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Off-Campus and Study Abroad Programs at Non-ESF Institutions

Students who wish to study off-campus as part of their academic program must obtain ESF approval prior to applying to a program.

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ESF Eligibility Requirements for
Off-Campus Study

  • ESF undergraduate student who has completed at least 30 credits towards bachelor’s degree; and
  • ESF undergraduate student who has achieved a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

A students who does not meet one of the eligibility requirements, may seek to have the requirement waived by submitting a Petition to the Faculty (available at the Registrar’s Office). The student must provide adequate justification for the request and submit any appropriate supporting documentation. The Petition Form must be signed by the student’s Academic Advisor and Curriculum Coordinator and then submitted to the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies (227 Bray Hall) in order for the Associate Provost of Instruction to make a determination.

If the Petition is approved by the Associate Provost of Instruction, the student may continue with the ESF off-campus study approval process.  A copy of the approved Petition must be submitted with the Off-Campus Study Request Form.

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ESF Off-Campus Study Approval Process

Students who meet eligibility requirements must complete the Off-Campus Study Request Form, and attach a copy of the course descriptions for proposed courses you will take. All materials must be submitted to the Office of International Education. If the Office of International Education is closed, you may submit materials to the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies.

As part of your request, you will have to select the courses you intend to take off-campus and consult with your academic advisor to determine how they fit into your ESF academic program. You must enter the courses you will take abroad into the Academic Plan section of the Off-Campus Study Request Form (page 2), and obtain the authorization of your academic advisor, curriculum coordinator, and finally the Associate Provost for Instruction.

If your off-campus study request is approved, you may proceed with applying to the desired program. The Coordinator of International Education would be able to sign any application forms requiring a study abroad advisor's signature at this time.

Approved students will receive an additional form in the approval notification email, the Approved Off-Campus Study Data Form. This form will require students to meet with the Financial Aid and the Bursar in order to discuss how their off-campus study will impact their ESF student status, financial aid package, and Bursar's bill for the semester(s) off-campus. Students who are approved to attend an off-campus program ARE NOT automatically eligible for financial aid to pay for their program. The Financial Aid requirements vary and you must meet with the Financial Aid office to determine if the program can be funded.

The completed Approved Off-Campus Study Data Form must be submitted to the Office of International Education with a copy of your letter of acceptance to the off-campus program, information regarding billing procedures for the program, and flight information prior to the off-campus experience. Additional information for students who have been approved by ESF to study off-campus is available online.

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Off-Campus Study Programs & Opportunities

Programs Offered through Non-ESF Institutions

  • Studying within the SUNY System
    Off-campus programs provided by another SUNY school are available at SUNY tuition rates (plus associated off-campus study fees); off-campus program tuition and fees are billed by the SUNY-ESF Bursar and will appear in the student account bill for the applicable semester(s).

    Students are still required to complete the Off-Campus Study Request Process and have their courses pre-approved prior to applying to the SUNY program. Students should enroll in a major-specific section of a 496 course (e.g., EFB 496) for the semester you will be off-campus: this will maintain your student status and financial aid eligibility at SUNY-ESF.  After submitting an official transcript to the registrar, credits for courses in which a “C” or higher is earned will be accepted for transfer, though the course grades will not be transferred.

    A searchable database of SUNY programs is available on the main SUNY website. Students can search for programs by term and location. You can also search the SUNY Study Abroad Guide for program options.
  • ESF Affiliate Programs
    SUNY-ESF has established affiliations with institutions that may be of particular interest to you. Our affiliations are: School for Field Studies, Wildlands Studies and SEA Semester.

    Students are still required to complete the Off-Campus Study Request Process and have their courses pre-approved prior to applying to the SUNY program. Students should enroll in a major-specific section of a 496 course (e.g., EFB 496) for the semester you will be off-campus: this will maintain your student status and financial aid eligibility at SUNY-ESF.  After submitting an official transcript to the registrar, credits for courses in which a “C” or higher is earned will be accepted for transfer, though the course grades will not be transferred.
  • Studying Off-Campus with a Non-SUNY, Non-Affiliated Program
    SUNY-ESF students are encouraged to select the program that best will meet their personal, educational, and professional development goals. Accordingly, ESF students may participate in any program as long as they obtain approval via the ESF Study Abroad Request Process prior to applying.

ESF Programs

  • Short-Term Faculty-Led Courses
    SUNY-ESF offers several faculty-led, short-term academic courses during spring break and the summer session. Course offerings change by semester. Since the courses are offered by ESF, students enroll in the course directly. The credits and grades earned will appear on students’ transcripts.
  • SUNY-ESF Semester Exchange Programs
    SUNY-ESF currently offers two exchange programs with foreign partners-- Munich University of Applied Sciences and Sichuan University. Exchange participants enroll in courses abroad but continue to pay ESF tuition rates while enrolled in the program.

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Registering for the Academic Semester You Will Be Studying Off-Campus

  • Participation in an ESF Short-Term Program or SU Study Abroad Program in one of their Overseas Centers (not one of their World Partners programs)
    If you will participate in an ESF faculty-led program, please follow the enrollment instructions provided by the course instructor. If you will participate in a Syracuse University study abroad program at one of their overseas centers (Beijing, Florence, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Santiago, or Strasbourg), consult the SU Abroad office regarding enrolling in courses for your semester abroad. Your transcript for your ESF course or semester abroad at the SU Overseas Center will indicate the exact courses you enroll in and grade received. You will not need to transfer the credits back to SUNY-ESF.
  • Participation in a Non-ESF Off-Campus Study Program including the SU World Partners Program
    During the registration period for the semester you will be off-campus, you must either file a paper registration form indicating enrollment in a major-specific section of a 496 course (e.g., EFB 496) for off-campus study/ study abroad for the semester you will be off-campus or if you are unable to enroll via a paper registration form, kindly ask your advisor to contact the registrar directly in order to arrange for a major-specific 496 enrollment. This must be completed prior to your departure; this action maintains your ESF student status while you are off-campus and as well as your eligibility to receive ESF financial aid as long as you qualify for it and meet the full-time enrollment requirements. Failure to enroll in a 496 course for your off-campus study will result in you being withdrawn from the College and, if you wish to return in the future, you will be required to re-apply for admission.

When you return from studying off-campus, you will have to submit your official transcript from the off-campus program to the Registrar’s Office. The credits for courses in which you achieve a C or higher will then be transferred in (not the grades). The off-campus study experience will appear on your transcript as "Advanced Standing Credit" and the University who the credit was earned through and the number of credits earned will be noted.

Educational Systems Around the World

As you go about selecting a study abroad location and preparing to study abroad, you may find it helpful to review the Online Guide to Educational Systems Around the World.

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Study Abroad/ Off-Campus Planning FAQ's 

Q: When should I start panning for my off-campus or study abroad experience?
A: You should start planning a year before you intend to study abroad/off-campus. This gives you ample time to find a program that meets your academic needs and personal interests, to meet with your advisor to discuss your course selection, to complete the ESF off-campus study approval process, to submit your application to the program administrator, and to determine how you will finance the experience. You may find it helpful to review the The Study Abroad Handbook in order to help plan for and select a program that meets your academic and personal interests.

Q: When is the best time to study off-campus for a semester?
A: Undergraduate students typically study off-campus during their sophomore or junior year.

Q: How will I pay for it?
A: Off-campus study and study abroad may be funded partially or completely through scholarship, grants, and other such programs. Please review the funding resources above and check with the program administrator to see if any additional opportunities exist. Further, you may be able to include your off-campus study/study abroad experience in your financial aid plan. Please consult the ESF Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship for additional information about how studying off-campus may impact your financial aid package.

Q: How will it impact my program of study at ESF?
A: You are required to meet with your academic advisor to discuss the courses you intend to take and how they fit into your academic program. Together, you will complete the Academic Plan section of the Off-Campus Study Request Form in which you identify the courses you will take and the credits in your ESF program you would like them to fulfill upon transfer to ESF after completion of the program. Your advisor and the Curriculum Coordinator must sign off on your academic plan. The completedOff-Campus Study Request Form is reviewed by the Associate Provost for Instruction and forwarded to the General Education Committee for review if necessary. Your approved Off-Campus Study Request Form from acts a pre-approval for the transfer of credits from your off-campus study experience for each course you pass with a grade of “C” or better . Please note that if you are participating in a program other than a Syracuse University or SUNY-ESF program, only the credits will transfer back (not the grade).

Q: Does it have to be directly related to my major?
A: The program you select would be directly-related to course requirements you have not yet fulfilled in your ESF program of study. Some students choose to take science-based courses related to their major; others take their elective courses. Consider how the courses will fit into your ESF program of study and if they will meet your graduation course requirements. These items should be discussed with your academic advisor.

Q: What other things should I be thinking about?
A: Passport and visa acquisition, health and travel insurance, finances, immunizations, safety, leisure are a few things to consider as you begin to plan your study abroad experience. Additional information about these topics is available on the "approved students" webpage.

If you do not have comprehensive health insurance with medical evacuation and repatriation, you may purchase the SUNY plan serviced by Haylor, Freyer & Coon at the Cashier's Office.


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