International Exchange Students

Mount Holyoke College has exchange agreements with a wide range of universities around the world.  If you are studying at an exchange partner, you must apply to your home institution for nomination to Mount Holyoke as an exchange student.  Exchange agreements vary, so you should check with your home institution for details about financial arrangements, eligibility requirements, application procedures, periods of study permitted, and any other requirements or restrictions.  

Once you have been nominated for exchange, you should submit the Application Form for International Exchange Students (you may fill this form out online and then print a copy that you should sign), along with the following documents:

  • An official transcript of academic work completed at your home university.
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member in your major field of study.
  • A letter or other documentation from your home institution confirming that you have been nominated for exchange at Mount Holyoke.

Your home institution may require you to submit your application there rather than directly to Mount Holyoke, so check with your international officer about procedures.  Completed applications are ordinarily due at Mount Holyoke by March 1st each year.

International exchange students have access to the full range of College facilities, activities, and programs.  They will be invited to pre-register for courses prior to their arrival, and will meet with an academic advisor during Orientation to finalize their schedule of classes.

International Exchange Students may select courses in a wide range of disciplines or courses in a particular field of study (usually the field or discipline in which they are concentrating at their home institution).  It is crucial that students check with their academic advisor, dean, or international program officer to ascertain if they must complete any specific requirements while at Mount Holyoke College.  Enrollment in individual courses is subject to course prerequisites and limits, so we recommend that students have alternate choices reviewed by their home institution advisors as well.

International Exchange Students generally enroll in the normal full-time course load, which is 16 credits per semester.  Some exchange institutions permit students to enroll in 12 credits each semester, which is the minimum required to maintain their visa status. 

International Exchange Students enrolled for the full academic year will be able to earn Mount Holyoke’s Certificate for International Students (the minimum program of study for which is 20 credits, or five courses, during the year).  They may elect the ungraded option for only one of these courses.  They may choose to earn the Certificate in a specific discipline which is offered as a major or minor at Mount Holyoke. They may do so by electing three courses in that field, all of which must be graded, and at least two of which must be taken at Mount Holyoke. Students who choose not to focus in a single discipline earn the Certificate in General Studies.

International Exchange Students may elect courses at any of the other colleges in the Five College Consortium, though we recommend that students not take such courses during their first semester at Mount Holyoke.  At least half of the credits each semester must be earned in courses taken at Mount Holyoke. 

Even the most fluent international student is usually unfamiliar with the conventions of American academic English and will need to learn how to construct an argument, structure an academic paper, and prepare a bibliography and footnotes consistent with U.S. standards. Therefore, some International Exchange Students may want to consider electing the following course, designed to address these special needs:

English 103f-104s: Academic Discourse and Multilingual Speakers
(Writing-intensive course) In this course we to seek to achieve clarity and precision of expression within a discussion of complex questions. Past semesters' topics include: The role of education in society; the relationship between religion, culture, and nature; and the use of maps in ordering the world. In addition to the academic content, the course focus on the writing and revising process, academic research and argumentation, and the nature and purpose of academic discourse. This course is intended for students whose native language is not English and who would like to refine their writing and speaking skills. Although it is the first in a two-course sequence (103f-104s), multilingual students who have already taken English 104s may register. 

International Exchange Students who enroll for the fall semester will generally be expected to arrive for orientation in late August or early September, and will complete courses and exams in December.

Students who enroll for the full year may choose to participate in the January Term program, which provides opportunities for students to explore their non-academic interests through events, programs, and not-for-credit courses.  Full-year students who earn the Certificate for International Students are also eligible to participate in Commencement ceremonies in May, when Certificates and college degrees are awarded.