Eligibility & Evaluating Your Goals


The Faculty has set the following guidelines for eligibility for studying abroad. Students should:

  • Have completed two years (or the equivalent at the college level) of the language of the host country, provided the language is offered at Barnard or Columbia, regardless of the language of instruction; OR have completed one year (or the equivalent at the college level) of the language of the host country and enroll in a program with a mandatory home stay or with an intensive language program at the start of the semester. For students studying the sciences or mathematics abroad, language requirements vary slightly. When the language of the host country is not offered at Barnard or Columbia, students should have some knowledge of that language but it is not required;
  • Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing; (if a student’s status changes after she has been approved to study abroad, she may be required to withdraw from her program and assume all financial consequences.)
  • Students must have worked out, in consultation with the major and study abroad advisers, a plan for the completion of all major and college requirements for graduation. Students entering their junior year must have declared their major prior to studying abroad.
  • A student may not end the semester prior to studying abroad with an incomplete (I) or a deferred exam (X) on her record.  Even if she has already been accepted to study abroad she may be required to withdraw from her program and assume all financial consequences.

Evaluating Your Goals

Studying abroad can be a rewarding and significant part of one's undergraduate education. It is not, however, for everyone, and no one should embark upon it without careful consideration. Before you begin to plan in earnest, candidly assess your personal and academic goals and state of mind.

  • What do you hope to get out of the time you spend abroad?
  • How exactly will your education be furthered by study abroad?
  • Will studying abroad for a semester or a year fit best with your academic and personal plans?
  • Will you be able to earn the necessary credits toward your major, minor or Nine Ways of Knowing to stay on track to graduate on time?
  • Are you emotionally prepared for the stresses inherent in living in a foreign culture (different teaching styles, functioning in your non-native tongue, minimal support compared to Barnard...)?
  • Be sure that you are comfortable being away for the length of time you are considering before you apply and commit to a program.
  • Make an appointment with Dean Young as early as possible in the planning process to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you. Please note that we require all students attend a General Information Session, prior to making an individual appointment with Dean Young.  General Information Session dates and times can be found on our Calendar page