Off-campus study acts as a catalyst in a Denison education. Its purposeful combination of classroom and experiential learning provides students an opportunity to hone the analytical literacy and capacity for informed judgment and constructive social engagement that are associated with a liberal arts education.
Off-campus study also engenders independence and self-confidence. As students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences they develop strategies for effective communication and thoughtful moral/ethical decision-making in contexts of socio-cultural plurality.
Students interested in exploring off-campus study are required to make an appointment with OCS. These appointments are available starting in April of the first year and continuing through Thanksgiving break of the sophomore year. This allows students ample time to formulate appropriate learning outcomes for an off-campus study experience, to explore a range of options among the Denison-accepted programs, and to carefully consider issues such as timing of participation and integration with degree requirements.
Denison maintains a list of accepted off-campus programs that address the pedagogical and curricular concerns, as well as the academic standards, associated with a Denison liberal arts education. Since the list of accepted programs is subject to ongoing evaluation and adjustment, it is not printed in the catalog. The current list can be found at http://www.denison.edu/academics/offcampus/.
In rare cases, a student may propose study on a non-accepted program offering specialized curricular opportunities associated with the her/his major(s) that, after close collaboration with OCS, are not afforded by any of the programs on the accepted list. Approval for such proposals is made on an individual basis by the Director of OCS and does not set the precedent that study on a given program would be approved in future instances. Students who withdraw to attend a program without Denison’s approval are not eligible to receive transfer credit.
Campus visits by representatives from the educational partners who offer accepted programs, as well as individual discussions with returned students and faculty members with relevant expertise, also provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about specific program opportunities.
Second semester sophomores with a well-articulated academic trajectory, juniors, and first semester seniors are eligible to participate in off-campus study. First semester seniors, however, must also petition to have the senior residency requirements waived in order to receive final OCS approval. Students normally seek approval for one semester and/or a summer of off-campus study during their Denison career, though approval for an academic year of off-campus study is also possible. (Note that institutional financial aid may be applied to a maximum of one semester of study – see Financing Off-Campus Study.)
To pursue off-campus study for academic credit, students must first obtain Denison approval for such study and then apply for admission by the educational partner. Denison approval is granted through the four-stage OCS Proposal process. The student is also responsible for completing an abridged application with the appropriate educational partner. If the student receives Denison approval, OCS then forwards her/his proposal materials to the educational partner to complete the application file and allow for a final admission decision.
To be eligible for consideration, a student must enter the OCS Proposal process before Thanksgiving Break. Late proposals are only considered if there are documented academic, personal, family, or medical issues. Denison approval for off-campus study is granted on a rolling basis.
Denison approval is granted only if the student is adequately prepared both academically and personally for the proposed off-campus program. The Denison evaluation criteria are as follows:
The proposed off-campus study program represents a well-defined continuation of the curricular and pedagogical goals of a Denison liberal arts education and the individual student’s academic program.
The student’s academic record, as evaluated by Denison, demonstrates clear evidence of curricular preparation and academic achievement appropriate to the proposed off-campus study program and the specific learning goals associated with the student’s proposal.
The student meets the Denison minimum eligibility requirements for off-campus study:
A student must complete a minimum of forty-eight credits prior to participation on an off-campus program. Transfer students must complete one year of study at Denison prior to participation on an off-campus program. These residency requirements do not apply to summer study.
A student must be enrolled at Denison the semester preceding off-campus study participation. A student who applies institutional aid to a program must also enroll at Denison the semester following the program. Failure to do so will result in a student being charged for the institutional aid that was awarded for off-campus study.
A student must be in good academic standing the semester preceding participation on a program. Denison reserves the right, however, to withdraw approval if there is a problematic shift in a student’s academic performance before the start of a program, even if a student is technically in good standing.
A student whose disciplinary probation ends during the first two weeks of classes at Denison for the semester during which she/he will be studying off-campus is eligible to propose off-campus study. A student whose disciplinary probation extends beyond that date is not eligible to pursue off-campus study until the following semester. Denison reserves the right, however, to withhold approval for any student who has a documented history of behavioral issues deemed inappropriate for off-campus study.
A student whose proposal is evaluated and approved while she/he is on disciplinary probation must address two special requirements. In such cases, the student is required to provide a statement addressed to the educational partner that explains the nature of the infraction and how it should bear on the partner’s admission deliberations. The student must also agree to grant the educational partner access, as seems appropriate, to the information contained in the Denison judicial records. If a student receives conditional approval and an additional disciplinary offense is adjudicated before participation on the off-campus study program, the approval will be withdrawn.
Last, Denison strives to accommodate the off-campus study proposals of all appropriately qualified students. However, there are two related points that have an impact on this policy. First, to facilitate optimal integration into the range of experiential learning contexts and communities associated with off-campus study, Denison has established a limit of ten participants per program for medium group programs and five participants per program for small group programs. Second, in order to utilize on-campus housing resources effectively, Denison will seek to split participation evenly between the fall and spring semesters. This is accomplished by awarding fall semester opportunities on a first-come, first-served basis according to the completion date for the OCS Proposal Stage I. Students who are not awarded a slot may request to be placed on the waiting list, which is also be ranked according to the completion date for the OCS Proposal Stage I.
To determine whether a given program is affordable, students should make certain to consider out-of-pocket expenses as well as the invoiced program fees. A comprehensive cost estimate for any given program on the Denison accepted list is available from the educational partner.
To promote off-campus study, Denison does not require students to pay its tuition or room/board fees during their term off-campus (except in the case of the Justus-Liebig-Universitat exchange). Denison presently charges a nominal administrative fee of $220 for a summer program, $660 for a semester program, and $760 for an academic year program to cover the administrative support associated with off-campus study.
Denison students may pursue one semester of off-campus study with institutional aid eligibility. While Denison does not provide institutional merit-based aid for off-campus study, institutional need-based aid is available for eligible students. A student’s eligibility is based on the estimated cost of participation for the proposed off-campus study program and the estimated family contribution from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal grants, state grants, and Federal loans are the initial sources for meeting financial need for eligible students. If a student’s need is not fully met by those funding sources, limited Denison grant funding is available to assist in meeting a portion of remaining need. OCS also awards a significant number of substantial grants, funded by the educational partners, for students who have unmet need after the Denison financial packaging process.
To be eligible to apply institutional need-based aid to an off-campus study program, students must complete their FAFSA by the late-March deadline advertised by the Denison Financial Aid Office. It is important to note that there are generally well fewer financial aid resources for summer study, and also that institutional financial aid does not apply to summer study except for the Great Opportunity (GO) program.
Denison requires that students participate fully and responsibly in all academic aspects of the proposed off-campus study program. Failure to do so will result in a grade of U (Unsatisfactory) for the off-campus study placeholder course listed on the Denison academic record for the term abroad.
Students must enroll for a minimum course-load of twelve transferable U.S. semester credits for each semester of off-campus study. Whatever the final course-load, it must include all courses that are mandated by the program curriculum (e.g. language courses, area studies courses, etc.). Students are limited to one course on an S/U grade base per semester, and the arrangements for such a choice must be made through the educational partner at the time of final registration.
To receive transfer credit for an off-campus study experience, students must seek pre-approval for courses they will pursue on their off campus program by completing OCS Proposal Stage IV. The University is under no obligation to transfer coursework or apply transferred coursework toward specific degree requirements unless that coursework has been approved in advance.
In general terms, students wishing to apply a course toward a major, minor, or concentration requirements must receive approval directly from the relevant department/program. Other coursework will be assessed for its relevance to the Denison curriculum through the combined efforts of the Registrar, OCS, and, as necessary, specific departments/programs.
All courses reported on the educational partner’s transcript are posted to the Denison academic record with course titles, credits, and grades. This includes any course for which a student receives a failing grade, even though credit will not be awarded. While these grades are not factored into the Denison cumulative grade point average, it is important to note that they could be factored into a composite grade point average should a student pursue graduate or professional school after graduating from Denison.
Students may apply for an Educational Enrichment Leave of Absence (EEL) to pursue experiential learning opportunities that are not credit bearing or structured educational opportunities whose coursework is not applicable to a Denison Baccalaureate degree. Examples of structured educational opportunities whose coursework is not applicable include the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Outward Bound, Semester at Sea, specialized technical or training programs, religious education, or culinary institutes. In the case of an EEL for an internship opportunity, a student may opt to pursue study at a local institution as an adjunct activity. This course-load may not exceed eight credits and must be approved in advance through the normal transfer credit evaluation process.
Students wishing to pursue an EEL are required to meet with and, ultimately, to submit a written rationale to OCS. The rationale must articulate a clear connection between the student’s Denison educational trajectory, broader educational goals, and proposed enrichment program.
During an EEL, the student retains her/his Denison enrollment deposit and information systems privileges. However, the student is considered withdrawn from Denison during her/his period of leave for the purposes of financial aid and loan deferment. EEL’s are usually for one semester, but may extend to an academic year in particular cases. See the Student Handbook for specific details regarding the processes for registration, housing, and financial aid following a leave. If a student does not enroll at Denison following the EEL, the leave reverts to a Withdrawal and the enrollment deposit is forfeited.
Denison strongly recommends that all students participating on an international off-campus program carry international medical and evacuation insurance coverage along with their domestic health insurance coverage. Denison also recommends that at least one parent/guardian obtain a passport so that travel will not be unduly delayed in the case of a student medical or personal emergency abroad.
Denison strongly recommends that all students avail themselves of the travel information available at the U.S. State Department (http://travel.state.gov/), Centers for Disease Control (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/), and World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) web sites. In particular, students should carefully consider the safety information included in State Department travel advisories for the country in which they are pursuing off-campus study and/or for any other country to which they are planning to travel during their time abroad.
Denison reserves the right to withdraw its approval for study on an off-campus program if a State Department travel warning or a CDC or WHO travel advisory is in place for the program location at the start of the program. Withdrawal of approval for an off-campus study program bars a student from receiving Denison credit for the program and from applying financial aid to the program costs. To make certain that a student may make an informed decision regarding participation on a program, the issue of potential loss of Denison approval for an accepted program will be brought to the student’s attention as far in advance of the program start date as is feasible.
In the case of a State Department travel warning or a CDC or WHO travel advisory arising after a program has started, Denison will work closely with the educational partner and other informed parties to determine an appropriate course of action. In the case of requiring that a student return home, Denison will pursue reasonable steps with the educational partner to mitigate the financial and academic impact of such an action.