Photo of the boats and colorful buildings on the island of Campania, Italy.

Study Abroad Policies

These policies apply to the exchange and affiliated programs administered by the Office of International Academic Initiatives (IAI).

Residency Requirements and Study Abroad:

Students may study abroad for a maximum of two (2) semesters. Students wishing to extend their study abroad program beyond two semesters must seek approval from the Director of International Academic Initiatives and their Department Chair.

Seniors: Students may study abroad in their senior year. However, students should ensure through careful consultation with their study abroad advisor and faculty adviser(s) that such study does not result in an unanticipated delay of graduation.  Most students studying in the final semester of their senior year will not receive their overseas transcript in time for their scheduled graduation date and may or may not be back in time to walk in the graduation ceremony.

Study Abroad programs offered through IAI are eligible for resident credit.  For seniors, the 24-hour residency requirement may be satisfied on an approved Study Abroad program.

Transfers:  Students who transfer into Montclair State University may participate in an approved study abroad program for a maximum of two semesters.

Second Semester Freshmen:  Freshmen who wish to study abroad during the second semester of their freshman year must submit academic performance reports from each course in which they are currently enrolled. The reports must be signed and must indicate that the student’s current anticipated course grade is a C+ or better.  Additionally, they must submit their high school transcript that indicates a grade point average of 3.0 or better. An interview with the Director of International Academic Initiatives is also required.

Faculty-Led Programs: Because students register directly for Montclair State University courses, they are considered “in residence” and no further action is required.

Application Deadlines:

Students who intend to study abroad as Montclair State University students are advised to begin talking to their academic advisor(s) early in their studies. The first semester of their first year is not too early to begin this discussion.

Application deadlines are as follows:

  • October 1 for spring programs
  • March 1 for summer programs
  • March 1 for fall & academic year programs

*Some programs may have different deadlines.  Please check the dates carefully for your selected program.

Deadlines are strictly adhered to.

Students are responsible for checking the program provider/host’s deadline for their study abroad program, as this deadline may occur before the Montclair State University deadline.

Attendance at Study Abroad Info Sessions:

All students applying to study abroad are required to attend a Study Abroad Information Session. The info session will provide foundational knowledge of the application process and help guide students in their program search. Info sessions are approximately 30 minutes long.

Read more about the Study Abroad Info Sessions

Attendance at Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientations:

Students who wish to participate in a study abroad program must attend the mandatory pre-departure orientations held by IAI, which will cover essential topics such as:

  1. Policies, Procedures, Student Conduct, Laws Abroad
  2. Health and Safety Abroad
  3. Cultural Adjustment and Awareness

Students will be contacted about the respective pre-departure orientations via email.

Program Eligibility and Approval:

Program-specific eligibility and approval criteria and processes, application documents, fees and application deadlines can be found on the brochure web page of your Study Abroad program.

Approval for study abroad is conducted on a rolling basis up to and including the application deadlines set by IAI.  Approval is expected for students who meet the 2.5 minimum grade point requirement, submit all required application materials by the deadline, receive a positive reference, and meet disciplinary and financial requirements.

Approval and Acceptance happen in two phases.  In Phase I (pre-decision), students apply to Study Abroad through the IAI Study Abroad website.  Once approved for study abroad, students are nominated to overseas programs for acceptance and placement. During phase II (post-decision), students must complete all post-decision application requirements and attend all mandatory pre-departure workshops.

Students With Disciplinary Records:  Students with an active disciplinary file are not eligible to participate in study abroad.  Students with closed records may apply and will be considered on a case by case basis.  Disciplinary records of all applicants will be reviewed.


The Office of International Academic Initiatives reserves the right to withdraw a student from a study abroad program prior to departure for any of the following reasons:

  • Disciplinary action
  • Cumulative GPA falling below 2.5
  • Failure to make payment or complete necessary application steps

The Office of International Academic Initiatives reserves the right to withdraw a student from a study abroad program while abroad for any of the following reasons:

  • Violation of Code of Conduct Agreement
  • Failure to make payment

All withdrawals based on the above conditions will be at the cost of the student.  Student may owe significant program fees to study abroad providers and/or hosts.

If a student chooses to withdraw from a program either prior to or while abroad, student is responsible for all costs associated with withdrawal, including balances due to Montclair State University, program providers, and/or host schools, travel costs, etc.

Travel Policy:

Montclair State University will typically support a program in a country where Department of State Travel Advisory Level of 1 or 2 is in effect. Countries with US DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but are unlikely to be supported and would require additional approvals. Montclair State University will not support travel for students on Montclair State programs to countries with a Level 4 US DOS Travel Advisory.

If a program has not yet departed and a Level 4 travel advisory comes into effect the program will be suspended and refundable program expenses returned. Programs which are already abroad will be required to depart if the Department of State issues a Level 4 warning. Programs which are already abroad when a Level 3 warning is issued will be evaluated at the time to determine if the program will continue or be suspended. The University will work with faculty and students to decide the best course of action at that time.

Please view the US Department of State site for more information about Travel Advisories:

International Travel, Medical, and Security Assistance:

Montclair State requires all enrolled students to have health insurance coverage either through the University’s plan or through a personal plan. The University plan provides health insurance coverage abroad.  Students on other plans should check with their provider prior to departure to determine whether they have health coverage while abroad.  If not, students are encouraged to purchase an overseas health insurance policy.

In addition, all Study Abroad students must be enrolled in Aetna On-Call Travel, Medical and Security Assistance coverage.  Students who already have health coverage from Aetna through Montclair State may activate this OnCall assistance coverage at no cost.  Students on external health insurance plans MUST enroll in the standalone Aetna OnCall coverage for the period of time they are studying and traveling abroad. This requirement is in addition to any other health or travel insurance you may already have.

Before departure, the enrollment of every student will be verified by the IAI staff.


All students approved to participate in study abroad for the semester or summer will be registered for a Study Abroad placeholder course at Montclair State called INTL 401 – Study Abroad, for 12 credits (semester program) or 3-6 credits (summer program). This placeholder course, INTL 401 Study Abroad will serve to maintain your enrollment and priority (for registration, housing, etc.) at Montclair State while you are away. This course will stay on your transcript. When you return, the name of the school, course names and actual credits earned will be transferred to your University transcript. If you are participating in an exchange program, you will be charged for tuition and fees by Montclair State Student Accounts.  If you are enrolled in an affiliated (not exchange) program, there are no tuition charges billed by Montclair State Student Accounts for this course. IE will register you for the course.

A Study Abroad participation fee of $300 is charged for students enrolled in INTL 401.

Before you leave, your responsibilities are:

  • To ensure there are no holds on your account
  • To ensure you are not registered for any other courses at Montclair State while abroad
  • To ensure you have been successfully registered for the correct course section before you depart

While abroad, it will be your responsibility to register for your Montclair State courses for the following term.  While abroad, registration for the following semester may be conducted via NEST. If you are unable to log on from overseas, you will have to make arrangements with a proxy to register you via NEST. A reliable friend or parent should have full knowledge of your plans and be able to verify that the necessary steps for registration are followed. Give your registration PIN number (if needed) and social security number or Montclair State CWID to your proxy. The proxy should also be responsible for supplying you with a current class schedule. For more information about registering, please refer to the Registrar’s Office.

Course Selection at Your Host Institution:

Your host institution will provide you with the information necessary to register for classes.  Keep in mind that Study Abroad participants frequently will not know the exact courses they will be taking until they arrive. 

As part of your application, you prepared a preliminary selection of courses. You selected courses that could be appropriate for you at the host institution.  Using the Courses Abroad form, you received pre-approval from the chairpersons of your major, minor or General Education courses.

Please be aware that neither the University nor the host institution guarantee course availability upon your arrival at the host institution. However, you MUST BE REGISTERED FULL TIME (the equivalent of at least 12 Montclair State credits) at your host institution in order to retain matriculated status and retain financial aid eligibility.

Please remember: In order for the courses to count at Montclair State, you are required to register at the host institution for credit and you must receive a grade of C- or better for the credits to transfer back to the University. You must not take any pass/fail courses overseas since they will not transfer back.

Credit Transfer:

Montclair State students retain campus residency while studying abroad. You will be enrolled in a generic course for study abroad. Your host institution will send an official transcript to the International Academic Initiatives Office upon completion of your program.  Depending on the institution, the transcript may be received quickly or it may take several weeks. It is YOUR responsibility to
confirm that your transcript was received at Montclair State.

Once IAI has your transcript, academic reports prepared by IAI will be submitted to the Registrar to transfer host university credits (as long as grades are considered the equivalent of a C- or above). These courses then become a part of your official Montclair State transcript. Only the credits are transferred, not the grades. Your overseas grade may be indicated with T and the letter grade (e.g. TA- or TC+) or if the grading system at your host school is different, the grade will be indicated as passing (TP). Courses taken overseas do not affect your Montclair State GPA.

With departmental approval, you can apply study abroad credits to your major and/or minor requirements. If you plan ahead, your Advisor can work with you to find a program that will not set you behind. Remember:

  • You must be enrolled full time at your overseas institution, except in summer/winter.
  • The overseas institution must send your official transcript to IAI. IAI cannot accept a transcript directly from a student.
  • All credits transfer to Montclair State as free elective credits unless you have written approval by the appropriate University department chair to make a substitution for major, minor or Gen Ed requirements.
  • It may take several weeks for Montclair State to receive and process your transcript after the completion of your program.

It is imperative for the transfer of your courses into your major, minor, or General Education that you have departmental approval on the Courses Abroad form.  You must submit this form to the International Academic Initiatives Office with e-signatures or google doc verifications done by the individuals noted on the final page. If you wish for the credits to count for free electives, you do not need these e-signatures.

Credit Equivalencies:

Credit systems vary greatly among institutions, and it is the students’ responsibility to make certain that they know how many credits each course is worth. Information on the credit system used by the host institution/program may be available on relevant program brochure, and/or the Study Abroad Coordinator can help students in this determination.

Many overseas institutions use a different credit system than the U.S. system.  In most cases, the credit conversion formula is available on the program’s Montclair State University brochure page. In general, for institutions using the ECTS credit system, the formula is 2 ECTS credits = 1 Montclair State University credit.  For institutions in the UK using the UK credit system, the common conversion is 20 UK credits = 5 Montclair State University credits. In any case, please be sure to confirm the credit conversion formula for your particular program with the Study Abroad Office at Montclair State before you go

Grade Policy:

  • You will receive credit for courses you take for a grade (not pass/fail option).
  • You will receive credit for courses you pass with the US-equivalent of C- or better (courses in which you receive a D or F will earn no credit).
  • Only credits will transfer back to Montclair State. Your GPA at Montclair State will be the same as it was when you left.
  • If you apply to graduate school or some jobs, you may be required to show your overseas transcripts with grades – so do your best!

Financial Aid:

Students wishing to use their Financial Aid to subsidize their Study Abroad program should be aware of the following restrictions:

Exchange Programs:

Students participating in an Exchange Program are generally eligible to use all of the federal, state and institutional aid for which they qualify.

Affiliated Programs:

Students participating in an Affiliated Program are generally eligible to use all of the federal aid for which they qualify. State aid may not be used to support Affiliated Study Abroad programs. Institutional aid and external scholarships may be used in some cases. It is the responsibility of the student to check eligibility by consulting with the Financial Aid Office.

Please check Financial Aid information for more details.

If you do not know if your program is an “exchange” or “affiliated” program, please check the program page or speak with your Study Abroad Advisor.

In many cases, the cost of a study abroad program may be more expensive than the cost of studying at Montclair State University.

The student is responsible for all costs associated with his/her program. Montclair State will not make any payments to your study abroad host.

The student is responsible for checking his/her student account while abroad to ensure that the correct aid has been applied for the semester.

Billing – Montclair State University Semester Exchange Programs:

You will be billed through your Montclair State student account by the Student Accounts Office.  Your account will be charged the flat-rate for 12-18 credits of tuition and fees. The cost will be equivalent to a semester of tuition and fees at Montclair State University (or 3-6 credits for a summer exchange). You will make payment directly to Student Accounts.

You will be billed directly by the overseas university or housing organization for housing and you should pay them directly.

All other costs are to be arranged and paid directly by the student. Other costs may include, but may not be limited to:

  • Airfare
  • Local transportation
  • Insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Meals
  • Personal expenses

Billing – Montclair State University Affiliated Programs:

Providers: These are programs run by third-party providers. The provider may be a non-profit (i.e., SIT) or for-profit private company (i.e., ISA and CEA) that runs study abroad programs for universities around the country. Montclair State has partnered with these providers to offer programs and discounts for Montclair students.

These programs will bill you directly. You are responsible for paying on time and in full to these providers per their instructions.

Institutions: These are universities, colleges or programs abroad that have been approved by Montclair State for study abroad. Institutions include DIS, CESP, SACI, and Semester at Sea.

Billing may vary according to institution. In most cases, you will receive an invoice for your tuition and fees and possibly housing after you have been accepted.  Sometimes the bill will be due before you leave, sometimes after. In any case, please communicate directly with the host institution to pay them directly.  Montclair State will not bill for these programs.