Skip to content

Study Abroad Policies

Policies for Study Abroad (non Faculty-Led)

These policies apply to programs administered by the Office of International Engagement (IE) such as exchange and affiliated programs.  For policies related to MSU Faculty-Led programs, please go here.

Residency Requirements and Study Abroad:

Students may study abroad for a maximum of two (2) semesters. Students wishing to extend their study abroad program beyond two semesters must seek approval from the Director of Study Abroad and their Department Chair.

Seniors: Students may study abroad in their senior year. However, students should ensure through careful consultation with their study abroad advisor and faculty adviser(s) that such study does not result in an unanticipated delay of graduation.  Most students studying in the final semester of their senior year will not receive their overseas transcript in time for their scheduled graduation date and may or may not be back in time to walk in the graduation ceremony.   

Study Abroad programs offered through IE are eligible for resident credit.  For seniors, the 24 hour residency requirement is satisfied on an approved Study Abroad program. 

Transfers:  Students who transfer into Montclair State University may participate in an approved study abroad program for a maximum of two semesters.
Second Semester Freshmen:  Freshman who wish to study abroad during the second semester of their freshman year must submit academic performance reports from each course in which they are currently enrolled. The reports must be signed and must indicate that the student's current anticipated course grade is a C+ or better.  Additionally they must submit their high school transcript that indicates a grade point average of 3.0 or better. An interview with the Director of Study Abroad and International Programs is also required.

Faculty-Led Programs: Because students register directly for MSU courses, they are considered “in residence” and no further action is required.

Application Deadlines:

Students, who hope to study abroad as a Montclair State University student, are advised to begin talking to their academic advisor(s) early in their studies. The first semester of their first year is not too early to begin this discussion.

Application deadlines are as follows:
October 1 for Spring programs
March 1 for Summer programs
March 1 for Fall & Academic Year programs

*Some programs may have different deadlines.  Please check the dates carefully for your selected program.

Deadlines are strictly adhered to.  
Students are responsible for checking the program provider/host’s deadline for their study abroad program, as this deadline may occur before the Montclair State University deadline.

Attendance at Study Abroad Workshops:

Students who wish to participate in a study abroad program must attend the mandatory Pre-Departure workshops held by IE, typically three workshops are scheduled:
  1. Policies and Procedures
  2. Health and Safety Abroad
  3. Cultural Adjustment and Awareness
Students not in attendance may be withdrawn from their study abroad program at the cost of the students.  

Program Eligibility and Approval:

Program-specific eligibility and approval criteria and processes, application documents, fees and application deadlines can be found on the brochure web page of your Study Abroad program.

Approval for study abroad is conducted on a rolling basis up to and including the application deadlines set by IE.  Approval is granted to students who meet the 2.5 minimum grade point requirement, submit all required application materials by the deadline, receive a positive reference, and meet disciplinary and financial requirements.
Approval and Acceptance happens in two phases.  In Phase I (pre-decision), students apply to Study Abroad through the IE Study Abroad website.  Once approved for study abroad, students are nominated to overseas programs for acceptance and placement. During phase II (post-decision), students must complete all post-decision application requirements and attend all mandatory pre-departure workshops.
Details of the Phase I process are available on the website

Students With Disciplinary Records:  Students with an active disciplinary file are not eligible to participate in study abroad.  Students with closed records may apply and will be considered on a case by case basis.  Disciplinary records of all applicants will be reviewed.


The Office of International Engagement reserves the right to withdraw a student from a study abroad program prior to departure for any of the following reasons:
  • Disciplinary Action
  • Cumulative GPA falling below 2.5
  • Failure to make payment or complete necessary application steps
The Office of International Engagement reserves the right to withdraw a student from a study abroad program while abroad for any of the following reasons:
  • Violation of Code of Conduct Agreement
  • Failure to make payment
All withdrawals based on the above conditions will be at the cost of the student.  Student may owe significant program fees to study abroad providers and/or hosts.

If a student chooses to withdraw from a program either prior to or while abroad, student is responsible for all costs associated with withdrawal, including balances due to Montclair State University, program providers, and/or host schools, travel costs, etc.

Travel Policy:

Montclair State University will not operate, pay for, supervise, direct, or otherwise support a study abroad program, research program, or other course or program for any students (undergraduate, graduate, professional) in a portion of a country where a Department of State Travel Warning (“Travel Warning”) is in effect.

If a student has an application in process or accepted but has not yet departed, the student will be informed that their program has been suspended and the Study Abroad fee will be returned.  The Study Abroad Office will make every effort to assist the student in making alternative arrangements for the semester, however.

Students who are already abroad may be required to return to the U.S. if the Department of State issues a warning that applies to country in which they are studying. The University will work with these students, their families, and the programs to decide the best course of action at that time. 

Overseas Health and Security Insurance Policy:

Montclair State University requires all study abroad students to enroll in the contracted overseas health and security insurance plan for the entire period of time they are studying abroad, regardless of any other coverage they might have through their parents, Montclair State, their host institution/country or their study abroad program.

Before departure, the enrollment of every student will be verified by the IE staff. Policy details, benefits and costs are available on the Study Abroad website.


All students approved to participate in study abroad for the semester or summer will be registered for a Study Abroad placeholder course at Montclair State called INTL 401 – Study Abroad, for 12 credits (semester program) or 3-6 credits (summer program). This placeholder course, INTL 401 Study Abroad will serve to maintain your enrollment and priority (for registration, housing, etc.) at Montclair State while you are away. This course will stay on your transcript. When you return, the name of the school, course names and actual credits earned will be transferred to your MSU transcript. If you are participating in an exchange program, you will be charged for tuition and fees by MSU Student Accounts.  If you are enrolled in an affiliated (not exchange) program, MSU there are no charges billed by MSU Student Accounts for this course.   IE will register you for the course. 

Before you leave, your responsibilities are:
  • To ensure there are no holds on your account
  • To ensure you are not registered for any other courses at MSU while abroad*
  • To ensure you have been successfully registered for the correct course section before you depart
While abroad, it will be your responsibility to register for your MSU courses for the following term.  While abroad, registration for the following semester may be conducted via NEST. If you are unable to log on from overseas, you will have to make arrangements with your proxy to register you via NEST. A reliable friend or parent should have full knowledge of your plans and be able to verify that the necessary steps for registration are followed. Give your registration pin number (if needed) and Social Security number or MSU CWID to your proxy. The proxy should also be responsible for supplying you with a current class schedule. For more information about registering, please refer to the Registrar’s Office.
Course Selection at Your Host Institution:

Your host institution will provide you with the information necessary to register for classes.  Keep in mind that Study Abroad participants frequently will not know the exact courses they will be taking until they arrive. 

As part of your application, you prepared a preliminary selection of courses. You selected courses that could be appropriate for you at the host institution.  Using the “Request to Work at Another Institution” form, you received pre-approval from the chairpersons of your major, minor or GER. Please keep your copy of this form and give the original to the Study Abroad Office, as this may be your only proof that the course substitutions were to be accepted upon your return

Please be aware that neither MSU nor the host institution guarantees course availability upon your arrival at the host institution. However, you MUST BE REGISTERED FULL TIME (equivalent of at least 12 MSU credits) at your host institution in order to retain matriculated status and retain financial aid.

Please remember: In order for the courses to count at MSU, you are required to register at the host institution for the equivalent of at least 12 US credits, and you must receive a grade of C- or better for the credits to transfer back to MSU. You must not take any Pass/Fail courses overseas, since they will not transfer back.

Credit Transfer:

Montclair State students retain campus residency while studying abroad.  You will be enrolled in a generic course for study abroad. Your host institution will send an official transcript to the Study Abroad Office upon completion of your program.  Depending on the institution, the transcript may be received quickly or it may take several weeks.  It is YOUR responsibility to confirm that your transcript was received at MSU.

Once IE has your transcript, academic reports prepared by IE will transfer host university credits (as long as grades are considered a C- or above). They then become a part of your official Montclair State transcript. Only the credits are transferred, not the grades.  Courses taken overseas do not affect GPA.

With Departmental approval, you can apply study abroad credits to your major and/or minor requirements. If you plan ahead, your Advisor can work with you to find a program that will not set you behind. Remember:
  • You must be enrolled full time at your overseas institution.
  • The overseas institution will send your official transcript to IE
  • All credits transfer to MSU as free elective credits unless you have written approval by the appropriate MSU department chair to make a substitution for major, minor or Gen Ed requirements.
  • It may take several weeks for MSU to receive and process your transcript after the completion of your program.
It is imperative for the transfer of your courses into your major, minor, or GERs that you have departmental approval by having the form ”Request to Work at Another Institution” completed.  You must submit this form to the Study Abroad Office.  If you wish for the credits to count for free electives you just need to notify the Study Abroad Office.

Credit Equivalencies:
Credit systems vary greatly among institutions, and it is the students' responsibility to make certain that they know how many credits each course is worth. Information on the credit system used by the host institution/program may be available on relevant program brochure, and/or the Study Abroad Adviser can help students in this determination.
Many overseas institutions use a different credit system than the US system.  In most cases, the credit conversion formula is available on the program's MSU brochure page.  In general, for institutions using the ECTS credit system, the formula is 2ECTS credits = 1MSU credit.  For institutions in the UK using the UK credit system, the common conversion is 20UK credits = 5MSU credits.  In any case, please be sure to confirm the credit conversion formula for your particular program with the Study Abroad Office at MSU before you go*

Grade Policy:
  • You will receive credit for courses you take for a grade (not pass/fail option)
  • You will receive credit for courses you pass with the US-equivalent of C- or better (courses in which you receive a D or F will get no credit)
  • Only credits will transfer back to MSU, not the grades.  Your GPA at MSU will be the same as it was when you left
  • If you apply to grad school or some jobs, you may be required to show your overseas transcripts with grades - so do your best!
Financial Aid:

Students wishing to use their Financial Aid to subsidize their Study Abroad program should be aware of the following restrictions:

Exchange Programs:
Students participating in an Exchange Program are eligible to use all of the federal, state and institutional aid for which they qualify.

Affiliated Programs:
Students participating in an Affiliated Program are eligible to use all of the federal aid for which they qualify. State aid may not be used to support Affiliated Study Abroad programs. Institutional aid and external scholarships may be used in some cases. It is the responsibility of the student to check eligibility.

Please check the Financial Aid information for more details.

If you do not know if your program is an “exchange” or “affiliated” program, please check the program page on this website or speak with your Study Abroad Advisor.

In many cases, the cost of a study abroad program may be more expensive than the cost of studying at Montclair State University.

The student is responsible for all costs associated with his/her program. MSU will not make any payments to your study abroad host.

The student is responsible for checking his/her student account while abroad to ensure that the correct aid has been applied for the semester.

Billing - Montclair State University Semester Exchange Programs:

You will be billed through your MSU student account by the Student Accounts Office.  Your account will be charged the flat-rate 12-18 credits of tuition and fees. The cost will be equivalent to a semester of tuition and fees at MSU.  (or 3-6 credits for a summer exchange). You will make payment directly to Student Accounts. 

You will be billed directly by the overseas university or housing organization for housing and you should pay them directly.

All other costs are to be arranged and paid directly by the student. Other costs may include:
  • Airfare
  • Local transportation
  • Insurance
  • Visa Fees
  • Meals
  • Personal Expenses
Billing – Montclair State University Affiliated Programs:

Providers: These are programs run by third-party providers.  The provider may be a non-profit (i.e., SIT) or for-profit private company (i.e., ISA and CEA) that runs study abroad programs for universities around the country.  Montclair State has partnered with these providers to offer programs for Montclair students. These programs will bill you directly. You are responsible for paying on time and in full to these providers per their instructions.

Institutions: These are universities, colleges or programs abroad that have been approved by Montclair State for study abroad. Institutions include DIS, CESP, SACI, and Semester at Sea.

Billing may vary according to institution. In most cases, you will receive an invoice for your tuition and fees and possibly housing after you have been accepted.  Sometimes the bill will be due before you leave, sometimes after. In any case, please communicate directly with the host institution to pay them directly.  Montclair State will not bill for these programs.