineering prerequisites, so careful course planning is important. Colby also offers a dual-degree program with Columbia University in New York. Students have two options: They can complete four years and earn a bachelor of arts degree at Colby and then transfer to Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science for two years to obtain a discipline-specific bachelor of science degree in engineering; or they can spend three years at Colby and two at Columbia, in which case they receive both Colby’s bachelor of arts degree and the Columbia bachelor of science degree after the fifth year. See more on engineering dual-degree programs.

Course Exchange: A course exchange program is in effect with Thomas College. Students may obtain information from the registrar.