Planning Study Abroad

When should I study abroad?

Study abroad when it best suits your academic and personal goals. Begin planning and meet with MISTI for advising during your first year. For IAP and summer programs, you may participate as early as your first year or the summer before your second year. For semester or year-long opportunities, these are most commonly undertaken in the third year.

I'm interested in studying abroad fall semester of sophomore year.

Complete the MISTI and program application process in your first year by the deadline (programs have variable deadlines). The MISTI approval process for fall sophomores includes advisor approval and a letter of recommendation. MISTI approval to study abroad will be contingent on a review of first-year spring grades.

I'm interested in studying abroad spring of senior year.

Consider the academic calendar where you plan to study. Calendars often do not synchronize with MIT commencement, transcripts from study abroad will be issued after the MIT grade deadlines, and credit transfer will not be finalized by the end of the MIT term. MISTI recommends studying abroad spring of senior year only if the subjects taken and credit received are not required for graduation (i.e. you are cleared for graduation prior to your term abroad) and you accept that most likely you will not be able to attend commencement back at MIT.

When should I start planning my study abroad experience?

As soon as possible! It's helpful to start planning for study abroad in your first year, so you can plan what courses you must take at MIT verses courses you could take during study abroad. 

Study Abroad Transfer Credits

Who is the Transfer Credit Examiner to approve my subjects?

You should consult the Transfer Credit Examiner (TCE) list to determine whom to contact.  For example, if you took a literature course, then you would contact the TCE from the Literature department.  Registrar’s Office Reminder: Students should consult the Transfer Credit Examiner before starting a study abroad program to ensure the subject is suitable for transfer credit and to check if a minimum grade is required.

When is the deadline to submit the Request for Additional Credit Form?

The completed form should be submitted to the Registrar's Office by the end of the eleventh week (drop date) of your first term back.  If your transcript has not yet arrived to MIT in enough time to meet this deadline, the Registrar’s Office will work with MISTI to add the credit to your record after this date.  You will not be penalized for a late transcript, but do make sure to request the transcript from the host institution at the beginning of your study abroad program. 

What if I don’t want or need transfer credit at MIT?

MISTI recommends that you request transfer credit, so you have the units reflected on your MIT record for possible use in the future.  It can be helpful to show the additional coursework you completed when applying for graduate school.  You can request transfer credit for general elective credit towards the total number of units required for graduation.  This can help reduce the number of units you need to take at MIT, or simply increase the number of units you took while at MIT.

What if I didn’t pass a course?

Transfer credit is similar to the Pass/No Record notations for subjects taken Freshmen year.  If you did not pass a course abroad, then the course is not eligible for transfer credit. You would not complete the Request for Additional Credit for a failed subject and the subject would not appear on your MIT transcript.

What do I do if I apply for graduate school and I don’t have the transfer credit on my transcript?

If you apply to graduate school in the future and need a confirmation that you participated in a particular study abroad program sometime during your undergraduate years, MISTI can provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program.  Contact our office at to request a letter. 

Additional Study Abroad Questions

What about housing when I return?

If you are in MIT campus housing before studying abroad, then you are guaranteed MIT campus housing when you return. Here's what you have to do to arrange it:

Reference the Housing office's information, forms, and process for study abroad.

You will receive your assignment via email in mid-to-late December for the spring term or in mid-to-late April for housing during the following term

How can I learn more about study abroad?