Jul 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Off-Campus Study


Off-Campus Study programs exist in most regions of the world. You will find information on a very wide range of featured programs at https://travel.global.grinnell.edu.

Featured Programs

The programs featured on the Off-Campus Study portal have been carefully selected and are believed to represent some of the best opportunities available today in off-campus study. From among the broad academic and geographical diversity of options, most students should be able to identify a program well suited to their academic goals.

Types of Programs

Most programs offer you the opportunity to enhance your major, concentration, or other area of academic interest while broadening your liberal arts education by learning about another area of the world. In some programs, the courses offered are linked by a common theme, such as women’s studies, environmental studies, or global development studies. In others, coursework may be closely connected to a particular major such as biology or economics. Programs may be organized and operated by American educational institutions, universities abroad, or a combination of both in a cooperative arrangement. Formats vary from traditional classroom-based instruction to fieldwork, independent study, and internship.

Program Competitiveness

It is important to note that off-campus study programs vary considerably in competitiveness. While some programs are highly competitive, accepting only students with higher G.P.A.s and specific course preparation, others may have more relaxed criteria for admission. Specific prerequisites and G.P.A. requirements are normally set out in the program information materials. Campus Program Advisers are also able to advise you regarding your eligibility for a particular program. Normally, Grinnell students apply to only one off-campus study program. Denial of admission to Grinnell students is rare because of the screening that takes place during the on-campus approval process.

Yearlong Programs

Approval to attend yearlong programs is limited and is granted by the Off-Campus Study Board on a competitive basis to students demonstrating exceptional academic achievement, strong written rationale, and support for their plans from their major department.

Assessing the Importance of Off-Campus Study

You may already have a good idea about where and what you would like to study off campus. However, if you are just beginning to explore the possibilities, you should reflect seriously on what you are planning to do. Personally, at this point in your life and education, you are likely to be at the optimal point in your capacity to learn by living and studying in a new and challenging environment. Since off-campus study may hold valuable personal, academic, and professional benefits, the careful choice of an appropriate program may well be one of the most important decisions you make during your college career.

Core Rationale for Off-Campus Study

Grinnell requires that you select a program compatible with your academic goals, which you will clearly set out in a four-year course-plan and written rationale for off-campus study. It is up to you to define your goals in consultation with your academic adviser. Since your choice of program must be linked to your academic objectives, you should begin by thinking about why you want to study off campus, i.e., your core rationale. Most students choose to link their off-campus study to their major or concentration while others may wish to use the experience to enhance their understanding of other subjects studied on campus.

Additional Objectives for Off-Campus Study

In addition to the core rationale described above, your choice of program may be partly determined by additional academic objectives you want to achieve. For example, you may wish to broaden your liberal arts education by studying a language or taking courses not offered at Grinnell. You may also have broader educational goals connected to the experience of living in another culture. The possibility of community service, fieldwork, or an internship might be an important consideration. Additional objectives such as these are important to consider along with your core rationale and will help in selecting a program that is right for you.

Campus Program Advisers

A Program Adviser is assigned to every off-campus study program featured by Grinnell College. These advisers are familiar with the programs they represent and can provide you with detailed program information as well as answering any questions you may have.

Peer Advisers

The Institute for Global Engagement and Office of Off-Campus Study hire several Global Envoy peer advisers to provide general advice and mentoring for prospective and outbound students. In addition, every semester, large numbers of Grinnell students return from studying off campus. Talking with other students who have already studied on a program of interest to you is essential to making an intelligent decision about off-campus study.

International Students

Grinnell College is fortunate to have a diverse student body from many parts of the world. International students may be able to provide you with valuable insights and information to help you in making a decision about where to study off campus. The International Students Office will provide names of students from specified countries or regions.


Susie Duke, Director; Carolyn Lewis, Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies (2024 visiting faculty); Mark Laver, Music (2024 visiting faculty)

Grinnell-in-London (GIL) connects the rigorous academic experience at Grinnell to the historical, cultural, political context of the United Kingdom through a cohort-based immersive semester living in and exploring London and the surrounding region. Each year, two Grinnell faculty lead the program. GIL partners with the Institute for Study Abroad-Butler (IFSA) at their London Centre for student services, activities, and elective courses. Students are required to take the core cultural course (CCC), which is team-taught by Grinnell faculty and cross-listed. The CCC includes field trips prior to the start of the term at sites around the UK as well as community engagement throughout the semester. Students may then choose to take either one or both individually taught courses offered by Grinnell faculty. To complete the course load, GIL students may choose from a wide variety of IFSA electives that are taught by local London faculty. Click here for IFSA electives. 


MUS 201 Music and Politics in the UK 4 credits

Music is always political. While generations of critical commentators on music-scholarly and popular alike-have positioned musical creation as being outside of politics (whether academic music analysts who insist that “the music itself” is all that should matter, or callers to radio talk shows demanding that activist musicians “shut up and sing”), music-making is inevitably shaped by sociopolitical  circumstances. Moreover, music and musicians have been key contributors to nearly every notable sociopolitical movement. Indeed, in light of the pervasive discourse that represents music as apolitical or “absolute,” it is all the more important to be attentive to the ways in which music is shaped by local and global political currents, and to take seriously the political agency of musicians. In this class, we will take advantage of the London setting in order to explore the ways in which musicians associated with a variety of musical genres, cultures, and communities, ranging from orchestral music to punk, folk to grime, have implicitly and explicitly responded to overlapping political issues, including colonialism, migration, and neoliberal capitalism. Prerequisite: None. LAVER

GWS 295 Museums, Medicine and the Body   4 credits

Human bodies have been essential to the development of medical knowledge. Grave-robbing, the global traffic of remains, dissection as capital punishment, the public display of disembodied parts - this course considers how this history troubles contemporary notions of privacy and consent. How have social hierarchies framed the acquisition and display of human remains? How do curators balance the desire to safeguard dignity against the quest to create an informed public? What obligations do visitors hold as they contemplate these remains? Prerequisite: None. LEWIS

SST/HUM 195 Culture and Identity in the UK 4 credits

In this interdisciplinary co-taught course, GIL students will examine the ways in which global and local dynamics intertwine in the United Kingdom, broadly reflecting on the social, political, and historical legacies of contemporary Britain and multicultural London. Through regular group field trips in London and around the UK as well as small group urban and field-based exploration that consider culture and identity  through music, gender, and other relevant topics. This course will compare these ideas and others to parallel processes within the international arena from multiple perspectives. Prerequisite: None. LAVER, LEWIS