Policies and Procedures - Semester and Year Long ProgramsEligibility and Academic Requirements
Health and Safety
Pre-Departure, While Overseas and Before Return
Co-Sponsored Program Information
See policies for Conduct and Discipline
Eligibility and Academic Requirements for Semester and Year-Long Programs
In addition to the program requirements that apply to all programs, students must satisfy the following criteria to be approved to participate in a semester or year-long program:
A student must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 to participate in a semester or year-long program. Some programs may require a higher average. Students below a 2.5 GPA may appeal to the Office of Study Abroad to seek approval. Students on academic or conduct probation may not appeal to study abroad.
- Students with sophomore, junior, or senior standing may study abroad. Courses taken on St. Thomas-approved study abroad programs during the senior year will meet the St. Thomas residency requirement.
- Transfer students applying to study abroad must complete at least one semester at St. Thomas before going abroad. If a transfer student applies to study abroad during their first semester on campus, grades from previous universities will be reviewed and approval will be conditional upon successful completion of the first semester at St. Thomas (i.e., student earns at least a 2.5 GPA, or higher if required of the student's chosen program).
- First year students who will achieve sophomore status by the end of their first semester at St. Thomas (typically because of AP or PSEO credits) must show completion of one semester's grades at St. Thomas in order to apply to study abroad for a semester or year.
- Students must clearly outline how their selected study abroad program will enable them to meet their personal and academic goals. Applicants must demonstrate knowledge of their host country.
- The Office of Study Abroad will review each complete application to determine St. Thomas approval, and will send approved applications on to the respective program or program director. The Office of Study Abroad also has the right to request additional interviews, in order to determine St. Thomas approval for study abroad, including whether the chosen program's format and requirements suits the student's background and abilities.
- The study abroad program must include study of the host country language if other than English. Students are encouraged to begin language study prior to leaving the United States.
- The student studying abroad for either a semester or a year is registered at St. Thomas as a full-time student and is required to earn at least 12 (semester) credits each semester.
- Credit earned by the student on approved abroad programs will normally transfer as credit toward general requirements for graduation. With specific approval of the department chair, credits for certain courses taken abroad may be applied toward major, minor, or allied requirements. Students studying abroad on other approved programs are responsible for speaking with their department chair to determine which credits will transfer towards major, minor or allied requirements.
- The student account in the Business Office must be current prior to participating in a St. Thomas Study Abroad program.
- The student studying abroad will be billed by the University of St. Thomas for the cost of the overseas program and an off-campus study fee: $650 for the semester, $325 for the second consecutive semester, and $275 for a short term program. Comprehensive fees vary from program to program.
- Financial aid, with the exception of work-study, may be used for study abroad. However, grants and scholarships may be reduced if your program’s tuition is less than the cost of full-time tuition on campus.
Transfer of credits
A number of study abroad programs offer courses worth 3 U.S. semester credits. The number of credits will NOT be changed when recorded at St. Thomas. Courses designated as 3 credits by the program provider are not changed to 4 credits when added to St Thomas transcripts.
- You are responsible for knowing how many credits you are taking abroad, and for the conversion of those credits if not already in U.S. semester hours. ASK your program for clarification!
- You must take the equivalent of AT LEAST 12 U.S. semester credits while abroad for a semester (e.g., four courses worth 3 credits each).
- Most students enrolled in a system with 3-credit courses for the semester do take five courses for a total of 15 credits. Being short this one credit usually does not become critical in meeting the 132 required minimum number of total credits to graduate from St. Thomas. Students may appeal to the Committee on Studies if they have fulfilled all course requirements but are short just one credit at the time of graduation.
Students on a non-co-sponsored program which has a U.S.- based office are required to complete a Study Abroad Consortium Agreement as part of their application to study abroad through St. Thomas. The Consortium Agreement requires the program to report to St. Thomas should a student withdraw before the program ends.
Be aware that transcripts can be delayed from some programs abroad. It must be understood that sometimes such delays are unavoidable and beyond the responsibility of St. Thomas. Neither can St. Thomas post credit until an official transcript is received from abroad.
To avoid delays, students should know that they are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for their program/university abroad to forward a transcript to St. Thomas. About six weeks after the end of your term abroad, check Murphy Online to verify that the transcript from abroad has arrived at St. Thomas. If your study abroad courses do not appear on your St. Thomas transcript, contact the Office or Study Abroad or Michael Glirbas in the Registrar’s Office to inquire. However, if your transcript has not arrived at St. Thomas, you must be the one to request it from your program.
Delayed transcripts can be especially problematic for student financial aid recipients who may need proof of credits earned or actual GPA for any given semester (e.g. veteran’s benefits or certain scholarships), for those who need the credits to advance a grade level, or to be in compliance with the St. Thomas policy for satisfactory academic progress.
If your transcript is not received in time for it to be posted to your St. Thomas record – this is typically by about the third Friday of October in fall and the third Friday of March in spring – your assigned time to register for the following semester will be delayed due to you showing a semester of attempted but not completed credit.
Transcripts: Grades and Credit
All students approved by the Office of Study Abroad to study abroad will have the course titles, credit, and grades from abroad appear on their St. Thomas transcript. Grades submitted to St. Thomas in a system other than letter grades will be converted based on a grading scale approved by the University of St. Thomas.
Working with the Office of Study Abroad staff guarantees elective credit for courses taken abroad for which the student has received a D- or better, with a few exceptions. St. Thomas will not grant credit for study skills or career exploration courses, courses that are below a college level (i.e. keyboarding or Math below Algebra), or athletic courses.
All students who are approved by the Office of Study Abroad will have a notation on their transcript indicating the program (or university), city, and country in which their coursework was completed.
Expectations for Taking Exams
St. Thomas students are expected to abide by the academic calendar of their host program or institution abroad by taking final exams when the students of the host country take their exams (i.e., not requesting early final exam date). Some programs require the permission of St. Thomas in order to grant such requests. Any requests to St. Thomas for permission for special exam dates should be sent in writing to the Office of Study Abroad Advisor, (e-mail is acceptable, send to firstname.lastname@example.org) and will be taken under consideration by the Study Abroad Appeals Committee. However, note that except for extenuating circumstances, such permission will not be granted by St. Thomas.
Contesting/Clarifying Grades from Abroad
If a student believes that a grade has been recorded in error from the program or university abroad, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the program directly and request that a revised transcript be sent directly to the St. Thomas Registrar’s Office. This policy also holds if a course or other information was listed incorrectly by the program abroad. No changes will be made by St. Thomas without official documentation from the program university abroad.
Program Evaluation Forms
Students are required to complete an evaluation form on their study abroad experience in order to receive the record of credit from abroad as it appears on their St. Thomas transcript. Evaluations are sent to all students at the end of their program and should be returned to St. Thomas Study Abroad.
Taking Courses S-D-R
Students may take a course S-D-R according to St. Thomas requirements (also see above section “Academic Requirements” and the St. Thomas course catalog). If students choose to take a course S-D-R, they must make arrangements with St. Thomas, not with their overseas program. By fax or email, the student must contact the Study Abroad Advisor to request the S-D-R option, and then take the course for a letter grade on the program or university abroad. St. Thomas will then record the appropriate S-D-R mark. If a student receives a letter grade of C- or above, the mark of S (satisfactory) will be given. If a mark of D+, D, or D- is earned, students may opt for either a D grade with credit or an R for no credit. Students choose the D or R option at the same time they make the S-D-R request.
Requests to take a course S-D-R must be made to the Office of Study Abroad within the first five weeks after classes abroad begin in a semester program, or within the first week of a January or summer program.
The Office of Study Abroad may grant approval for elective courses to be taken S-D-R. If the request is for a major or minor course, approval of the department chair is required. Core requirements may not be fulfilled using the S-D- R option.
Placement in Language Levels Abroad
All language programs abroad require a placement exam upon arrival in order to determine in which level the student will be placed. If the placement level falls just below that which the St. Thomas language faculty approved for the student prior to departure (for example, if you are placed in the equivalent of the 200 level (intermediate) when the equivalent of the 300-level (advanced) was expected), the student must work with the chair of Modern and Classical Languages (or designated Language Coordinator) to review the course and determine how the course will transfer back to St. Thomas. The student is responsible for initiating this review and for seeing that the results of the decision are communicated by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages to the Registrar's Office.
The student is strongly encouraged to request the review of the course syllabi during the first week of classes abroad, but if verification cannot be completed at that time, the student can begin the process upon his/her return. The student should save all materials from the course – including syllabus, textbook, handouts, written assignments, and tests. This review will determine whether the course was actually a progression since the short course descriptions for study abroad and St. Thomas may be very similar but course content may be very different. There are no guarantees as to how the credit will be counted and the review must be conducted to determine the final outcome. Anything for which you receive credit below the 300 level does not count towards the major or minor in French, German, or Spanish. Also note: if the student finds him/herself placed in the 'wrong' level after a couple of class sessions abroad, s/he should consult immediately with the academic director on-site to determine if a change in level is warranted.
Policy on Conducting Research Abroad
Conducting research abroad can provide students with access to sources and data not possible in the U.S. Often, study abroad programs have connections that can:
- Pair you with a professor in your field
- Grant you entrance to a library which specializes in your academic discipline
- Provide access to a situation that you want to investigate
In anticipation of doing research abroad (whether independently or as part of your program or a particular class), be sure to inform yourself of research processes and policies at St. Thomas and of your host institution or program. Certain co-sponsored programs – such as School for International Training or School for Field Studies – feature research projects as part of the curriculum. You will want to work with your St. Thomas faculty advisor to verify whether you need to apply to the Institutional Review Board for approval if your research involves human subjects (including observation, surveying, etc.). You can learn more at stthomas.edu/gro/irb
Getting a Requirement Fulfilled after You Return
Upon completion of a term abroad, if the student believes s/he has taken a course which fulfills a St. Thomas requirement, but was not pre-approved, the student should consult with the appropriate department chair immediately after they return. The student should have the department chair complete a Course Approval Form (available at the Office of Study Abroad). The student must turn in the completed form to the Office of Study Abroad, who will forward it to the transcript evaluator.
Updating your Contact Information
Remember to update your local address and phone number (in the U.S.) upon your return from abroad or any time it changes. This can be done by logging in to Murphy Online. Always leave a permanent U.S. address on record even while you are abroad.
Declaration of Major
Students should make sure that the major/minor appearing on record at St. Thomas is correct before departure. This will ensure proper advising and provide an accurate listing of courses still required to fulfill degree requirements. Contact the Registrar’s Office (MHC 126) to make any updates or corrections.
Senior Residency Requirement
The St. Thomas Senior Residency Requirement requires that eight of the student’s last nine courses be taken at St. Thomas or an ACTC college. Students who have been approved by the Office of Study Abroad do not need to be concerned with this since students are considered degree-seeking St. Thomas students while abroad. Note that this requirement differs from departmental requirements to take a minimum number of credits on campus.
Major/Minor Minimum Credits on Campus
Some departments require students to complete a minimum number of credits in their major or minor on campus. For major/minor purposes, study abroad courses do not count as “on-campus” courses.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students abroad may receive a warning or suspension letter at their U.S. permanent address from the Financial Aid Office regarding their lack of demonstrating “Satisfactory Academic Progress” because their grades from abroad have not been reported to St. Thomas. Do not be alarmed if you receive such a letter if you have been progressing academically abroad. Respond by sending an appeal letter to Paula Benson, email@example.com stating that you’ve studied abroad and when you expect your final grades to be received at St. Thomas. Request that your academic progress status be re-evaluated.
Students who study abroad remain registered as St. Thomas students for the duration of their time abroad. Students who fail to complete the necessary study abroad forms risk losing their student status, academic credit, and eligibility for financial aid. It may also necessitate reapplying for admission to St. Thomas upon return.
In order to register for study abroad, the Student Waiver and Release Agreement for International Programs form must be signed electronically as part of the online application process. Read the Study Abroad Agreement entirely and sign it. A parent must also sign if the student is considered a dependent for income tax purposes.
The Office of Study Abroad reserves the right to revoke study abroad approval if a student cannot be registered for their study abroad program due to an outstanding balance on their account. The Office of Study Abroad staff will work with the Business Office to monitor holds and make decisions in accordance with each individual program’s cancellation policy.
For Return Semester
Students studying abroad will register online (via Banner) for their return term at St. Thomas. While we realize online access abroad may be less convenient than here on campus, the technology is in place at St. Thomas for you to register online from anywhere in the world. Read carefully the following steps you should take prior to your departure to ensure a smooth registration process for your return to campus.
- Make sure that you have your St. Thomas ID# and Password with you abroad. ID# and Password requests should be made to the ITS Tech Desk (2-6230 or to firstname.lastname@example.org) and can only be sent to a St. Thomas e-mail account. They are required for any of the following: accessing your schedule, degree audit, grades, registering online for your return semester, and making any subsequent schedule changes.
- Make sure that you check your St. Thomas email account regularly while abroad. Your registration time will be sent, as usual, to your St. Thomas email account prior to the opening day of registration. Make certain that you observe the time zone difference. Banner is available from 5am to midnight Central Standard Time.
- You will not be able to register if you have a hold on your record. Check to make sure:
Business Office Hold (account past due)
Health Hold (Student Health Services must have record that your tetanus vaccination is
up to date – every 10 years)
Address Hold (verify your contact info online each semester)
- If you will be taking a course abroad that is a prerequisite for a course you wish to register for from abroad, you must meet with your department chair/advisor to have him/her complete the Undergraduate Registration Authorization form prior to departure. The proper completion of this form (and submission to the Registrar's Office) will ensure that you will be able to register from abroad for a course here on campus for which there is no record of you taking the prerequisite. Students abroad are registered in a ‘holding number’ while abroad, not in specific courses. There is no record here of what you are actually taking abroad until your transcript arrives here upon completion of your study abroad. [Note that students on the London Business and Catholic Studies programs ARE registered in St. Thomas courses while abroad, so this step does not pertain to them.] Please include the Course Registration Number (CRN) and your St. Thomas ID number on the Undergraduate Registration Authorization.
- While the requirement that you meet with you advisor is waived for the semester you are abroad, it is strongly encouraged that you meet with your advisor during the semester PRIOR to going abroad to review your remaining requirements and the sequencing of courses, etc. It is likely that your advisor (who signs for the fulfillment of St. Thomas requirements on the Course Approval Record) is also the person who will sign the Undergraduate Registration Authorization, you can take care of this (see step 4, above) at the same appointment.
If you are taking a prerequisite while abroad, indicate that very clearly!! Also, if the department has allowed you to substitute a prerequisite with a different course, indicate as such on the form, and make sure that your department chair has confirmed such permission in writing (e-mail) to Michael Glirbas in the Registrar’s Office. Make sure that your student ID number is on all your correspondence, including email.
ACTC Course Requests
It is not possible to coordinate registration for an ACTC course from abroad due to the required departmental signatures, etc. Any and all ACTC course requests should be coordinated with Carol Hagen in the Registrar’s Office prior to departure.
First Day of Class Attendance Policy
Students who study abroad for fall semester and miss the first day(s) of spring semester due to an overlap in the academic schedule of their study abroad program will not lose their place(s) in courses in which they are officially registered provided that they inform the Office of Study Abroad about their semester overlap so that the Office of Study Abroad in turn, may notify the instructors. Normally, a week is the maximum which students are allowed to miss. It is a policy of the Dean’s Office that instructors hold places for students when notified by the Office of Study Abroad. Students will be responsible for making up any course work. Any questions about this policy should be addressed to Sarah Spencer, Director of the Office of Study Abroad.
To obtain a Password for the MURPHY ONLINE system, you should contact the ITS Tech Desk at 651-962-6230 and your Password will be e-mailed to your St. Thomas account.
Students are responsible for reviewing their program literature to know exactly what is and what is not included in the fee.
- Application fee (if required) - Students should submit their application fee directly to their program.
- Initial deposit (if required) should be paid directly to a co-sponsored program or to the St. Thomas cashier window for St. Thomas Programs, once the student is accepted to the program. A deposit is usually required to hold the student’s place in the program, and is most often nonrefundable (check the program literature).
- Program fee balance – Upon receipt of an invoice, the University of St. Thomas will make payment for the balance to the program and bill the student’s account. A St. Thomas off-campus study fee is billed to the student’s account. Financial aid funds, if any, are then credited to the student’s account. A St. Thomas e-Bill is emailed to the student and any other authorized users for the remaining balance due.
Students are responsible for paying the initial application fee and the program deposit directly to the program. In addition, students are responsible for paying all on-site program fees as well as any accommodation charges that your program cannot bill to St. Thomas well in advance of your departure. St. Thomas will pay the balance of your program fee after receiving an invoice from your program. In the event your program sends an invoice directly to you, please forward it to the St. Thomas Business Office.
It is imperative that students know their program’s cancellation/refund policy before applying or changing plans. Students are responsible for any payments the university makes on their behalf.
If for some reason a student cancels from a program at any time after being approved by the Office of Study Abroad and accepted by the program, or withdraws once the program has begun, it is the student’s responsibility to:
- notify both the program and the Office of Study Abroad in writing immediately
- register for St. Thomas courses as soon as possible
- December 1 for January Term and Spring programs
- May 1 for Summer programs
- August 1 for Fall programs
Your financial aid awards will be reviewed to determine whether or not the type of funding offered to you may be applied for off campus study in an approved program and/or if the amounts offered require any adjustments.
While most financial aid funds can be applied toward the costs of any sponsored or co-sponsored program, there are some funds that cannot be taken off campus. The use of college work study, tuition remission benefits, and International Tuition scholarships is described in this manual. Other grants and scholarships may have restrictions. Refer any questions about your specific funds to your financial aid counselor.
When the costs of an off campus study program differ from the comparable costs for on campus study, adjustments may be made to the funds originally offered you. St. Thomas scholarships and grants will be prorated if the tuition component of your program is less than 75% of 16 on campus credits. Educational loans will be reduced to insure that the total amount of funds offered to you do not exceed the cost of attendance for your study abroad program. When the costs of study abroad program exceed the costs of a term of on-campus study, a student may request additional loan funds to help meet these increased costs.
Financial aid recipients must submit all necessary paperwork well in advance of their departure. Students studying abroad follow the same financial aid application process as students who study on the St. Thomas campus. Begin the financial aid application process for the following school year before the university’s financial aid priority deadline and allow at least four weeks processing time. All financial aid applicants must:
- File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov
- Respond to any requests for missing information or documents
- Accept awards on Murphy Online
- Take any other action requested to finalize the funds offered by St. Thomas, or state, federal, or private funding providers.
- Follow the study abroad instructions on the undergraduate financial aid website
Most financial aid funds are directly credited to your St. Thomas student account shortly before the start of the corresponding St. Thomas term. If the total amount of your financial aid funding will exceed your charges, the St. Thomas Business Office will issue you a credit balance refund. It is standard policy to issue refunds beginning 10 days after the add/drop date, typically following the third week of classes, for fall and spring semesters at St. Thomas. Plan ahead to insure that you have access to your own source of funds to pay any trip related and/or personal expenses you will incur PRIOR to the receipt of your credit balance refund.
The Business Office encourages all students to authorize eRefund by following the eBilling directions on the Business Office website: stthomas.edu/businessoffice.
Financial Aid Re-application
Students abroad for the year or for spring semester must make arrangements to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the following school year to receive grants, need-based scholarships, student loans and work-study. Priority consideration for funding is given to applications filed by April 1. It is imperative that you and your family make arrangements in advance of your departure to prepare your tax returns, if applicable, and complete your FAFSA. Visit fafsa.ed.gov.
Financial Aid Office Communication
Financial Aid will communicate via your St. Thomas e-mail account so be sure to check it at least once a week. Sometimes paper correspondence will be sent to your permanent address. Be sure that someone at your permanent address opens any paper correspondence sent to your home by Financial Aid, the U.S. Department of Education, loan servicers and/or student loan lenders. There may be documents that require immediate attention. Any Financial Aid correspondence sent to your campus mail box while you are abroad will be forwarded to your permanent mailing address.
Tuition remission includes study abroad for dependent children of St. Thomas employees. This applies to a single (one) program approved by the St. Thomas Office of Study Abroad. The amount of tuition remission applied to any study abroad charges will be the lesser of (a) the actual tuition for the select program, or (b) the cost of tuition at St. Thomas for the corresponding number of credits employee's dependent is enrolled while abroad. Employee dependents may use tuition remission for a study abroad program during any term of enrollment (fall, J-term, spring, summer or an academic year). However, all programs, regardless of length, will count equally as one program for purposes of this benefit. To receive this benefit the dependent must be a full-time St. Thomas student seeking their first baccalaureate degree and apply for approval to study abroad directly to the Office of Study Abroad.
Under no circumstances should students plan on earning essential income while studying abroad. While it may be possible to legally obtain employment in some countries with a student visa, there is virtually no way of securing a position prior to departure.
International Tuition Scholarship
The International Tuition Scholarship may only be applied toward the tuition component of a St. Thomas sponsored study abroad program, such as the London Business Semester. It may not be applied toward the costs of any co-sponsored study abroad program.
St. Thomas requires that ALL students participating in international off-campus programs have a level of insurance that meets or exceeds the insurance provided by the University’s policy thru Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).
Some co-sponsored program providers include insurance as part of the program fee. St. Thomas has carefully reviewed all co-sponsored insurance policies and has determined that some provide equal coverage to CISI. Students on these programs are exempt from the CISI insurance requirement but do have the option of enrolling if they would like the additional insurance coverage. They will be notified prior to the beginning of their semester abroad. Students required to carry CISI will be automatically enrolled, and the premium posted to their St. Thomas student accounts.
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)
St. Thomas’ CISI Plan is designed specifically for students traveling abroad. In addition to providing health insurance, the plan covers medical evacuation and repatriation as well as security evacuations should they become necessary. Students enrolled in CISI will receive complete plan information prior to departure. CISI insurance is only in force when overseas on the study abroad program; existing insurance must be kept in force at all times.
St. Thomas Student Accident and Health Insurance Plan
Information on the St. Thomas Student Accident and Health Insurance Plan is available online at stthomas.edu/healthservices. This policy is available to St. Thomas students studying abroad on a semester basis. It does provide coverage abroad, but typically with the need to make payment to the care provided on site (abroad) and file a claim for the allowable medical expenses. Student may enroll by logging in to Murphy Online.
Minnesota Statutes Section 5.41 requires that certain health and safety incidents that result from participation in a study abroad program be reported to the Minnesota Secretary of State. Specifically, St. Thomas must report on:
- Deaths of program participants that occurred during program participation as a result of program participation; and
- Accidents and illnesses that occurred during program participation as a result of participation that required hospitalization.
Travel & Health InfoIMMUNIZATIONS
Students are advised to determine whether any immunizations are required of their host country early-on in the process of preparing to study abroad. Typically, it is developing countries that are most likely to require proof of immunization of travelers. Information on illnesses and immunizations such as malaria, yellow fever, and cholera may be easily obtained by visiting the Center for Disease Control’s website at www.cdc.gov/travel. St. Thomas makes the following recommendations to all students studying abroad:
All students are advised to ensure that their tetanus immunization is current (within past 10 years) before going abroad. Tetanus immunizations are available to St. Thomas students for a fee at Student Health Services. A hold is placed on the record of any student who does not have record on file of a tetanus vaccine within the past 10 years.
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
St. Thomas advises students to be immunized for Hepatitis B before going abroad. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended when traveling to areas where risk is higher (see the Center for Disease Control website information under “Immunizations”, above). These series of immunizations are available to St. Thomas students for a fee per inoculation at Student Health Services.
Hepatitis A is a virus spread through contaminated food and the vaccination is recommended for all travelers. The Hepatitis A series consists of 2 shots, six months apart. The vaccine is quite effective and usually will give up to 80% immunity after one injection, but the second shot is necessary for complete immunity.
Hepatitis B is a virus spread through body fluids such as saliva and blood and can lead to significant liver failure. The only protection at this time is the immunization. The Hepatitis B shot is a 3-part series in intervals of shots one and six months following the first one.
It is recommended that all students also be immunized for meningitis. Meningococcal infections usually have severe consequences and may be fatal. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control encourages college students in close-quartered housing situations or residence halls to consider the immunization. It is also a recommendation by the British government for U.S. students who will live in dorms with British students, and take meals with them, etc.
The meningitis vaccine is available at St. Thomas Student Health Services for a fee. Students are urged to inquire at their own clinic and with their private insurance to determine whether the cost of the vaccine is covered. Travel physicals and additional recommended immunizations may be available at St. Thomas Student Health Services for a fee. Please call to schedule a travel clinic appointment: (651) 962-6750. Visit stthomas.edu/healthservices for the most update fee schedule for immunizations and travel clinic appointments.
St. Thomas Travel Clinic
Student Health Services offers a Center for Disease Control certified travel clinic. Information by country and immunizations for travelers are available at the St. Paul campus site. Call the Travel Clinic for an appointment at 651-962-6750 six to eight weeks prior to your departure.
Make sure the medication you use is available and allowed [legal] in the country where you are going, and that it is available in the same dosage you take at home. If it is not, review the implications and any appropriate substitutes with your doctor. Make sure you know the generic name, not just the brand name. Find out what steps you may need to take in order to gain approval of its use. Learn what documentation you will need in order to bring your medication through customs. Transport all medications in their original, labeled containers along with documentation of the prescriptions.
St. Thomas Health Hold on Student Record
As per Minnesota State Law, St. Thomas must have every student verify that he/she has a “current” tetanus shot in order to remain enrolled at the university (“current” means within\ the past ten years). Students whose immunization validity expires while abroad will have a health hold placed on their student record at St. Thomas, and registration for the return semester is not possible.
Need for Academic or Physical Accommodation Abroad
Students in need of academic accommodation due to a disability must have formally registered with the St. Thomas Enhancement Program - Disability Services in order to request accommodation abroad. Note the following process for making such requests when going abroad:
- Student has the St. Thomas Enhancement Program formally document the need for accommodation (students must present documentation of their disability to the Enhancement Program before the office can verify need for accommodation abroad).
- Student requests that the director of the St. Thomas Enhancement Program submit a letter to the Office of Study Abroad outlining the specific accommodation(s) requested.
- The Office of Study Abroad forwards the request on to the program or institution abroad.
- Student should follow-up with the study abroad program, making sure to talk directly with the program director once on-site, and follow any further procedural instructions as advised.
Travel Warning/Cancellation Policy
The University of St. Thomas uses U.S. State Department Travel Warnings as a guideline in determining whether an international St. Thomas-sponsored program (e.g., study abroad, sports, volunteer, music tour) will take place or whether a St. Thomas student may participate in a co-sponsored study abroad program in the country in question.
The U.S. State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. ACS provides three levels of information: Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings. Country Specific Information is routinely updated with logistical details about a particular country. Travel Alerts are issued for specific incidents or situations that U.S. citizens should be aware of. Travel Warnings indicate that U.S. citizens are advised against travel in a given country, or that they should leave if there.
In using these Travel Warnings as a guideline, St. Thomas will strongly consider canceling a program for which such a warning is issued. St. Thomas also reserves the right to cancel its own programs or its approval of students' participation on co-sponsored programs in countries with severe safety issues but without the issuance of a U.S. State Department Travel Warning. The U.S. State Department information may be found at www.travel.state.gov
St. Thomas Programs:
Should a St. Thomas program be cancelled due to a Travel Warning that is issued for a country in which students are preparing to study or travel (i.e., not yet departed):
- Students will be reimbursed any recoverable costs. Note that this means students could incur a financial loss.
- Students will be advised on whether they may apply for or be able to participate in another suitable program (depending on time until departure, etc); or,
- If another program is not feasible for students seeking to earn academic credit abroad, they will be advised on registering for St. Thomas courses on campus.
- Students will be given assistance in arranging departure from that country (may be to a third country). Students may incur costs associated with this change in travel plans.
- St. Thomas will refund any recoverable costs to the student. Note that this means students may incur a financial loss.
- St. Thomas will make every effort to arrange for the student to complete the requirements for earning academic credit for the program, if applicable, but this is not guaranteed.
- The University has no responsibility or liability for a student who remains in the foreign country after receiving notice of St. Thomas' cancellation of the program.
- The student is subject to the cancellation fee schedule published for that program. Note that this means the student may incur a loss.
If St. Thomas withdraws its approval of a program in a country for which a student is preparing to study due to the issuance of a Travel Warning:
- The student is subject to the policies of the program sponsor regarding cancellation and reimbursement of any payments or deposits; students may incur a financial loss.
- The Office of Study Abroad will advise and assist the student in finding another suitable program if time allows, or;
- The Office of Study Abroad will advise the student on registering for St. Thomas classes.
- The student is subject to the policies of the program sponsor regarding cancellation and reimbursement of any payments; students may incur a financial loss.
- St. Thomas will offer advice on arranging departure from that country (may be to a third country). Student may incur costs associated with change in travel plans.
- The student is subject to the policies of the program sponsor regarding reimbursement of any recoverable costs and the possibility of completing the requirements for earning academic credit for the program. Note that students may incur a loss and/or may not be able to earn credit (full or partial).
In addition, if any of the above cancellation situations are due to a pandemic or epidemic in the country of study, and if a St. Thomas community member returning from those countries has had a known risk of exposure and is determined by medical screening that quarantine is warranted, that individual will not be allowed on campus (of any one of the St. Thomas sites - St. Paul, Minneapolis, or Rome) for a period as determined by the current medical guidelines.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, affords students the right to authorize the release of education information to third parties. The Office of Study Abroad requests that students authorize the release of education information to third parties by electronically signing the Application Consent form as part of their online application. Students sign to the following statement:
Students who have questions about this policy should contact an Advisor in the Office of Study Abroad.
Power of Attorney
Students are advised to consider assigning someone at home (e.g., a parent) with Power of Attorney for the period they will be abroad. The person with power of attorney may act on your behalf to conduct business in your absence (for example assist with your banking transactions or having access to your University records). Power of Attorney forms are available on a number of web sites, or in many office supply stores. Typically the forms have you indicate the areas or reasons in which the person can act on your behalf. Power of attorney is recognized in order to conduct University business and access records, etc.
Parent Consent Form
An option which pertains only to St. Thomas business is for students to complete a St. Thomas Parent Consent Form in order for a parent to act on the student's behalf at St. Thomas - in having access to the student's academic and financial records - while the student is abroad. The form is available on the Registrar's web site: http://stthomas.edu/registrar/student/ferpa/parent/. Once this form has been completed and signed by the student, parents may conduct University business on the student's behalf (e.g., obtain a transcript) by showing a legible copy on the occasion of each request. Be sure to leave a copy behind with a parent.
Student’s Mail While Abroad
You will need to close your campus mail box for the period you are abroad. At orientation you will be given a box closure request slip. You need to complete the form and return it to the Campus Mail Services at any time. Your box will then be marked “abroad” for post office employees to follow these guidelines: First Class U.S.mail will be forwarded to your U.S. permanent address (Third Class U.S. mail – i.e., “junk mail” – is tossed out); If you wish to leave a different forwarding address on file with the St. Thomas post office, you must do so before you leave.
It is strongly advised that students take the necessary steps so as to NOT have mail delivered to their campus mail box in their absence (e.g., informing credit card companies and magazine publishers, etc., of your change of address prior to departure). You will need to re-open your mailbox upon your return to campus. This is done by signing at the Post Office window in the basement of MHC.
The Office of Study Abroad strongly encourages students to request that a parent or other individual at your permanent address open any mail that you receive from St. Thomas or from your study abroad program while you are abroad. There may be documents that need immediate attention. Also, if you have student loans, be sure your parents open any mail from the U.S. Department of Education, a guarantee agency, or student loan lender.
Students are responsible for obtaining a passport on their own and applying in sufficient time so as to not jeopardize their ability to travel as planned. Information is available at passports.state.gov. The Office of Study Abroad cannot issue or ensure issuance of a passport.
If a program destination requires a visa, the program provider will provide information to students upon acceptance. The ability to issue a visa rests solely with the host country. The University of St. Thomas and the Office of Study Abroad staff cannot provide legal advice or ensure issuance of a visa. Students are responsible for obtaining a visa and applying in sufficient time so as to not jeopardize their ability to travel as planned. International students often have requirements differing from those for U.S. students and may require a visa when U.S. students do not. International students must notify the Office of International Students & Scholars immediately upon acceptance to a study abroad program to learn about requirements for studying abroad.
Student E-mail Accounts
It is essential to maintain your St. Thomas e-mail account while overseas because you remain enrolled as a full-time St. Thomas student. Be sure to change your password as required every 120 days or you will not be able to access your St. Thomas account or records.
Checking Your St. Thomas E-mail Account
From the time students begin a study abroad program application and until they return from overseas, it is expected that students will check their St. Thomas e-mail account on a regular basis for announcements and important information from the Office of Study Abroad and other on-campus departments. Please note that St. Thomas e-mail accounts may be forwarded to another e-mail (e.g., gmail, yahoo, etc.) account; information on how to do this is available on the ITS website: stthomas.edu/its/students/email/
St. Thomas does not assist students in finding off-campus housing. The Off-Campus Student Services Office in the Anderson Student Center maintains listings of off campus housing on their website (stthomas.edu/offcampus/housing).
- Graduation – If seniors plan to graduate at the end of their semester abroad, they must apply for graduation before they go abroad. Inquire at the Registrar’s Office.
- Senior Portraits – If seniors will be gone in the fall, arrangements can be made to have yearbook photos taken the summer before they go abroad. Contact David Banks Studios at (612) 571-2265 and tell them it’s for the St. Thomas yearbook. Also inform the Aquinas editor of your plans, by dropping a note to Mail #4024.
- On-campus Recruiting – Students who wish to participate in on-campus recruiting upon their return (senior year) should contact Career Development prior to their departure to review the time-line and procedures for participation.
Students abroad for the fall or year can pick up a copy of the yearbook upon return at the Center for Student Leadership and Activities (CSLA).
Work Study Positions
Students who would like to continue in their work-study position upon return to St. Thomas should make arrangements directly with their supervisor prior to their departure.
Students who decide once abroad to stay another semester with the same program must make arrangements with their program and send written notification (fax or e-mail are acceptable) of their intent to the program and to the Office of Study Abroad. Students may not apply to a new program once abroad.
Cancellation Fees and Foreign Currency Exchange
If St. Thomas makes the payment for a student’s program fees in a foreign currency and the student cancels, that student is subject to any charges due to currency rate fluctuations between the time the fees were paid and again refunded. That is, the refund amount could be less than anticipated due to fluctuating exchange rates. Please note that these policies also apply if the cancellation is due to academic or conduct probation.
Procedures for Making On-Campus Housing Arrangements
St. Thomas students interested in arranging for student housing on campus are encouraged to contact the Residence Life Office before their departure. Applications for On- Campus Student Housing are available at any time, and students may indicate if they are interested in housing for either the whole year or just for one semester. Students traveling abroad for a semester and who are interested in housing for only one semester should participate in the returning student room application and sign up period in the preceding spring semester. Students traveling abroad for the entire year or students traveling in the spring semester who are interested in housing for the subsequent academic year will be able to do the entire process of applying, choosing roommates, and selecting a specific room on-line. Information and a link to this application and room selection process will be located at www.stthomas.edu/residencelife.
Residence Life Cancellation Fees for Study Abroad
Students must notify the Residence Life Office, in writing, of their intent to cancel their on-campus housing. Cancellations are handled in accord with the Student Residence Agreement found on the Residence Life Website; however, students participating in study abroad trips are not charged a cancellation fee. Students who plan to study abroad during the spring semester, but live on-campus during January Term must pay on-campus housing fees for January Term. Failure to notify Residence Life, in writing, of your cancellation may result in fees.
Students approved to study abroad on co-sponsored programs by the Office of Study Abroad are guaranteed elective credit for their course work abroad in which they receive a passing grade (D- or better). In order to have the credit fulfill specific requirements, students must receive approval from the appropriate departments. This can be done by completing the Course Approval Record before going abroad.
The exact number of credits a student earns abroad will be determined upon return to St. Thomas. If you earn credits in US semester hours and your transcript from abroad lists US semester credits, those credits will not change. If you earn credits in another university system (point, units, etc.), either your program or the St. Thomas Registrar will convert them to US semester credits. It is your responsibility to know the semester-credit equivalent of courses you take abroad.
All course credit from abroad will be applied to the St. Thomas transcript. Failing grades will not earn credit, but will be computed into the GPA (just as for courses on campus). It is not possible to specify that only certain courses apply.
A 3-semester credit course will satisfy a St. Thomas core curriculum requirement. In general, a course must be worth at least 2.7 credits to fulfill a requirement. However, it is up to each department to determine if the student has fulfilled all of the requirements for a major or minor in terms of the types of courses and total number of credits. Students should discuss credit and course requirements with the appropriate department chair prior to departure.
Elective Credit Abroad
Students approved to study abroad by the Office of Study Abroad are normally guaranteed elective credit for university-level course work abroad for which they receive a passing grade (D- or better). However, there are some types of courses for which St. Thomas will not grant credit:
- Athletic courses (e.g., tennis, golf, swimming); St. Thomas will grant credit for Health and Physical Education courses. PHED100 equivalents must be approved by the Health and Human Performance Department Chair
- Study skills or career exploration courses
- Courses below college level, such as keyboarding, ESL, Math below College Algebra, Grammar and Writing courses with a level below ENGL110, technical college courses.
Meeting with Major/Minor Dept. Chair
All students should discuss the course descriptions and the requirements for their majors/minors with the department chairperson prior to departure (many students consult with their department chair early-on in the process, when selecting a program). Freshmen and sophomores without declared majors must meet with their academic advisors. If a student knows which major/minor he/she intends to declare, this should be done prior to departure, even if earlier than second semester of the sophomore year.
Course Approval Record
Students must provide department chairs with course descriptions when seeking approval signatures (course syllabi are sometimes required as well). The student must obtain the appropriate signatures on the Course Approval Record:
- for major coursework credit – signature of the department chair
- for minor coursework credit – signature of the department chair
- for core requirements – signature of the respective department chair
The completed Course Approval Record must be returned to the Office of Study Abroad. Students should keep their (yellow) copy, and take it with them abroad. Students who do not submit a completed Course Approval Record prior to departure may be required to meet with the Transcript Evaluator upon their return.
Registration for Courses Abroad
Obtaining course pre-approval signatures at St. Thomas does not mean students are registered for those courses abroad. Depending on the program, course registration may take place prior to departure or upon arrival. Students are responsible for knowing when/where the course registration takes place for their program/university and for following that procedure.
Seeking Course Approvals from Abroad
Students may find courses abroad which were not pre-approved but which may fulfill requirements. Students are encouraged to contact the appropriate faculty department chair from abroad to seek approval or they may choose to wait and ask the faculty to review the course syllabus and the student’s course work, etc., upon the student’s return to St. Thomas in order to determine course equivalency.
If students need to make changes in their courses once abroad and wish to seek approval, they may contact the appropriate department chair by e-mail. This process takes time and students may not receive word on approval for several weeks.
Michael Glirbas is the transcript evaluator and also manages posting credit from abroad to St. Thomas transcripts. If students who are going on co-sponsored programs seek to fulfill general requirements abroad, Michael Glirbas may be able to sign for those courses (if St. Thomas faculty have reviewed them for this purpose). Students may also consult Michael if they have questions about earning credit in a foreign university system. Contact Michael at 651-962-6712.
Students are responsible for requesting that a copy of their transcript be sent from their program or university abroad to:
Office of Admissions
2115 Summit Avenue, Mail 5017
St. Paul, MN 55105-1096
Students who do not present a transcript showing record of academic work completed abroad receive the grade of “F” for the period they were overseas. Contact the Office of Study Abroad if your transcript is going to arrive at St. Thomas more than one semester after your return.