“You never know who you are until you have lived somewhere other than your own country.” –Lynn Sharp, Associate Professor, History Department

Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help History students…

  • Access to historical evidence not available in Walla Walla such as archives, public history sites and museums
  • Improve foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the History department?

  • The history department recommends all types of off-campus studies programs depending on the student’s goals.  For example, some students may wish to enroll directly in a foreign university with local students while others may prefer a field-style program that provides opportunities for oral history research and interviewing informants.
  • The Philadelphia Center and Washington Semester can also provide invaluable internships in history and related fields.

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in History prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • Foreign language skills—students interested in graduate studies in history will need knowledge of at least one and often two languages other than English
  • Global awareness
  • Comparative perspective

Which requirements can History majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit in consultation with your history major adviser.  (Note: Courses taken abroad are not recommended for use in the history major exams taken senior year.)
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the History Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.


  • Students should begin enrolling in history courses as soon as possible.
  • Second-year students should enroll in HIST 299 Historical Methodologies prior to studying off campus.
  • Discuss your graduation plan fully with your history major adviser in your second year if you plan to study abroad.

Credit Limitations

The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the history major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) is 8 credits with the approval of your major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the History department?

There are many off-campus studies programs that are suitable for students who wish to study history abroad, hone foreign language skills, or engage in an internship related to US history in Philadelphia or Washington DC.  Please consult with your major adviser and the OCS staff for specific recommendations related to your goals.

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.