Why study off-campus?

Studying off-campus for a semester or year can be an enriching and vital part of college. Off-Campus Study Opportunities enhance learning in many ways – strengthening specific skills and knowledge, broadening outlook and thinking, enlarging intercultural abilities and relationships, preparing for life in the global community, and deepening Christian commitment and service. Students choose off-campus studies as part of their major/minor program (e.g., Spanish, or International Studies) or to enrich their general education. Houghton College encourages off-campus study and provides many opportunities.

Who may participate in off-campus studies?

Every student (whether a Houghton student or not) should consider these opportunities. Some majors require sequenced courses, so summers or special planning might be necessary. Students should establish good study habits and master a good portion of integrative studies before going off-campus. Second-semester sophomore, junior, and first-semester senior years are the best times. (Final semester should be on campus.) A 2.5 GPA or higher is required for most options. Prerequisites are sometimes required, e.g., INCL 211, “Cross-Cultural Transition and Adjustment,” for Foreign Language and INCL 310 Intercultural Competencies for INCL and International Relations Majors.


Off-campus opportunities must be carefully selected, similar to choosing which college to attend. Academic strengths, experiential quality, cost, and other issues arise. Houghton students have five options:

  • Houghton College Opportunities: Houghton in London Honors (by invitation after initial application), Houghton in East Africa, and May travel courses.  (Houghton credits and grades; also complete financial aid package.)
  • Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Opportunities: American Studies Program, China Studies Program, Contemporary Music Center, Latin American Studies Program, Los Angeles Film Studies Center, Middle Eastern Studies Program, and Oxford Honours Programme. (Houghton credits and grades, but different financial aid.)
  • Affiliated Opportunities: Au Sable, BCA Study Abroad, Budapest Semester in Mathematics,  Chez Vous, Creation Care Studies Program, Gordon College: Global Education, International Business Institute, NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), Semester In Spain, Spanish Studies Abroad, and Université Laval. (Check with the Off-Campus Office for how credits and grades transfer and details about Financial Aid). These affiliations allow students to remain enrolled at Houghton while at a host institution.
  • Special Agreements: Agreements may be made with host programs that meet special guidelines. (Transfer credits)
  • Semester Leave-of-Absence: Student may withdraw from Houghton for the semester and then reapply to enter Houghton bringing transfer credits.

Steps for Off-Campus Study

Houghton students should follow these steps to enroll in off-campus studies:

Preliminary planning:

  • Make sure you have a valid passport when studying abroad.
  • Review desires and goals.
  • Explore options (visit the Office of Off-Campus Studies in ChC 413 to look through books, flyers, Internet, or talk)
  • Examine your schedule
  • Consult advisor and Director of Off-Campus Studies
  • Share ideas with family

Apply to Off-Campus Studies:

Whether applying for a Houghton, CCCU, affiliated, or special arrangement program, you are required to complete your own application process according to forms, fees and deadlines requested.

Complete Prior Approval Form:

Upon acceptance to a non-Houghton Off-Campus Study you will need to complete a prior approval form.

The Pink Prior Approval Form is for “Affiliated opportunities” – meaning opportunities listed in the Houghton College Catalog with prior affiliation with Houghton. The Yellow Prior Approval Form is for “non-affiliated opportunities”, no financial aid and transfer credit but you remain a Houghton student.

In order to complete your prior approval form, you will need to:

  • Select courses and have them approved by your Department Chair
  • Obtain your Advisor’s signature of approval
  • Have a Student Finance Officer from the Student Financial Services Office sign their approval
  • Obtain approval for the Office of Student Life
  • Obtain Off-Campus Programs Director’s signature of approval
  • Drop the form off at the Registrar’s Office

You’re now ready to Study Off-Campus! Well, at least all of your paperwork that the College requires has been completed.


The Houghton in East Africa program fills up much earlier than the others and information regarding application should be sought from the Office of Off-Campus Studies.

1. Explore and select opportunity November–February May–September
2. Apply
(see program deadline)
March–April September–October
3. Prior Approval Form
(non-Houghton opportunities)
April 1 November 1
4. Get passport, visa, prepare Spring and Summer Summer and Fall


Please Contact the Office of Off-Campus Studies if you have any questions or are a student from another college wishing to apply for a Houghton Program.

(585) 567-9634