International and Domestic Programs FAQs

Getting Started

What are my first steps if I’m interested in studying off-campus?

Students interested in applying for international programs must either attend a Getting Started with the IDPO information session or view the Getting Started video series and take a short quiz to demonstrate their understanding of the College’s policies and process for international programs. Then, students will be welcome to schedule a meeting with an international programs advisor to discuss their goals and interests for study abroad along with current health, safety, and travel considerations.

Students interested in applying for a domestic program must schedule a meeting with the domestic programs advisor but do not need to attend an information session.

Will I be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to participate in international and domestic programs?

All Pomona College students are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 with the initial series and at least one booster unless the individual qualified for an exemption based on medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs. This includes students participating in international and domestic programs. It is important to be aware that in addition to Pomona College’s requirement, certain programs, countries, and airlines may require vaccination for participation, entry, or travel, respectively. Students who are granted an exemption from Pomona College and students who have concerns about their ability to complete vaccination or get a booster prior to their program should meet with an advisor to discuss these factors in the context of their program and location.

What if I need to apply for a passport (new/renewal)?

If you do not currently have a passport or if your passport is expiring within six months after the end of your intended program, you should begin the application/renewal process as soon as possible. Keep in mind that in most cases, you would need a valid passport to apply for a student visa and to book a flight. You can find information about applying for U.S. passports on the U.S. Department of State website. Students with non-U.S. passports should check passport processing information and timelines with their passport-issuing country.

International and Domestic Programs Eligibility

When am I eligible to study off-campus?

Students are eligible to participate in an international or domestic program during the second semester of their sophomore year through the first semester of senior year. Participation by sophomores and seniors is rare, and interested students should consult with their faculty advisor to confirm that their preferred semester will work with their academic plan. Students must be on-campus during the semester preceding graduation.

Am I eligible to participate in study away after a leave of absence?

Students on leave are not eligible to apply for study away. Students who have been on leave status must successfully complete one academic semester (fall or spring) of full-time coursework at Pomona College before participating in an international or domestic program.

I am a science major or on the pre-health track – can I study away?

Absolutely. There are a variety of programs that offer science courses, both in English and in other languages. If you are a science major or pre-health student interested in studying abroad or on a domestic program, please discuss your plan with your faculty advisor and a prehealth advisor as early as possible.

Application Process

What is the “Two-Step Application Process”?

Approval for study away is a two-step process. All international and domestic programs require a Pomona College application; most also require a secondary application in addition to the Pomona College application. All applicants are reviewed by the International and Domestic Programs Committee and, if approved by Pomona College, nominated to the respective program. Each program then has its own selection criteria which may differ from the criteria used by Pomona College. The number of applications program providers receive from other colleges nationally may also affect the selection process and some programs may become competitive.

Can I submit an application to more than one program?

No. Students are expected to have chosen their program at the time of application. We encourage students to speak with program returnees, peer mentors, faculty liaisons, and an International and Domestic Programs advisor for more information regarding programs. Students who are accepted to study away by Pomona College and who are not accepted by their program provider may, at that time, file a second-choice application. Students in internally competitive pools such as the Pomona College Cambridge Program may file a second-choice application after they receive notification of their application result.

May I use the same essays I write for my Pomona application for my secondary application?

Possibly. The Pomona College essays may be similar to the essay required by your program provider. If so, by all means, use the same essay. If the essay question on your secondary application differs, you may need to adapt your Pomona College essay or write another essay that answers the prompt.

I need to submit a language evaluation for the Pomona College application for study abroad. Can the same faculty member. Who completes this form also write a faculty recommendation for me?

Yes! You should have faculty who can best comment on your preparation for your program write your recommendation. This may be the same person who also evaluates your language level. Please note that some secondary applications also require a language evaluation that may, or may not, be completed by the same person who writes your recommendation. Be sure to read the secondary application instructions carefully before asking your language evaluator/recommender. In addition, please make sure the recommendation is from a faculty member with whom you have taken a course.

My program requires me to have completed “four semesters college-level Spanish, French, etc.” – what does this mean?

Four semesters of college-level language is equivalent to having completed Spanish 44, French 44, German 44, Russian 44, Arabic 44, Chinese 51b, or Japanese 51b. You may fulfill this requirement if you are a native speaker of the language or if you studied the previously and place into 101/111a or higher on the relevant language placement exam at Pomona College. Most programs, however, require a recent language course to have been taken within one year of anticipated study abroad. Native speakers of the language who have never taken formal classes in the language may find an advanced level course involving significant academic writing helpful to prepare for university-level academic coursework in the language.

Some programs require three years of language, etc. – this is the equivalent of six college semesters, or the equivalent (i.e., two 100-level college language courses).

My program/university does not provide a list of available courses until I arrive onsite – how should I complete my curriculum proposal?

Many universities publish their course listings on their website. If you are not able to easily locate them, your program provider (e.g., Middlebury, IES, IFSA, CIEE, etc.) can help you find them or may be able to provide you with last year’s listings as a guide. Students may also access program feedback forms from program returnees which include comments on individual courses. It is most important that you identify the academic departments in which you want to study since students at most universities overseas take classes only in one department for their entire college career. You should also look carefully at the level, e.g., 2nd year, 3rd year etc. of courses in a given department since many courses require you to have completed particular prerequisites. So, if you do not have a complete course list you can write “3rd year English class” etc., or write the title of the course that you hope to take.

Finally, the courses that you list on your Pomona College application Curriculum Proposal are only preliminary selections in most cases. Investigate your choices as carefully as you can, but remain flexible. Once onsite, you should email your course listings to the Director of International and Domestic Programs for approval.

My secondary application asks for a billing address – what should I write?

Send bills to the attention of: International and Domestic Programs Office, Pomona College, 265 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, tel. (909) 621-8154, fax. (909) 621-8591, email:

My secondary application asks me where my transcript should be sent – what should I write?

The Registrar for International and Domestic Programs is the Director of International and Domestic Programs. All transcripts should be directed to our office. Please have your program sponsor mail transcripts to: International and Domestic Programs Office, Pomona College, 265 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, tel. (909) 621-8154, fax. (909) 621-8591, email:

Where can I get photos taken for my passport application?

The TCCS Connection, at the south entrance of Honnold Mudd library, can take official passport photos. Most drugstores, such as CVS and Walgreens, also offer an official passport photo service. In the village, Claremont Photo & Video also offers this service. The Office of Housing & Residential Life can take photos for your program application or ID cards, however these do not meet official requirements for U.S. passport photos.

I am ready to submit my application to the international and domestic programs office – what should I remember?

  • Your application must be complete by the deadline to be considered.
  • If you are still in the process of applying for your passport, indicate the date that you expect to receive it in your application. Then, send us a copy when you receive it.
  • You are responsible for submitting your secondary application directly to the program sponsor, unless otherwise noted in your secondary application instructions.
  • Most programs have waived the application fee for Pomona College students, but there are some programs that require students to pay the application fee upfront. If your program requires you to pay an application fee when applying, you may submit a reimbursement request to the Assistant Director of International Programs. Please keep all documentation and receipts to file the reimbursement.

General Questions

How do I get credit for my major?

Credit for your major is awarded by the department chair of your major.

You should meet with the chair of your major department during the application process to preliminarily determine if an anticipated course may count toward major credit. You should bring the department chair a copy of the course description and obtain their signature on your Pomona College application. You may also wish to complete a Preliminary Request for Major/Minor Credit form to document approval obtained ahead of time. Final approval may be granted only after you have returned from your program and presented course syllabi, reading lists, papers, exams etc.

Can I fulfill GE requirements while off-campus?

No, GE requirements may not be fulfilled while participating in an international or domestic program.

The one exception is for students wishing to meet the College’s language GE requirement. Upon return from your program, you would need to complete the relevant language placement exam to determine whether you meet the requirement.

What does study away cost?

Students are charged Pomona College tuition and the standard room & board fees for the semester off-campus. The Associated Students Fee is not charged. Students on financial aid continue receiving aid for the semester off-campus.

More information can be found on the Fees and Expenses page.

Can I study away for more than one semester?

Applications for year-long study away or two different semester programs will be considered by the IDPC only if there are exceptional academic reasons for a second semester of off-campus study. If you are interested in either a year-long program or two different programs you should discuss this with your academic advisor and with an international and domestic programs advisor.

In addition, please review the Selection Process page.

Can I do an internship during my program?

There may be credit or non-credit internships available to students in study away programs. If you are interested in this option, you should refer to your program description and discuss internship guidelines with an international and domestic programs advisor.

Can I volunteer during my program?

Many programs will help you investigate opportunities for volunteering with a local organization or school during your semester away. Students often find this experience helps them to engage with local community members and offers more flexibility and free time than internships.

Can I work during my program?

Whether you can work depends on the national regulations of the country in which you study. In most cases, information about whether you can legally work while you are studying off-campus is available from the Embassy of the country in which you are studying. Your program provider may be able to provide additional guidance on regulations and opportunities in the local community.