Study Abroad

The global nature of the engineering profession makes a study abroad program particularly attractive.

Spending a semester abroad will not only enrich your undergraduate experience but will also help prepare you to practice engineering across national boundaries after you graduate.

Brown engineering students can participate in several study abroad programs. In recent years, our students have studied in Australia, Chile, Denmark, England, Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Japan, South Africa, and New Zealand, which are just a few of the countries from which our students can choose. The Study Abroad Advising website lists many pre-approved programs, which offer options for which many of the details have already been worked out. Alternatively, you can choose from programs organized by a partner University or in consultation with Brown faculty and Deans. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the earlier you begin planning for this, the more options you will have.

Selecting the Program that Fits Your Academic Goals
1. Select a Brown-administered program offered through a study abroad partner or host University (after consultation with your concentration advisor). In the event your academic needs or goals cannot be met by a Brown/CASA program or an Approved Alternative program, students may submit a Study Abroad petition application. Reasons for pursuing this petition route might include seeking an opportunity in a country for reasons of particular language or cultural interests that the pre-arranged programs do not offer.

2. Decide which semester you will study abroad. Engineering students often find that their third, fourth, fifth, or sixth semester work best, with the latter two choices being the most common.

3. Apply for approval to study abroad through the Study Abroad Advising website. Applications are usually due to the Study Abroad Advising office by the beginning of March for study abroad in the subsequent fall semester and by mid-September for the subsequent spring semester. Check with Study Abroad Advising for more information on Brown study abroad deadlines. Keep in mind that for Approved and Petition programs, you’ll also need to apply to the program provider or host university, whose deadline may differ from Brown’s application deadlines. Plan to start researching program options at least a year in advance.

4. Plan your academic program and degree completion requirements, keeping in mind any study abroad requirements, including language requirements and academic standing. It needs to be emphasized that relevant foreign language proficiency is required for any programs not offered in English. It is difficult enough to learn new material in one’s own native language, and the difficulty is compounded when developing new language skills at the same time. 

Credit Transfer for Study Abroad Courses
Study abroad courses will only transfer to Brown if a grade of C or higher is achieved. All study abroad courses must be taken for a grade; credit will not be granted for any courses taken S/NC (pass/fail). On the Brown transcript, “S” will appear instead of the grade issued by the host institution. Courses that are officially approved by the University for transfer credit will appear on the student’s transcript and count toward the 30 courses required for graduation. Brown’s writing (WRIT) requirements cannot be fulfilled through study abroad courses. If you have questions about study abroad transfer credits, then please contact one of the Study Abroad office advisors.

Approval of Study Abroad Courses toward Concentration Requirements
1. If you are, or plan to become, a Sc.B. engineering concentrator, it is helpful to be able to use study abroad courses to fulfill concentration requirements. Typically, we advise that at least two of your study abroad courses satisfy concentration requirements, though this is not a hard and fast rule. Your concentration advisor (or exploratory advisor) can help you select the best courses for inclusion in your study abroad program. It is generally easiest to find direct equivalence for what are termed engineering core courses, though each engineering specialty also has certain upper-level courses that are also core discipline courses. Make sure you seek preapproval for the equivalency for any of the courses you plan to take that you wish to fulfill any concentration requirements. What this means is that you will need to download the course syllabus for the study abroad course you plan to take and provide it to the professor who currently teaches the equivalent course at Brown. It is only that faculty member who can affirm equivalency. In the case of any engineering courses to be taken abroad, these are handled by each professor teaching the equivalent course in the School of Engineering. Any non-engineering courses must be pre-approved by the relevant department’s subject approvers (names listed in ASK). Email pre-approvals from the instructors are sufficient (needed when you return from the SA program and process Transfer Credit). If the course you wish to transfer is not equivalent to any existing Brown Engineering course, you may still be able to transfer it as an Unassigned Credit in Engineering. This requires filling out a transfer credit request in ASK after the course has been processed by the Brown Registrar as transfer credit (since in this case, no pre-approval has been obtained). Once the course has been approved as an unassigned credit in engineering, then it may be requested that it count towards concentration credit (subject to the approval of the relevant concentration advisor).

2. After you have returned from your study-abroad program, file, or update, your concentration declaration form (available through the ASK system) to include courses transferred from your study abroad and obtain your concentration advisor’s approval for the courses to be used toward concentration requirements. You should file the ASK declaration form even if you are a sophomore and have not yet officially declared the concentration. 

3. After you return you will also need to file the Engineering Study Abroad Registration Form to notify SOE of the successful completion of the program.

For additional questions about study abroad courses and Engineering concentration requirements, please contact the School of Engineering’s study abroad advisors, Professors Jimmy Xu or Bob Hurt. (2023-present).