Study Abroad FAQ

Q: I'm thinking of studying abroad. What's the first step to begin the process?

A: Your first step in the process is to complete a Study Abroad inquiry form online.

Q: How far in advance do I need to plan my study abroad program?

A: We suggest that you plan your study abroad experience one year in advance (although it is possible to plan a semester in advance for some programs). Our staff can guide you in selecting the study abroad program that's right for you and your academic goals. In addition to the programs Fitchburg State offers, our membership in the Massachusetts Council for International Education (MaCIE) affords our students the opportunity to apply to dozens of additional faculty-led programs at our sister state universities.

Q: Do I have to withdraw from Fitchburg State University when I study abroad?

A: No. Fitchburg State students enrolled in study abroad programs approved by the Office of International Education remain enrolled at the University for the entire duration of their study abroad programs. You may notice "STAB" on your Web4 for the semester you are off campus.

Q: Is there a GPA requirement for study abroad?

A: Yes. The Office of International Education expects that students studying abroad in a faculty-led program will have minimum 2.0 GPA.

Students opting for programs designed by study abroad providers will encounter varying GPA requirements, but a GPA of at least 2.5 is often standard.

If your GPA does not meet minimum program requirements, please speak to the Study Abroad Advisor or the Director of International Education to explore options available to you.

Q: Will my credits earned abroad transfer back to my Fitchburg State transcript?

A: Yes. The Office of International Education guides prospective study abroad students through the completion and approval process for an International Preliminary Registration Approval Form, or "PRAF." The PRAF provides your advisor, your department chair, and the Registrar with detailed information about the courses for which you plan to register when studying abroad, including alternate course choices. The PRAF is fully approved before you depart for your studies abroad, so that you are assured that the credits you earn through successful completion of those courses abroad will indeed be credited to your Fitchburg State transcript.

More information on transfer equivalencies can be found on the Registrar's Office webpage, but highlights include:

  • Courses must have a grade of 'C-' (1.7) or better and be non-developmental in order to be considered for transfer.
  • A maximum of 75 semester hours of transfer credit will be accepted for coursework taken at two-year institutions, college level examinations, the military and/or advanced placement courses. The maximum increases to 90 semester hours if from a four-year baccalaureate institution.

Q: Can I participate in a Fitchburg State Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program during the summer after I graduate?

A: Yes. However, please be advised that graduates are not eligible for financial aid for study abroad programs.

Q: Will I lose my on-campus housing?

A: No. Students taking advantage of on-campus housing are able to be released from the occupancy agreement if they are studying abroad under the provisions in Article XII Section A, (CO-OP/Internship Outside of Worcester County) Housing Occupancy Agreement. The Office of International Education works in tandem with other offices, such as Housing and Residential Services, to support students meeting their goals of studying abroad. Students must have a completed occupancy agreement for the time period they will be away, submit a request in writing, and merely leave a deposit on file. Housing works closely with study abroad students to ensure they will have housing upon their return from program.


Sarina Cerro riding a camel in Morocco

Sarina Cerro in Morocco, 2015