Non-Dickinson Programs

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As Dickinson maintains a robust array of both Dickinson in and strategic Partner programs that contribute to our campus internationalization efforts, allow for the exchange of students, scholars and ideas and support and complement our curriculum, it is rare that students do non-Dickinson programs.  Students who wish to study off campus on a non-Dickinson or non-Partner program must complete a special petition application and demonstrate compelling reasons the program meets their academic needs better than an existing Dickinson or Partner program.  This is a rigorous vetting process and students should not expect that an exception will be made. 

Dickinson does not maintain a list of pre-approved programs; rather, programs are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Institutional financial aid does not transfer to a non-Dickinson, non-partner program.

Application Deadlines  

Applications for non-Dickinson programs must be submitted by September 7 for Spring program and February 1 for Fall and All-year programs. Students are strongly encouraged to submit applications as early as possible.

Financial Aid on Non-Dickinson Programs 

Under no circumstances may a student use Dickinson-awarded financial aid to fund any type of study on a non-Dickinson program. Students may use federal financial aid, private scholarships (not given by Dickinson), or personal funds for funding participation in a non-Dickinson program.

Bill Payment Service for Non-Dickinson Programs 

Dickinson offers a bill payment service for students studying abroad on non-Dickinson programs. Benefits include the uninterrupted use of Dickinson's monthly payment plan, and greater efficiency in the processing and crediting of federal and state financial aid. Students electing to use this service should send their host school bill to the Center for Global Study and Engagement ( There is a $65 administrative fee for this service.

Students may also opt to pay their host institution directly. Please note that payment may be due sooner than is the case at Dickinson and that the host institution may expect payment in full without consideration of pending financial aid.

Non-Dickinson Program Study Abroad Fee 

All students studying abroad on a non-Dickinson program during the academic year will be charged an off-campus study fee per semester. This amount will be charged to the student's Dickinson account. The amount of the fee is subject to change for each academic year. Information on the current fee amount is available by visiting the Student Accounts page.

The study abroad fee that Dickinson charges is for a number of services provided to students, many of them "behind the scenes." The fee is not a "finder's fee." That is, it is not meant to pay for finding a program for students. The Center for Global Study and Engagement (CGSE) can advise students on possible programs, or at least point them in the direction of resources where they may find an appropriate program. If Dickinson students have not studied in certain locations of the world, then this chore may indeed prove more difficult than if a student were to choose a more popular destination. However, it has been found that such proactive effort is indeed good preparation for the off-campus experience.

Why does Dickinson charge a fee for participation in a non-Dickinson program?

The study abroad fee that Dickinson charges is for a number of services provided to students, many of them "behind the scenes." The fee does defray costs for providing access to a range of Dickinson resources and services to students while they are participating in non-Dickinson programs.  Specifically, these resources and services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Facilitation of Dickinson course registration for the semester following the student's time away from campus;
  • Facilitation of housing placement for the semester following the student's time away from campus;
  • Access to Dickinson email, Moodle, and all electronic resources and tools;
  • Access to Dickinson library's holdings, its staff, and its research capabilities;
  • Pre-departure and re-entry programming and materials;
  • Non-confidential consultations with the Wellness Center, in the event that it is needed;
  • Supplemental international health insurance coverage;
  • Emergency evacuation coverage from the program site abroad in the event of a health or security emergency; and
  • Facilitation of the credit-transfer process for academic coursework completed while participating in the non-Dickinson program.
  • Communication with the host program regarding logistical issues and student life matters.

Financial Help for Airfare Costs

For students receiving financial assistance, it may be difficult to purchase a ticket with personal funds prior to financial aid being dispersed. In this case, students may apply for a "Bridge Loan," which is a loan from Dickinson College explicitly for the purpose of purchasing a plane ticket for a credit-bearing Dickinson study abroad program. Inquiries and applications should be made to the Student Accounts Office a couple of weeks in advance of when you need the funds.

Bridge loans are not available to students with past due balances on their student account. Verification of pending financial aid to cover the amount of the Bridge Loan is part of the acceptance process for these loans. The Bridge Loan will appear as a charge on a student's account and will be paid off with financial aid once aid is dispersed. The cost of a bridge loan is 1.5% per month until your financial aid arrives to cover your balance.

For more information, or to apply for a Bridge Loan, students should inquire with:

The Office of Student Accounts
Holland Union Building
Dickinson College
(717) 245-1953

Application to and Selection for Non-Dickinson Programs 

Students may participate in a non-Dickinson program only when they can demonstrate compelling reasons why a Dickinson Program or Partner Program cannot fulfill their academic objectives. Students interested in a non-Dickinson program should contact the Center for Global Study and Engagement for selection criteria and details on how to apply.

Students may not apply to programs with the same academic focus as Dickinson Programs or Partner Programs, nor may they apply to programs in countries that host Dickinson Programs or Partner Programs, without demonstrating compelling academic reasons why they choose not to apply to the Dickinson Program or Partner Program. The location of the alternative program will not be considered a compelling reason in and of itself and students are not permitted to apply to multi-country non-Dickinson programs. Students will be expected to study on Dickinson or Dickinson Partner Programs except when:

  • The student’s academic major cannot be accommodated by a Dickinson Program or Partner Program;
  • The student applies to, but is not accepted into, a Dickinson Program or Partner Program.

Under no circumstances may a student study, enroll or register independently at an institution where a Dickinson Program or Partner Program currently exists. If a student does study, enroll or register at one of these institutions, the student will receive no transfer credit in any subject for the coursework.

Before applying to a program directly, students interested in a non-Dickinson program must:

  • Schedule an appointment with Katie DeGuzman, Director of Education Abroad in the Center for Global Study and Engagement (CGSE)
  • Make sure the program meets the academic and intercultural standards of Dickinson College
  • Get support from their academic advisor and relevant faculty for their specific academic goals, including why this program better meets their needs than a Dickinson or Partner program.
  • Complete a petition application to the CGSE that goes to the Global Engagement Advisory Committee for final review.

If a student is accepted by Dickinson for study on a non-Dickinson program, the student is given a letter of permission and can then apply directly to the host program. If a student applies to a program without official approval from Dickinson College, the credits from the program will not transfer.

Transfer Credit Policies for Semester and Academic Year Programs

For courses taken at a non-Dickinson program, the equivalent letter grades earned are recorded on the Dickinson transcript, but the grade is not included in the Dickinson GPA. Although Dickinson students will not earn credit for grades of C- or below, the letter grades will nonetheless appear on the transcript.

Upon return to the Carlisle campus, students must complete an Enrollment in Another Institution Form. Seniors are required to submit these forms prior to the course request period for their last semester. If the form is not in the Registrar's Office by that time, the student will not be permitted to participate in course request.

Please note that the Enrollment in Another Institution Form is required whether a student is seeking major, minor, distribution, or general credit. After obtaining the required signatures, the student should bring the form to the Center for Global Study and Engagement for approval by the Director of Global Education. The form will then be forwarded to the Registrar's Office. Students should work directly with their host program to ensure that an official transcript is sent to the Registrar's Office as soon as possible after the program ends.